process outline 01

Because I get asked: here is an outline of how I turn logs into things. I am not unique in this, I learned from several sources: reading, classes taken, internet videos etc.

It all starts with a straight looking log: study the bark, are there vertical striations in it? do they look like they twist up the log? if you see such twisted bark generally the wood is twisted to. it can only be used to make round things, if anything can be made from it.

This crab apple is not good for much but makes a nice stump.


I take the log and examine the end… Does it already have a split started? frequently they do soon after felling. internal splits can be expected to emerge in line with the medullary rays. In this large burr oak log you can see a crack running diagonally upper left to lower right, this photo taken just hours after felling.


to make the best strongest parts we start by splitting right at those natural splits. (I switch logs on you here)


I drive an iron wedge in with a sledge hammer.

if it needs it, I use two wedges. or I use gluts. (wooden wedges) This piece of Red Oak popped apart nicely.


splitting each part in half to minimise runout, I eventually end up with some chunks and some triangular planks (@ 1/16th of the log or there about).


I discard any that are too twisted or too gnarly from having a hidden branch stub inside.

for the project I have in mind right now I need 2 short parts and 2 long parts for the sides of a box. So I take the straightest 4 pieces (shingles) and mark the ends so that I can realign them later. Then I cut them into 2 unequal parts.

Next I use a small froe to knock of the sapwood and some of the gnarly center wood. This material ends up being firewood.


Then I decide which side is the “face” and knock off a wedge to make the back side sort of parallel to the face. That material can be saved for pegs.


For wide flat stuff I like to start with this uber wide drawknife I restored.


make the face side flattish and the other side sort of parallel-ish.

I use the scrub plane then the jack plane to make one side flat. flip it over and use just the scrub on the back to dress it up a little if it needs it.


then make one edge square to the flace. I usually square up the sapwood side first.


then mark the width, and plane down to the mark, start with drawknife if needed.


resulting in a stack of parts that are all nearly the same width, I’ll true that up more later. And a pile of shavings and chips all over the place.


more next time

be well


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