Cutting limbs into boards

I have some 4 foot long, 4-6" diameter oak limbs from our tree and for the heck of it I'd like to turn them into boards, let them dry, and make something.
What's the best home workshop tool for turning a limb this size into a board?
Thanks,
Mike
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Finding the keyboard operational Michael entered:

I am using a old craftsman bandsaw. I've done some hickory and have some maple to do this weekend. Some of the hickory was 6 - 8" so I had to split some of the pieces in half. Make sure that you have plenty of support on the infeed and outfeed sides. It would be impossible to cut otherwise. One trick I wish I had done from the begining was to take a chalkline and markout the first cut or two. Use the lowest tooth count blade you can get your hands on and feed the limbs very slowly. Check for imbedded objects before making a cut. Bob
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Attach the limb to a carrier board and run the carrier against the fence. WL

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I have sawn up some maple, Oak, Plum, Pear and Peach. As others have said, you loose a lot to twisting, but you may get something. I just used Highland Hardware's Woodturners blade to saw up the Pear and it really made things easier. Do use a sled.
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Thanks everyone for the tips on this. I appreciate it.
Mike
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Michael I do this fairly often. Check my site under working green wood. It is from the wood turner's perspective but it does apply. ______ God bless and safe turning Darrell Feltmate Truro, NS, Canada www.aroundthewoods.com

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Good luck with that... limbs, sawn into boards, will warp all over the place. Google "reaction wood" for a thorough explanation. The short version is that growing in any direction except vertically causes the wood on the upper side of the limb to be in tension, and the lower side in compression; when the limb is sawn into boards, these stresses are released and the boards warp.
Four to six inches diameter is too small to make into boards of any decent size anyway, even if it weren't reaction wood. You don't want the pith (center of the limb) in a board, because it isn't stable. Remove that, and remove the bark, and you're left with boards that are 2 to 3 inches wide, max.

Chainsaw and axe -- for firewood. Do you have a lathe? It might be useful for turnings -- ask over at rec.crafts.woodturning for more info.
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Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
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I just finished reading a long sawstop thread so when I saw your subject beginning with "cutting limbs" I was not thinking of the wooden kind...
Anyway, for a 4 ft, 4-6" dia log, it is easy enough to make a jig that can be used on a bandsaw. Should be easy enough to find an example with a web search.
You're probably going to get some comments about the suitability of using (I'm sorry but after the sawstop and tablesaw accident threads I just can't bear to use the word limbs here) BRANCHES to make boards, but you did say it was for the heck of it.
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Michael wrote:

Turning is usually the best way to use up branches, especially interesting forks, but oak isn't a particularly good timber.
I'd suggest a froe (or the right shape of axehead) and cleave them, as these are only small boards. As others have posted, limb wood is going to suffer badly as reaction wood, but you might manage to make smaller medieval repro stuff from oak limbs.
If you have a decent sized bandsaw, then that will saw them up pretty well. However you really do need to make a sliding log carriage for it first. Far too unsafe without, especially for snatching and kinking a blade. The carriage (plans are around) is just a long plywood sled that slides on the saw table and has blocks to support a log and clamps to hold it in place.
Remember that any tree always turns into far smaller and less useful timber than you'd expect. This seems on the firewood size, not useful boards.
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