Resawing Reclaimed Heart Pine Timbers

February 27, 2005

I'm looking into the possibility of resawing heart pine timbers that will come out of a whiskey warehouse. The lumber is 4x4s, which are to be sawn into 1x4s, and about 100 years old. Moisture content is in the twelve percent range. We will be sawing on a horizontal band resaw, the type often used in pallet mills. The saw has hydraulic infeed and return conveyors. The blade is driven by a 30HP electric motor.

My meager understanding is that heart pine is very hard to saw. It is about as hard as red oak, but contains silicates, which are very hard on blades. Does anyone have experience with heart pine? What are good blades to use on this project? Brands? How many board feet might be expected per blade? What are appropriate feed speeds? Any help is appreciated!

Forum Responses
(Solid Wood Machining Forum)
I don't know too much about heart pine, however, I have done a few reclaimed runs. The biggest problem always winds up being foreign objects embedded in the material, even when it's supposedly been gone over with metal detectors. So, whenever you decide the perfect saw blade to use, also take into account it might get damaged.

Impossible to give exact numbers, but we cut recycled heart pine on our 25 hp Timber Harvester bandmill all the time. I use Simonds red streak blades from Cooks Saw Mfg. You will know from the sound and blade action what speed works. You will also need a lubricant. Kerosene is cheap. You can get other commercial lubes, but the price is more, obviously. Water will also work. Others will swear by other brand blades, so there is no right answer.

I went through the same process two years ago. Get yourself a Nyle dry kiln. Lots of denailing, so I don't buy the same blades as if I was doing green timber, plus we sharpen our own in-house with a Wright Grinder and Suffolk setter.

We have been resawing heart pine for two years. The biggest problem has always been nails. No matter how careful you are with your metal detector, you are going to miss some. In most cases, we are able to plane out the defects caused by the damaged blade.

You are correct that heart pine can have areas that are very dense due to heavy concentrations of sap. You may also experience blade float if you are sawing parallel to the grain. We use a Baker resaw with a 1.5 inch blade powered with 40 hp. Since nails damage expensive blades just as easy as cheaper ones, we stopped using the higher quality blades. Our cost per blade is around $15 and we can run 4-5000 feet unless a nail gets us. We have also stopped trying to resharpen blades because of the cost ($10) and over 50% came back with an incorrect set.