Milling Logs Into Lumber

After several years of building furniture for our home, we finally decided it was time to make our own lumber.

Don't have time to do this now? PIN it for later!


Allow me to back up a little bit. 

Several years back, Bryn watched several You Tube videos from Matt Cremona.  He has an awesome workshop and is a master at milling trees. If you’re interested in this type of thing, check out his videos.

Sawing lumber is no easy feat. And besides that, we didn’t have any of the proper equipment (or knowledge).


We cut down a river birch in our back yard and we saved the tree trunk in hopes that someday we would try to make our own lumber.

Now, fast forward to a few month ago.  We decided to cut down two more trees in our front yard (Bradford Pear).  Bryn told the tree service man that we would like to save their trunks as we planned to mill them someday.

He kindly offered to lend us his equipment!

Here’s what we needed:

Alaskan saw mill Chain saw / chain Safety equipment (chaps, glasses, ear buds, etc)

To my knowledge the Alaskan saw mill needs to be attached to a pretty large chain saw (something that a logger would use).  Our consumer grade one would not work for this job.  And because I think this story is SO special, let me tell you how the tree guy got his chain saw.


When hurricane Katrina happened, he was called to go down and help clean up the fallen trees.  He bought this chain saw used, fixed it up, and used it to help tons of people.

How special is that!?

Anyway, he brought his equipment over, and gave Bryn a tutorial of how to mill our lumber.


Check out this video of milling the log and revealing what's inside!


Here’s a few things we learned from the process:

  1. It’s a lot of work, as suspected.

  2. The most amazing part is seeing the grain patterns when you open the log (rotten or beautiful).

  3. You are supposed to paint the tree ends (before or after milling) to prevent cracking. We did not do this and have experienced some cracking.

Depending on how thick the boards are, you need to let the lumber dry for roughly a year before using it.  I have no idea what we will do with our boards.


If you’re interested in having one of our Bradford Pear tree boards, let me know.  We are more than willing to give you one!

Okay friends, have you done this?  What did you make from your lumber?

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