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rick42wood
rick42wood's picture
Storing mill wood

Is it better to store wood that will be milled as logs or as cants?

r.garrison1
r.garrison1's picture

I think it depends a lot on a couple of factors.

Some woods are much harder once they are dried; I cut some locust last fall that was pretty spongy when I cut it, and I started doubting it was really locust; I've heard that is pretty hard wood. I have some cants dried now, and they are pretty tough on my table saw.

Some woods, it doesn't really matter.

If you know what thickness you are going to need, then cants give you a bit of a lead on the next step. You can use your mill or another type of saw for the remaining cuts. If you don't know for certain what thickness you will be needing, then store as logs, or thick cants that you are willing to rip later (I try to avoid those).

wayne busse
wayne busse's picture

Don't  delay sawing your logs too long. I had a bunch of cedar logs averaged 10" diameter that sat for 16 months. I felt I had plenty time as cedar is pretty rot resistant. The logs all split an cracked all along the entire log. When I put them on the mill the boards fell appart  allong all those long cracks. Also, all the white sap wood was riddled by powder post beatles. If you were to cut your  logs into cants and store them , the same thing would happen. 

eddiemac
eddiemac's picture

I second what Wayne says.  If possible, don't wait to saw your logs.  Especially with hardwoods, powder post beetles are a serious problem, one you won't want too much  experience with.  (And then there are ambrosia beetles, etc).  It's true powder post beetles can later still be a problem with cut lumber, but holding logs too long or cutting lumber from long-dead trees just invites infestation.  Thick pieces of lumber (cants) will have problems with cracking, so it's best not to count on that method for most species.  If you do, it may be prudent to cut off the sapwood to discourage beetles; and don't wait until the logs get really hard (blade wander).  I haven't experienced the extreme cracking in old red cedar logs that Wayne describes, but I do like to wait untill the sap dries before cutting cedar in order to avoid the sticky pitch.

r.garrison1
r.garrison1's picture

An old forester told me once the beetles and pests tend to live just under the bark layer and come up through the dirt. If you remove the bark, and keep it off the ground, it lasts longer.

wayne busse
wayne busse's picture

The logs are 18" off the ground with the top of the pile over six feet.