I have cut a lot of logs over the years and I have always been impressed at how beautiful some of the wood looks inside. I always wondered if there wasn't something I could do with it besides burn it for firewood. But how can you make anything from trees without the large scale professional tools and a mill? I discovered there is a way, but I warn you its not an easy project.

  A perfect project for this idea is to make a hardwood floor with wood from locally grown trees. There are three common hardwood trees in northeast Montana, they are the Ash, the Siberian Elm and the Russian Olive. Russian Olive wood is probably the most distinctive being almost chocolate colored, it is a very beautiful wood. However virtually  no one uses it for anything other than burning. Though it its the softest of the three woods it is still a hardwood so it will work for a floor. Russian Olive trees are usually not very big. They do not produce large straight trunks and they often grow crooked in many directions. This makes it a very poor candidate for milling or for even getting large pieces out of it. The Siberian elm is often thought of as a junk tree,  a nuisance and/or a weed tree. It puts out huge amounts of seeds in the spring which sprout everywhere and the seedlings are tough to remove once they get a foothold. It usually grows in more urban areas. The deer love to eat it so you don't find to many of them in the wooded areas.  There are many types of elms and  elm wood is known to be a beautiful wood, but also a difficult wood to work with. It has the tendency to split, crack and warp so it is not used that often for wood projects. The only tree in the group that has a good reputation is the the Ash. 

Almost all of the wood floors that you will come across are made of long boards. That's nice but it is a near impossibility  to get long lengths from these trees, especially without any kind of mill. So what can you do with short pieces? I finally found an answer to that while looking up yet more information on hardwood floors. There is a tiling method that uses a rhombus (a diamond or squashed square) and it requires small pieces of 3 different types or colors of wood. A perfect fit for what I have. You can see more information on rhombus tiling at this Wikipedia site.


Cutting up logs and turning them into 2 inch diamonds, yep a crazy idea. That's what I am going to show you how to do in this instructable.

Step 1: The Chainsaw

For this job you have to start with a chainsaw.
I have worn out a lot of them, I actually prefer electrics, they are lighter, not as noisy, and turn off when you let the switch go. But for cutting these logs the way we are going to you should use a gas one. The electric just doesn't have the RPM to cut this much. You can do it but it will take you forever.  I bought a new saw this summer, (Not a Craftsman) and now I have to call and get an RMA for it, it didn't last very long. So I am using my old reliable Craftsman. I didn't buy this particular saw, it was given to me because it was broken. However one of the wonderful things about craftsman is that you can get all the information and exploded diagrams on almost anything that has the Craftsman name. I dismantled it, found that it had a broken piston and ring. I ordered  replacement parts  from Sears and put it all back together. The thing never fails to start and I have used it for years. What can I say, it works.

One thing about chain saws to remember, the bigger they are, the more tired you get using them. You can cut all day with a medium size one and not feel that your arms are going to fall off. So unless you have really large logs and can afford an expensive saw a medium 16 or 18 inch one will work great.

I have 2 kinds of logs for this project, big ones and really big ones. Logs under 3 inches in diameter won't really work for getting finished dimensions of 2 inches. Anything over 4 or 5 inches will work pretty good for this but the way you cut the medium logs and the really big logs is different. Big logs can be cut into slabs. Since my finished size is going to be 2 inches I try and cut the slabs in 3 inch thick pieces.  Small logs you can cut into two. The size you need to cut them to depends on how large a piece your band saw can handle.

A key to cutting straight is to have a sharp chain and a good bar. If  some of the teeth on your chain are dull on one side it will cause your saw to cut in an arc, which means your cutting firewood and not wood for the floor

Cutting in the snow has its benefits. You can use the snow to brace the logs to keep them where you want them. And if you cut all the way through the log and into the snow it doesn't dull your chain.

A Y or fork or branching produces some of the more interesting grain patterns. Cut it straight through the center to make it manageable for your band saw. Don't try and cut from the top down straight through. The saw will wander all over. Start by cutting a line all the way down where you want your cut to go. That gives you a guide of sorts. Often when you cut like this the saw will cut out stringy wood. This is because you are cutting with the grain and rather than producing little flakes it scrapes out long strips. Much like a hand plan does. It can clog your saw so if it gets jammed up stop and clear it out. If you get to much of this shredded wood jammed around the saw sprocket it can cause your chain to fly off.
<p>I would like to create a cross cut flooring. It's. Much less intricate. How do I cut 1/4&quot; slices from 2 or 3&quot; branches? I don't have the upper body strength to use a gas chain saw. What would you suggest a lady to do to accomplish this task? Thanks for the feedback.</p>
<p>Apparently I was not getting notices of these comments so sorry for the delay in answering. </p><p>There are 2 different saws that I can think of that would work for cutting branches that size. I actually use one for cutting up small stuff for firewood. One of the miter saws with a 10 inch blade would work perfect. Harbor freight has one, a sliding one </p><p><a href="http://www.harborfreight.com/10-in-sliding-compound-miter-saw-61971.html">http://www.harborfreight.com/10-in-sliding-compoun...</a></p><p>A little more than $100. I have one, its a good saw.</p><p>Another choice would be a radial arm saw. You might be able to find an older used one. They have somewhat gone out of style in favor of the big miter saws. </p>
<p>Ok, so I didn't start from scratch like you did, but I really love the tumbling block pattern. On my first attempt at it, I made the table. I was not sure how many diamonds I would need so I cut a tremendous amount; as I knew there would be other applications from the design. </p><p>I used my left over pieces to make the Pig. The pig got so many good reviews from friends and family I decided to try the design in shades of pink to make the flamingo. I truly enjoy &quot;quilting in wood.&quot; </p><p>I am currently working on one of the designs in your &quot;Making Dementia Puzzles for My Dad,&quot; post. </p><p>https://www.instructables.com/id/Making-Dementia-Puzzles-for-my-Dad/</p><p> Thanks for your explanations and creative inspiration. </p><p>Keep up the good 'ibles.</p>
this is a wonderfully detailed instructable. I may not chop my own wood but I can see many applications for your design ideas. thank you
<p>Cutting this way, the type of push stick you used is critical to the process. Otherwise, every piece would become a projectile. </p><p>To minimize material launches, mount a stop to your fence, or clamp it to the table. The stop should be wide enough to give each cut off a few inches more room between the blade and fence.</p><p>The wood would push against the stop, to give you the same cut your fence would have given you (like in your picture). However, because the stop is only wide enough allow you to repeat the cuts, the material would clear the stop before it hits the blade. I'd still use a push shoe like yours, rather than a stick, because it both pushes the wood through the blade and holds it down.</p><p>Oh, and good job</p>
<p>Amazingly beautiful work. Very hard, tedious work but the look paid off! Thanks for sharing.</p>
I like it. I would be a great method for making a custom cutting board. I don't think I would be ambitious enough to cover an entire floor.
Good gosh how large was the floor 2&quot; pieces 3 at a tim must have taken forever to lay did you glue them down or lay them down with nailers i can imagine nailing all that down if it's a huge floor but man it sure is pretty <br> <br>Great Job great Ible
Very cool.
PROJECT OF THE DAY!!! Nice accomplishment for a great Instructable. Congrats. ;-)
This is a great instructable. I love seeing wood go from tree to a finished product, it's awesome. You've inspired me to cut my own wood, I've just made my own thickness sander so I just need the chainsaw now :) <br> <br>Keep up the good 'ibles. <br> <br>Scott
Love it!!
Master, this is a superb work!
Hands down one of the best 'ibles ever, thank you for taking the time to share.
Very intricate and good looking, I particularly enjoyed the dissertation on<br> wood properties hardness and ease of cutting in particular.<br> <br> Not being near as capable in the arboreal to floor skill set. &nbsp;<br> <br> My wife has unearth so to speak a fact that the leafy branches of the<br> Russian Olive are rather poisonous to horses but not ponies who can<br> eat it whenever a wind tears a branch down.&nbsp;<br> But let me feel that a prize Paint horse would enjoy munching on a<br> branch that I dragged to his paddock and I rack up life saving Veterinary<br> bills including a pricy life saving horse transfusion for poison for my&nbsp;<br> altruism <strong>:-(</strong><br> <br> A
Wow! That is a lot of work -- and beautiful results. You rock. <br> <br>Not sure I'm up to that....but I've been eying the Russian Olive in my firewood pile thinking what a shame to burn that. You have inspired me to absolutly find a better use!
The Russian Olive wood is an easier wood to work with so that is another plus for you. It is harder than pine and it doesn't have any sap or resin in it but it is softer than Oak or Ash. It very rarely smokes the saw blade or bogs it down. It finishes really nicely and because of the natural color does not need any stain. <br><br> Some states have started eradication programs because they consider the tree to be an invasive species. There is a debate still going on about it. What they should really do is just start harvesting the trees for the wood. Once it caught on in popularity lumbar companies would pay for the rights to harvest it. <br><br>There are all kinds of things you can do with smaller pieces. One of my early projects was a business card holder. I should also mention that it holds glue really well. Some woods don't stick together that well but olive bonds to the point that the glue bond is stronger than the wood itself.
amazing job on this project
I believe the pattern your using is called rhombille tiling or something. In the end, very nice floor, have plans on making some nice tables with this design.
awesome instuctable. i took the same idea you had but instead of making a floor with it, I'm using three species of wood veneer that I'm hand cutting to make a piece to hang on the wall, thanks for the idea!
Hats off to you my friend. This is both amazing work and very well detailed, thank you for sharing.
Beautiful work! Thanks for the great photos. Having done this in another medium <br>https://www.instructables.com/id/Study-in-Baby-Blocks-Quilt/<br>I would emphasize that the closer you are to a perfect diamond shape in the beginning, the easier it goes together in the end. Strive for perfection first, or you will be sanding later. A lot. :-) <br><br>So where IS &quot;Rhombus part 2&quot;?
I have been looking at this INS a lot of times now, i absolutely love the looks of it but there is one thing that keeps popping up in my mind.. the moistness of the wood the floor would bend n break if it isn't completely dry, i work as a cabinetmaker (ppmoebler.dk) and the wood we use dries for several years before we use it, and when its ready for use we put it in a &quot;dry-room&quot; for about 2-3 weeks so the moist will come down to aprox 3%.<br><br>what did u do to dry the wood? <br>again i love the looks n the idea<br><br>jacob
First I would like to say that I looked at your web site and your company does really beautiful work. Interestingly, my brother in law is from Denmark. Small world sometimes.<br><br>Some of the wood I used is already very dry. This is a semi arid climate (although after the last few years we are beginning to wonder) and during our hot dry summers wood dries out very fast. The Russian olive wood I am using has been cut for several years and it is dry and stable.<br>Most of the elm wood is also dry, the trees died in a fire about 4 years ago. They do have more moisture than the olive because they were left standing and so dried out much slower. Letting it air dry has been working good for it so far.<br>The ash, and its a different variety than you have, I believe its green ash, has been a bit of a problem. I did rush it in order to get the instructable done by the deadline. It should have had more time to dry.<br>Since I have been using small pieces, warping is not as big a problem as shrinkage. One good thing is that because of using smaller pieces it dries out faster. <br>I have run into a number of interesting problems as I have been working on this and am planning on making an update instructable or a &quot;next step&quot;. I have also been experimenting with some other woods, one in particular is crabapple. Its actually a very beautiful wood. <br>Right now my next batch of rough cut wood is stacked up in an unused bedroom drying out. I make a stack with the pieces about an inch apart first going one way then put another layer going the other way. This way it has a lot of airflow going through it. The moisture level in the house is about 10 to 15 percent so its drying out pretty good. <br>From the research I did on hardwood floors before I started this project I found that the moisture levels in floors is usually higher than the 3% that you work with. One big reason is the expansion that happens when the wood absorbs moisture. If you use wood that's to dry and tight fit it there is a good chance that it will expand and buckle especially if the floor surface is large. So it does need to be dry, but not too dry. <br>
hi again<br><br>oh yeah, small world( were only 5.5 million here )<br><br>ahh, well i actually dont know much about hardwood floors, bet u know much more :)<br><br>i will follow u on here n see how it goes with a &quot;next step&quot; inst. and other ideas u might come up with :) thanks again.. Jacob
nice work , love to try walk on it.
Brilliant, thanks for this.<br>I am going to give it a try.
Well if it cut as the blade came up wouldnt it just throw sawdust everywhere.
That rocks! He said he will do it if I buy him a band saw :)
Nice work; great Instructable and the photos speak for themselves.<br><br>All you need now is a few well-placed Qbert decals. :)
i would feel very weird if I were walking on a floor that looks like a bunch of square steps O.o I think thats just me though...or is it?
You are a true master of your craft, outstanding work, mate! I've never done something like this, but seeing your work makes me want to try! I'm at a loss for words. Beautiful!
OMG<br><br>would never be able to do such a sophisticated layout &hellip;<br>You've got all my admiration
Now that's one nice looking layout. I'm sure this would be possible with larger diamonds for a big room. I like good wood working and this is one of the better ones I've seen. Excellent instructions, great explanations for the steps involved.<br>You got my vote on this one Vyger..<br>FN
Excellent. I'm a big fan of oddball lumber (I recently built a staircase with about 27 species, including things like crabapple, locust, and tree-of-paradise) I've only ever used Russian olive for pegs though.<br><br>How are you planning on attaching them? Trowel-on adhesive?
Very nice! Looks like a lot of work, but what a great looking result. Can't wait to see the finished floor.
VOTED!<br><br>Very insteresting.
real life Q-bert, right on! <br> <br>but seriously, amazing job!
Five stars, and voted. Best new Ible I've seen in a long time.
woa....that floor is way trippy. good job!
I am so confused
Very nice I love wood floors A few years ago a friend of mine did pretty much the same thing but he did an Eagle in his den floor that appeared to be flying when entering the den. It is beautiful in full color just by using different woods....<br>congratulations on your floor
Absolutely beautiful Art from scrounged material!! This project epitomizes what Instructables is all about. A tip of the holiday cup to you!
looks great. <br>Is it at all disorienting to look down as you walk on this pattern?
&gt; cue Keanu Reeves Bill and Ted impersonation &lt; Whoa...dude.<br><br>That's a truly outstanding piece of work. Going from actual trees to a gorgeous floor...I don't think the population of the 21st Century developed world has words to express just how stunning this project is. Thank you!
Beautiful work. I haven't seen anything this nice, done by hand, since my great grandfather passed away. It's nice to know these skills have not been forgotten. Thanks for posting, and for bringing back some great memories.

About This Instructable




Bio: The name comes from the First Star Trek movie, that pretty much says it all.
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