Milling an Eastern Red Cedar Log

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I finally got the ripping chain for my chainsaw; let the milling of eastern red cedar slabs begin…

The four boards (above) were milled today from the same eastern red cedar log. I bartered a job with a customer for a dead-standing tree on their property, a few years ago, and this log has been waiting to show what it has hidden within ever since.

At first, as I was trying to get the feel for this new contraption, I rocked the saw back and forth while cutting because it was quicker. That is a mistake, and will only result in more sanding time. I quickly realized I had to trust the system, and push, straight-armed to gain maximum control, and maintain as steady a speed on the saw as possible. This gave me the smoother lines as evidenced in the center two pieces from the feature photograph.

I would say, it is crucial not to overrun your saw. I have run and owned multiple chainsaws, over many years, and I did use a ripping chain, and additionally cedar is in fact a soft wood. However, my saw almost overheated a few times as I became familiar with the speed I could run it while cutting with the grain, as opposed to cross-cut. Make sure your saw isn’t smoking, and if it does, shut it down and let it cool immediately.

Here was the beginning of the process after assembling the mill to the saw.

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I used an old u-channel post for a rail for the first cut; simply screwed through the holes, which were already provided, and leveled.

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The first cut was rough, but I had a feel for the setup and made adjustments. I used braces and screws to stabilize the piece and continued.

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These are really going to be rewarding to work with. Stay tuned!

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