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jfsksa's picture

I have an acacia log (about 20 inches diameter by 5 feet long) that would be perfect for a table top.  My problem is slabbing it.  I don't have access to a mill and my results in using a chainsaw to slab smaller logs worked but was not as accurate as I'd like.  I cannot cut one side straight and true and forget cutting 2 that are parallel.  It seems the bigger log will only compound the problems.

I was thinking about a variation on Offerman's leveling jig (FWW #222).  I would use Offerman's basic setup with one modification.  Rather than use a router to grind off all the waste - I don't have that many bits - I thought I would use a circular saw.  I would cut saw kerfs to the proper depth then chisel off the waste between the kerfs.  I would get the log down to a managable thickness then use a planer to level it.

What am I missing here?  Any issues that I need to be aware of?

Thanks for your help.


roc's picture

Say "Hey Honey . . . Could You Come Help Me For a Second ?" (post #170026, reply #1 of 3)

Failing that


Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe. Abraham Lincoln ( 54° shaves )

IdahoDon's picture

I'd definitely go with the (post #170026, reply #2 of 3)

I'd definitely go with the chainsaw if you have one with a long enough bar to go completely through.  Sharpen the chain.  Temp tack two boards the width of your top on opposite side of the log as guides - now just cut and watch that you don't cut into the boards.

Of course there's more to it than that, but short of saying how to support the log and hold the saw I think you get the idea.   forget it if your chain is dull and your bar only goes halfway through.

If I didn't have a chainsaw with a long bar I'd put an ad in craigslist and pay someone $50 to cut your slab for you.

A skillsaw on a flattening jig sounds like a good way to get some serious kickback and get hurt.

Once you have a rough slab I'd use an electric handplane to take down most of the waste, then a router on a flattening sled with an agressive morticing bit.


Beer was created so carpenters wouldn't rule the world.

jfsksa's picture

It works (post #170026, reply #3 of 3)

I made the jig and it worked exactly as planned.  While this will never win the "Nick Offerman Kick-Ash Leveling Jig" award, it did work.  (no problem with kick-back)  Removing wood is an effort, need a wider chisel. Process was to level the top and bottom of the log on the jig, then take  it to my community shop and plane top and bottom flat and parallel.  Then used table saw and band saw to rip the planks.  Resulting planks were 25%+ moisture content, so it will be a while before I can use the wood.  First log was on a small log as a test.   I will have to use more passes on the jig to flatten my next log which is 18" by 48"  and won't fit in the band saw. I would much rather use a mill, but don't have access to one. 

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