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Re: historic hewing questionnaire [Re: northern hewer] #33129 09/07/15 12:33 AM
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northern hewer Offline OP
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hello everyone tonight

Hello Don

Good question--fresh --seasoned --or dry-

I always hewed --newly felled trees--now to explain that term-----

This does not mean trees felled a week prior to hewing, but trees that were felled the previous winter, trees, pine in particular--that still had it bark on--

the bark helps to keep the logs damp, and I preferred to use logs that still had the bark in a tight condition, it gave me good footing especially while hewing on the first side--after that side you always had a good flat surface to stand on, remember I always roll the flattened side up using my technique

Now another little thing--using the construction of the 3 bay English Barn we reconstructed at UCV as an example

As the logs arrived on site say many 12, 16, as well as the 30 to 40 footers--say three years worth of hewing--they were immediately rolled into the mill pond and moored in a safe location

As I needed them we would enlist a good team of horses and retrieve then as required--the water served various purposes--it kept the bugs and worms away, kept the logs moist and easy to hew, and conditioned the wood by eliminating some of the pine
gum especially in the sap layer, after 1 year the bark would loosen and the water conditioned logs were dry on their surfaces and real nice to work with

Now red cedar--not my favorite wood to hew by any stretch of the imagination, very soft and spongy, and I might add hard to get a good finished surface--but having said that there were times that cedar needed hewing--log cabins and log houses, and floor supports in damp locations, usually large cedars flattened only on one side--cedar still remains the #1 wood to resist rotting when subjected to the elements--just have to put this tidbit in--the floor supports under our 140 year old Lutheran church sit only a few inches above ground level but remain in excellent condition yet--they look like they were just flattened yesterday

In my career I hewed 80 --8by8's for the stockade at Fort Henry in Kingston--I am going to tell you I was glad when that was finished

I hope that I have answered some of your questions

enjoy

NH

Re: historic hewing questionnaire [Re: northern hewer] #33130 09/07/15 06:36 AM
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D Wagstaff Offline
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As they say all the time, one thing leads to another, and it does.
Probably many people would agree that the squaring-up time comes best the year after the tree gets laid low, and I would too. Don't get me wrong now, I like to go at in on the freshly felled tree as well, it is just that little bit better the next season. At all costs cutting into dried wood that way should be avoided by way of good planning otherwise something has gone wrong from the outset.

Also, I'm more and more convinced of the benefits of watering in most cases. Too bad the practice has been largely dropped by and large except for some specialists taking the right approach.

The key to getting it right with red cedar is keeping that cutting edge keenly sharpened. It means frequently stopping the chopping and maybe even stropping. Still, the right axe type can also come to your aid when things there are going rough.

Last edited by D Wagstaff; 09/07/15 06:40 AM.
Re: historic hewing questionnaire [Re: northern hewer] #33131 09/08/15 12:12 AM
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northern hewer Offline OP
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Hello everyone tonight

Hi Don and others--

Traditionally the hewing took place in the off season, mainly in the winter months, a season when the focus on farm life began to slow down, and you began to look ahead --firewood, which needed to be harvested 1 year ahead to allow for curing was high on the agenda, at the same time harvesting logs needed for a future building, both for squaring and lumber needs went hand in hand with firewood harvesting--and don't forget clearing the land was ongoing for 2 or 3 generations

The cool weather made hewing easier, and the frosty wood yielded easily under the steady blows of the chopping and hewing axe(s), already stressed by freezing temperatures

Trying to reconstruct some of these old processes in really warm temperatures is challenging to say the least, and virtually impossible for many reasons

enjoy

NH

Re: historic hewing questionnaire [Re: northern hewer] #33136 09/08/15 11:41 PM
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TIMBEAL Offline
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Cedar will make you question your skills at sharpening, I often compare it to a sponge. Nothing better than a pond soaked stick of white pine, the bugs can still get into the surface sticking out of the water, the rest is perfect.


A little hewing for a set of cruck blades sawn this summer, spruce. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kUSwEJOyLIQ

Re: historic hewing questionnaire [Re: northern hewer] #33140 09/09/15 06:00 PM
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Nice video Tim. Nice stick of spruce too. How come we always end up hewing in the summer?

Re: historic hewing questionnaire [Re: northern hewer] #33141 09/10/15 12:36 AM
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northern hewer Offline OP
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hello everyone tonight

Just a little something about cedar

One year a few moons ago our restoration division decided to pull out the old shingle saw from storage and cut a quantity of cedar shingles for a roof replacement

The cedar had been cut into 18 inch bolts and by the time we got around to actually sawing them it was mid winter, Well let me tell you the frozen cedar did not cut well, just like cutting into oak, so the morale of this story is don't let the cedar freeze before trying to work with it.

One thing that we did settle was this--there was quite a discussion at that time about how much horsepower it took to drive a shingle saw, some said that it was run with a 2 horse treadmill, some said that it was run with a sweep power-these machines could accommodate 4 horses, I at that time knowing what I know about circular blades having to rotate at a certain speed and be kept there when under load said that I felt the machine had to be driven with a steam engine preferably about 30 to 40 horsepower

Well we enlisted a Massey 35 diesel (35) hp to power the shingle saw, and it took all its power to drive it

enjoy

NH

Re: historic hewing questionnaire [Re: northern hewer] #33143 09/10/15 11:12 AM
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Cedar, it is a peculiar wood, I think we can all agree. Of course I have it over Thuja plicata, no cedar at all, I don't know about the rest.

Re: historic hewing questionnaire [Re: northern hewer] #33154 09/13/15 12:38 AM
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--hello everyone tonight

You know, as I remember back to the actual framing that commenced after the timbers were hewn, some things stand out in my mind that really worked well

First off--laying out measurements accurately--without the use of tape measures--well we used measuring poles of varying lengths--and you know it worked exceptionally well

We used 1.25" square straight grain oak for the body of the poles, slightly chamfered on the edges and sanded just a little, the ends sloped to a sharp square point, over which the blacksmith manufactured metal ends, also that ended with a squared sharp end, so that repetitive use would not shorten the poles--remember you were using scratch awls as marking tools along the ends so some wear would definitely happen if used up against just wood ends

We had poles from 36" long, 6', 8', 10' and 12 feet

Together with a 36" wood Blind man's folding rule, you could come up with just about any measurement, and do it accurately

The 6', 8' and 10' poles were great when the need to check the square position of a post location and its braces, as you worked your way along a timber bent as it was being manufactured--for those that might not understand, each bent of any structure was laid out horizontally on the ground, and the posts and their braces fitted, and everything squared up as you worked along

As each bent was finished it was dismantled, each part marked in such a way that the whole unit could be reassembled quickly on the day of the raising

enjoy

NH

Re: historic hewing questionnaire [Re: northern hewer] #33155 09/13/15 11:40 PM
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We are lofting off the shop floor, plumb line scribing. A small cabin, 20'x21' with a light cruck as the center bent. The crucks are in the video I posted above.

Re: historic hewing questionnaire [Re: northern hewer] #33157 09/14/15 06:51 AM
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D Wagstaff Offline
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Tim, you say, "lofting" and then "plumb line scribing" and I wonder exactly what you mean. Plumb line scribing is more clear to me but lofting is interesting because it's Norwegian and I've seen you use those unified knee braces just like the Norwegians. Is that how you use the word, that you'er using a Norwegian method?

I might as well get back to this one. This axe is intended for squaring up rafters, but will do for any smaller dimensions.



These are 120 x 120 mm rafters. Six plus meters in length. Flat but not straight.


Last edited by D Wagstaff; 09/14/15 06:52 AM.
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