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Re: historic hewing questionnaire [Re: northern hewer] #33080 08/11/15 11:56 AM
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D Wagstaff Offline
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I bring to Bernard, see if he is willing, he did such a nice job on the last, a bit from new 100 year old axel stock and an insert of the finest Swedish high carbon content steel.

Re: historic hewing questionnaire [Re: northern hewer] #33081 08/11/15 11:58 PM
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northern hewer Offline OP
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Hi Don

you got to be careful with the high carbon steel, things were much simpler in the 1860's, not such a selection and the blacksmiths were used to what was available then.

It is a funny thing about steel if it is too hard it becomes brittle, and not really nice to work with

A good axe's cutting edge needs to be hard but just to the point that you cannot file it easily, something like saw steel. If you try filing it, it will chatter, and make a screeching sound, but will remove some steel--and will hone up nicely near the end, and hold the edge

Richard
NH

let us know how things turn out

Re: historic hewing questionnaire [Re: northern hewer] #33082 08/13/15 08:24 PM
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There's a meeting of the blacksmiths tomorrow, I can only hope for good news.

Re: historic hewing questionnaire [Re: northern hewer] #33083 08/15/15 04:47 PM
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Here I have done the rough hewing the way I like it.

Re: historic hewing questionnaire [Re: northern hewer] #33084 08/17/15 01:05 AM
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northern hewer Offline OP
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hello everyone tonight

that sure looks like a nice rough scoring technique, now the finishing pass--for those looking in it would be nice to see your procedure for that part, maybe a view as you are partly finished so we all can see that happening

enjoy

Richard
NH

Re: historic hewing questionnaire [Re: northern hewer] #33085 08/18/15 12:54 AM
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northern hewer Offline OP
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hello everyone tonight

Hi Don

I was just wondering if you vertically scored before rough hewing, I always did and from what I can deduce at least in this area the old timers did also at approx. 16" intervals, and quickly cut off large pieces which usually laid around on the ground--as I look at the photo you posted I can not make out any large pieces in the background

Just wondering

Richard

NH

Re: historic hewing questionnaire [Re: northern hewer] #33086 08/18/15 07:19 AM
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Gee Richard, it's like pulling teeth to get anyone else to pipe in. Oh well, I'm enjoying it and can maybe pick up some more pointers.

You know, I notch but have never liked the notching technique of standing a top the log and chopping them - low, high, middle, left low, high, middle right, with sideways blows. It creates too much force against there with the risk of tilting the log, particularly smaller ones, out of vertical position which has been so carefully established by marks on the endgrain and anchored in that position with a pair of log dogs.

Lately I have unified one squaring-up method with a pair of axes intended to get the work done with great efficiency, one is called "bandhacke" and one is called "breitbeil, German names. The bandhacke for rough wasting and the breitbeil for the final cleaning up pass, axes with quite opposing principles. The bandhacke with its long and narrow bit for directed power and penetration, the breitbeil with a broad flattened surface for creating a plane.

Anyway, you ask about the notching and I pointed out that I do it with a particular axe. Problem is that in normal use chopping down with the bandhacke, it is done in tandem, one chopping the left side of the v notch one chopping down the right side in alternating blown. Really impressive to watch and it gets the job done quick like that. But I am an L.W., lone worker, so mostly working by myself. Still I want to use this axe and avoid those awkward sideways chopping blows, so I have had to adapt. Now I will stand along side the log, start one half of a notch with three or four blows and then reposition myself to chop with three or four swings down the other side of the notch. It sounds awkward and cumbersome when writing and reading but in actually doing it it goes well and in no time I am chopping out through the bottom.

With the notches there like you say at those intervals then I go along-side the stem and knock the wood in-between off also with this bandhacke. I have an asymmetric grind on one particular band hack, it also has its handle sweeping out to the left very slightly, then I press my right thigh against the stem and with full and unequivocal blows chopping perpendicular in the direction of the ground I can knock the chunks off but more importantly establish the vertical orientation of the side of the timber at this point so I don't have to pay so much attention to that when cleaning up with the breitbeil.

Last edited by Cecile en Don Wa; 08/18/15 07:25 AM.
Re: historic hewing questionnaire [Re: northern hewer] #33094 08/21/15 12:42 AM
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northern hewer Offline OP
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hello everyone tonight

Thanks for staying with me, and pointing out your hewing technique, it sure sounds different but you know it gets the job done
My father used to say "there is more than one way to do everything", and you know as I worked my way through life I discovered the truth to that statement, having worked with many good tradesmen

I will say that you could really tell the ones that had a family background rooted in European history techniques, no more than one or two generations back, or those that immigrated to North America in the fifties

Enjoy

NH

Re: historic hewing questionnaire [Re: northern hewer] #33095 08/21/15 07:49 AM
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Hi Richard,

So many techniques that have all developed independently of one another and even some, I dare say, have come about on a strictly individual basis.
I have often dreamed of a gathering of woodworkers with these different skills coming together to make comparisons and exchanging ideas. Who knows maybe such a gathering would only end in blows and blood noses and black eyes, if there were too much beer and wine involved.

I think one important thing is to analyse every single action and movement after the fact. I know when I first began I didn't go at it like that and I sort of switched my brain off a few paces before I reached the squaring-up station and let my feelings be the guide, just like when I was kid playing on the little league baseball team. I was the pitcher but if I concentrated too much on the target it was all over for me, I always had to look away at the last moment.

Re: historic hewing questionnaire [Re: northern hewer] #33096 08/22/15 01:45 AM
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northern hewer Offline OP
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hello everyone tonight

Very well said, I too felt strongly about just a hewing gathering of enthusiasts that would be well advertised as a forum to compare the modern and historical squaring of timber, the historical and modern tools, and techniques

It seems to me that safety is being shoved aside as I view how some are approaching the hands on work of squaring timber on the internet

I know first hand that there are gaping holes when one tries to put forth accurate re enactments, the one I remember quite well involved the staging of a barn raising using a single gin pole and horse power

dressing accurately the participants was a breeze--lots of info available--hewing and framing, manufacturing wood pins, the commanders--fair amount of info available--

Where the problem started to get tricky was carrying out the raising tasks historically accurate--in most cases there is not much to go on--putting up the long purlins--slender long squared stems, with many mortises which weakened its integrity--had to be handled with kid gloves, no chance of breaking, or no raising!!

The gin pole, had to be strong enough, but not too large to become unmanageably heavy, getting it raised from ground level to an angle that the long peeves could take over--men can only lift so high, on the first lift, but not high enough for the long peeves, what I did was to have a group with short peeves to take over from the lifters to raise the gin about another 5 or 6 feet--here the long peeves came on board and some danger develops because the gin if it faltered on the third lift it could come back down on the initial lifters--here again the long peeves had to be jabbed well into the gin, no chance of slipping out

For anyone attempting such a re-enactment, be sure to instruct everyone involved prior to the lift so they know their role and the dangers to themselves and others

I found that one of the greatest dangers was as the gin was being hoisted to its correct angle and stayed, the men seemed to relax, I had 4 men on each peeve, and one group seemed to not be aware of the weight of the long peevee, and one came down narrowly missing a worker near the bottom of the gin

a scary moment for me being in charge of every aspect

It ended up going up well, each bent going up with groans from the pulleys, and all the gin pole stays taking the strain of the lift--starting the lift when the bents were nearly horizontal was the maximum strain on everything, it really settled and tried all the rigging--I was using 1" manila horse fork rope rigged in triple pulleys at the top of the gin and double pulleys on the bents--these pulleys were used to move barns and were strong

got to go now

enjoy

Richard
NH

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