Troubles with the walnut
So I have a four foot long, eight inch diameter walnut log that I need to make into a 4 x 4 hunk of lumber.  It is very green, dripping wet, and down right awful to try and square up.

So far I've tried....

1). 10" Table saw
2). Skill saw
3). Recipricating saw with aggressive teeth
4). Froe
5). Disston No. 8 rip saw
6). Two man crosscut saw
7). Chisel

But after two hours, I have one side somewhat flat, but need a lot more work to make it smooth.  I guess tomorrow I'll break out my chain saw and see if that will put a dent in this endeavor.

Any hints on what to try next? 

Maybe I'll just get my 12" band saw out and use it.  But that takes all the fun out of experimenting with other types of cutting instruments, huh?

By the end of it I probably just break out my axe and hue the log square......but then, with my sucky luck, I'll probably cut my foot.
  Re: Troubles with the walnut by Dayle1960 (So I have a four foo...)
I milled some 5" dogwood on my Jet bandsaw (14" with riser). It made an awful mess and scared the bejeebers out of me but I was determined and got it done. Once I squared the log I milled it into 5/4 planks. The hardest part was getting a flat side to work with, so you are on the downside part of the slope. If I were you I would build an infeed table and an outfeed table--each of which would support the entire log. Then carefully feed that thing through the bandsaw (assuming you have one). Once you square up the sides, you can finish by squaring the top. Good luck.
  Re: Troubles with the walnut by Dayle1960 (So I have a four foo...)
Give your chainsaw a whirl
  Re: Troubles with the walnut by Dayle1960 (So I have a four foo...)
Sounds like a job for a broad axe then a scrub plane
  Re: Troubles with the walnut by Dayle1960 (So I have a four foo...)
Yea, last night the chainsaw idea came to mind. Broad axe was in my arsenal, yet all I did with that was knock off a knot. Sometimes I just plant my palm into my forehead for not thinking things all the way through. Later today I shall renew my adventures in squaring a round log. This experiment sure makes me wonder about the skills our forefathers had when they only had hand tools to make things with. I bet in the time I spent flattening one side they would have been able to square the entire log!!!

I tip my hat to the old timers.
  Re: Troubles with the walnut by Dayle1960 (So I have a four foo...)
With the right blade and sled this can be easily accomplished on the ban saw. I know it has a tail so it probably won't work in this section.
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  Re: Troubles with the walnut by Dayle1960 (So I have a four foo...)
This is an obvious bandsaw job AFTER getting the first flat side. To get that flat side a chainsaw or axe of some kind will work. Maybe follow this with a scrub plane or coarsely set jack plane. Take your time and get a nice flat along the whole thing and the rest is easy. You might need help hoisting the log onto the saw but once there feed slowly freehand along a chalk line and you should get to the point where the jointer and planer finishes the job for you.

Do not attempt to send a round log through your bandsaw DAMHIKT without elaborate jigs/sleds etc.
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  Re: Troubles with the walnut by Dayle1960 (So I have a four foo...)
Great warning. I think the BS is the safest motorized tool in the woodshop but only when used correctly. Correctly means that the bottom of the workpiece should rest on the throat. Anytime there is air between the blade contact area and the throat plate the risk of accidents is very high. I have ruined more than one pair of pants doing stupid stuff with the BS.
  Re: Troubles with the walnut by Dayle1960 (So I have a four foo...)
I remember a guy who built a sled to do this very job on the handsaw, though his logs weren't 4' long. Basically a U shaped box long enough to hold the log lengthwise. Add a screw or two in through each end to hold the log securely and a runner on the bottom set at the distance required trim one edge. I would get an assistant on the outfeed side strong enough to be able to catch the weight of the log and box and you are all set.

I miss nested quotes..........
  Re: Troubles with the walnut by Dayle1960 (So I have a four foo...)
I do this kind of thing a lot.  I do agree that, unless the log is small and very straight, it's a bad idea to try to saw up a whole log on the bandsaw.  I've developed a method through a lot of trial-and-error, and I've ended up with some pretty nice lumber--after a LOT of work.  Here's my usual routine. 

1. Buck the log to length, no longer than your bandsaw's outfeed table.  Split the log, at least in half.  If all goes well, the split side will be nearly flat enough to lay on the bandsaw table so I can saw up the log.  With a bigger log, I'll split it into quarters or even eighths.  The more you can do with wedges and a sledge hammer, the better.  I have been known to resaw a log with the chainsaw, especially if it's being resistant to splitting.  Secure the log upright (so as to keep the chain out of the dirt) and go SLOWLY.  When you get a good way through it, you can flip the log and go from the other side.  Because this method is inherently dangerous, it's always a last resort for me. 

2. Remove the bark and pith, and (depending on the species) maybe the sapwood.  A froe, hewing hatchet, or drawknife is handy here.  The more work you do with your coarse tools, the less work you'll have to do on the bandsaw.  Be sure to cut/split the workpieces down enough that they will fit into your bandsaw.  There's nothing quite like getting to the end of a cut only to find out that the very end of your workpiece is 1/8" too high to fit through the bandsaw.  At this point, you may want to cut some of the pieces to shorter lengths as well, especially if you reveal big knots in the middle.  I find that 4' is about as long as I can manage.  

3. Now it's time for the bandsaw.  Two things are essential here: a. the coarsest, widest blade you can put on the saw (hook tooth, low TPI, lots of set, and of course SHARP), and b. a solid outfeed table.  Do not try this without outfeed support!  And make sure your bandsaw won't move when you bump it.  If you're feeding a 40 lb. chunk of wood through it, you don't want it rolling around on you.  Examine each piece carefully to see which is the flattest side, and how you can cut it for the best results.  (Because you've split the log, this method strongly lends itself to quarter-sawing.)  You will probably need to do a little work with a drawknife and/or hatchet to make the reference face flat enough.  It needn't be perfectly flat, but it shouldn't rock on the table.  Use a square and a pencil to mark out your first cut on each end of the workpiece.  Then connect them with a chalkline.  (The chalkline is invaluable here!)  As you saw, keep the feed slow and steady.  After a few inches, if the blade binds, you may have to drive a small wooden wedge into the kerf to keep it open.  You do NOT want to pinch the blade in a big, wet, heavy workpiece.  (Trust me on this one....)  Once you've made your first cut, you have a few options.  You can keep the workpiece in the same orientation, or you can rotate it, using the freshly-sawn face as the new workpiece.  You can also flip it end-to-end.  I plan out one cut at a time, depending on the grain pattern I reveal with each cut.  

4. Sticker and stack your wood.  Since you're probably working with short pieces here, I recommend that you seal the ends with wax so as to avoid checking.  

In your case, you already have a log to start with, and I've found that black walnut is a very nice wood to mill up yourself like this.  If you get into the habit of scavenging logs to mill up yourself, however, it is best to be picky about your stock.  If it's very twisted or knotty, it's not worth messing with.  And I don't bother with wood species that I can easily get commercially, either.    This process, while rewarding, is a lot of work.  Save it for really special logs--species that aren't available commercially, or logs from trees that had sentimental value.
Steve S.
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- T. S. Eliot

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