Shingles made straight from logs are called shakes and they can be used just like any other type of roofing shingle. Wooden shingles are a great way to make use of beautiful logs that you have harvested or purchased and they provide a secure, waterproof roofing system. You can make your own wooden shakes using a band saw by following a simple division and cutting pattern. The work is straightforward but it does require you to be patient and work meticulously to get consistent shingles.
Lay the log horizontally on the bed of the band saw and cut the log into pieces the size you want the width of the shingles to be. For example, if you want 8-inch wide shingles, cut the log into 8-inch wide pieces.
Stand the first piece of log up so that the round sides are upright and the cut ends are horizontal. Center the log directly in front of the blade of the band saw.
Move the log piece forward into the saw and split it into two equal pieces. Repeat the same cutting process with the two halves so that you end up with four equal parts.
Cut each of the log pieces the same way so that each one is divided into four equal parts. Work slowly to ensure that the logs are split perfectly.
Stand one of the quarters up from one of the log pieces. The curved sides of the piece should be on the vertical side and the sawn edges should be on the top and bottom.
Draw lines onto the log quarter to divide it into equal slices the same thickness you want the shingles to be. If you want 2-inch thick shingles, divide the log into as many 2-inch wedge sections as possible. Note that the wedges will be wider on the outside edges than on the inner edges, much like the individual slices of pizza in a pie.
Hold the log in front of the saw blade and align the first marked line with the blade. Push the log into the saw to cut out the first shingle.
Pass the log through the saw again as many times as you have to in order to cut all of the shingles from that piece. Use a wood pusher as the log gets smaller so that you don't have to get your fingers near the blade.
Mark all of the remaining log quarters in the same way and cut all of the shingles out on a band saw.
- You can rent band saws from many large home improvement stores if you don't want to buy your own.
- Do not use wood for shingles that has not been dried and cured properly.
- wood image by Amjad Shihab from Fotolia.com