Mega Noodling

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Minister of Fire
Hearth Supporter
Jul 11, 2008
Northern NH
I recently had a large white pine cut

Now I need to deal with it. It was a bit smaller than I thought (48" at the stump versus an estimate of 53") . I quickly counted 120 rings but it could be plus or minus a few. The outer rings are quite tight together. The stump cut didnt show any rot but there was an ant tunnel and it led to some minor ant galleryies at the center (no ants pouring out). I bucked the log into lengths, but they are aligned so I can only see one end. My guess is the ant galleries are "ring shake" or possibly the tree got "topped at one point. The upper section has lost more a few terminal buds to weevils so it could be a dead top worked its way down at one point. There is lot of healthy wood but there was a 6 degree lean to the tree so there will be some compression wood .

I started stripping the bark on the first 10 foot log. It comes off with bark spud but is not going to be as easy as I would like. The bark has to come off as pine borers lay their egg in the outer bark and as they grow they tunnel into good wood. Get rid of the bark and no borers. (sorry for the out of synch photos.)

The only access to the tree is from the top end so my first log to be processed is about 30" diameter and 10' 6" long. Too big for my friend's sawmill and too big to handle easily. So time to noodle the log. The next three logs are only going to get bigger diameter but straighter grain.

So first thing to do is set up a guide and use a beam jig to run a straight cut with my regular saw about 14" deep. Then chase the cut with a borrowed big saw set up for an Alaskan mill with a 36" bar. Its a beast. So here was my handywork earlier today. About 30" dia on the small end. Lots of big stubs so the grain will be wavy with knots . A person on a another forum said he used to deal with wood that big and would split it rather than saw it. I tried that this afternoon with a 4 ton porta power. It opened the cut up a bit but I had to saw all the way through before it split. As of now it is in two halves waiting for me to drag them out and cut them to 28" wide. The bark up in this section of the tree will not peel off, so it needs to be cut quick. I expect it will be quite knotty


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You might could get some beautiful Windsor Chair seats out of that if you can come up with (knot free) 2 inch thickness and 20 x 20 inches. Do you have an email addy I can send to my friends with money?
My guess is its all just going to get up for boards. I could probably get a whole of large interesting "cookies" but my understanding is that keeping the wood from radial checking is a major effort. I have heard of it being done by soaking it in PEG but expect that is not how the old timers did it.
Seems like you have a handle on it. How will you cut the butt log with a 36” saw? Cut from each side? If I was close I being over my 52” mill;)
Still working that out. I still have hopes for the splitting approach.
I was cutting a lot of this 3-5 ft. diameter stuff a few years back, mostly oak but also some ash. I found it easiest to first buck to lengths, then noodle into slabs 6" to 8" thick. These slabs were still heavy (~250 lb.), but I could pretty easily "walk" them, corner by corner while standing on their end, over to a splitter set for vertical splitting. It's not the quickest way to get a cord of wood, but it's the quickest way I found to deal with stuff this size.

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Must be someone in your area with a chainsaw mill that could cut that, maybe look for someone that sells slabs.
You guys must just hate straight neat stacks of firewood. :p ;lol
I'd not be looking for anyone to mill those logs, I'd be splitting and stacking them. I've had at least a few people wander into my work sites and whine that I'm harvesting "veneer quality" or "lumber quality" logs for firewood, as I'm hauling out pin-straight oak trees with nary a branch for 60 feet. They don't seem to appreciate that straight wood makes straight firewood stacks, and ultimately, the best possible packing density when loading your stove.

Let the lumber milling guys go find their own wood. ::-)
Despite being cut in half, the first halves did not want to winch out of the woods today. I used my trusty Simpson capstan winch and was getting one of the them to move before the winch failed. Hopefully Simpson winches that claim to be built in the US will answer my voicemail and email. Its just a snap ring, shaft key and two thin spacer shims that are damaged, the important parts inside look like new. I could probably track down the parts from different suppliers but would rather buy factory parts. Looks like the backhoe will be get pressed into service tomorrow to drag them out.

The Alaskan mill set up I borrowed has a Husqvarna 371. Its a 71 cc prosaw. I checked the Granville catalog and they recommend a maximum of 36" bar for that size saw. To go bigger would need a 110 cc saw which is huge saw that the local logging supply store has never sold. I dont hold out a lot of hope to find anyone local with a rig large enough to slab this one. There is guy with a Lucas mill but he really needs the logs out in the open and fairly horizontal. I dont think my backhoe is going to be able to move them in one piece but I will give it a try.

BTW. I usually save a few good logs for my friend's sawmill and cut and burn the rest of the tree down to about 1.5" diameter. Since I run a wood boiler and storage. I dont care how ugly the "firewood" is for stacking or burning. I have plenty of room to make longer stacks and the ugly wood usually has more air spaces to speed up drying. The only place I tight stack is the ends, I split flat slabs that I use on the ends of the stacks so I do not need to brace them.

I run my boiler at full throttle, hot and fast to heat up storage so no need to go for long burn times. I also do not hassle with pine or poplar for firewood, I know I can burn it but I have plenty of denser hardwoods that need to come down or I just will girdle them so I usually leave the softwoods to rot.
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I love the big conifer logs. Not sure what you’re doing with it but I just buck them up and split them. 28” bar from both sides with a little 64 cc saw. I only really noodle the rounds down if I have to lift them into a truck. No, I have no experience with oak that big but this is pine.
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A few shots from another log. Despite someone on another forum stating that they were splitting logs with hydraulic cylinders in place of sawing, it did not work with two cylinders, one on either end. The grain starts to collapse before I can put full pressure into the log. I had to saw nearly all the way through. The notches on top were used to attempt to split the log with a saw cut from my regular saw about 14" deep.

I have two more bigger diameter logs left.


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