Strong, Straight Wood

DSCF2822The first quartered section of the 6 meter stem of between 60 and 50 cm in diameter. A closer observation will indicate the presence of a small  knot way out at the edge which complicates splitting out shingles though the grain runs straight otherwise. In the event the splits ran true and split out thin and consistent shingles from this billet. Also noticeable is the discoloration, here to the left, of the wood around the pith. This wood is removed anyway even prior to riving so that is inconsequential. Another portion to be removed lies at the opposite side, or the sapwood – and the bark. This reduction was necessary regardless because the cross-section of the billet was wider than the length of my froe’s blade with sapwood and pith included.DSCF2828

Here’s the basic tools that will accomplish the work from here on out which include: the axe for trimming, the froe, (at the top center), and the striker, (lower left corner).

With the billet standing atop the chopping block, the thickness of the shingle is visualized, the blade of the froe positioned and steadied and with a smooth and relaxed motion driven into the end grain to the depth of its width, or as deep as can be driven. Then using the handle the shingle levered out. The split can be steered by a grip at the top of the billet and levering against either the billet or the shingle.  Each progressive shingle taken from alternate faces of the billet and begun from alternate ends which means turning and flipping the billet each time, working towards the center.


DSCF2824From this quartered piece it was possible to split out a total of 18 shingles.  Maybe there were three of less than full length but these short ones are useful at the first  layer of the bottom corse so very little wast except the piece left when  the dimensions are too far reduced to be useful – firewood. Initially the shingles are difficult to rive, that is the full width shingles. As the billet is reduced there is an optimal section of good size and readily riven, and finally the blank is reduced beyond the size of good shingles.


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