Wedgelike, the hatchet can split off the sapwood with one or two strikes. It can also finish that surface with its edge. This is hewing, working close to the margins with waste pieces too weak to open a split ahead of the blade. If you want to cut deeper than a quarter inch or so with the hatchet's edge, just score the waste wood with regularly spaced angled cuts. This prevents the waste wood from building up leverage. We're moving away from splitting and toward cutting. The grain is taking less control — we're taking more.

Hatchets have a divide of their own. Side or broad hatchets are beveled only on one side. The flat side is in line with the direction of the blow, and the bending and splitting force is directed to the waste side of the work. For more precise control, you choke up on the handle and steady the blade with an extended finger or two. If you need to shape a concave surface, you work with the bevel down and the flat face to the waste side.

Broad hatchets are usually handled with the bevel to the right, but George Sturt, in his memoir of work in an 1880s wheelwright's shop, recalled the left-handed side axe belonging to one of the wheelwrights in his father's shop: "Other workmen might be annoyed by apprentices or ignorant boys using their sharp axes; but you didn't do that twice with George Cook's axe—it was too dangerous a trick. Why did the confounded tool, albeit so keen-edged, seem left: A straight-bitted broad hatchet does well on narrow pieces . . .

... but hollowing calls for a rounded bit.

... but hollowing calls for a rounded bit.

Chop holes through fence posts with a narrow-bitted mortising axe.
The hurdle maker's twibil.

to avoid the hard wood and aim viciously towards your thigh, or try to chop your fingers off?"

The broad hatchet, with its single bevel and little lengthwise arc to the edge, excels in places where the wood is narrower than the blade is wide. But strike it into the flat surface of a broad timber, and you'll see why you need a common hatchet—beveled on two sides with a curved bit that will penetrate the wood, just like a felling axe. With it, you can chop two cross-grain notches into the face of a split-out poplar plank and then strike with the grain to split out the waste between them. Quickly you can rough in a wooden bowl, ready for refinement with less risky tools.

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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.

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