Gye Greene's Thoughts

Gye Greene's Thoughts (w/ apologies to The Smithereens and their similarly-titled album!)

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Turning logs into lumber

On Tuesday morning of this week, I noticed a pile of short logs on the footpath.  The city workers had been coming through and trimming branches that posed a hazard to the power lines:  they must've taken down a tree as well.

So, on Tuesday evening I stopped by.  I mostly have enough wood -- but I couldn't bear to pass these up.  Plus, they had a pink-y coloring that I thought might be useful.

I chose two of the wider, longer pieces and put them in the kids' wading pools until the weekend:  if you let logs dry out before you split them, they start cracking -- which ruins the usefulness of the resulting lumber.

This next photo shows the "kit" that I used.  I had a chopping block (another short log), and I put the "new" log on top, and hewed off the bark using the hatchet.  Then I used the two splitting wedges and the heavy hammer to split the log into eighths.

For the initial, "full-diameter" split, I used the handsaw to define the split line.  For the remaining splits, I "walked" the wider chisel across the length of the wedge to create a faultline, then used the wedges the complete the split.

The split "drifted" a little bit as it passed through the log, such that the exiting portion wasn't as straight as the entry point.  But, that's OK.

Then, because the wood still had a bit of sap to it -- it's summer here, so the sap was "up" -- I'm seeing whether soaking the resulting blanks in the kids' wading pool for a week will dilute some of the sap.

(Note to environmental types:  most of this water is rainwater from the recent storm -- although I did "top it up" a bit.)

Once these blanks have soaked for a week or so, I'll put them somewhere out of the weather for two or three years, to season.  Once I decide to use them, I'll convert them to boards with a scrub plane (you'll get the notion in the first 30 seconds), and turn them into a box, set of small shelves, or -- something.


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