Making Shingles

I went back to John Waller at Bore Place to pick up a couple of oak logs from him.  They were a bit larger than he’d anticipated; 18″ of heartwood rather than 12″ and were thus rather more expensive – twenty quid each.

They also weighed a ton.  John is a hefty chap but even he couldn’t spin one round on his finger and pop it in the back of my car.  I barely managed to pick the damned things up!

They are, without doubt, two beautiful chunks of oak.  John sought out a couple of chunks with a really straight grain.  They’re about 12″ deep; the length I want the shingles to be.

The first task is to split the logs.  That needs wedges or an axe.  I used a large axe and knocked it in along the radial grain using a lump hammer.  Having produced five pie-shaped (that’s a technical term) pieces the next task is to take off the bark and the sapwood to leave the heartwood.

The bark on this piece is already gone.  The dark ring around the edge of the log is the sapwood.  Using the froe and mallet I (tried to) split off the sapwood.  I have to say the experience didn’t fill me with confidence.  The oak wouldn’t split the length of the log.  The handle of the froe kept coming out as well.

Stay turned for the wailing and gnashing of teeth (and probably a little off-blog swearing).

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