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"Hobbit Holes in MyWorld" --by RusticWoodArt #3: "Echo-Friendly Ways To Work the Wood'

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Blog entry by frank posted 04-21-2008 03:30 AM 4796 reads 1 time favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: "Living Within the Shadow of Crazy Fire" Part 3 of "Hobbit Holes in MyWorld" --by RusticWoodArt series Part 4: "Coalescing With Wood" »

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
….

....hand planning….

....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….

....clean split….

....looks great….

....now lets rive again….

....an-other shot….

....4 legs….

....’wood art’....!

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….

....rived clean….

....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….

....’wood art’....!

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.

Thank you.
GODSPEED,
Frank
RusticWoodArt

rusticwoodman@gmail.com
http://frank.wordpress.com/


”....work smart, work safe, and live, to work the wood….”

-- --frank, NH, http://rusticwoodart.tumblr.com/



12 comments so far

View daltxguy's profile

daltxguy

1373 posts in 2566 days


#1 posted 04-21-2008 04:15 AM

Thanks for posting this Frank. I really enjoyed watching the process. I’m anxious to try my own riving. Looks like I’ll have to find a way to make myself a froe since that’s another thing that’s difficult to find down under. I didn’t realise you could rive such straight lines. Since our beech is very similar to the maple, it looks like it should be possible. I like your results, even before any joinery is added.

I’ve recently made a few tool handles using a silver beech sapling I cleared for a trail and some cherry branches that were released after some pruning. I’ll have to take some pics and post as one of my projects. I also ‘rived’ (sort of with an axe) some silver beech and red beech that I took out for firewood and left dry over the summer. This I let dry some more after splitting and then eventually put them on the lathe and made some shaker pegs out of them. I’m happy to say that in all these cases mostly hand tools were used and I went from tree to object without too much noise or power.

My current project is welding a peavey together from some recycled metal parts, to which I will affix one of my thick cherry branches to make the handle. I’ll have to get that on here as well when I am done.

Keep on working the wood!

-- If you can't joint it, bead it!

View Bob Babcock's profile

Bob Babcock

1804 posts in 2738 days


#2 posted 04-21-2008 05:06 AM

Hi Frank,

I’ve been meaning to get a froe for ages. So darn expensive. I’ve been looking in the occasional flea market but no luck yet. Do you see many up in your neck of the woods?

-- Bob, Carver Massachusetts, Sawdust Maker http://www.capecodbaychallenge.org

View daltxguy's profile

daltxguy

1373 posts in 2566 days


#3 posted 04-21-2008 09:29 AM

Bob,

I’ve found several references for making your own froe. It’s just a wedge shaped piece of straight steel with a loop on the end. The metal does not need to be hardened/tempered. I’m thinking of welding an old lawn mower blade to a short section of steel pipe.

MotherEarth News has this to say:
“In a pinch, a froe can be made from a section of a leaf-type automobile spring. Cut the metal, heat it and curl one end in a circle 1”—1- 1 /2” in diameter to take the handle. Sharpen the edge and you have a shake-making tool.”

And here, there are instructions on how to forge your own, if so inclined, with some hints on what is important in the design of a froe.

-- If you can't joint it, bead it!

View frank's profile

frank

1492 posts in 2858 days


#4 posted 04-21-2008 01:07 PM

Hello Steve and Bob;
—-as to the making of a froe, I would make one if I ever needed another one. I have thought and will probably make a smaller version of the one I now have, which was given to me. I do know there are several ways of making them and various wood sites where one can go and get a general idea as Steve has mentioned.

As to your question Bob about seeing froes up in ‘my neck of the woods’, no. However I will keep my eyes and ears open and if I can acquire one up here at yard//barn or estate sale….I’ll pick one up for you. No problem if you should decide to build your own and then don’t need an-other as I’ll just then keep and have two.

And yes Steve; I also have rived with axe when I’m out in the woods and my froe is back home. Riving is really no-more then just cleaving the wood into 2 pieces and so one can even use homemade oak wedges along with sledge and such to get that process started. So again yes, I also make those oak wedges by axe, maul and froe….what one can do by hand without the need for ‘power tools all-ways draws me to exploring more ways to work the wood. Also Steve I look forward to seeing some of those projects you have mentioned above….

Thank you.
GODSPEED,
Frank

rusticwoodman@gmail.com

-- --frank, NH, http://rusticwoodart.tumblr.com/

View RobS's profile

RobS

1334 posts in 2958 days


#5 posted 04-21-2008 05:52 PM

Ah yes, searching to and frow for a froe..always have an eye out for one here….in Texas. Of course, they should be bigger here, right? Or at least, more plentiful.

Excellent show of froemanship Frank. Looks like that piece of oak had some really straight, almost knot-free grain. Keep us posted on their progression.

Thanks!

-- Rob (A) Waxahachie,TX

View Napaman's profile

Napaman

5346 posts in 2729 days


#6 posted 05-03-2008 03:30 PM

very cool…thanks for sharing this process…

-- Matt--Proud LJ since 2007

View frank's profile

frank

1492 posts in 2858 days


#7 posted 05-05-2008 02:13 AM

—-hi Rob; ....yes it would seem that way….things are all-ways bigger in Texas. Does that mean you have two handed froes down your way….?

—-hi Matt, ....’cool’, and yes the process is all-ways going forward….I’m only afraid my ‘very cool’ has in-deed transcended over into the weather also. Thought we where warming up here, but I’ve been using the wood stoves again for the last week….oh well.

Thank you.
GODSPEED,
Frank

-- --frank, NH, http://rusticwoodart.tumblr.com/

View Napaman's profile

Napaman

5346 posts in 2729 days


#8 posted 05-05-2008 03:40 AM

wow…we actually had a bbq and ate out last night with my sister and brother in law…we did put a fire on in the fire pit…but no need for wood stoves in the morning/night anymore…

i am amazed at teh news and all the crazt weather across this nation the past 6 weeks…endless winter…

i hope it makes summer feel even more wonderful for you in your neck of the woods…

-- Matt--Proud LJ since 2007

View Grumpy's profile

Grumpy

19453 posts in 2503 days


#9 posted 05-06-2008 04:02 AM

Great blog Frank. Nothing like getting back to basics. I had the luck of visiting a farm last weekend. On the farm was a huge shed full of old machinery, tractors, dozers, steam power plants & amongst it all was a pedal powered wood lathe & a bandsaw that Noah must have used.

-- Grumpy - "Always look on the bright side of life"- Monty Python

View frank's profile

frank

1492 posts in 2858 days


#10 posted 05-06-2008 12:57 PM

Hello Grumpy;
—-I liked what you said above about ”getting back to the basics”....haha, myself I often feel bad if I let the basics get away from me…..LOL.

All I can say is there is great satisfaction on my part when I can leave the shop and get outside and work the wood as others did in ‘days gone by’. But even that statement on my part about ‘days gone by’, shows my lack of thinking….since those days need not be lost if I am in charge of my days….oh well.

I would have liked to have seen the pedal powered wood lathe, and the bandsaw that Noah used, well that would have really been a feast for my eyes.

Great hearing from you….and thank you for your imput….
GODSPEED,
Frank

-- --frank, NH, http://rusticwoodart.tumblr.com/

View SteveKorz's profile

SteveKorz

2131 posts in 2366 days


#11 posted 05-06-2008 09:51 PM

Frank- Thank you for the terrific post!! I’m loving this!. Keep it coming, please, you’re doing a fantastic job! I’m learning, learning, learning!

-- As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. (Proverbs 27:17) †

View frank's profile

frank

1492 posts in 2858 days


#12 posted 05-07-2008 12:33 PM

Hello Steve;
——I’m glad you liked the post and pleased that you or any-one for that matter gets some-thing out of what I share. As to the learning, well to tell the truth, I suppose we’re all learning….you’re learning and I’m learning every time I still pick up a piece of wood. The great thing, (point) about learning is that the experience is open to all….it just takes having an open mind, which means I must get my-self out of my box….hmmm, now where did I leave that lid opener?

....once again I will be posting some more soon on this wood project, just as soon as I get some of the joinery details worked out//worked in for the wood, plus some more riving details also. This happens to be the time of year when I get a lot of green wood, so I’m busy riving different species and letting some dry….while using some as green….oh well.

Thank you.
GODSPEED,
Frank

-- --frank, NH, http://rusticwoodart.tumblr.com/

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