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Re: historic hewing questionnaire [Re: northern hewer] #31867 01/26/14 02:44 AM
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northern hewer Offline OP
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hello everyone tonight

Hi DL and others

OK--let us put things in perspective--settlement took place here (upper Canada) in 1784--so the arriving settlers were looking at trees that had never been harvested by man only mother nature, so were referred to as virgin or first growth, and Great Britain as the mother land kept access to the best trees even though your name maybe was on the parcel or section of property-I suppose something like mineral rights in today's world.

A good portion of each property was clear cut for farming, but a good sized woodlot was retained for what ever need arose, so in due course over the next 200 years the bush lots were never clear cut but in most cases managed by each individual generation to ensure a continuous supply of firewood, logs and fencing materials

So lets take white pine for instance, the original trees were probably 100 to 125 years old at the time of settlement, with young trees beginning to grow at various stages--with the removal of the mature trees the young trees reached a good age or maturity in 60 to 70 years when harvesting probably would selectively begin or mid 1800's, these were referred to as second growth, the early nineteen hundred's harvest third growth and so on

I am not an expert on the subject but in this area there was so much forest to deal with that any kind of management other that from individual owners never took place--but let us not put down the olden people, they knew that a good forest was absolutely needed for survival, and in most cases seed trees were left all over the place, and the dead or dying trees were removed leaving the young to grow, and every precaution in felling trees took into account damage to young trees in the area

I remember quite well as a very young lad helping my father harvest spruce trees to build the new barn he was working on, in this particular area we left a lovely spruce tree loaded with seed, and he commented to me never cut this tree it will re-establish new growth

Well dad died and my life moved on and it didn't include burning wood or harvesting logs for a number of years in this area but I remembered his words

As time passed I purposely found my way to the spot where the tree grew, my curiosity mounted--what do you think I found

enjoy

NH

Re: historic hewing questionnaire [Re: northern hewer] #31875 01/26/14 10:30 PM
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D L Bahler Offline
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Thanks Richard,

That was the biggest thing to me, the size of the tree and their age. The picture I get is that the mean age of the older trees is maybe 70 years, after which they are all harvested. This excluding the good stock tree here and there that is left to replenish the forest, etc.

Left to go forward and age further, the properties of a tree do change. The wood compresses and condenses both with age and as a result of the stress of the tree blowing in the wind, and supporting its own weight. The difference in the wood characteristics between a 70 year old stem and a 120 year one are significant.

I always wondered what this difference was between "Virgin" and second growth. TO me, all I can reason is that it is a matter of age.

This upholds my suspicion that, in the mountains of Bern, the trees we can find of suitable age -some maybe 150 years or even more- would have that property.

For building log structures, they want those big, old trees. The wood is better, the material stronger and more stable, and more durable. Also, the greater width of the timber gives the structure a more impressive and stronger look.

In the United States, I see a turnaround in forest management of 70 years like you say.


Was de eine ilüchtet isch für angeri villech nid so klar.
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Re: historic hewing questionnaire [Re: northern hewer] #31880 01/26/14 11:46 PM
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David, with most softwoods I know the tighter the growth rings the stronger the wood. In my tree planting background I have planted similar species of spruce in Saskatchewan, British Columbia and England. Trees in the UK, and BC mature at 50+ years depending on location. Trees in Saskatchewan mature at 80+ years. That means two trees of similar diamater taken out of forests in SK and BC would be different ages.

In theory, a 80 year old tree would have more growth rings and therefore more strength. Durability, I would imagine is more genetics than anything, and stability is based on a mix of genetics and growing conditions. An example of genetics would be white spruce vs black spruce. Growing conditions could be anything from density of the forest, rainfall, elevation, sunshine, and other things like growing on the side of a hill.

Now, in much of Europe you have managed forests. Managing a forest in Europe is much more intense than it is here in Canada. Here we plant the tree a year or two after the forest is cut down. It is surveyed at least once in the first seven years after planting to make sure that the obligation to replace the trees cut on crown land is met. Sometimes if the natural competition is too great the natural regrowth will be cut back around the trees to give the seedlings a fighting chance. Then assuming there are no major epidemics like fire or beetles it is left till maturity.

In England, trees are planted tighter than they expect them to grow when they reach maturity. They are planted in rows thinned and trimmed till they reach maturity. By doing this there are fewer branches and fewer knots in the lumber.

In the mountains of Bern I suspect it is a carefully managed forest. Thinned, trimmed, and selectively cut. Interest taken with quality of wood in mind not quantity. Then there is the milling, that is a whole new topic.

N.H. Seedlings for todays monocultures are often harvested locally taking a helicopter with a basket and raking the acorns off a local tree to produce the seedlings from. This is done with the theory that the local tree already has the genetics required to thrive in the environment.


Leslie Ball
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Re: historic hewing questionnaire [Re: northern hewer] #31881 01/27/14 12:47 AM
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D L Bahler Offline
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Les,

Thanks for the info

The forest I saw were not carefully managed in the same way as you would see in England or Germany or France. This is a sparsely populated region that is heavily forested with true forest, not regrowth or planted forest.

Here the tactic has never been to cut out a parcel of land and then regrow it. Clear-cutting or even extensive thinning never happen. So trees that grow and regrow are coming up in the midst of a mature forest canopy -they grow up straight, reaching a height in a short order of time.

The "Forest Management" takes the form of careful selected harvesting that doesn't damage the canopy. Other than that, forests are surprisingly wild.


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Re: historic hewing questionnaire [Re: northern hewer] #31882 01/27/14 01:09 AM
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hello everyone tonight

Both nice answers indeed--thanks for the special in depth look at growth, versus age, environmental factors, very educational I must say, and I really enjoyed it all--I hope that everyone else did too-----

To continue with my story above and my visitation to the seed tree site, I was astounded to find the lovely motherly type of Spruce tree snapped off close to the ground level, and due to decay was of absolutely no value--I surmised that it had reached its life span and mother nature said it was time to recycle

it had though managed to spread some of its genetics in the local area, not as much as I had envisioned though

Here is a question--how long will the seed lay around and still be able to reproduce, will it need something to give it a shunt--I was always told that a forest fire will help certain species come to life, one specie that seems to come on in burned out areas is the poplar tree around here

NH

Re: historic hewing questionnaire [Re: northern hewer] #31883 01/27/14 01:56 AM
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Populus tremuloides or quaking aspen is the natural weed of the boreal forest. I spent a few weeks once doing regeneration surveys for the forest industry in Alberta. These were aspen forests that had been cut down and just allowed to regrow naturally. Of thousands of plots only one I ever did there failed. For a number of years an animal(moose?) had been biting off the shoots of the branches at just under the height required by the forestry department.

As for the length of time a seed can rest before it grows into a tree I don't know. I can say that pine acorns will open after the heat of a fire releasing the seeds. I remember walking into burnt area a number of years ago where a fire had traveled quickly through. I don't think there was anywhere where you could step in the entire forest without stepping on a little pine.

I do know that a properly stored batch of spruce seeds can last through a foresters career. In the wild here natural spruce is a sign of an older forest. After a fire pine or aspen will be the first species to come back depending on what was previously there. From what I've seen the second stage in an aspen forest is a slow encroachment of spruce or tamarack from an existing source after the aspen is well on its way to maturity if the land is suitable.


Leslie Ball
NaturallyFramed.ca
Re: historic hewing questionnaire [Re: northern hewer] #31900 01/28/14 02:46 AM
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northern hewer Offline OP
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hello everyone tonight

Thanks Leslie--sure appreciate your reply--what I have noticed in regenerated areas now seems to follow a rule laid down by mother nature, and probably runs true for a lot of species no doubt

We sort of wandered off the topic a bit, (hewing layout)--sorry--

anyway to continue the layout topic, as I see it, the 38 foot timber has been positioned and pinned with the timber dogs at this point.

The next procedure is to move to the smaller end, and do a quick check with my 3 foot folding wooden rule (my rule of choice) for many different reasons--at this point I am only ensuring that the tree is large enough on the small end, to square the 12" squared timber, or maybe to envision to what extent the corners may be waney .

I carefully place my pointed scratch all at the spot that will become the top corner of the hewn timber, and on the hewing side

leaving the scratch all imbedded in the end, I next take my wooden level, (again my choice), and laying it against the scatch all I strike a plumb line on the end using a carpenter's pencil.

The next procedure is to remove the scatch all, and laying a straight edge along the plumb line ( I use my wooden rule) I scratch the plumbline well into the end of the log. I then pencil the line well so that it will be very visible should it rain and remove the marking

Off from this line I then mark off using a square the outline of the hewn timber, allowing 1/2" oversize for shrinkage, or possible under hewing at some point

I then tack on a 1" by 2" straight edged slat along the plumbline and let it protrude above the log 12" or so, the reason for this will be explained later

NH

Re: historic hewing questionnaire [Re: northern hewer] #32007 02/14/14 04:53 AM
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D L Bahler Offline
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Richard,

here's one for you, a sleigh maker

Thought you might enjoy seeing the pictures, at least.

http://www.beatenbergbilder.ch/home/reportage_14_schlitten.htm


Was de eine ilüchtet isch für angeri villech nid so klar.
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Re: historic hewing questionnaire [Re: northern hewer] #32171 03/18/14 11:31 PM
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northern hewer Offline OP
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hello everyone tonight

Hi DL

Thanks for coming on with those wonderful pictures on sleigh making, it takes it to a real high level, and reminds me of the time when we had to restored the stage coach at UCV--it took a combination of 4 different trades people to complete it, the cabinet maker, the black smith, the wheel wright, and finally the historic painter.

people seem to forget that sleighs of all types were very necessary in the days gone by, to move farm and other goods around when the snow was deep, sometimes too deep for the horses even, reminds me of this very long cold winter here.


Thanks again I really enjoyed them, and I hope others did too

NH

Last edited by northern hewer; 03/18/14 11:35 PM.
Re: historic hewing questionnaire [Re: northern hewer] #32176 03/20/14 01:24 AM
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northern hewer Offline OP
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hello everyone tonight

Hey DL--I forgot to mention that the pictures that show a fine example of a small hand sleigh it appears that has just been put together and is in the background sure makes my day, everyone has favorites--small hand sleighs are one of mine--

it appears to have a very high arch ( the distance from the ground to the top of the sleigh's bed), making it for sure to posses characteristics of a particular area, and their sleigh making customs

once again thanks for sharing--really appreciate it

NH

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