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It All Starts at the Tree

By: Phil Huber
Woodsmith Shop Season 15 Episode 12: Logs to Lumber

As woodworkers, most of us start by buying lumber at the hardware store. As we continue to grow in our craft, some of us will venture out to a local sawmill to buy rough-cut lumber. For some, however, the woodworking journey begins even further up stream: at the tree. I don’t know a woodworker who hasn’t seen a tree getting taken down and thought “I could turn that into something beautiful”. Thankfully, you have options.

On this episode, Logan walks us through cutting logs on his portable sawmill. From tree selection, to log positioning, cutting patterns and thicknesses — there’s a lot that goes into producing top quality lumber. But for those that decide to take this route, the efforts can yield some beautiful, and unexpected results. CNC E12 Secondary After you've cut a log into boards and allowed them to dry, now it's time to use them. Back in the shop, Chris walks us through things to look for when you’re working with rough sawn lumber. Part layout, avoiding defects, rough cutting, and flattening boards are all important things to consider when you start working with your precious materials.

Don’t plan on cutting trees and hiring a mill yourself? That’s okay. All of these steps are easily done in your own shop, just on a smaller scale. Use your own band saw to break down unique species of wood for future use.


Watch the Episode: If the Woodsmith Shop isn’t on in your area, contact your local public television station. Or stream it here.

Download the Plan for this episode.


S15E12 Tip BONUS TIPS & PROJECT: Getting boards safely back to your shop requires a few tools and supplies. Take some time to pack a kit before you head out to the lumberyard, or sawmill site. Here are some of our favorite supplies for hauling lumber. S15E12 Project

The upside to having a log cut into boards is unique, low-cost lumber. The downside? Where do you keep them? This project is one clever solution.

Finding interesting and local logs to cut can be an obstacle. Think of an arborist in your town as your secret source. S15E12 Article

Published: April 20, 2022
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