The conversion of logs into usable timber has been in existence since man first started using wood as a building material.
Once milled the growth rings invariably try to straighten out causing the board to warp and twist; this can be prevented by careful storing and stacking during the drying process.
However, to ensure a more stable board, the logs should be cut in such a way that the growth rings are between 45 - 90 degrees to the surface of the board.
Two of the most common ways of log conversion are described below in words and photos.
Through & Through:
Through & through milling is the quickest and least expensive way to convert logs into usable timber.
However, because of the nature of growth rings only the few boards closest to the centre of the tree will be the ones less likely to warp and twist.
Once the outer section has been removed the log is cut into boards of various thicknesses depending on the end use.
We continue to cut the tree taking slices across the whole width, it's just possible to see in this photo that only the 3 or 4 centre boards have the growth rings at 45 - 90 degrees to the face of the board.
Boards milled using the through & through method tend to have straight, less interesting grain patterns.
Quarter sawn logs are harder to mill and take longer but the boards produced are of a far superior quality both in stability and graining.
following photos show a tree being quarter sawn.
As with through & through milling the outer section is removed to provide a flat working platform.
Once the top section is off a verticle cut is made.
Another horizontal cut is made at 90 degrees to the vertical to create 2 quarter sections. Due to the weight of the top half of the tree pressing down on the chain and bar (almost 1 ton in this case) this cut can take up to an hour to perform.
When the horizontal cut is complete the 2 quarters can be moved apart.
And milling can begin.
The first plank cut is turned over and placed alongside the second to create a mirror image of the grain. This effect is known as 'Book Pattern' and is very common on high end veneer work.
In the case of this tree the next quarter was too heavy to move. . . . . . . .
. . . and so was cut in half along its length. This meant that I was able to cut the boards thicker.
As the surface being milled has been turned 90 degrees the resulting graining seen in the photo above and below is totally different to patterns seen elsewhere in this website.
Once milled, regardless of the milling method, the planks are stacked to air dry along with the planks cut from other sections.
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