Monthly Archives: November 2016

Starting something new

A while back , I built a pole lathe by hand, from a log. A few people in my Kingdom were interested in how I split the initial log so, I thought I should post some pictures of a current project . 

Here is a cherry log. It is about 13″ wide and a bit over 3ft long. I need a piece that measures about 4″x4″so, I need to quarter it. Do you see that dark mark on the end that looks like the hands of a clock? That is a crack through the pith. There is a wider crack at about 1:35 and that is my starting point. 

That’s an iron splitting wedge. The idea here is that after a liberal application of brute force, the crack will widen until it extends into the the bark face…

…at which point I used another wedge to further things along. After more brute force…

…the crack widens some more. Things proceed more easily if you have additional wedges. I have a few wooden ones that I use when chainsawing. Eventually…


That’s it. Nothing to it. A sledgehammer is very helpful (I was stuck using a heavy claw hammer). 

One of the key things when considering a log to split is to choose one which is clear of branches/knots. This log had one significant branch (you can see it in the last picture. It’s the V-shaped pattern you see). Branches make the fibres of the tree run in weird directions which can (and did) result in some fibres crossing the split. These need to be axed out. Not a huge deal here because there was only the one.

Logs have been split in this fashion for thousands of years. It’s amazing what can be done with a simple wedge (Do you realize that an axe and knife are also simple wedges? Think about it ) . 

One of these halves will get further split tomorrow. Those pieces will get turned into bowls, cups, and whatever else I can think of or need. 

Thanks for stopping by .