How to Saw Logs into Lumber with Step by Step Guideline

Sawing logs into lumber simply mean turning your wood into the timber you need. It is the process by which a felled tree trunk/ log in sawed into different sizes of timber/ planks. Sawing a log into lumber is not quite easy, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done.

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In this post, I will show you how to saw logs into lumber. I will give you a step by step guide that will make your work fast and easy. You will have great results and will find the whole exercise to be an experience to savor.

However, before I get into that, I want to mention the many techniques you can employ when turning your wood into lumber.

4 Techniques of How to Saw Logs into Lumber

There are three major techniques that you can choose from in case you want to saw your logs into lumber. They include the following:

Live Sawing

Live sawing is also known to many as Slab Sawing. Others have also called it Through and Through Sawing.

In this type of sawing, after a log is set for sawing it is usually sawn halfway through from the top. Then the wood is turned upside down to reveal the un-sawn face. The un-sawn face is then cut through too on the same line. The line meets the already cut one in the middle to reveal lumber.How to Saw Logs into LumberHow to Saw Logs into LumberHow to Saw Logs into Lumber

Live Sawing is a conventional sawing technique. It is the quickest. However, employing live sawing means that you will have to edge every piece of lumber after you saw it if you want the highest value.


Live Sawing is wide and heavy. It is a lower grade and the timber might come with a lot of warping as it dries up. That’s why this method is best for low-quality logs.

Cant Sawing

With Cant Sawing, the first cuts that you make should be made across the log’s top part before it is flipped. Flipping is often done at 180 degrees to allow you to saw the second cut across this opposite face.

Once this is done, a third cut is made. The third cut is flipped/ rotated at 90 degrees before it is sawn. Finally, the log is rotated a fourth time on a 180 degrees angle to make cuts on the final face.

When doing this, the log is usually squared into one centerpiece known as the Cant. The Cant can then be sold as a large piece of timber or sent to the factory for further splitting and processing.logs lumberlogs lumberlogs lumber

Cant sawing is the best method if you intend to get the most out of your sawmill production. It is used mostly in hardwood sawing factories. Cant Sawing is also known to save time, money, and effort if working on low-grade lumber.

Grade Sawing

Grade sawing needs a keen eye. In this case, the log will be sawn and then turned to reveal a new face. The new face will be sawn and the log will be turned to reveal another face. This face will also be sawn and turned.

Typically, with Grade Sawing, the log can be turned as many times as possible. Sometimes it can be turned for over four times.Grade SawingGrade SawingGrade Sawing

For factories looking to maximize on their profits, Grade Sawing is the best option. It is recommended for both medium logs and logs of high-quality.

How to Saw Logs into Lumber: A Step by Step Guideline

If we look at how to saw logs into lumber with every one of the methods that we have listed it will take time. I will, therefore, give you a general guideline that is suitable for any lumbering method that you can choose.

Step I: Choose a Lumbering Method

Before you begin, make sure that you understand the method of lumbering that you want to use. Go for a method that suits your needs, tools, and also that you are conversant with.

Step II: Set the Log

If the log is lying on the ground, you must make sure that it is secured. Secure the log so that it won’t move or lip while you try to lumber it. Also, make sure it is safe to work on.

Step III: Choose the Size of Planks

Choose the size of the planks you want to make. A chainsaw mill can easily set to make the same size of cuts. Set your sawmill and depending on the choice of sawing start cutting your logs now. With a chainsaw mill, you should be able to have the best Tools Adventure to take you through a great experience too

Step IV: Remove Outer Cover

Remove the outer parts/ cover of the wood to reveal the inside part. The outer cover is often rugged and won’t make great timber. Minimize any wastes by maximizing the accuracy of your cut so that you don’t dig so deep when removing the outside planks.

To remove the outside part, peel out the revealed end, turn and then split peel again. Do this until you remain with plain wood.

Step V: Set the Depth of Cut

Set an accurate depth of cut. Now lumber the timber along with the log. Make sure that you keep the type of lumbering technique that you are using in mind.

Step VI: Arrange Your Timber

Set the pieces according to sizes so that it becomes easy for you to sort them out when you are done.

NOTE: If you are just starting, you can always use a combination square or even a pencil to mark every cut you make. This will help you to maintain accuracy all through your cuts and planks.

Additional Tips

We also have one more sawing method that you can use to turn your logs into lumber. It is called Plain Sawing.

Plain Sawing is more or less similar to the Cant Sawing that we had previously looked at. It starts by rotating the log and then sawing its outer sides. The outer sides are sawn into boards until the center of the log turns into a four-sided “squared” cant.

However, instead of then leaving this cant as it is for further processing, the squared cant is rotated and sawn further until maximum amounts of lumber are produced. If the need arises, the resultant boards will be edged by sawing any rough edges off.


If you are looking at the best way of how to saw wood into lumber, any of these methods will come in handy.I suggest starting with smaller logs if you are a beginner before eventually graduating to large sizes.

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