Slabbing a Large Diameter Burl

Ideas include a modified chainsaw mill, or a two-person manual saw. January 25, 2005

I am trying to find a way to cut 1 1/2" slabs from a 47" diameter red oak burl. The first cut would need to be at 47", then go down quickly from there. I would prefer to preserve the entire diameter. Any ideas?

Forum Responses
(Sawing and Drying Forum)
Find someone with a slabber attachment.

Sometimes we get ourselves into a rut with all the modern saws and their features. I have to remind myself that there are hand tools in the barn that will keep me from having to buy a high dollar machine for one little job.

One good sharp cross-cut saw will cut through that burl quicker than you might imagine. You will have to rig up a jig of some kind to make sure you cut straight and make parallel cuts. You might have to ask a friend for help if you're using a two-man saw. You might have to go buy a saw. Lots of folks have gotten away from hand tools. You can find them at garage sales, flea markets, E-bay and most forestry catalogues. There may even be a link to one of the companies here.

I use a Stihl 084 with a 52" bar mounted to a Logosol sawmill. The tip of the bar sags so much that I built this overarm support to hold the tip up. This tree trunk was oblong 42" x 52" and contained 4 tree trunks grown together.

Click here for full size image

Here you can see the 4 trunks. I am in the process of coating it with epoxy.

Click here for full size image

If you are cutting only one burl rather than a whole bunch of them, a handsaw jig will be fine. The Logosol M-7 will work for flitch cutting of burls if properly positioned. Even cheaper is to hire a bandmill or owner of a slabber to do it for you. If you do lots of them, not in a hobby setting, don't even think about cutting them by hand unless you want to spend way too much time and effort. The slabbing attachment on a Lucas or Peterson will make short work of a slab and is easy to operate. Pie shaped objects stay together,while drying usually ends up in disaster. I haven't tried pentacryl yet, but Peg 1000 does work to draw out the moisture with a subsequent kiln drying schedule. I am getting ready to flitch cut 3 30" diameter walnut stumps 10/4" thick, but will not make rounds out of the trunk.

From the original questioner:
Thanks for all the help. I thought a long bar like that is what one would need. I will scout around SE MN for someone.