Logs to Lumber with a Chainsaw

Premium Video Preview: Log in or become a member to get full access.
Duration: 4:35

Membership Options

Premium

Sign up for premium membership and get access to our best woodworking videos and projects. Learn new woodworking techniques and tips from friendly master woodworkers. Anytime. Anywhere.
Monthly $6.00
Annually $55.00

Gold

Upgrade to GOLD membership and get unlimited access to our entire library of premium woodworking videos, receive discounts on DVDs, video downloads, and classes in the shop. In addition, you’ll receive eight video downloads, three full-length classes, access to GOLD member LIVE events, and so much more!
Annually $129.00

Many woodworkers are intrigued by the idea of going from logs to lumber using a chainsaw. It can reduce or even eliminate your materials cost, as well as allow you to gain access to many species that are not commercially available. Going from logs to lumber requires you to put a bit of “sweat equity” into your material, but those who have done it know that it feels more like fun than work, and for many it is one of the more satisfying aspects to a wood project.

You can turn logs to lumber using a typical chainsaw. The more powerful the saw the faster you will go and the larger the log you can cut, but most any saw will allow you to produce lumber from some size log.

Turning logs to lumber requires a few simple steps:

Start with a green log. You will find that logs are much easier to cut when they are freshly fallen. The log will also typically have less cracking on the ends when it is still green.

Stabilize the log. Before you begin, secure the log so that it will not begin to roll during the cut, which would create a dangerous situation. A simple log cradle or support blocks can provide the necessary support to ensure a safe cut.

Cut horizontally on the log. One mistake that new people make when ripping logs to lumber is that they stand the log on end and make a cut from top to bottom. By laying the log on its side, you can cut more easily through the log and your chain will stay sharp for a longer time.

By following these simple steps for turning logs to lumber you will be rewarded with beautiful lumber that will save you money and make your projects look great. Give it a try!