Processing large trunk sections

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Processing large trunk sections

Postby Tlil » Thu Nov 01, 2012 1:51 pm

I have access to a willow trunk base section at least 750mm dia and 600mm high, but do not have access to a chain saw. Will I be able to split the timber with wedges and then process it with hand tools?
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Re: Processing large trunk sections

Postby Brian Williamson » Thu Nov 01, 2012 5:48 pm

Should be a doodle!

Willow generally splits very easily. Sometimes it can be a bit 'spongy' and kind of 'absorb; the first wedge without splitting, but as long as you've got several wedges it will succumb without too much effort.

In most trees the grain down near the root tends to get a bit interlocked and fibrous and harder to split (that's why we like getting our long tool handles out of the bottom of an ash butt - they hold together better when from there). But willow wont resist you for long.

Happy splitting!

And let us know how you get on.


'Measure twice and cut once'
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Re: Processing large trunk sections

Postby ToneWood » Thu Nov 01, 2012 9:49 pm

I split smaller size willow and a similar sized piece of oak with wedges recently, for bowl blanks. I use 2 or 3 v. old metal wedges in various states of decay (I've tidied them up and sharpened them) but I reckon two decent metal wedges and perhaps a home-made wooden wedge (or just a piece of log/limb - for when the crack opens wide) would be enough. I used to use sledge hammers (6-10lb) but it seemed like overkill, so I recently bought a 4lb Spear & Jackson Lump hammer specifically for this task, and it has worked well for me so far, giving me more control (not an issue for firewood but it is for bowl blanks). Safety glasses are a good idea. Maybe an smallish sharp axe, to cut any cross-fibres that might remain.

For shorter lengths of firewood, a splitting maul (like a cross between a sledge hammer & an axe) can be handy/faster.
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