Some may have seen that we have started a new blog on the Heritage Crafts Association site and that many of the posts there are copies of ones from here. I have been blogging increasingly about HCA work over the last year and we felt it would look more professional now to have those HCA and general craft posts on a dedicated site without posts on my own work mixed in. Most of the time the two blogs will be duplicates but here you will find an odd post about my own woodwork and over there I may occasionaly do a specific HCA post that doesn’t fit here.
Yesterday I cleft up a large oak to use for building a fence leading to a bridge which is my major project over the next month. This oak was felled in Sheffield’s Eccleshall woods for a building project but it soon became clear that there was a lot of hidden nails in it. After excavating 6 or more it was decided the sawmill could not take the risk, perfect for me to try with my hand tools then. Fellow blogger Peter Follansbee in the States does this sort of work but it is rare for me to get access to a tree of this quality. Here I am strating the first split with metal wedges.
Then with my axe I carve some long thin dry oak wedges and pound them in with the sledge hammer.
The split starts to open up.
The fibrous nature of the oak can be seen here and the lovely medulary rays that show well on cleft wood.
It was hard work so I had no problem keeping warm in the wintry weather.
Eights went down to sixteenths then each sixteenth was split into three fencing rails.
Here’s the last split.
It was a very hard days work but a joy to be able to make good use of this gorgeous material where the power tools had failed.