Tuesday 28 January 2014

Too big for the block

I started converting the nine foot oak trunk destined for settle rails today. After splitting a quarter from the log, a few more wedges and I had this 'cake slice'.

Normally, a smaller rail would go inside to the chopping block for some side axe treatment,thence to the bench to encounter the scrub plane. But this is way too large; its going to have to have its waste removed in the horizontal position in more of a house frame hand-hewing style. I couldn't find my snap-line so a board and a piece of charcoal from the woodburner will suffice to mark a straight edge.

Although I never liked it at first, I have become very used to using my Stubai side axe for the smaller stuff. But for this I think we need something a little larger.

This is my broadaxe made by Windy Smithy, Jon Snow. Its quite simply the best blade on any tool I have ever owned.

Its not strictly a side axe. I bought it with a straight ash handle to work on the riven oak cladding of the Saxon hall I worked on a few years ago. The ten foot long boards were twisted of course and needed bringing round. This axe was ideal, with its almost flat face for side axe characteristics, but double bevelled  for dishing out the back of the boards before fitting. I managed to break the handle at the Woodland Olympics at Hillyfield last summer, so took the opportunity to fit an offset handle of oak. I hadn't really had cause to use it much since then, and was considering grinding a single bevel onto it, but after today I don't think I will. I am happy with its degree of hybridity.

And its made short work of the edge of this future rail.

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