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How to cut up a root ball??
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Thread: How to cut up a root ball??

  1. #1

    How to cut up a root ball??

    So, I drug this big old root ball/stump/crotch thing home from work about six months ago...thinking it might make some cool handle wood. The problem with this is I have no idea how to begin cutting it up in a way that might show the best figure (if there is any). I don't even know for sure what kind of wood it is, lol. Here's a picture:



    Any ideas?? The chunk of concrete is a 1'x1'x14" pier, for size reference.
    I try to be the man I am..in times of broken lives. Shattered dreams and plans..standing up to fight. Pressures and demands..staring at the knife. Holding in your hands..

  2. #2
    Weird Wood Pusher Burl Source's Avatar
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    This is a tough one.
    I would cut in half at the crotch like area 1st.
    Then trim the left half into a manageable size piece.
    Next, following the grain I would cut off a strip about 2&1/2 to 3 inches wide.
    Next, turn the strip and trim off the outer edge.
    This way you can see if the quarter sawn face or the flat sawn surface looks best.
    Then cut into oversized blocks, seal the end grain and put the blocks on a wire rack in the garage for a couple years.

    Keep your chain saw file handy because you will be using it a lot when you cut rocks.
    Mark Farley / It's a Burl
    Phone 541-592-5071, Email burlsource@burlsales.com
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  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Burl Source View Post
    This is a tough one.
    I would cut in half at the crotch like area 1st.
    Then trim the left half into a manageable size piece.
    Next, following the grain I would cut off a strip about 2&1/2 to 3 inches wide.
    Next, turn the strip and trim off the outer edge.
    This way you can see if the quarter sawn face or the flat sawn surface looks best.
    Then cut into oversized blocks, seal the end grain and put the blocks on a wire rack in the garage for a couple years.

    Keep your chain saw file handy because you will be using it a lot when you cut rocks.
    Thanks Mark!

    So, something like this maybe?



    I have a table saw that will let me work about 4" thick pieces at a time. Hopefully that'll help once I can get it trimmed up.
    I try to be the man I am..in times of broken lives. Shattered dreams and plans..standing up to fight. Pressures and demands..staring at the knife. Holding in your hands..

  4. #4
    Weird Wood Pusher Burl Source's Avatar
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    The way you have marked would end up with diagonal cuts across the grain.
    I was thinking more like this.

    The red lines would be the 1st chainsaw cuts.
    Then trim to around the heavy green lines.
    The thinner lines would be the strips.

    DO NOT TRY TO DO IT WITH A TABLE SAW.
    When you have trimmed the bold greenline section to a solid, manageable chunk then you go to a bigger bandsaw to cut the strips.
    Make sure you have a flat surface against the table and another flat surface to go against the bandsaw fence.
    My advice would be to pay someone who is very experienced to cut it on their band saw.

    Cutting odd shaped pieces is scary and dangerous. If the blade grabs the wood, if it shifts or rolls, you pay for your mistakes with fingers.

    Here is a link to a thread where I cut a log piece of ironwood. This will be a bit like cutting the piece you have.
    Mark Farley / It's a Burl
    Phone 541-592-5071, Email burlsource@burlsales.com
    Visit our web store

  5. #5
    Thank you again Mark, I definitely appreciate it.

    I got the initial chain saw cut done. The wood cut pretty easily. Not quite 'punky'...but still relatively soft. Then again I don't cut a lot of wood with a chainsaw for comparison. In looking at my stump again, its actually only half of the stump. Meaning the initial cut you suggested, that halved my piece...would have quartered the original stump. Tomorrow sometime I'll get the left side in the picture below processed into a relatively rectangular block...going with the grain as you suggested. Once I get that done (since I don't have a bandsaw), I'll have a shop up the road cut it. I called earlier and their pricing was way less than I expected.

    Anyway, here's the picture. I'm not sure if there's going to be anything figured worth using in it...but it's probably too early to tell as the part I cut would still be part of the main tree trunk for the most part.



    I'll get some pictures of whatever comes out of it tomorrow.

    Oh, on a side note...my saw is a radial arm saw. I don't know if that makes any difference, but in my experience as long as there's two flat sides (for the rear fence and the table itself), it cuts pretty reliably. Regardless though, I trust someone else running a bandsaw with their fingers far more than mine with myself and my own saw =p.
    I try to be the man I am..in times of broken lives. Shattered dreams and plans..standing up to fight. Pressures and demands..staring at the knife. Holding in your hands..

  6. #6
    Senior Member Brad Gibson's Avatar
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    the piece on the right looks pretty awesome. if there is any with a good live edge you should keep it!
    "A recipe has no soul. You as the cook must bring soul to the recipe." -Thomas Keller

  7. #7
    Senior Member Brad Gibson's Avatar
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    second note. is that a big pile of dog crap in the background?!
    "A recipe has no soul. You as the cook must bring soul to the recipe." -Thomas Keller

  8. #8
    Senior Member marc4pt0's Avatar
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    Dogs gotta scrap somewhere...

    I love seeing works like these in progress. Hope you can get some nice pieces out of this Cris! Would like to see how this turns out in a finished handle or whatever

  9. #9
    Well, I'm not sure if any of it is going to be usable. I cut a 2.5" slab off the main trunk area today with the chainsaw (the part that would be vertical if the root ball was still in the ground). It's pretty checked and weathered, lots of cracks. Because the slab was flat and relatively square I was comfortable breaking it down on my radial arm saw. The piece that came out was pretty, but I'm not sure I cut it with the grain well enough as the pattern is strange. Kind of like a lot of figured walnut pieces I've seen.

    Anyhow, here's what I got. Its sanded to 80 grit on a belt, then buffed with beeswax to see what color and figure is there.



    I'll probably cut the rest up into similar slabs with the chainsaw, and break them down myself if I'm comfortable. In the center the thing's still pretty dense though, which is good, as long as it isn't cracked like this one lol. Out of a 10"x14"x2.5" slab, this was the only even remotely clean piece!
    I try to be the man I am..in times of broken lives. Shattered dreams and plans..standing up to fight. Pressures and demands..staring at the knife. Holding in your hands..

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