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Re: historic hewing questionnaire [Re: Dave Shepard] #22165 01/02/10 01:02 AM
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northern hewer Offline OP
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Hello everyone tonight:

And welcome to 2010--it just seems like yesterday that we were waiting for the world to collapse when the clock ticked into the 21st century--it seemed that no one knew what was going to happen, but low and behold here we are just chopping away

Back to business--well Dave you are righton line I always braced my one arm against my leg without a doubt this steadied my hand and made adzing much safer

The best of the new year to everyone

I will be posting on the Tools for sale forum once again a new updated version of my training dvd', should anyone be interested check it out in a couple of days.

NH

Re: historic hewing questionnaire [Re: northern hewer] #22168 01/03/10 01:17 AM
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Hi Tovio:

Well hello again everyone, and nice question Tovio:

If you have been following my thread you probably know that I have examined many historic frames in this area, and I can only speak for this general area, one that was the settling ground for approx 12000 United Empire Loyalists and their families starting about 1784.

I personlly never noticed any plane tell tale marks having been used on outbuildings or barns, but having said that the homes with exposed beam ceilings, and the floor boards above were planed by hand to create a lovely finish appearance when you glanced up

The beams were usually beaded by hand on their corners after the planning process this again added a special touch. I have restored period homes using a hand beading plane and I must say the finished product was worth the effort--try it don't take my word just use a small timber to work on to get the feel.

The hand held router will not put the bead directly on the corner like say a Stanley beading plane will

Any comments on this subject?

NH

Re: historic hewing questionnaire [Re: northern hewer] #22173 01/06/10 10:29 PM
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Hello NH and All;

I wanted to comment on the adz techniques. From what I have read, adzs were swung a variety of ways. Sometimes coming up under the foot, sometimes between the feet, and I have seen a photo of a Japanese temple builder working in Hawaii with one foot on the ground, the other on the piece "chipping" diagionally. As Will said, hewing is for axes, "chipping" is for adzs. I have read accounts of adzs being nicknamed "the devil's shin hoe" and "Devil's shin eater" indicating they were sometimes used at shin height. Shipbuilder's adzs are often lighter and may have shorter handles since they were sometimes used overhead or on the sides of a ship. Also, there is such a thing as a butchering adz for processing meat.

Adzs are ancient tools and one of the very early spellings of adz is nads and nadge, in addition to many phonetic variations of adz and addice.

Salaman's Dictionary of Tools has illustrations of over thirty types of hand and foot adzs and other references in addition to the illustrations, but does not include any types of ancient adzs made of stone.

Take care;
Jim


The closer you look the more you see.
"Heavy timber framing is not a lost art" Fred Hodgson, 1909
Re: historic hewing questionnaire [Re: Housewright] #22174 01/07/10 01:23 AM
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Hello everyone tonight:

On this subject of technique used in the adzing process, in my opinion and my experiences every different finish that presented itself required a different posture in order to not only do the job but to do it safely.

finishing the surface of a square timber was entirely different from adzing the surface of a newly laid floor of uneven boards. creating a seating on a timberframe again meant that the user of the adze had to get really down to work andremove paper thin shavings. As I stated in a previous post creating a gutter or a trough with a gutter adze meant that the adze had to be used differently. The barrel maker working with his specialty adze inside a curved surface, and the list goes on---

In my opinion once one has achieved a fair knowledge of the use of any tool be it an adze , broadaxe, slick, even a handsaw, one should be able to handle a new situation should it confront you, eventho you may not have actually had the opportunity to have did it at a prior time.

I can remeber saying to my father as I was learning the trade many years ago--"what if I have never done it before"--he quietly said--"you will have enough experience and knowledge to figure it out, do not worry", he also said during this conversation "when a real construction or other problem confronts you, just think very deeply about it and the answer will present itself--be careful"

I can honestly say that I never ran up against any problem that a solution would not come, and getting back to the adzing part of this conversation, many times I was confronted with historic restoration finishing problems that involved adzing, and had to be solved on site, it was at this time that I remembered my father's words--think, work and be careful.

NH

Re: historic hewing questionnaire [Re: northern hewer] #22382 01/26/10 01:49 AM
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Hi everyone tonight

Well I thought today is a good day to clean up the stored tools so I got out my broadaxe(s) and dusted them off, sprayed a little WD40 on the metal surfaces and with a very fine emery paper worked the rust remover into the surface of the steel until the surface looked real good, then I wiped off the resulting liquid with a a clean paper towel. I then applied a little machine oil and wiped the surfaces down.

I then took a fine sharpening stone and touched up the cutting edges, until they would shave my arm--they are ready for business!

I am heading back into the bush to pull out some spruce timbers that will become the ceiling supports for my son's country home that he is constructing. They will be 6" by 8" by 16 feet, and will carry the floor for the second storey. The flooring will be 1".5" by 10" pine grove and tongue, and adzed on the bottom surface and be open from below. I am intending to bead the bottom corners of the timbers with a hand beading plane, leaving the surface to show the hewing process.

The flooring will be nailed down with 3" square cut nails which will be set just flush with the top surface of the floor.

This should give me alittle workout and bring my (70) hewing skills back up to an acceptable level.

Now I have to rest for the work ahead.

The best of the day to everyone

If Rob Leslie is passing by this site would he contact me Please by Email--thanks



NH

Re: historic hewing questionnaire [Re: northern hewer] #22418 01/29/10 02:06 AM
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Hello everyone tonight:

Well the weather deteriorated here so I decided to stay in the shop and turn out a few chisel handles, they were needed to replace some that have become split somewhat and ratty looking.

I think that I will turn out 4 slick handles, while I have the lathe up and running, to fill an order for a lad out in Tennesse, These will be 22,24,26,28inches long and will have the same lines as an 1840 one that I have in my collection, he has asked them to be from black walnut, and to be glass finished with a dark antique stain and boiled linseed rubbings on the surface

This will be an enjoyable order to fill turning out slick handles is not something that one does on a regular basis.

I will try and post some pictures of them when I finish and before shipment for those of you that might be interested

Have a good evening

NH

Re: historic hewing questionnaire [Re: northern hewer] #22551 02/06/10 02:26 AM
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Hi everyone tonight

While I am working on handles and |I| suppose generating some interest in handles in general and how they are created I might say that putting the curve in handles can be accomplished in many different ways

I generally look for a curved piece of rough stock, but for some this is not an option so i would like to share this small piece of additional commentary in regards to creating say a curved broadaxe handle

The early generations would never consider buying even a regular axe handle but rather create their own with the special curves and sweeps that were passed down for generations, and this would probably be a pattern that hung in the corner of the driveshed

In the case of broadaxe handles creating from a pattern would be the norm.

A rough blank slightly larger than the finished handle would be cut from a good straight grained plank and soaked in boiling water for maybe an hour or so to soften the wood fibres

The rough warm blank would then be secured in such a way (usually close to the end that enters the eye) so that as force was exerted on the opposite extreme end of the blank (usually using a rope twisted) it would create a curve in the handle to the offset that one usually worked with in most cases 3" off the flat of the handle. It is usual to create an additional .5" offset to allow for spring back when the rope is released in a month or so.

Properly done this curved handle will retain its curve and be really strong,

Many curved handles were made like this one that comes to mind is scythe handles with their many curves.

hope you enjoy

NH

Last edited by northern hewer; 02/06/10 02:28 AM.
Re: historic hewing questionnaire [Re: northern hewer] #22557 02/07/10 01:25 AM
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Hi everyone tonight:

Just as a further note to handle making I believe that adze handles are sort of unique they were usually not bent artificially but rather fashioned from a good stout straight grained plank of a wood of one's liking, I really like wild cherry if I can get it, and especially if it growns in an environment that has made it work to survive, it gets tough like people I suppose in a similar environment

NH

Re: historic hewing questionnaire [Re: northern hewer] #22577 02/08/10 02:33 AM
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Hi everyone tonight:

Further to my previous posts on curved axe handles, using a piece of green wood would also be an option for the curving process should that type of handle be needed and soaking in hot water is also not an option

NH

Re: historic hewing questionnaire [Re: northern hewer] #22967 03/07/10 01:49 AM
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Hi everyone tonight:

Sorry for the hiatus but I have been away from the cold weather for a few weeks, I appreciate the interest that the remarks on this site seem to generate, and maybe we can generate a few more in the weeks to come.

As an old woodsman commented in a northern lumber camp up around Perth Ontario--

"In the crisp winter air, many choppers moved among the trees, working in pairs there was a continuous sound of the large pines falling ripping and tearing their way to the earth, with a final thud as they came to rest"
"And then those with the large flat hewing axes moved through each with a helper to cut the even notches along their lengths some as long as 120 feet"
"those large pine giants slowly began to loose their coats of bark and exposed their inward white blemish free flesh, the song rang true as the choppers sang-"to England with our signature carved in each piece"

NH

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