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Sawing and Drying Forum

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RE: Root Ball

Ken Member

How would you slice a root ball approximately 3 ft x 3 ft in diameter?

Would this yield good veneer?

If so, how would you cut this thin, I have a bandsaw?

8/29/14       #3: RE: Root Ball ...
Red Oakie

I would use someone else's tools - the dirt and rocks will wreck machinery.

Have you ever sawed any veneer out of a log before?

8/31/14       #4: RE: Root Ball ...
J.S. Member

I would only go to the trouble if you have a black walnut stump. I'd saw it in its vertical axis ( as the tree grew) and saw the boards 2 1/2" thick . That way the choice pieces will be useful for shorter gunstock parts. They can always be resawed into veneer after seasoning if that's what you're into. I just take an axe to the rootball after its dried up some and the dirt will shatter off better than if its still wet. Species other than walnut have been disappointing to me so I wouldn't recommend putting all the work into those. Best of luck to you!

9/1/14       #5: RE: Root Ball ...
john Member

you guys ever heard of a powerwasher marvelous tool for removing dirt

9/1/14       #6: RE: Root Ball ...

I power wash almost all my logs that come to the mill. I also check for metal even if they come out from deep in the woods. I have found pieces of wire fence in some logs that would have taken care of the blade.

9/1/14       #7: RE: Root Ball ...
J.S. Member

I guess you could use a power washer if you don't own an axe

9/2/14       #8: RE: Root Ball ...
Dave Boyt  Member

Website: http://www.norwoodsawmills.com

Root balls (even walnut) can be very difficuilt to work with. Part of the problem is that the rocks are often embedded in the wood, so no amount of power washing will get rid of them. Veneer is not really an option, because it is impossible to dry the flitches flat. J.S. has the right idea about thickness. You can get some spectacular wood from the root balls, no matter how you have it turned on the mill. To me, the deciding factor is, how to turn it so I can best clamp it down and get usable pieces. Don't forget turning stock!

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9/3/14       #9: RE: Root Ball ...
rich c.

Power washer won't remove ingrown anything. I've seen everything from steel posts, to bricks in root balls. Gave up on them after wrecking chains and even a bar once when I cut into a sand pocket.
Ken, can't tell anything without pictures. Someone with a Lucas slabber would be the way to slice it, but they will want a ton of money to cover the risk.

9/6/14       #10: RE: Root Ball ...
Keith Newton

Ken, The best figure is on top of the largest roots, due to the cells getting scrunched up as the trunk grows out in diameter, and the roots add layers on top of where they of where they started.

The larger the tree, the more figure, but the interior, is just the same as what you would expect from a smaller tree.

The space between the big roots will just be captured bark and dirt or gravel. A 3' D is just the beginning of the good stuff getting started.

With a glancing blow from a framing hammer, you can knock the bark off and see what the figure is like underneath, and how high up the stump it goes.

As for slicing it into veneers, I wouldn't be building too much hope in that pipe dream. Veneers are normally spliced with straight sides where they are joined together. Your best figure will be coming out of wood growing in the shape of a banana, so you will be adding even more labor to a project with diminishing returns, IMHO.

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