How to make a glut

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Blog entry by daltxguy posted 01-14-2012 09:36 AM 25627 reads 2 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is entirely the method shown by Roy Underhill but with color pictures and timbers which he has probably never worked with.

What is a glut?

A glut is a wooden wedge used to split timbers green from the woods.
Made from wood, to split wood! Made entirely with a handsaw and an axe.

Start with about a 2’ section of log 4-5” in diameter. This is my SUV carrying it back from the woods.
Here I am use Australian Blackwood. I have about 50 of these dead standing ones which died in a cold snap about 15-20 years ago when they were less protected than they are now ( Pine trees have grown up around them). Most are still standing, this one fell over but still hard as a rock after all those years – a beautiful grain and color too! This particular piece may not have been the best, but I had nothing to lose to try.

Chop a wedge on both sides of the log using a hatchet or small broadaxe:

Couldn’t resist to plane it a bit to see the color of the grain

Sharpen the other end as well. Keep the length so that it is easier to handle

Cut it into two pieces down the middle

And then trim the other end down to the heartwood and to keep the glut from splitting and done.

Btw, you can’t start the split with these wedges, you still some sort of iron, an iron glut or a splitting wedge but they can be used to continue to split once started. Probably having more than two would be even handier and I might make more later.

As some have suggested, these can be made onsite with a chainsaw too, it’s just that I don’t usually get out my chainsaw for such small pieces of wood.

-- If you can't joint it, bead it!

11 comments so far

View Dallas's profile


3599 posts in 3653 days

#1 posted 01-14-2012 12:37 PM

I have been using Osage Orange for the same thing. A set of Osage wedges has lasted through 4 trees so far and I kight get 2 or 3 more out of them.

-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

View Deltawood's profile


40 posts in 4362 days

#2 posted 01-14-2012 03:42 PM

Any chance you have pictures of it in use? Very interesting.

-- - If it ain't broke, don't lend it!

View David Grimes's profile

David Grimes

2080 posts in 3805 days

#3 posted 01-14-2012 03:59 PM

Very nice. Wooden splitting wedges… I never would have thought to go there.

In my splitting experience, I put down my wedges and axe as soon as I had a splitting maul placed into my hands (with f’glass handle, thankyouverymuch).

-- If you're going to stir the pot, think BIG spoon or SMALL boat paddle. David Grimes, Georgia

View stefang's profile


17040 posts in 4500 days

#4 posted 01-14-2012 04:15 PM

Hi Steve. It looks like you are really getting into this green woodworking thing. I bought a book on the subject many years ago “Green Woodworking” by Mike Abbott. I learned a lot of useful stuff from it. To get the full benefit though, you need to have access to a wooded area for materials, which I know you have.

You might find this book or one like it interesting and useful if you haven’t already got one. It covers a lot of projects and the making of tools like a pole lathe for instance. It was originally published by ‘The Guild of Master Craftsman Publications’ in the U.K. You can probably find it or something similar on Amazon.

Green woodworking is a subject that isn’t seen often on woodworking sites, including LJ. I hope you will continue with this stuff and keep us posted on your progress. I’m sure many will find it very interesting. I know I do.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Brandon's profile


4381 posts in 4117 days

#5 posted 01-14-2012 04:53 PM

Excellent post, Steve. You have us all intrigued! Can’t wait to see pics or a video of this in action. :)

-- "hold fast to that which is good"

View SalvageCraft's profile


274 posts in 3692 days

#6 posted 01-14-2012 06:39 PM

Very cool wedges, and I love the SUV! Is that a flex fuel model?
I have made similar felling wedges, albeit with a chainsaw, for some tree work ive done. Cool thing about that is you always have the rigt size and shape of wedge for the job you’re on!
I’d like to see what you are making with all those trees!

@stefang – Does green woodworking mean sustainable woodworking, or working with green wood?

-- Jesse --

View daltxguy's profile


1373 posts in 5079 days

#7 posted 01-14-2012 11:01 PM

@Dallas – Osage Orange is an excellent choice for thse!

@Deltawood – will post pics when I get a chance to use them

@David Grimes – I would love to have a splitting maul but I think the gluts would be used to complement each other, not to replace each other

@stefang – green woodworking by necessity at the moment, since I don’t have anything milled, stacked or dried but also because a lot of things are just easier to make green. The other factor is that I am off-grid, so I have to take advantage of methods and tools available which do not come with a motor. In fact, for a lot of these operations, there is no advantage. Working wood green takes advantage of its natural strengths and weaknesses at this stage. Working dry wood is hard work which is partly why need to use machines.

I have always been interested in green woodworking. The difference is that now I am close to my trees.

@Brandon W – will hope to get pictures later

@SalvageCraft – yes it is a flex fuel! although it really doesn’t run as well on ethanol but does run great on peanut butter sandwiches. Chainsaw is always an option onsite. I just had no reason to get the chainsaw out and I would be leery on such short pieces.

Does green woodworking mean sustainable woodworking, or working with green wood?

That’s an interesting question. Before ‘green’ became a buzzword, green woodworking has always meant working with green wood. However, a lot of operations with green wood are actually better with handtools making it quite sustainable as well.
Working exclusively with hand tools can include green woodworking… or not. Joiners and cabinetmakers may never work with green wood. Conversely green woodworking may employ the use of some machines. I am not averse to employing the chainsaw when it is called for and I own a portable sawmill…but there were plenty of powered operations in the past which could have been considered sustainable because they used steam power ( fueling the machine with the very material being worked) or water power.

Being a green woodworker does not imply being a luddite, but many operations on wood are easier when the wood is green and therefore is able to be done with simple tools (like a froe, wedges or a foot powered pole lathe).

-- If you can't joint it, bead it!

View SalvageCraft's profile


274 posts in 3692 days

#8 posted 01-15-2012 12:54 AM

@daltxguy: Got it. I can see that the two are very intertwined!

-- Jesse --

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 4281 days

#9 posted 01-15-2012 07:29 PM

thankĀ“s for sharing once I get around some hardwood here I will try to make a few
proppebly take years before something fall in my turban

take care

View mafe's profile


13204 posts in 4255 days

#10 posted 01-16-2012 03:22 PM

Really cool info!
thank you.
Best thoughts,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect.

View Dave's profile


11435 posts in 4005 days

#11 posted 01-16-2012 11:25 PM

Great blog. And a great use for some very hard wood. Thanks for posting.

-- Superdav "No matter where you go - there you are."

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