1. Welcome Hearth.com Guests and Visitors - Please enjoy our forums!
    Hearth.com GOLD Sponsors who help bring the site content to you:
    Hearthstone Soapstone and Cast-Iron stoves( Wood, Gas or Pellet Stoves and Inserts)

Splitting twisted wood

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by precaud, Aug 6, 2006.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. precaud

    precaud Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2006
    Messages:
    2,293
    Loc:
    Sunny New Mexico
    I have a few logs that are seriously twisted. Their jokes are the worst!

    Seriously, are there any tricks to split pieces from a log that are all wound up on themself?

    Helpful Sponsor Ads!





  2. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    5,738
    Loc:
    Central NYS
    My motto is: Any chunk will split if you hit it hard enough, often enough, in the same place.

    What I do with the occasional piece that I absolutely can't split is to get a big chainsaw and cut it right down the middle. If you cut beyond an obvious obstacle (like a big knot), you can usually split it the rest of the way with a maul. As a matter of fact, I have three such specimens sitting out at my wood pile right now, and I was thinking about documenting the process on film. So, in a day or two you can see how I do it.
  3. precaud

    precaud Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2006
    Messages:
    2,293
    Loc:
    Sunny New Mexico
    Generally, I agree... but apply this to a twist and you get many small pieces...

    That's what I was thinking too, perhaps even just scoring both sides and then whacking it. But the purist in me is trying to do it without power assist...

    Great, I look forward to it!
  4. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    5,738
    Loc:
    Central NYS
    The purist in you is going to get a good workout, precaud. You will probably be able to get it apart (over time), but it won't be at all pretty. Frozen wood does split a lot easier, so you could wait. Or, if you have something that absolutely drives you nuts and you have to blow off some steam, that's another good reason to keep the unsplitables around.

    Scoring two sides works well on some unsplitables; not so well on others. It's sure worth a try.

    Whatever you do, pay attention to your sprocket housing. Cutting with the grain with a chain saw produces long, stringy chips that will jam up your clutch and stall your saw if you're not careful. I've even had them catch on fire!
  5. Mo Heat

    Mo Heat Mod Emeritus

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    848
    Loc:
    St. Louis, Missouri
    Eric, This is the second phenomenon I've witnessed myself that puzzled me until you commented on it in someone else's post.

    A couple months ago I witnessed this stringy thing happen while cutting through a Y crotch that I was unable to split by hand. It kind of freaked me out!

    The other phenomenon you made clear in yet another post was why my chain got so dull, so quick on a single cut (no grounding, etc.). I was puzzled, caught off guard (did something really bad just happen to my chain or saw?), and a bit angered to be honest, but you shed light on this with your comment that sometimes the lower part of a tree trunk has dirt, grit, sand, etc. on it, or even grown into it IIRC, from rain and water splashing stuff up on the first couple feet of the tree. I'm paraphrashing from memory, so hopefully I got both right. Both are good to know BTW. Thanks.
  6. Shane

    Shane Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2005
    Messages:
    1,830
    Loc:
    Casper Wyoming
    I have a chainsaw jig that allows you to "mill" lumber. We've been cutting ponderosa pine and haven't run into the string problem. One thing that is recommended for rip cutting logs is sharpening the chain to 10 degrees. They say under no circumstance should you cross cut with a ripping chain though. Though there appears to be no problem with ripping with a cross cut chain it is said to go slower and dull the blade quicker but apparantly it's not dangerous. Can anyone explain this?
  7. Sandor

    Sandor Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2005
    Messages:
    917
    Loc:
    Deltaville,VA
    This post is right on time.

    Had a nice pile of unsplitable twisty Y's that are now dumped in a ravine in the woods behind the house, as of today. Tried ripping some of the Y's down the middle but it was putting a hurting a my chain bar.... sparks in bright sunshine. Some of that knotty wood is very hard.

    My rule of thumb is " Three wacks and your out". If I don't see a crack start forming after the 3rd whack, then I give up and move on.

    Glad the humidy was reasonable today so I could finish this pile! I should have about 5 cords.

    Hey MSG, did you get started yet? Quite playing with your fly-Rod and get busy. Uh, no pun intended.
  8. suematteva

    suematteva New Member

    Joined:
    May 25, 2006
    Messages:
    605
    Loc:
    Rutland, VT//Southern Quebec
    I have 7 of above said pieces...I always save them for poking around...got through 3 of them today..couple of the others will be chainsawed in half across the grain... Some of these were on there 3 or 4 attempt..One went with the maul finally and the other two required two wedges...The pooch even moved away, I guess the sound was infringing on chase the chipmunk game...after the 3rd pool time...Really appreciate these pieces when it is below zero though..
  9. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    5,738
    Loc:
    Central NYS
    If you look at a circular sawmill blade, the teeth are all filed straight across--no angles to worry about. When the teeth encounter the end of the grain, they slice off chips as you feed the saw into the grain. If you tried to use a ripping saw on the grain going the other way, however, the saw would hang up because it wouldn't be able to cut against the grain. That's why regular chainsaw teeth are filed to an angle, usually 30 or 35 degrees. The angled edge allows the grain to be cut.

    If you try to rip with a crosscutting chain, you get long slivers as the angled teeth cut into (and along) the grain. Not a big potential for kickback, though certainly not as safe as regular crosscutting. If you try to crosscut with a ripping chain, on the other hand, the teeth would tend to hang up on the sections of grain, which could send the bar and chain back towards you.

    I have an old chain that I filed straight across for use as a ripping chain. I only go to the trouble of mounting it on the saw when I have a lot of unsplittable wood laying around. That's almost always when I'm trying to dispose of a yard tree.
  10. precaud

    precaud Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2006
    Messages:
    2,293
    Loc:
    Sunny New Mexico
    Good explanation, Eric. It made me go out and look at this one particular log. The grain on this thing makes a full 360 every 3 feet! And density is definitely higher than usual.
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page