The Winter of 2007-2008 brought a terrific ice storm that caused much damage to trees, including damage to trees on our property. It also caused extensive power outages to large part of NW Missouri – we were without electric power for 4-½ days. Much of the damage to power lines was caused by fallen trees and broken branches, the result of the sheer weight of the ice. Since that time, the electric utility has been slowly catching up clearing the right-of-way areas of trees and branches that could result in damage to the lines.
One tree on our property had to be removed, due to its proximity to a main trunk of transmission lines. The tree company on contract to the power utility did a great job saving the resultant “firewood” for us. On closer inspection, it appeared we might be able to “save” some of the larger pieces to use in the shop. I had read in Peter Follansbee’s Joiner’s Notes blog the work involved to get the best grain, by riving the larger pieces. (Silly me – ) I thought I would try it.
I moved the pieces near the shop, and got set up. Although I need a second wedge to split more evenly, I succeeded (a little). I followed the incipient cracks already forming on the ends, and made light cuts with the chain saw – enough to allow placement of the wedge:
I was never an expert with a sledge hammer; as a result, my fear was that I would not be able to hit the wedge properly. That changed quickly, and the fear dissipated. All I had to was aim, and get set to begin driving the wedge to get a slice approximately 1/16th of the circumference:
This next “action” photo illustrates some of the progress, as the wedge is partially driven into the piece — the spalting on the wood was beautiful:
Eventually it got harder and harder to pick up the wedge — maybe you know the feeling, as muscles start to get tight, and you realize how much out of shape you really are:
I may continue the work on these pieces, just for exercise. My muscles will let me know whether I can resume today.
— Al Navas