Apprentice Visitor
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎11-29-2009

Sawing logs on a table saw

I want to saw blocks of wood from small logs.  I have a rigid table saw and wondered would it be safe to build some sort of sled to hold the log while getting 2 flat sides on the log then finish sawing with the fence.  Has anyone used a table saw with small logs to cut lumber in this way.  All of the logs I will saw are only 12 to 18 inches long and will be no more than about 10 inch diameter.  Is there a better way to do this?

Frequent Contributor
Posts: 43
Registered: ‎10-24-2009

Re: Sawing logs on a table saw

I have never done this type of operation so I can only ask questions for you to think about.  Is the diameter of your table saw large enough to cut the log in one pass or will you need to flip the log over?  Do you have a band saw?  Will the log fit on the band saw?



Senior Contributor
My Old Tools
Posts: 154
Registered: ‎10-20-2009

Re: Sawing logs on a table saw

[ Edited ]

I would be hesitant to recommend this.  There is almost no way to freehand on a table saw safely.  A 10 inch log means the blade would have to be at least 6-8 inches above the table.  Most 10" saws cut no more than 3.5-4" deep, not even enough to hit the center of a 10 inch log.  Kickback is a real problem.  Try a bandsaw or even a chain saw and guide to get a near flat side.  Use a jointer to flatten and work from there. 

Ross Canant
Wood Online Forum Host
Specialty: Vintage Tools
Posts: 10
Registered: ‎10-23-2009

Re: Sawing logs on a table saw

I think a router and jig setup would be the best for what your trying to do.  a set up like what they use to flatten work bench tops and flatting boards.  Dale

Frequent Visitor
Posts: 2
Registered: ‎11-29-2009

Re: Sawing logs on a table saw

Have not tried it yet, but I know there is a plan in American Woodworker magazine in the August 2000 issue for a sled for resawing logs on your band saw.  I agree, you don't want to try it on your TS.



Senior Contributor
Posts: 414
Registered: ‎11-03-2009

Re: Sawing logs on a table saw

While it CAN be done, the tablesaw is not the tool to use.


First off, there's not enough depth to the blade.


Second, in order to get some good wood, the tree might need to be thicker (8-10 inch diameter), prohibiting cutting on the tablesaw. 



I suggest going after thicker logs and using a chainsaw with a guide (alaskan sawmill or other) to slab it out.


Then cut into 1 inch boards with tablesaw ( really slows down feedrate on 4 inch or thicker "slabs).


Then run through jointer.



I just did some 150 yr old chestnut beams with the tablesaw and it took awhile but worth it.


I'm building a chainsaw guide teusday to slab a tree I dropped and will show pics.

Of course I don't look busy!!!

I did it right the first time!!!!
handyman john
Posts: 361
Registered: ‎10-21-2009

Re: Sawing logs on a table saw

[ Edited ]

I HAVE cut some 6" "logs" on my table saw to glean some very interesting wood (russian olive - GRAPEFRUIT - orange tree - black locust - to name a few).


I ran the wood on a jointer or used a power plane to get one flat side THEN ran the second side through the jointer.


As you suggest, a sliding table or jig might work.  IF the logs are thicker than your saw can cut in two passes I suggest this:

Make several passes at different depths until you reach full capacity. DON'T try to cut 3 1/2" in the first pass.

Rip the remaining UNCUT wood with either a HAND SAW (remember those?) or a band saw to split the wood.


You CAN get some interesting wood from firewood.  I'd also suggest you split the log with an axe before you saw it AND start with longer pieces that you can control. Ripping 12" to 18" wood on a table saw allows it to easily catch in the blade and fly back at YOU! :smileysurprised:


I MUST add this safety "disclaimer" - you are right to assume its NOT safe. A 12" log on a 10" blade means at some point MOST of the log is in contact with said blade. While table saws are not the safest tools anyway, trying this with SHORT pieces can CAUSE you pain or worse, serious injury. The bottom line is if it doesn't FEEL safe it ISN'T safe.

step one; understand the problem - the correct answer will follow


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