Echo-Friendly Ways To Work the Wood
....your wooden soul,
is but the sole of your sitting,
and as all rustic tools of wood,
your rustic spirit creates an image for imagination….
....with a vivid imagination….
In this day of high tech, high price tags and higher yet soaring costs of what many think they need, to have a go at woodworking, along with all those needed add-ons….that one must purchase after the initial major purchase, I am all-ways glad to get back to the roots of woodworking.
My time in the evenings as of late, has found me outside in the environment here at home, working the wood by hand. During the day I can be found using framing and finish nailer’s along with the occasional re-cycle time of compressors….outside much of this week dropping some trees and doing clean-up with a chainsaw and all that noise….hmmm. So is it any wonder that my evenings are spent using froe and mallet and timber slick, I mean what else does it take to work the wood when you really get to thinking about it? And to tell the truth, although the timber slick has been there, I’ve not had no need to use it yet in these pictures.
One of my greatest times of connecting with wood is in the process called ‘riving’ and what can be a faster way of following the ‘ripping’ path of those wood fibers then with froe and mallet. Riving the wood is faster then ripping with a power saw, can be done out of the boxed in atmosphere of the workshop, no need to have dust systems turned on, therefore no electricity is needed, no need for hearing protection and often produces much stronger wood, since the riving process of the froe follows the wood fibers of the wood. There is no need for great physical strength in riving wood and yes, wood in the natural form of trees after they have been brought down, can still be acquired any-where close to where you live. I often will get folks who after I make that last comment at demonstrations, talks and in writing stories….they will come up to me afterwards and say; “but you don’t know where I live”. And to those I will reply; “I can go any-where, (on land) and still get wood in it’s natural form”, and so it is that if one ‘wants’ enough….they will find a way. Again this type of wood-working//wood-searching means that one will have to start thinking outside the box.
To my way of thinking, when one says they started a wood project in it’s natural state of wood and went on to finish the project throughout the all and various stages of workin’ wood….that one has my ultimate respect. To learn woodworking this way will not cost any-one a fortune in money….but, it will cost you much in time. Many say to me; “but where and how do you find the time?” and to this I reply; “we all have the same amount of time and you will spend your-self within the time framed box of what you love to do the most. One can learn to rive and build a box or stool in a weekend, but to learn better wood joints for that same box or stool can take years. This leads up to a question of what you want out of woodworking….do you want to make many wood projects of quantity or are you going to make a few as one of a kind or what is your integrity of satisfaction level. I can make many cabinets, (and a cabinet is only a box) and counter tops, (the top of the box) out of wood in kitchen renovations, but to make one box or stool out of rived wood….that is one of a kind and these are few and in-be-tween. Let me add here also, that I am not dis-respecting any woodworker or any form of woodworking….I just have my own way.
So I spent three evenings this week outside in my open air workshop, riving up some wood pieces for an up-coming wood days show and demonstration coming up in June. Time to get some of the wood to start curing now, plus I will also be doing some demonstrations of green woodworking by riving and all else. Opening a piece of wood by the process called riving, is much like opening a fresh tomato, potato or some summer squash….and then one looks and the eye of vision tells the story.
Well lets move this story along, so after lacing on my working boots and putting my safety glasses on, I started the process of debarking a log….
....as I was saying earlier, no high tech tools here….just one locking knife, (and yes, make sure that blade can lock) which I get at a local army surplus store for around twenty dollars. I also have de-barking slicks and spudders which I pick up at yard//barn sales….but for this evenings work, this is fast….
....this is maple wood whish I originally cut down 3 years ago and so I’ve been letting this one sit outside in the seasons and giving it plenty of time to catch some age and character….I also noticed there is some spalting going on….
....and yes, the bark is just coming of with almost no effort on my part….
....will let this one sit for a few days uncovered and then I will paint the ends and either cover or bring inside my barn.
Next on the list is this piece of oak that has been aging also for 3 years….and so after de-barking, I’m going to rive this one for some legs….
....once again the tools I’m using….froe, mallet from my wood pile and timber framing slick….
....you will notice that no tape measures are used, no power cords and after a few mallet taps the froe is set in the wood….
....close up of froe set….
....I am now riving and will stop for a picture, (actually it takes me longer to take the pictures then to rive the wood)....
....the oak is split….
....now lets rive again….
Busy hands are the result of a fruit-full imagination, so lets leave here and cross over to an-other on the spot-wood-lot and start some more riving of wood. I been busy this week cleaning and clearing some land down from the main house and so here’s a fresh cut maple, ready to be rived for a small table//stool. Now on this piece of maple, I am going to break some of the rules of riving, since you will notice that I am not splitting at the pith, or into quarters….and therefore I am not following the ‘ray planes’. Some may wonder why and I can only say that occasionally I will test the rules and see if I can get a piece of wood to follow what I am wanting. In the the past I have had some of these come out very good and stable….but yes, I also have had many rejects and then also, how can one show what will go wrong, if one has not played with the rules of wood….
....once again no tape measures here, just an understanding of the wood, wood fibers and how they run, (also called fiber direction) plus a working knowledge of texture. So what I’m marking is for the top and legs….
....one day from dropping and sawed for length that morning, this one is like slicing butter….
....and an-other shot….
....froe is set for the final mallet tap…
....and clean rived again….
....now my imagination decides to lead and so I give it freedom to range….
....of what can be. Next I will show how to do some cleaning and planning of the wood and some simple wood joints to get those legs in place as I create….
And then after I finished workin’ on this piece, I looked up and once again gave thanks for being able to see and live….
....at what some call work and I call play….
I’m sure I have left out some points of explaining so if any have questions, feel free to ask. I will also try and get a few pictures up soon of much thinner wood riving for pieces such as boxes and small furniture that I also make.
”....work smart, work safe, and live, to work the wood….”
-- --frank, NH, http://rusticwoodart.tumblr.com/