Sawing Cherry - Router Forums
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-12-2018, 10:28 AM Thread Starter
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Hey guys, you all know I've been sawing a good bit of Red Oak here in Tallahassee. It's coming up on a year now on my first stack of lumber so I'll be able to start on that soon!

The lady I'm currently cutting for has given me permission to cut one small and one fairly large Cherry Tree. Fell them yesterday and saw'd two logs out of the small one. I'm planning to make some furniture with the large one. Chest of drawers for the bedroom first to complete my set. Would also like to make some custom cabinets as well. I"m planning on cutting, say, 1.25" X 4.5" boards for the main cabinets, 0.5" x 4.5" for drawers, and 1.5" X various widths for drawer faces. Since I am only air drying, my concern will be warping after construction, thus the 4" widths. I'm allowing plenty for jointer/planer work just in case. Not so sure about the drawer faces. Don't want these to warp, should I stay with 4" and glue ups, or is it safe to go wider. I would love to do one piece for them as I expect to have some of the boards to have some beautiful grain patterns (like a lot of the Red Oak I have saw'd). I like the thought of one piece fronts, just don't know if it's practical.

This is my first Cherry. I notice the sap is white and the heart is more brown. Striking difference! Do people cut away the sap and only use the heart wood? My kitchen cabinets don't appear to have any sap in them, so I'm curious. The sap is white and turns yellow right away after sawing.
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-12-2018, 11:35 AM
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I've used solid wood for drawer fronts. Whether it will warp or not depends on whether it has stabilized in MC and where and how the board was sawn from the log. Flat sawn near the side of the log is almost guaranteed to cup and maybe otherwise move. You can improve your odds of it not causing a problem if you kerf the backside when possible. Thos eliminates some of the stress in the wood. A small local mill has a molder that they run their cedar siding through that makes 2 or 3 grooves like a round nose bit would. The grooves are about 1'2 to 3/4" wide and an 1/8 to 1/4" deep. In the case of drawer fronts you could do this with a router and stop the grooves before they would show at the edges.

Here is what seems to be a pretty good article about warping and how to prevent it. https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/wood-...ent-john-niggl
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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-12-2018, 10:01 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Chuck, I'll give the routing a try since I think the one piece fronts will look very nice. Should be no problem since they will be hidden.

Didn't get much done today (on and off rain most of the day). Only saw'd one log. It was 15" X 8ft-6" (2nd cut, butt cut to be next). Started another stack for just Cherry since it will be going to my house to be stored in my carport! My retired forester friend talked me into sawing the boards 3/4" X various widths up to 6". I think I got about 26 boards out of that one log. As you can see in the first picture in my previous post, I've changed from 3/4" to 1" stickers. They are way stronger and I don't mind loosing the space.

I decided to keep some of the sap wood in tact. Some boards only show the sap on one side, so I can turn them to the inside of the chest where they wont be seen. I can also use them for the drawers sides and backs. I can trim the others further during construction as needed. Some of the boards are showing some interesting grain so far. Boy am I loving this saw mill! Can't wait to saw the butt cut!
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-12-2018, 10:23 PM
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The color is something else.

Someone I consider a master woodworker once told me that a master woodworker is not someone who never makes mistakes. He is someone who is able to cover them up so that no one can tell.
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-12-2018, 10:27 PM
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Hey Quenten, if you cover your stacks with tin or whatever it will keep the sun and rain off. I hope it all works out for you so you will have plenty of wood to work with. Do you sell any of your wood or use it up your self?

Don in Murfreesboro,Tn.

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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-13-2018, 06:27 AM
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I like the sapwood in both Walnut and Cherry - gives it more character. Now there are places not to use it and places where it fits perfectly but the piece and your customer will have to decide that on a case by case basis, I would say.

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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-13-2018, 11:03 AM Thread Starter
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I have not sold any lumber yet. I'm not against it, just haven't tried to develop that market yet. Plus I wouldn't feel right about selling wood that hasn't aged properly and I started sawing last March. So none of it is ready currently. Would like to sell some though...recouping some expenses would be nice.
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-13-2018, 11:22 AM
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There probably are woodworkers around you who would jump at the chance to buy some of that even with the understanding that they would have to store it until it is fully cured.

I agree with what David said about the sapwood. I think one of the reasons you don't see it with standard lumber that much is because the sapwood on cherry and walnut are such a stark contrast with the color of the heartwood. One place where you might use it for example is either as a veneer or a solid wooden panel in a cabinet door.

This reminds me to ask how you are sawing around forks in your trees. They are unsuitable for making lumber from but if you cut enough log on either side of the fork so that you can handle it on your mill you could cut blanks for resawing veneer from. The grain in forks can be really interesting.
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-14-2018, 08:58 AM Thread Starter
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I agree Charles, I have cut a few logs with forks at the end, trying to leave enough so they don't split. The problem is that the bed of my mill only accommodates logs up to 26" wide. Most of the Red Oak I have saw'd is wider than that in the fork and I wind up having to trim them so they will fit. Red Oak also tends to have water stains in the forks (the ones that fall in storms anyway). I do have some nice pieces though. Just not the entire fork like I would like to have! I'll see if I can get some pictures (may be buried in a stack). I had a 4 ft long fork one day (worked out that way cutting the main log), but the city cleaned it up before I could come back and get it (trailer was full and didn't expect that).

Have not thought much about veneer since wood is so plentiful in Tallahassee. I did trim a piece of this Cherry when I turned it yesterday (just to resize the cant). It was 1/8" thick and I thought to myself that it would make perfect veneer. So I put it on the scrap stack for the ladies step-son to use if he wants it (he dabbles in wood working, father left him some tools). You will see his stack in one of the upcoming pictures. It takes so long to trim good pieces out of some boards...so I jsut scrap them.

I figured I'd chronicle the process of sawing a log form start to finish in case anybody is interested.
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Last edited by Tonto1; 02-14-2018 at 09:15 AM.
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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-14-2018, 06:51 PM Thread Starter
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You know, I bet that would make a nice table. If I cut that into 4 peices and cut the sap off the middle two (make a mirror image from them for the center of the table). Then use the two remaining slabs for the outside edge of the table, leaving the sap on it as well as the natural edge (but remove the bark).
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