Adventures in Working Wood #6: Ah, life and stuff...

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Blog entry by NinjaAssassin posted 11-13-2014 01:09 AM 1968 reads 0 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 5: It's been awhile... Part 6 of Adventures in Working Wood series no next part

Well, all those projects and new endeavors I had on my list got put on hold for a bit. Haven’t had much time in the shop in the last few months (I think a total of 4 or so hours since about August or so) primarily due work and family things. There’s been a lot going on for me and I’m not yet certain when things are going to slow down. Anyway, on to the update…

I let those pine and oak beams sit all summer in my shop and the pitch in the pine didn’t run. I cut them close to the length I want for the bench and began the process of truing faces for gluing. No pictures as it’s pretty boring but I’ve learned that 6+ feet long beams that are 5+ inches wide are a chore (that I’ve still not gotten right). So, that project is slow going because A) not much shop time and B) I’m basically terrible at this.

In other news, our back yard had 2 young trees in it right against the back fence (literally about a 12 or so inches from the fence). In 2013 I cut down the smaller of the two, a poplar, with the only tools I had on hand that would work – a husqvarna carpenter’s axe (well sharpened, I might add) and a cheap combination hand saw from Lowe’s. The tree wasn’t more than maybe 8 inches in diameter just above the root flare but it was a chore to cut down with those tools. A few days ago I cut the other tree down, an oak (no idea what kind), that was about 10-12 inches just above the root flare with the same tools. The poplar was added to the firewood stack (the grain was all kinds of twisted) but the oak was pretty straight and big enough for something else. I’m in the (very slow) process of making a shave horse with the oak. The log’s length is a little more than 10 feet and mostly clear (on the outside)...

Felling that thing was no quick or easy task but it fell where I planned without incident. After it was down, I cut it about three inches or so below the first branches to get what you see above. That thing is heavy. By the time I had done that, the wife and kids had returned from church so my “fun” was done for the day. A couple days later, in the evening after work I got out a cheap hatchet, some splitting wedges, the Lowe’s saw and my sledge hammer. I cut a 5 foot length off of the log and set to split it. You can’t tell in that picture but the pith is off center and the log is actually a bit ovular. I used the hatchet and a small hand sledge to score a line across the widest points which, fortunately, was in the same plane as the pith then used my wedges to split that thing open. It was nowhere near as easy as it looks when people split larger logs on YouTube videos. Either that or I’m a sissy. Anyway, after taking much longer and using much more energy than anticipated, this is what I had…

From the top of the picture to the bottom, the log was pretty straight to a little more than half way down. From that point to the bottom it had a slight twist. Either that or there was a weaker area in the grain that the split followed. Anyway, I’m very satisfied with it. Tonight I picked out the side that would be the bench, got out the drawknife and cleaned up its face a bit…

The kids will be with their grandparents for most of Saturday so I’m hoping to get a chance to break out the froe and rive some legs. It’d be great if I could use all that kid-free time to finish this but there are 4.52325 * 10^2387 leaves in my yard and I intend to get rid of them if they’re relatively dry.

So, there’s the update.

-- Billy

3 comments so far

View AnthonyReed's profile


10164 posts in 3452 days

#1 posted 11-13-2014 12:37 PM

That is a hell of an undertaking Billy, good luck man. Looking forward to seeing the process.

-- ~Tony

View chrisstef's profile


18129 posts in 4018 days

#2 posted 11-13-2014 12:49 PM

You must be low on man points to try and tackle a project like that. I hereby award you 10 man points and the ability to go buy a chainsaw of your choice.

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

View NinjaAssassin's profile


656 posts in 2736 days

#3 posted 11-15-2014 02:18 AM

Thanks Tony. I made a little more progress tonight. Going to start another blog series for the shave horse since I’ve got progress pics.

Thanks, stef. Can I redeem these 10 man points for dollars?

-- Billy

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