a follow-up from yesterday. Here is the flatsawn red oak panel, now carved with one of the Devon patterns c. 1660s or so. I adapted a couple of different patterns to make this one up. Carving it was an exercise to show folks that if they don’t have the first-quality riven oak they can still do this type of carving. It worked differently of course; was somewhat brittle. There were times when I hit it with the same oomph that I use for good riven green wood, and busted out chips here & there. So I learned that in some parts I needed to strike the gouge a few lighter taps where one strong smack would do in better quality wood. Otherwise, not much to report. I don’t like the looks of it, but some paint & a few hundred years & it would look just fine.
Also today I was riving more of the cedar log to work it into molding stock. I use the same methods as with oak; wedges & a maul to break it down, then a froe & club to rive it into the finer pieces. It was a nice morning to be out in the woodpile.
Nice straight-grained quarters of cedar, about five feet long.
Striking the froe to remove the pith wood. I stand the stuff up in the brake for this move; then slide it into a horizontal position to twist the froe & help direct the split. In the photo below I have shoved the froe club’s handle into the split to keep it open as I slide the froe further into the stock.
This sort of cedar was much used in seventeenth-century coastal New England. It appears in many pieces of joined furniture from Plymouth Colony, as applied moldings, drawer bottoms & chest bottoms. William Savell, Sr., of Braintree, Massachusetts Bay, had “joyners stuffe & cedar boults” in his 1669 probate inventory. Shares in cedar swamps appear with regularity as well, in deeds & inventories. One assumption is that the cedar is used for fencing; but it clearly shows up in furniture too. The one I am splitting is too narrow to make chest or drawer bottoms, so it’s destined to become a very-long-term supply of stock for applied moldings. No sense letting it go to waste.