Log Building Tools: Log Wizard, Curved Base Planer, RotoMax

| 2/8/2012 3:37:34 PM

In the last couple of entries, we've covered a range of hand tools used to peel and prep logs to use in log cabin building. This time, we'll look at some mechanical or power methods to do this job. Once you get your logs peeled and prepped, we can move on to the next step in building.Log Wizard bolted to saw 

If you are comfortable using a chainsaw, then the attachment called a Log Wizard may become your best friend. This is a planer head type of attachment that fits on about any gas powered saw (mLog Wizard photosid range is best). The idea is that the chain moving around the bar is not used for cutting wood but rather it is used to spin the planer head that is bolted to the end of your chainsaw bar. The two planer blades then chew through the bark and take the place of the peeling spud and drawknife . The end result is a cleanly peeled log that, depending on how you use the Log Wizard (i.e. the length of your strokes and the pressure applied), can look like it was peeled with a drawknife, adz, or a planer. 

You don't have to stop at peeling logs with the Log Wizard. It can do rough notching and shaping of logs. If you want to make a pointy end on fence posts, this tool can do this rough shaping quickly. If your project requires notches that don’t need to be really precise, the Log Wizard can make them fast. If you have a portable lumber mill to make your own boards or beams for building, use the Log Wizard before you start milling to remove the dirty, gritty bark from your logs. This will prevent damaging your expensive milling blades. If you damage the blades on the Log Wizard, you can re-sharpen them or replace them at a low costLog Wizard.

As mentioned above, the chain doesn't do any cutting so, for added safety, you can use cutterless chain instead of regular chain with the sharp cutters flying around. You can also take old, dull chain and grind off the cutters.

Another way to get an adzed or drawknifed peeled look is to use a Curved Base Planer. Imagine a regular power planer that, instead of sliding along—flat base surface of planer to flat surface of wood--this planer has a curved base. This allows you to sweep along the log or timber and shave off strips of wood that gives the surface a hCurved Base Planerand-hewn look. It’s easy and quick to use and saves a lot of muscle work. If you are starting with a log with thick, dirty bark, you’ll want to use a bark spud or the Log Wizard above to remove most of the bark.

Many people love the look of logs that have been water peeled. This is a method of peeling logs that uses the power of water coming out of your pressure washer to blast off the bark and leave the surface silky-smooth. It’s almost impossible to resist running your hands along a log peeled in this manner. This smooth layer is the hard, winter layer of wood. If you picture a cross-section of a log where you can count the growth rings, the lighter, thicker portion of each ring is the summer growth, and the darker, thin part is the winter wood.

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