How To Cut Wood Slabs? [3 Methods Explained In Step-By-Step] 

There are old tree trunks and limbs in the property’s backyards. Are you planning to throw them away? Now is the moment to refrain from doing so because there are benefits to transforming them into slabs. In taking the benefits, one must know how to cut wood slabs? It can be done by taking the limbs or trunks to a chainsaw mill or a portable handsaw.

Many woodworkers consider making desirable wood slabs an art form. Modern people look for long-lasting live border dining furniture prepared from wood slabs. Hippies or other counterculture types have long employed wood slabs as a design element.

Live edge slab furniture is now commonplace in the boardrooms of large corporations and high-end private residences. There is a growing number of young people and those who just appreciate the natural beauty of wood, embracing it. Carving a slab from such a tree stump and other relevant information will be covered in this article.

3 Methods To Cut Wood Slabs: Do It Perfectly 

Cutting a wood slab from a chopped downed tree is not difficult for a professional woodcutter. But for a novice woodworker, it can take time and effort. Also, slabs can be formed at home by the DIY method. Let’s see the steps of all types of methods.

Method 1: Using a Portable Chainsaw

Let’s explore how to use a chainsaw for cutting wood slabs at home. Patience, a positive attitude, and a basic chainsaw mill should be required. Let’s do this!

Step 1: Pick The Right Tree

Perhaps working on any tree would be impossible when you are utilizing a DIY chainsaw mill or a weak chainsaw mill. Choose a suitable tree for chainsaw milling to fit the procedure.

Trees of the correct size and shape should be found on your plot of land. Don’t worry about getting caught in the middle of various trees. A visual comparison of one tree’s measurements to those of other trees might be helpful.

After choosing the perfectly sized tree, lean the tree in a suitable place where the tree can be ready for cutting or can transport it to a sawmill. If the place is sloppy, be careful.

Step 2: Milling The Wood Slab

Follow the below process for milling the wood slab:

  • Select The Slab Shape

The initial step is to decide on the slab’s form. They come in all shapes and sizes. Select the one that best fits the needs of your project. Now is the time to set up the log. For oval or circular slabs, use a longitudinal setup with ground mounts. Set-up should be done in accordance with the specified form.

  • Cut The Trunk In Half

The trunk of the tree must now be on the left side. Use a jigsaw to cut the log’s end in half. This will result in a round slab. Angle the slab at 45 degrees for an oval shape. 

  • Determine The Thickness Of The Slab.

The top side of the slab should be set before making the initial cut. Once that’s done, put the second bottom in place. The distance between the two cuts will determine the thickness of the slab. On the other hand, cutting angles would be used to estimate oval slab length.

  • Give it a rectangle shape.

The trunk may be chopped into a rectangular slab by slicing it in half on both sides. It must be level. Because the thickest part of the trunk is at the bottom, it must be held upright. It is challenging to cut slabs out of trees with large trunks. The difficulty of producing equal-width slabs increases as the height of the building increases.

  • Making The First Slab

Starting at the top, cut four sides. Do it downward from the trunk to give the wood a tall, box-like appearance. This is now what we refer to as a slab. A couple of additional processes are necessary since it is so thick.

  • Fix The Width Of The Slab

Determine the width of the initial slab. Mark the width of the log all the way along its length using a broad marking pen. After passing the mark, slowly chop downward with the chainsaw. Think of it like chopping up sausages.

Make careful to maintain a consistent pressure during slicing. Don’t allow the saw to veer off to the side, or it’ll ruin the whole design. Continue slicing slabs of wood from the remaining parts. 

Gradually, the wood will begin to thin. To keep it from toppling over, use a substantial object like a wood block. For a rustic aesthetic, just leave the slab as it is. However, for a smoother finish, use a wood planer. The wood slabs are now ready.

Method 2: Using A Slabbing Mill

Slabber mill operation is straightforward. Chainsaw sawmills are required for this task. These may cost as little as $30 for a DIY mill and as much as $10,000 or more for a high-end slab mill. Let’s look at how the slab is made utilizing a slabber mill.

Step 1: Prepare The Wood

To get the wood onto the carriage, a forklift is required. All people on deck are needed to place it correctly, spin it, and have the ideal setting for a smooth descent and clean slice. At a minimum, it’ll need four employees to man the sawmill. The tree’s bumps, crotches, and protruding branches must be trimmed to provide room for the saw. 

To obtain a smooth, clean-cut, it has to be oriented rather straightly. In addition to slowing and dulling the saw edge, the dust in stems and peat moss samples causes the knife to get very heated. Cutting tables, little souvenirs, cheese offering platters, and other items may be manufactured from the parts left over when a piece of wood is chopped off.

Step 2: Cut The Slab

A large heister supports that cart that travels backward and forwards ahead of the blade. Sawmills use hydraulic feeds to move a carriage with clamped-in wood through the machine.

To alter the depth of the timber you wish to slice, there are several gears and levers on the gantry (carrier). A team of workers manually shifts the gears. To keep the wood chips from flying out, the lid has rubber flaps on it to keep them from escaping.

Step 3: Pulling From The Other Side

Opposite personnel with grab hooks are waiting on the other side of the sawmill after the log has completed traveling through it. The slab is removed from the saw blades and placed on rollers on a conveyor belt.

Step 4: Measuring For Requirements

Once it’s sliced, the wood looks fantastic. This is going to be a huge hit. It’s intriguing. As a result, no two slabs from the same wood are the same. Each slice is one-of-a-kind and may be utilized for a variety of purposes, such as a sideboard. Then take measurements of each slab and record the length, breadth, and thickness directly on the slab.

Step 5: Stacking and Transport

Stack them, inserting sticks between each newly cut slab so the air can flow, enabling them to dry evenly and evenly. Metal bands are wrapped around the slabs after they have been stacked to make them easier to transport.

Method 3: Using A Handsaw

This method is not recommended for bigger trees. Usually, for smaller trees, it can take time and effort. Professionals recommend using this method for slabbing a small tree.

Step 1: Make A Cross Stand To Place The Timber

Make an x-brace to hold the tree for cutting. Make a deep cut to place another smaller log to hold the position. Then place the second log on the first log. Tie them up with a metal wire so they will not move while you are there.

Step 2: Mark And Cut

Before cutting, you need to perform mandatory things. One is painting the edges with latex paint so that the edges will not dry, the second is to mark with chalk across the log and edge to mark the cut line. It will help to cut even the slab.

Step 3: Start With A Lower Angle

Start with a lower angle to make the cutting easier. If you start with a higher angle, it will cost energy. A lower angle always helps to reduce the effort of getting deeper into the log and keeping the position of the saw. When it is cut too deep, some small curly shavings are due to the saw teeth.

By continuing the procedure, cut the first cut from the top. Then continue the same process for the next cut.

6 Things To Consider While Cutting Wood Slabs:

It is not always as simple as just putting the log on the sawmill and just pulling and picking through the blade. Consider some important things before doing the slab cutting job.

1. Look For Fall Or Summer Season Fallen Logs

Search for spring or summer-fallen logs if you wish to make personal live edge wood slabs. They tend to lose their bark more quickly during this period than in the subsequent months.

2. Aware Of Unusual Coloring

Pieces with unique hues suggest a more outstanding moisture content, so be on the lookout for them. Look for items that have distinct features as well. Be on the lookout for burls, knots, and other strange limbs.

3. Best If The Wood Is One or Two Years Old

A year or two of sitting with the wood may be the greatest option. It’s more likely that color changes and streaks will appear when the wood is exposed to the weather.

4. Research On The Types Of Woods

If you do decide to explore the wood, do some study on the species. Certain varieties of wood, such as cherry, birch, and soft maple, decompose more rapidly than others, such as pine and oak. This kind of wood should not be exposed to the elements for more than a year at a time.

5. Let The Wood Be Dried

Allow the wood to dry after cutting. Again, don’t speed through this step. The color of the wood slab will be preserved if it is air-dried. While kiln-drying takes less time, air-drying might result in a better-looking finished product. It’s important to avoid sticking the wood as it’s drying. Leave the wood pieces contacting each other when “sticker.”

6. Place The Thicker Part At The Bottom

Ensure thicker parts are placed at the bottom while drying wood slabs. As soon as it dries, reach the top layer of wood. To complete the sculpture, return to the previous stages when the wood has been cured.

Related Questions:

How Do You Cut Thick Wood Slabs?

Place the thick wood straightaway and mark the spot before cutting. Then start the circular saw from the initial mark. When done, cut the half-width, rotate the wood, and repeat the same process.

Many woodworkers find this frustrating, and some resort to hand cutting to complete the circular saw’s cut through heavy lumber. However, such an approach is time-consuming, particularly when a simple alternative using the circular saw is available.

How Do You Cut A Straight Edge On A Wood Slab?

A reusable jigsaw can be used to make a straight edge on a wood slab. Make a mark on the surface where you want to begin cutting the slab or slabs. In order to ensure a straight cut, use the saw fence to keep them all in line.

When it comes to rough timber, there’s no such thing as a straight edge. Cutting rough stuff into small workpieces by milling nearly always requires at least one straight and accurate edge.

How Do You Square A Wood Slab?

Cutting a square wood slab is quite like making straight-edge slabs. It’s possible to square-end a slab with both live edges. Mark the center point at both ends, run a straight edge to each mark, and pencil this line in. Then square off the ends with a square edge.

If the benches, shelves, or vanities need just one natural edge and one live edge, be sure to measure the live edge slab accurately. Use a circular saw to cut the edge once marked.

How Do You Flatten A Wood Slab Without A Router?

Among woodworkers, routers are perhaps the least preferred method to flatten a wood slab. Flattening slabs may be accomplished in a variety of ways including a belt sander, a block plane, a hewing ax, or an adze to smooth off the edges. Table saws are recommended if the item isn’t excessively broad in one direction.

It’s ok if just one side is straight. An electric power planer is the only option if both sides are terrible.

How Long Do You Need To Cut Wood Slabs?

Based on the length of the wood, slice depth, and skill, it may take between 1 to 3 hours to convert a whole log into slabs. This may require a little longer for novices.

The cutting will take place at a later date. That’ll need a few years to allow the slab to cure before using it in a woodworking project thoroughly. When it’s time to employ them in the projects, be sure they’ve dried completely. Drying the slab for a year for every inch thick is a good rule of thumb.

Final verdict:

This article explains how to cut wood slabs completely. Remember, no matter what kind of slab will be used, it’s preferable to do it when the wood is still green. The ends of the log will split as it dries.

Pre-made slab vendors are available online if purchasing the necessary equipment is not preferable and instead want to buy live edge slabs. Shop their online inventory to discover what slabs they currently have available. Use live edge tables to enhance the aesthetics of the boardroom or dining area.

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