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Cleaving Oak.

This is an example based on cleaving Oak for  the palings  we have been making.

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1.- using an axe head; make a shallow cut in a straight line, going through the pith and halving the trunk.

2. – Knock axe head into trunk (about2 3rds of the way up the cut), as far as possible. The tree will begin to split – the tree in the picture had some rot inside the trunk and so strayed from the initial cut i had made.

…Leaving room underneath for it for a second axe head (1 3rd up). Then knock both axe heads into trunk. (using a maul to get more power)

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3.Put a wedge in the middle of the axe heads (centre of trunk), removing axe heads when there is no need for them, they usually begin to slide down inside the split.

4.Usually, after inserting the wedge the tree will begin to split down its side, you then can either; insert wedges to “leapfrog” each other, until the tree splits though, or you can use the splitting maul to hit the tree at the peak of the split to make it continue. As we only had the one wedge i used the maul.

5. You can then continue this process, until the tree is the size required – we did 8ths and took them back to Ians barn.

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6.At the barn we continued to split the pieces in half, using the same process as mentioned.

7. Using a cleaving break and a froe when the sections were too small to use axe heads. The techniques in this part of the process is to put the piece into the break and twist the froe to split the wood, using the sound the splitting makes (a tearing sound means the split is running out of the wood), and watching the split in the side, you can apply pressure on top of the section (turing the wood over so that the top is the required side) to encourage the split to run downwards and hopefully remain central- this is more difficult depending on the individual tree.

8. Then when the wood is the right size we tidied the pieces (now paling size) using a draw knife. Initially i began spending a bit too much time making the palings look nice, when for this particular task it wasnt necessary.

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