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Author Topic: Reverse Roll Quarter Sawing  (Read 11759 times)

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Offline YellowHammer

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Reverse Roll Quarter Sawing
« on: December 27, 2016, 01:02:45 am »
I used to look at quarter sawing as a necessary pain in the rear.  Its painfully slow as it takes one log, and turns them into four, (quarters), which then must be sawn.  So it is at least four times slower for me, or at least sure seems to be.
It has also been pretty unpredictable, with a mix of good figure, and some boards just rift sawn with no figure, and therefore much less value.
I went to the Sycamore Project and watched Jake and Danny and others do some quarter sawing.  One thing I noticed was that with the use of a chain turner, the process was much easier, being able to handle the log better and allowing the log or cant to be reversed rolled and positioned easily.  Unfortunately, my mill doesn't have a chain turner, and I've been trying a bunch of different techniques this year, I've kind of settled on one that is a true qaurtersawn technique, gets full figure in every board, and only requires the log to be split, not quartered.  There is some waste, but not too much, and the sawing is much faster and a lot more productive because I'm sawing half logs, not quarters and constantly reverse or back rolling the log half so without having to do conventional flips or rotations.  Being true quarter sawing, the ray fleck is amazing, much more vivid than I've seen using other techniques.

Anyway, last week, I decided to take some photos of the process.  It's kind of chaotic, and requires holding the cant at all kinds of unusual angles, but the results are terrific.
First off, I have to be able to see the grain clearly, so I can't end seal with Anchorseal.  It obscure the grain too much, so I can't see to rotate the cant correctly.  I also will occasionally take a Sharpie and quickly mark lines perpendicular to the end grain of the log.  Since all logs aren't perfectly round, the grain on some logs isn't circular, but more oval so quickly marking the grain, or marking perpendicular lines helps me drive the rotations better.

So first step is spend a little effort with a tape measure and center the pith on a couple sides, then start skinning the log like a carrot, taking as many thin slices off the bark as necessary to get it cleaned up.  It doesn't need to be a hexagon or octagon or anything in particular, it just doesn't matter.

Then do the conventional thing and take a few good cuts through the center of the log, a couple boards above and below the pith, perpendicular to it, so the boards have the crack in the middle of the boards, and these through sawn boards should show good quartersawn figure.  Here are some 25 inchers, that will be split into a couple 10 inch wides later, after they dry.



I dislike handling the large log halves, so many times I can get lucky and use the two plane clamp under the left side of the log to flip the top half of the log onto the loader arms.  The picture below shows the log after reverse rolling the log halves, which successfully caused the top half to slide into the loader arms, and getting ready for the first pie cuts.  You can just see the back of the two plane clamp against the log half on the loader arms, where I used it to push the log half outboard, off the mill. 

So now with only the one log half on the mill, use the backstops and two plane to position it so the perpendicular Sharpie grain line are slightly above horizontal, to start sawing a little above perpendicular to the grain, so I can get few boards where the lines will then be below perpendicular, or below horizontal of the Sharpie marks.  The log half is not really clamped, it is really just stabilized.  It takes a little while to trust that the log half won't move when sawing, but its rare for it to happen.  The backstops may only be a few inches up, or maybe halfway, and the inboard side of the log half will overhang them, and just need to clear the inboard blade guide rollers.  Its rare to get the backstops fully extended at this point.  I'll work the log half so that I can get a minimum 4 inch board on the first cut by cutting off the top triangle or pie wedge.


When the pie or wedge piece comes off it should look like this.



Then mill a couple more boards until the grain is not perpendicular and the ray fleck starts to diminish.  Here is what it looks like at that point, in the picture below.  Notice how the grain doesn't have to be exactly perpendicular, but there is a tolerance band that will produce the highly visible ray fleck. This picture also gives a good look at the backstops, only partially extended, tucked under the log edge, holding it up.

At this point, slide the two plane clamp inboard a little, and the log half will rotate up, until the grain lines are again a little above horizontal like below. 



Take another pie cut to flatten the tops and the QS grain should jump out again in the next couple, maybe three boards.

Then rotate again past horizontal, and take another pie cut and get a few more boards.  The pie cut is actually fairly shallow, just enough to where it's base is about four inches to get me a four inch board on the next cut.  I don't take the whole top off, just enough to get me fleck.  As the boards come off, they get wider and wider, until they get full width of the log half.  All the pie cuts and boards should show strong ray fleck, or rotate the cant a little and take another little slice, basically prospecting for the fleck, if needed.  Most times it shows up on the pie piece.  Eventually, the whole log half is rotated around, taking pie slices and QS boards all the way until the cant is gone.   

Also notice that the cant is not square on the bed of the mill, I'm just clamping it where it needs to be by pushing the two plane inboard and reverse rotating the cant.  Its not being held hard, its just using its own weight to resist the force of the saw blade cutting.  Sometimes, the sawing pattern will cause the grain to get a little out of whack, and hard to visualize as the cant gets smaller or is irregular, here is a picture of an off center hard to visualize cut, but once the top pie it cut off, the boards will be perfectly perpendicular, as seen with the Sharpie ink pen marks.

Eventually, the log half gets sawn down to just a couple boards, and the Sharpie marks still act as a guide, but the grain visible on the end shows the boards will be good ones.
Sure enough, when they get split, they look like this.




Anyway, long post but this technique works great, and has made my quarter sawing a lot faster and much more productive with a minimum of hand touching during the process.









 

 
   
 
 
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Offline ljohnsaw

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Re: Reverse Roll Quarter Sawing
« Reply #1 on: December 27, 2016, 03:13:56 am »
Very cool!  I like it.  Now if I only had some oak to saw!
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Offline fishfighter

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Re: Reverse Roll Quarter Sawing
« Reply #2 on: December 27, 2016, 04:34:19 am »
Thanks for posting. How much waste you getting?

Offline kelLOGg

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Re: Reverse Roll Quarter Sawing
« Reply #3 on: December 27, 2016, 05:42:11 am »
Nice clear explanation, YH. I have some oak I just may try that.

Bob
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Offline WDH

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Re: Reverse Roll Quarter Sawing
« Reply #4 on: December 27, 2016, 07:56:16 am »
Then do the conventional thing and take a few good cuts through the center of the log, a couple boards above and below the pith, perpendicular to it, so the boards have the crack in the middle of the boards, and these through sawn boards should show good quartersawn figure. 

This is a very important step as you need to cut out the juvenile wood with these first few boards above and below the pith.  Otherwise, the quartersawn boards will side bend.

Robert,

This is excellent!  It has been a challenge quartersawing reverse rolling the log without the chain turner, so I can't wait to try this technique.  You have had your thinking cap on, as usual  ;D.
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Offline boardmaker

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Re: Reverse Roll Quarter Sawing
« Reply #5 on: December 27, 2016, 08:40:29 am »
Great write up!

True QS is absolutely gorgeous.

I know this question is very log dependent, but what type of yield do you think you get with great figure?  I know a lot of guys won't take the time to qs due to the yield loss and extra labor. 


Offline scsmith42

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Re: Reverse Roll Quarter Sawing
« Reply #6 on: December 27, 2016, 08:46:34 am »
Total yield loss qs versus flatsawing is around 35%
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Offline Andries

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Re: Reverse Roll Quarter Sawing
« Reply #7 on: December 27, 2016, 11:47:33 am »
Robert, great post.
The photos make the technique easy to understand.
Thanks for taking the time and care.
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Offline caveman

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Re: Reverse Roll Quarter Sawing
« Reply #8 on: December 27, 2016, 12:03:19 pm »
The quarter sawn boards are stunning.  I am anxious to try that technique on some live oak.

Also, I need a better thinking cap, mine seems to be defective ;D.

Offline Ox

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Re: Reverse Roll Quarter Sawing
« Reply #9 on: December 27, 2016, 12:55:42 pm »
Awesome write up and awesome pics, thanks so much for sharing!
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Offline drobertson

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Re: Reverse Roll Quarter Sawing
« Reply #10 on: December 27, 2016, 01:42:30 pm »
Very helpful,  eye popping rays and flecks,
only have a few chain saws I'm not suppose to use, but will at times, one dog Dolly, pretty good dog, just not sure what for yet,  working on getting the gardening back in order, and kinda thinking on maybe a small bbq bizz,  thinking about it,

Offline Sixacresand

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Re: Reverse Roll Quarter Sawing
« Reply #11 on: December 27, 2016, 05:16:53 pm »
Thanks for the post.  Good info.  Pretty lumber.  All QS boards must be edged so an edger is handy if you do it regularly. 

Offline POSTONLT40HD

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Re: Reverse Roll Quarter Sawing
« Reply #12 on: December 27, 2016, 06:49:55 pm »
Good Post Robert. Your pictures are right on and very helpful.
I'm thinking......

Offline woodworker9

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Re: Reverse Roll Quarter Sawing
« Reply #13 on: December 27, 2016, 07:16:10 pm »
Thank you for posting.  I always am learning here.
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Offline WLC

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Re: Reverse Roll Quarter Sawing
« Reply #14 on: December 27, 2016, 08:46:28 pm »
Only one word:  WOW!!

Thanks for the technique as well.
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Offline 4x4American

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Re: Reverse Roll Quarter Sawing
« Reply #15 on: December 27, 2016, 09:50:38 pm »
Some beautiful lumber there, good stinkin!  Thanks for sharing and taking the time to share with us.
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Offline Planman1954

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Re: Reverse Roll Quarter Sawing
« Reply #16 on: December 27, 2016, 10:00:28 pm »
You made me wanna go try it. ;) :)
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Offline customsawyer

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Re: Reverse Roll Quarter Sawing
« Reply #17 on: December 28, 2016, 02:37:18 am »
Great write up. I'm glad the project helped with the thinking cap.  :D
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Offline WDH

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Re: Reverse Roll Quarter Sawing
« Reply #18 on: December 28, 2016, 07:49:22 am »
Spoken by one with a chain turner  :D
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Offline YellowHammer

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Re: Reverse Roll Quarter Sawing
« Reply #19 on: December 28, 2016, 09:01:44 am »
Thanks for the replies.  When quarter sawing, there is always more waste than flat sawing, but the little pies or wedges get smaller as I gain experience with the technique.  Since I'm targeting 4 inch wide boards and larger, all the wedges should be less than 4 inch wide triangles, many quite thin. 

Trying to minimize waste is very important, as these logs I'm sawing are high dollar stave quality logs, and I need to make very high quality QS wood with lots of figure.  I can explain to my customers until I'm blue in the face about rift sawn and quartersawn wood, and even QS wood that doesn't show figure, and they nod their head, listening, and then always grab the most highly figured pieces. :D  At the end of the day, the highly figured boards are sold, and the only thing left is the plain boards.  So these eventually go on the lower priced stacks and we lose $2 per bdft between what I paid for the logs and what our sales price is.

The place I buy a lot of logs from down the road knows I'm doing a good bit of quarter sawing these days and gave me a Christmas present.  They had a huge red oak log, well over 60 inches in diameter, and it took two Deere 544 loaders to get it off the log truck.  So they figured I'd want it and told one of their guys to go ahead and quarter it with a chainsaw so I could actually handle it.  When I showed up, I saw the quarters, the smallest about 30 inches across, just plain huge.  They loaded all four quarters on my trailer, and it was a full load.  For reference, the trailer uprights are 32 inches tall, and the quarters are taller. Thes will be fun.



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