Sawing Hollow Logs

Practical and metaphysical tips on getting useful value out of logs that include some emptiness. October 14, 2006

How do you guys tackle a hollow log? The one I have is white oak, about thirty feet long, three feet in diameter and (at the thick end) has a ring of useful wood about ten inches thick. I have my own ideas but would appreciate hearing yours.

Forum Responses
(Sawing and Drying Forum)
From contributor A:
I just cut the outside boards off and throw away the hollow cant. I guess if it was too big, I'd take a chainsaw and cut it in half and the cut those two halves in half and then cut the outside boards off with the sawmill.

From contributor B:
Id quarter-saw it.

From contributor C:
I may get stoned by the board lovers here but I had a big Bur Oak that was hollow and so I cut 30" lengths and stood them up in the yard, filled them with dirt and my wife planted flowers and ivy in them.

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From contributor D:
What diameter can your mill handle? If the log is too big, quarter it with a chain saw (not too hard, since there's no wood in the middle), then, as Arkansawyer suggests, quarter saw it. On my mill, I saw off the bottom, rotate 90, then repeat. Hopefully the hollow doesn't run all the way up the tree. If you do much chain saw ripping, consider a ripping blade.

From contributor C:
Speaking of quartering with a chainsaw, my mill is a Logosol and it is perfect for that. The upper section of a log - from 16' to 24' up - was not hollow and I inverted my mill on top of the log and cut four 2" slabs from the middle. After removing them I set the two halves together and then ripped them. (Picture posted shows the slabs on the trailer in the background). I ended up with about 300bf of nice boards. The crotch was right above this log and I slabbed ten 2" slabs from it. I will post a picture of the crotch - unfortunately I did not take any pictures s of the sawn slabs.

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From contributor C:
Here is the crotch - about 42" across. It was slabbed with the Logosol and a Stihl 084 w/ 52" bar.

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