Feb 28 2021

Splitting Planks 5: Hewing the Boards

Published by at 7:27 pm under Expeditions and Experiences

When you have split your log, whichever method you want to use, by high likelihood you have to hew the planks, maybe both to thin and straighten them. There might be the rare tree which will split true right away, but hewing still gives a nicer finish.

The log used in this tutorial was not particularly straight splitting and I ended up cutting some of the end off to avoid taking out the spiral all the way. Also, it had a few large knots, which can be pretty annoying.

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First stage is to start taking out the twist as much as you can on one side. Since it will not matter to my intended project if the planks taper a lot, I took most off at the top end first.

After I had a reasonably straight line chopped there, I estimated how much I had to take out on the other side to straighten the inside of the board. This can be done very accurately with string and a weight, but I did not go through that trouble and simply went by eye measurement. I ended up with a very slight twist in the plank, but that should not really be a dealbreaker in this case.

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When both sides were straightened enough I chopped away the centre, being careful to not new a hollow and preferably not make it convex either. The plank was smoothed a fair bit through pushing the axe instead of chopping as it gives more control. Scotch pine (Pinus sylvestris) is very soft and will generally be very easy to shape through pushing. More so with fresh wood than dry wood.

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When I was satisfied with what will become the inside of the building, I started chopping out a line on either side of the board to mark out about 1.5 inch thickness over the whole plank.

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Next the remaining ridge was chopped into in short intervals and the pieces split off.

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Final hewing is then done to remove the roughness and create an acceptably smooth surface. For my project, this side will not be visible on the building and I did a rougher job than on the inside.

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The whole process takes about 3 hours, depending on length of the board and how straight it is.

Regards
Torjus

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