Yesterday I had a lovely day outside my workshop starting to make use of the ash logs I collected in the rain a few weeks ago making things out of trees. I had stacked the logs carefully as they had come out of the tree trunk.
I barrowed one of the sections from the best section together with a section from the butt section up to my cleaving brake outside the workshop. (In fact I didn’t get round to using the butt section).
Using a selection of three froes, I cleft the section to yield the material for 6 long legs plus lots of other bits. It was surprisingly sensitive to pressure from the froe, which is why I used the micro froe for the later stages, so that the split wouldn’t run too far along the log before I could control it’s direction.
Four of the legs came from just under the bark and had perfect grain. The other pair were from the inner section and had a slight wiggle near one end so I cut them shorter………..and the sun came out – wonderful! I made a peg to hold the ‘curtain ring’ which is the gauge to determine a uniform thickness for the leg.
However perfect the grain may appear, it is never going to be perfectly straight, which is why the process of cleaving and shaving has the advantage over sawing and turning to maximise the strength of the fibres running along the whole length of the leg.
Out of the other 5 lengths I was able to make 6 front seat rails and 16 laths (to be bent in the next day or so at the same time as the legs.
I also managed to make a couple of crests and a back seat-rail out of the remainder as well as 2 large tubs of kindling and a few little bits of firewood but it was to dark to get a pic by then.
A wonderful way to spend a relatively benign December day.