Cutting Old Oak

I had a large oak tree cut down in 2005 and had them cut the trunk into 6-foot sections, planning to cut each into 18-inch quarters for splitting into firewood. In retrospect, it would have been better to have them cut up the trunk but it's too late now.
I've whittled away at the branches over the years and finally got around to the trunk segments. These are about three feet in diameter at the bottom and end up about two feet in diameter at the other end. I've cut a few segments and split them, but this stuff is tough! The wood stayed hard in the center, didn't decay, probably because of the thickness, and when I hit the heart wood, it dulls my chain real quick.
The largest segment has three partial cuts around the circumference, but the parts are still joined in the center. I was thinking of pouring water into the groove that I've already cut in hopes that it might soften the core. Any other ideas?
Paul
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I had a large oak tree cut down in 2005 and had them cut the trunk into 6-foot sections, planning to cut each into 18-inch quarters for splitting into firewood. In retrospect, it would have been better to have them cut up the trunk but it's too late now.
I've whittled away at the branches over the years and finally got around to the trunk segments. These are about three feet in diameter at the bottom and end up about two feet in diameter at the other end. I've cut a few segments and split them, but this stuff is tough! The wood stayed hard in the center, didn't decay, probably because of the thickness, and when I hit the heart wood, it dulls my chain real quick.
The largest segment has three partial cuts around the circumference, but the parts are still joined in the center. I was thinking of pouring water into the groove that I've already cut in hopes that it might soften the core. Any other ideas?
Paul
Good chain saw, sharp chain. It's what they are made for and do. If you are having a problem, there's something wrong with your equipment.
Steve
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Just how does one do that? After each use, which amounts to 8 hours, or 8 hours of accumulated time, I pull off the chain and bar. I then take an air sprayer and go through the clutch and housing where all that stuff clogs in and around the drive sprocket. Parts washer for whatever needs it. Yep, you guessed it. Next thing is the air cleaner. If you let it accumulate until it was choking the engine, you are either not mechanically inclined in the slightest, or just the ride it hard and put it away wet mentality.
Steve
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wrote:

sections, planning to cut each into 18-inch quarters for splitting into firewood. In retrospect, it would have been better to have them cut up the trunk but it's too late now.

trunk segments. These are about three feet in diameter at the bottom and end up about two feet in diameter at the other end. I've cut a few segments and split them, but this stuff is tough! The wood stayed hard in the center, didn't decay, probably because of the thickness, and when I hit the heart wood, it dulls my chain real quick.

parts are still joined in the center. I was thinking of pouring water into the groove that I've already cut in hopes that it might soften the core. Any other ideas?

If this was not a long straight trunk with no real limbs, splitting it is going to be tough. That grain is probably twisted so it is like trying to split plywood.
I ended up having some big chunks like that hauled away. Let a guy with a hydraulic splitter fool with them.
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I have a 27 ton hydraulic splitter. I have come across some really difficult pieces just in the local pines and junipers. Oak would be a whole nuther thing. Getting it cut into manageable sizes to fit in the splitter, then in the fireplace would be one stage. And I have seen some very interesting twisting grains that were really tough to split even with 27 tons of force. Aging and drying may make it a little better. Still, a handful.
Steve
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On 11/21/2011 6:21 PM, Steve B wrote:

Done it with pine, juniper, maple, fir and hemlock. Slice and dice and into the fireplace they go.
Paul
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-snip-

Except for the maple- [and some of that is soft] you haven't come close to the hardness of seasoned oak. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Janka_hardness_test
You want to see sparks fly try some nicely seasoned Black locust.
OTOH-- A sharp chain, lots of oil, patience, and a bucket-o-sweat will get the job done.
Jim
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My thoughts exactly. The loggers cut much larger trees with ease. Splitting can be another matter, but even then, there is a breaking point.
Steve
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