recent splitting

twisted oak bolts

Here’s the oak bolts I mentioned the other day. You can see that although these are wide, clear stock they score pretty low on “flat” – the split faces are quite twisted. Lots of torn fibers too, not a very clean split. What this translates to is a lot more work and a good bit of waste. But until something better comes along, these are still worth working. Many of these sections will get me panels around 9″ to 11″ wide. That wide stuff has not been easy to find lately. I think these are around 18″-20″ long. Red oak.

twist in short oak bolts

By contrast, here is a nine-foot section of hickory that Tom & I split the other day. Most of this is not mine, but I managed to weasel some of it. It’s mostly destined for tool handles, (including scythe handles for the museum) – I’ll make some stock for my sledge hammer handles, a new froe handle and club, and some other stock like that. Off-cuts will become wooden wedges for splitting. It is great stock. A little weathered at one end, but there’s plenty there to use.

hickory detail

What great wood, but I can’t stand to plane it into flat stock…for me it’s back to the beginning of my woodworking career with this stuff;  froe, drawknife and shaving horse. Reminds me of when I first knew and worked with Jennie Alexander, making those ladderback chairs.

My first post on this blog years ago was about a shaving horse Alexander designed. My next one will be about it again, with some details about its construction and use. Some things are worth repeating.  here’s the old one:


3 thoughts on “recent splitting

  1. Peter, do you find that you can detect twist like this from the face of the bark? Or is it too subtle for that?

    I’ve been enjoying your blog for quite a while. Thanks!

  2. Peter,

    With this much flattening, do you start to loose sight of the rays at one end of the panel?

    I’ve experienced this several times with some really twisted red oak I’ve worked up. It tends to go from full rays, to almost birds eye at the other end.

    Just wondering if this is something you have seen!



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