We present a method for obtaining a true flat surface on cross-sections of large logs that exceed the width of many belt sanders, to aid in digital scanning and computer-aided ring-width measurement. The method uses a vertical mill that is available in most university machine shops, gradually removing thin layers of wood to achieve a surface that is planar within ca. 0.3-mm precision. We have tested the method on several sizes, shapes, and decay states of log samples and found that it performs well across these variations. Samples can then be directly sanded with medium- to fine-grit sandpaper to achieve a finished surface that lies flat on a scanner plate and shows rings and cell structure with high clarity.
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Vol. 68 • No. 2