It is weird how people adapt to differing woods depending on where they live and what is available. Around here the predominant wood for a historic building covering was sawn white pine, it will just last for better than 100+ years never rot just wear away in the weather.

I am sure that in many areas pine was not available, I have noticed hemlock used, and believe it or not elm for building cladding. The odd time cedar boards seemed to show up, I never could figure out why cedar was not used more frequently, its characteristics being a softer wood like pine, and its resistance to weathering.

One thing that surprised me in my research over the years was the widespread use of pine for shingles, it came up in old newspaper advertisements around 1860 in this area. We did in fact produce shingles from pine shingle bolts at UCV as a test project which stemmed form this research, and applied the shingles to some roofs in order to monitor their durability. This is still ongoing as far as I know.

I still am a firm believer that the close examination of historic structures and the continuing use of the species of timber that the old buildings constructors used is the right way to go in a majority of cases.

Hewing Photo:

I have run across a lovely early picture of a team of hewers flatenning a white pine somewhere in the Ottawa valley timber country. It is a very large pine, and they had prepared a spot to fell it in the forest by clearing the fall path, and laying the tree tops across the open space to cushion the landing.

The one gentleman was using what appears to be about a 10" hewing axe of the North American style, the handle in particular is about 30 inches long, with rectangular in cross section and with a nice sweep up and out, and is hung right handed as it leaves the axe head. The surface that they have just finished seems to be devoid of any tell tale scoring marks, and near the one end a bit of the final pass is still clinging on to the beautiful hewn finish, what a picture!!

The timber is up to the hewers waist, and a gentleman is standing with the scoring axe but I am unable to see details of the handle or the axe head --too bad..

Hope you enjoy