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Author Topic: Hewing - Larch cruck collars
Ken Hume
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Post Hewing - Larch cruck collars
on: May 18, 2014, 07:50
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With the return of warmth and birdsong to the woodland (May 2014) we took the opportunity to have a go at hewing to make a cambered cruck collar from a relatively small diameter larch butt log.

In preparation for hewing recently felled timbers we made some long timber bunks out of some 1987 windblown larch logs that had been lying in a pile in the woodland overgrown by brambles.

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This excercise has helped determine just how well larch stands up to the ravages of decay and insect degredation over a period approaching nearly 30 years in a challenging woodland environment.

Outwardly the 1987 larch log looked to be quite sound with a smooth hard skin but underneath this skin the sapwood was badly decayed however we were encouraged to discover that the heartwood was generally sound.

Long horn beetle had moved in to bore through the decayed sap wood but neither decay nor insects had made any inroads into the larch heartwood demonstrating that this timber is eminantly suitable for making buildings that will be exposed to weather. Long horn will make early inroads into larch sapwood first becoming established by burrowing in the cambium layer before taking a nose dive into the sapwood. This type of infestation can be significantly reduced if the bark is removed

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A timber bunk is placed side by side with the timber to be hewed and then the hewer is able to stand with one foot on a bunk and the other on the timber to be hewed.

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The long handled axe is used to hew the log with this entering the log ahead of the hewer and following a path that runs beneath the hewer's feet thereby eliminating the possibility of injury to the hewer's limb and feet extremities - Think and Work Safe !!!

Ken Hume

Ken Hume
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Posts: 431
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Post Re: Hewing - Larch cruck collars
on: May 30, 2014, 17:57
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If logs have been dragged along the ground or have been covered with mud or dirt then it is prudent to peel the log prior to hewing to help limit the possibility of embeded grit and stones from damaging the axe blade.

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The peeling process can be undertaken using a simple garden spade with the above larch logs taking about an hour or so to peel. It is sensible to peel logs several days ahead of hewing to give the logs a chance to surface dry so that slippage and movement is avoided.

Once peeled it becomes easy to see whether spiral grain is present and also whether the localised presence of knots will determine whether or not a log can be used to make a satisfactory structural beam or post.

A fairly clear length of log is cut from a 2nd log and then pulled to the hewing bunks.

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Where a beam is to be used in a scribe rule frame then hewing can procede on a relatively simple basis with the hewer working the log using hand and eye coordination to produce a fairly regular scantling with the long handled Kent pattern roughing axe.

The log is initially rolled, positioned and dogged in single vertical plane mode so that two fairly parallel vertical surfaces can be produced. The remaining two faces are then hewn to follow the natural line of the curves present in the timber.

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The Kent patern hewing axe has a thick blade and stout handle to allow for rough leverage of juggles.

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Ken Hume

Ken Hume
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Posts: 431
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Post Re: Hewing - Larch cruck collar
on: June 2, 2014, 17:39
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After rough hewing the log is raised on timber bunks to facilitate finish hewing.

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The raised rough hewn log ready for finish hewing.

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A Gilpin hewing axe is used to produce a smooth finished hewn surface.

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The Gilpin hewing axe has a thinner blade and shorter handle than the Kent pattern rough hewing axe and is capable of removing very thin shavings of wood to produce a fine finished surface ready for marking and layup.

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A good alternative to the Gilpin hewing axe is the Brades hewing axe.

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The Brades axe was found to have a loose handle and later was rehandled by Derrick with a hand made ash handle fitted with a yew wedge.

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Ken Hume

Ken Hume
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Posts: 431
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Post Re: Hewing - Larch cruck collars
on: June 20, 2014, 06:15
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We have now made 3 hand hewn cruck collars

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and will now move onto making tie beams.

Ken Hume

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