Hewer

Then from the olive every broad-leaved bough I lopp'd away; then fell'd the tree; and then Went over it both with my axe and plane. Both govern'd by my line. And then I hewed My curious bedstead out; in which I show'd Work of no common hand. — Homer, The Odyssey

The spike dog holds the timber steady.
Snap lines down the length of the log to connect the plumb lines on the ends.

Hewing is classic wedge and edge work. You notch in every foot or two along the length of the log, then come back and split off the wood between the notches. Sometimes these chunks, called juggles or joggles, get split in half and are used to chink the spaces between the logs in an outbuilding, but, more often, they quickly disappear into the fire. Lighter scoring follows and then a cross-grain sweep of the broad axe. This last step can erase all evidence of the steps that went before it, but when enough of the story remains, it makes interesting reading.

We usually judge an artisan's skills by how well the finish of the product conceals the process used to create it. Tool marks on a piece are taken as the sign of unfinished or careless work. The hewer of wood, however, can finish the day proudly leaving behind a blow-by-blow testimony of the process on every timber. If you study the axe marks on the posts and beams of an old barn, you can almost see the person on the other end of the axe handle. You can see not just the strength, endurance, and control of the hewer, but also his judgment. The spacing of the notches (if traces remain) tells you how much wood the hewer figured he could split away. Looking at that same length of wood—considering the species and the run of the grain—would you have judged the same?

Woodworking Tools and Installation Tips

Woodworking Tools and Installation Tips

There are a lot of things that either needs to be repaired, or put together when youre a homeowner. If youre a new homeowner, and have just gotten out of apartment style living, you might want to take this list with you to the hardware store. From remolding jobs to putting together furniture you can use these 5 power tools to get your stuff together. Dont forget too that youll need a few extra tools for other jobs around the house.

Get My Free Ebook


Post a comment