Cutting Patterns

Peterson Portable Sawmills are extremely versatile and able to make a number of different cuts for various purposes. These include flat (plain) sawing, quarter (grade) sawing, wide slabs and resawing, and tapers, beams and doublecuts.

Flat (Plain) Sawing

Flat sawn boards are cut from the log where the growth rings run parallel to the wide faces of the board. Flat sawn lumber is the most commonly produced as it is very quick to cut and creates less waste.

The Flat sawing method of cutting boards is great when dealing with high-tensioned logs. With the grain running parallel with the wide faces of the board, the boards will tend to bow upwards. Flat sawn boards have a lot of flex, therefore bowed boards can be straightened through correct fillet stacking and being weighted down during the drying process.

Flat sawn boards can be a disadvantage when used for applications such as treads on a staircase, as they can flex or bend when under pressure. They are great for applications where you will be nailing through the board, as they are less prone to splitting. It is also harder to match the grain when laminating boards together.

Quarter (Grade) Sawing

Quarter sawn boards are cut from the log where the growth rings run parallel to the narrow sides of the board. This style of cutting is considered to be the most ideal cut, and is more attractive than flat sawn lumber. Some species of trees such as oak reveal beautiful ray flecks when quarter sawn, and these boards are prized among furniture craftsman. Quarter sawn boards are much easier to match the grain when boards are laminated together.

For many sawmills, producing quarter sawn boards takes longer to cut, produces less board footage (cubage) and creates more waste. The flexibility of a Peterson Portable Sawmill makes cutting quarter sawn lumber an easy task with minimal effect to production figures, speed of cut and waste. The unique design of the Peterson Portable Sawmill allows you to cut quarter sawn boards directly from the log with no additional log or board handling.

Quarter sawn lumber produces a beautiful grain,which is ideal for use in areas on display such as cabinets and doors etc. Quarter sawn boards behave in the opposite manner to flat sawn lumber. They have a lot less flex because the grain runs perpendicular to the face of the board. Quarter sawn boards are quite stable and very strong, and are therefore ideal for use in weight-bearing applications.

When cutting quarter sawn lumber from high tensioned logs the grain will cause the board to bow like a banana. As quarter sawn boards are very strong, bending these boards straight is almost impossible, and for this reason we recommend flat sawing high tension logs.

Wide Slabs, Re-sawing

One wide slab is attainable from every log without purchasing a slabber. After milling half way through the log, flip it onto the top of a half sawn log, and continue milling as per normal. If you don’t require a multiple of slabs this is an accurate, economical method of producing them. You then have the option of leaving a live edge for a rustic look, or flipping the blade to the vertical position and cutting the edge to leave a perfectly square slab.

Re-sawing is done in the same manner by placing the beam/board/slab on top of the half milled log, and then milling through it as per normal operation.

Tensioned logs are easier to cut with a Peterson mill because with only one blade cutting at a time, you are releasing the tension/stress slowly out of the log, keeping your boards much more uniformed. For example, the majority of pressure that is put on the blade is when making horizontal cuts in high tensioned logs. If you are cutting 8″ wide boards the Peterson mill can make the cut in two passes (i.e. 2 x 4″ cuts), releasing the pressure slowly thus increasing the life of your blades.

Tapers, Beams, Double cuts

Tapers are done with an attachment to obtain weatherboards/beveled siding straight off the log.

Beams and Double cuts are easily obtained with the Peterson without the need for turning the power head around, and by utilizing both sides of the blade. L-shapes are also obtainable, ideal for corners of houses, bench seats, etc.

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