Cutting firewood with a table saw

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This is going to sound weird but... a couple years ago I took the kids camping in the Great Smokies. We arrived on a Monday when a lot of the other campers in the Cataloochee valley were going home. One guy who was leaving offered me his pile of firewood, which was very kind of him, since I didn't have room for any when I packed. Anyway, the firewood, cut to 18" lengths and split, appeared to be walnut. I'm sorry to say I burned some of it, but I brought home a half-dozen chunks. Does anyone have any ideas on how to cut it safely into boards. I don't have a bandsaw, but I do have a table saw. I've given some thought to making a sled with a wooden clamping device, but the idea of the saw grabbing the chunk and flinging it makes me nervous.
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Don't have a bandsaw? Get one -- you have the perfect excuse. :-) Or find someone who does. That's really the best tool to use for this.
-- Regards, Doug Miller (alphageek-at-milmac-dot-com)
Get a copy of my NEW AND IMPROVED TrollFilter for NewsProxy/Nfilter by sending email to autoresponder at filterinfo-at-milmac-dot-com You must use your REAL email address to get a response.
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Doug Miller responds:

Bandsaw is best, plain ol' 5-1/2 point ripsaw will work, bowsaw probably will work on that length of wood. Worst choice: tablesaw. Uneven shapes almost guarantee flying objects. Can't call 'em UFOs, cause you'll know what they are.
Charlie Self "Inanimate objects are classified scientifically into three major categories - those that don't work, those that break down and those that get lost." Russell Baker
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There's a number of folks in my woodworkers' group who gather their offcuts and scrap, and take it over to one fellow's home each heating season. Ted, who was a school teacher all his life, and raised 5 good kids with his wife, learned more than a little bit about being frugal.
But his boys had to take away the tablesaw, when Ted had to have 4 fingers reattached surgically, after cutting firewood with the thing, freehand.
Take Charlie's advice. If you can't afford a bandsaw, then do your experimenting with a hand rip saw. Or find a neighbor who has a bandsaw, and experiment. Or use a rasp, a drawknife or an improvised scraping device to make a flat face on a piece, to see what the grain might reveal.
But don't use your tablesaw for this, until it's somehow closer to being a board.
Patriarch
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"patriarch snipped-for-privacy@nospam.comcastDOTnet>" <<patriarch> wrote in message

I agree with not using the tablesaw, but why not just split it? A wedge and a BFH, and you're on your way to lumber.
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Mike Marlow responds:

Isn't it already split? I like the idea from the poster who said a froe might be a better way to go. Get it close, plane it down, then think about power tools.
Or a handsaw.
In a case like this, power tools are not going to speed things up much, if any, because of the need for special precautions. Even with those special precautions, problems can occur. Lacking a bandsaw, I'd go with a froe or a handsaw.
Charlie Self "Inanimate objects are classified scientifically into three major categories - those that don't work, those that break down and those that get lost." Russell Baker
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You may be right Charlie - I was thinking it was just chunked. If it's already split then it's pretty close to power too ready - depending of course, on how big a piece it is.

I don't own a froe, so I defaulted to suggesting a wedge, which I have used in the past. Now a froe... Charlie, my wife isn't going to be happy with you...
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On Fri, 06 Aug 2004 15:13:06 GMT, "Mike Marlow"

A froe is much harder work than a couple of wedges, if you're just making firewood.
A froe is also hard to find, but an easy piece of forging from leafspring.
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Andy Dingley wrote:

I use a froe all the time, sometimes to split logs to make turning blanks, sometimes to make wood for cooking with. They're easy to use, IMHO, and while they are getting harder to find, Woodcraft sells an inferior model at most of its stores. If you know a good smith, he can make you one in a fairly short time. If you want to make one from tire spring, have him rivet the eye, not weld it. It's less likely to develop cracks as it cools. Dave in Fairfax
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wrote:

Any advice on using one ?
I'm planning a Welsh clamp-fronted ark, a 16th century reproduction, and they need to be made of either quartersawn oak, or ideally riven oak.
http://www.early-oak.fsnet.co.uk/littleark1.htm http://www.antiquesandfineart.com/articles/article.cfm?request
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Andy Dingley wrote:

I'm not sure where to start. From your posts in the past it seems that you have a good grip on using WW'g tools, so I'm unsure what to tell you that you don't already know. At a very basic level, choose wood that doesn't have knots, and has as straight a grain as you can find. Sharpen the froe on one side only, and use a wooden mallet, not a hammer or sledge. Depending on the twist in the wood, you will have to split off oversized slabs. How oversized, will have to be determined by you as you inspect the wood. I hope that doesn't seem condescending, I really don't know where to start. Please feel free to e-mail me, see the sig line, if I can be of any assistance. Dave in Fairfax
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wrote:

So why is it so bloody difficult to make a usable board then ?! 8-)
I've made plenty of firewood. But not yet something I can make furniture from. The idea of a roof shingle industry based entirely on the use of a froe doesn't seem too believable just now.
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Andy Dingley wrote:

I suspect that there's a problem with your selection of wood. If there is twist in the grain, you'll end up with a board that is thicker at one end than the other as well as having winding. Straight grain is very imortant if you are trying to make boards as is type of wood. What have you been trying to split, and how straight has the grain been? You haven't said exactly what the problem has been, just that it hasn't been working out. Give me a bit more of a clue, and maybe I can come up with a solution. Remember that branches or other changes in grain with have very bad effects on what you try to do.
Dave in Fairfax
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On Sat, 07 Aug 2004 22:20:03 +0100, Andy Dingley

Practice makes pre^H^Herfect.
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On Sat, 07 Aug 2004 21:10:12 -0700, Larry Jaques wrote:

For previous post: find the Firefox books in your library (or your bookshelf!). One of the first three (forgot which) has a fella making a stack of shingles with a froe. You will not believe how big that stack is in the photograph. IIRC, same volume has a guy making a chair with riven wood. Regardless of my poor memory, find those books and you'll find the techniques you're looking for.
--
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I was in a hardware store the other day that sold froe's. Not a little specialty shop either. Not to hard to find.

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Mike Marlow writes:

You can fairly easily make a froe from an old car spring (flat style) and a chunk of hickory. The spring already has a handle eye built in. Cut it. Heat and bend the eye to where it will hold a vertical handle. Grind it to shape. Sharpen moderately and whack it with a stick. Don't even have to buy a mallet.
Much straighter splits than you get with a wedge.
Which reminds me, I've got a brand new wedge to go in tomorrow's yard sale. Never been used, and, according to my wife, never will be used. She doesn't care for coal furnaces or wood stoves.
Charlie Self "Inanimate objects are classified scientifically into three major categories - those that don't work, those that break down and those that get lost." Russell Baker
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I start off with an old hand-held B&D planer. That gives me one flat side to start. Then I turn the log 90 degrees and plane that side before truing it up on the jointer. Then I take it to the table saw. I found it awkward using a bandsaw to cut a log, perhaps its the 3/4 HP motor or limited blade height.
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I've had a number of friends who've had a favorite lawn tree go down in wind or dutch elm or in the way of the power company who know I'm a woodworker and ask if I wouldn't love to have their tree. Good sized trunks I haul to a guy with a Wood Miser. The little ones, I've cut up on a 14" Delta with riser block. People love to see a piece of furniture made of their Bradford Pear or whatever. It's worth the effort.
bob g.
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On 06 Aug 2004 07:32:19 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@aol.comnotforme (Charlie Self) vaguely proposed a theory ......and in reply I say!:
remove ns from my header address to reply via email
Now that's cruel and unusual punishment. Speaking of your wife like that, _and_ using her to cut the wood, just because she doen't like wood fires. <G>
n. 1. A dirty woman; a slattern; a frow. http://www.thefreedictionary.com/Froe

***************************************************** It's not the milk and honey we hate. It's having it rammed down our throats.
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