Maybe you’re a little weird like me. Since I started hand tool woodworking a year ago, I notice trees a lot more than I use too. Two blocks down the street there’s a pine tree probably 3 feet in diameter and 40 feet tall. Straight as an arrow. As I go by it I often fantasize about the Roubo bench I could make out of it. Same thing happens whenever I see logs in a yard from a cut tree. So 4 weeks ago, I didn’t think anything of it when I stopped and asked a young couple if I could have two logs from their red oak tree that fell over after a storm. This tree had been in good shape and well cared for. The trunk was about 18″ in diameter, so a good sized log. Surely I can get a few mallets out of it.
Tonight I started splitting one of the logs.
Both of the logs have been riding around in the back of my truck since I picked them up. And a few cracks had begun to develop at each end. I started my wedge in one crack that was opening up from the oldest growth rings, which were not centered in this log. I quickly realized hitting a wedge with a sledge hammer was not as easy as it looks. Thank goodness for plastic handles is all I can say. Quickly the crack began to open and spread and in short order I had a good size piece split off, which I promptly split once more. These are the two pieces laying down. I think I can get some handles out of those two. Tomorrow I’m going to split the remainder of the log in two for mallet heads.
Be safe and check back soon.