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Cutting chunks of hardwood?

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  • bbqoaf
    Former Member
    • Jul 2014
    • 751
    • Calgary, Alberta, Canada

    Cutting chunks of hardwood?

    How do you usually cut chunks of hardwood for smoking (I use a One Touch, so I only need small chunks at a time)? Cutting hard logs like the cherry and apple I have with a hand saw is a serious pain. Will these wreck power tools?

  • Juddlight
    Former Member
    • Jul 2015
    • 184
    • Mid michigan

    #2
    I use my ryobi miter saw after I split the wood to size I want...it didn't seem to dmg anything and still cut trim straight

    Comment

    • Henrik
      Founding Member - Moderator Emeritus
      • Jul 2014
      • 4477
      • Stockholm, Sweden

      #3
      Even though it is hardwood, you're good to go with your powertools. Don't worry. Last time I used a chainsaw to cut "coins" or discs of alderwood, roughly 4-5 inches in diameter (as opposed to logs). Turned out great, I break them like you break a biscuit (so I get 3-4 "pies"). Works great as chunks.

      Comment

      • HorseDoctor
        Charter Member
        • Sep 2014
        • 1147
        • Central Iowa

        #4
        If you have access to one, a table saw works great for logs" up to 6" or so.

        Comment

        • Munch
          Former Member
          • Jun 2015
          • 130

          #5
          Since the OP said "chunks" why couldn't a chisel be used to spilt the chunks into more useful sizes?

          Comment

          • gcdmd
            Charter Member
            • Sep 2014
            • 1117
            • The Republic of Texas

            #6
            I've used a Skil Saw and a reciprocating saw on oak, mesquite, and pecan. I didn't try to cut anything over 6 to 8 inches in diameter. On Aaron Franklin's PBS show there is a clip of him using a chop saw. I have one, but I won't use it for fear of messing it up. It cuts miters well, and I don't want to wreck it.

            Comment

            • aarontbell
              Charter Member
              • Feb 2015
              • 68
              • Akron Ohio
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              #7
              Cut discs with chainsaw from tree. then use hatchet or ax. It's not surgery. chop saw? Wrong tool for job.

              Comment

              • Stevehtn
                Former Member
                • Sep 2014
                • 117
                • East TN

                #8
                If you're talking about actually chopping up hardwood chunks into smaller pieces, then nothing like a stump and an axe. You can also use a wedge and sledge if you want more precision. That said, why not simply buy chips?

                Comment


                • bbqoaf
                  bbqoaf commented
                  Editing a comment
                  I find they just burn up when you put them on burning charcoal, chunks produce better, longer lasting, nice blue smoke in my experience.
              • bbqoaf
                Former Member
                • Jul 2014
                • 751
                • Calgary, Alberta, Canada

                #9
                Thanks friends, I know someone who blew a mitre saw on cherry wood that was about 3" thick. The caveat there is that the saw was the $80 home depot mega sale special and had been struggling through basic pine 2x4's, so I don't want to compare that to what nice, high quality tools could do.

                Splitting with an axe or hatchet is ok, but I want nice rectangular or square pieces with some thickness to them so that they do not quickly burn up when put onto a hot bed of coals.

                I might just stick to grinding through them with a hand saw. I don't have a chain saw, I do not want to risk the very few nice tools I do have, and I guess if I am going to be going to such effort to make an unnecessarily large, fatty, salty, roasted clod of meat (while hammering back beers) I could use the exercise!

                Comment


                • Stevehtn
                  Stevehtn commented
                  Editing a comment
                  If you need precision splits, use a wedge and a handheld sledge. You can about split it as well as you could cut it. Be a lot faster than using a hand saw
              • Huskee
                Administrator
                • May 2014
                • 15367
                • central MI, USA
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                #10
                I have zero reservations about using a miter saw. Use one blade for buzzing your firewood, and keep another for other job-related duties if you use your saw for work or home projects.

                In 5 minutes you can zing up a year's worth of chunks for on your grill, it goes fast, VERY little wear on your saw if you think about it.

                I use a hammer, the claw end, to bust those discs into halves or so for use on the kettle. A hatchet would surely work too, but if you don't have one a fairly straight hammer claw works fine. Place the wood chinks/discs on a hard surface like concrete.

                Been doing this for years, no saws blown up yet. FWIW.

                Comment

                • fzxdoc
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                  #11
                  On my PBC I like to start with 4oz wood for flavor, then add as needed depending on the length of the cook. I bought a box of pecan, cherry, and apple from www.fruitawood.com but some of the chunks are larger than what I want to use. I'm using a hatchet to get them cut down, but I don't enjoy it. I have a vision of the hatchet blade going through my foot as I whack at the chunk of wood. I'm going to try just hitting the hatchet head with my hammer as the blade points into the wood and see if that does the job better. I'd have to sell a whole lot of shoes if I whacked my foot off.

                  Tell me I need a power saw of some sort and I'll be off to Lowe's tomorrow like I'm shot out of a cannon!

                  Kathryn
                  Last edited by fzxdoc; August 20, 2015, 04:02 PM.

                  Comment


                  • fzxdoc
                    fzxdoc commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Tried that, DWCowles. Sometimes it works well, sometimes not. Maybe I need a bigger chisel.

                  • HorseDoctor
                    HorseDoctor commented
                    Editing a comment
                    If you are going to hit a hatchet with a hammer, be darned sure you are wearing safety glasses! I drove a metal shard into my wrist once doing that and still shudder at what might have happened if the same piece had hit my eye.

                  • fzxdoc
                    fzxdoc commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Wow, HorseDoctor , thank you for the cautionary tale. I'll be careful.

                    Kathryn
                • billg71
                  Charter Member
                  • May 2015
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                  • Acworth, GA
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                  #12
                  Originally posted by bbqoaf View Post
                  Thanks friends, I know someone who blew a mitre saw on cherry wood that was about 3" thick. The caveat there is that the saw was the $80 home depot mega sale special and had been struggling through basic pine 2x4's, so I don't want to compare that to what nice, high quality tools could do.

                  Splitting with an axe or hatchet is ok, but I want nice rectangular or square pieces with some thickness to them so that they do not quickly burn up when put onto a hot bed of coals.

                  I might just stick to grinding through them with a hand saw. I don't have a chain saw, I do not want to risk the very few nice tools I do have, and I guess if I am going to be going to such effort to make an unnecessarily large, fatty, salty, roasted clod of meat (while hammering back beers) I could use the exercise!
                  Use the throwaway blade that came with the miter saw for the chunks. Hopefully you have a good blade to use for fine work, if not you need one. If you have a bandsaw that would be even better for cutting chunks. A handsaw works just as well, it's slower but you get more exercise. If you decide to go that route, pick up a pruning saw from the local big box store.

                  You're not gonna hurt any halfway decent power saw or blade cutting chunks off your hardwood splits.

                  Comment

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