What tools do I need to turn a small log (10in/ 25cm diameter) into 1/4″/6.5mm thick boards?

Bandsaw jig for small logs

If your log is green wood (freshly cut, or “wet”), you will need a bandsaw with a throat larger than 10″ (and capable of dealing with the irregularity in a long 10″ diameter log).

I would recommend (on the modest side) a 14″ – 18″ bandsaw like this one by Laguna Tools:

Laguna 18″ bandsaw

Then you would need a sled, or carriage to transport the log through the bandsaw.

This is a homemade log cutting jig for short logs: Super Simple Band Saw Log Sled, from Instructables.

Note that it uses a fence and fixed clamp to make even, straight cuts. If your log is longer, you will need to make a support or rails so it will slide evenly through the saw.

https://amzn.to/2ECgytEIf your logs are larger then 10″ and heavy, your best solution is to purchase a small sawmill.  This book is available on Amazon, and worth reading, so that you understand the principles and capabilities of a portable saw mill.

If the log is green, you have to allow for drying and shrinkage, so you may cut the pieces 1/2′ thick and then use a thickness planer to get it to the final 1/4″ thickness, after allowing the wood to dry to dry. (8–10% moisture content before planing). This is some good information on how to dry wood; Cutting And Drying Logs Into Boards – Woodworkers guild of America.

This is a typical wood thickness planer:

Thickness Planers are available from big box stores, Amazon, and eBay.

After the wood is sized to thickness, you will need a jointer and a table saw to clean up a long edge and square the board.

At this point your 1/4″ S4S (surfaced 4 sides) boards are ready for fabrication.

Some caveats: These are powerful machines, and caution must be exercised with each machining operation. Use protective gear like safety glasses, ear protection, dust protection, and gloves. Make sure you have all the machines setup and working correctly, and make test passes before machining all the wood, so the slabs will be uniform and true. (parallel sides).

Depending on your specific application, you may need a larger bandsaw, a tablesaw, a jointer, and more – especially if you make the jigs and supporting tables yourself.

Thank you for reading, and Have fun making your own boards from logs!

Disclaimer: I am a trained woodworker and have my own blog, The Chenkin Workshop

How do timber cells affect the appearance of timber grain?

IF the cells of the wood are uniform, they have a uniform appearance; any visible defect (many of which appear after drying) will cause uneven gain, drying marks, fungal or other damage to the appearance of the wood.[1] [2]


Most common of these are sticker stain, which appears in wood that has been dried incorrectly.[3] [4]

(Image from Popular woodworking)

When finishing wood that has defects, and won’t take stain readily, you sometimes have to use a transparent tinting stain – one that evenly covers the wood. Many species don’t finish well, and this give you a uniform finish. You would need a tint like this:
or this

This is one of my favorites:

When finishing woods that have a high sap content, like Pine (or most of the coniferous woods) you may need to coat them with a pre-finish, so they will take stain more easily.  
Minwax 61500444 Pre Stain Wood Conditioner, 1 Quart
Always test a scrap piece of wood to ensure you get the finish right!  And remember to keep rags and cleaner like Mineral spirits or Lacquer Thinner handy.  Make sure your finishing area is well ventilated, and you clean the surface after sanding with a tack cloth.
Many grain defects don’t show up to the naked eye until you add a stain or finish coat.  
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Footnotes

This is expanded from my answer that originally appeared in Quora on June 29, 2017
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