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Thread: Making wood wedges

  1. #1

    Making wood wedges

    I haven't really had a place to set up shop in a long time, so I my woodworking has been limited. Most of my tools are scattered around, stored in friend's shops or warehouses at the lumberyard where I work, or at other people's homes. I have started to gather them together, but I need some really basic stuff that has to be made. I think it will be fun, and a real challenge, to start with a bow saw, a hatchet, and a pocket knife and make some of the basic things I need.
    The first step is to make dogwood wedges. Ms. Charming and I are clearing out for our garden, so there is lots of wood to work with. Dogwoods were among the trees to be removed, two were cut along with some other small trees. The next step is cutting the trunks into short lengths and sharpening both ends.

    dogwood wedges 05.jpg


    dogwood wedges 06.jpg
    To make two wedges from each length, the sharpened lengths were cut in half with a bow saw.

    dogwood wedges 07.jpg


    The tops were beveled to reduce splitting when being pounded by a maul or sledge.


    Dogwood wedges 03.jpg

    The wedges range from about 2" thick and 9" long, to about 3" thick and 12" long. With the price of steel wedges today, this will save a lot of money for actual wood working projects.

    dogwood-wedges-011-B.jpg
    I put a sealer on the ends to reduce the splitting that may occur as the wedges dry out. This limits the effects of moisture leaving too quickly from the end grain, and causing the end wood fibers to shrink more rapidly than the fibers in the body of the wedge.

    I will be using these wedges to make other projects. It would be good to have a wooden maul and a shaving horse.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  2. #2
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    Aha, gluts! I was wondering how best to make them.

    Thanks,
    Pam

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Pam Niedermayer View Post
    Aha, gluts! I was wondering how best to make them.

    Thanks,
    Pam
    Seems to be a glut of gluts!

    If you're going to be digging out the stumps, make mauls out of the root burls. Drew Langsner says root mauls are the toughest.
    Steve, mostly hand tools. Click on my name above and click on "Visit Homepage" to see my woodworking blog.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Branam View Post
    Seems to be a glut of gluts!

    If you're going to be digging out the stumps, make mauls out of the root burls. Drew Langsner says root mauls are the toughest.
    Thanks for suggesting that! I will have to dig the roots up anyway, I wish I had left a little of the truck attached.

  5. #5
    My father used to say "Wedge, the simplest tool known to man". We all knew what he meant when he called to us "Hey Wedge...".

  6. #6
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    Pam,
    Are you going to be working with cedar or oak?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Vanzant View Post
    Pam,
    Are you going to be working with cedar or oak?
    Probably red oak, have piles of branches stacked. Why do you ask?

    Pam

  8. #8
    When I was younger we loved Sassafras tea, made by boiling the bark of the roots. (now considered toxic, if I'm not mistaken ) It was a royal pain to dig them out. We finally realized how easy it was to wrap a chain around a partially excavated root and pull it out with the tractor. Best just after a rainfall. A jack ( long stick over a fulcrum ) worked almost as well if the tractor were out of gas or my dad had driven it into the lake again. No, not inebriated; rather, mowing the weeds as close to the water as possible and going a little closer than that.

  9. #9
    HF had steel wedges for $0.99 each a few years back but dogwood is more authentic

    Just checked they are $4.99 now, should have bought more than two ...
    aka rarebear - Hand Planes 101 - RexMill - The Resource

  10. #10
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    I think red oak will make the better wedge for splitting.

  11. #11
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    take a piece of rived (split) red oak, put one end in some water and blow on the other end, and you will see why red oak rots so quickly.
    Jr.
    Hand tools are very modern- they are all cordless
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Vanzant View Post
    I think red oak will make the better wedge for splitting.
    What a relief. I've never used a glut before, but my riving has been hindered by the gap closing when I move the steel splitter.

    Pam

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Pam Niedermayer View Post
    What a relief. I've never used a glut before, but my riving has been hindered by the gap closing when I move the steel splitter.

    Pam
    Yikes, make sure you use gluts and always have at least two things in the gap when you move a wedge! There's enough spring force in a partially split log to snap shut and trap or crush you hand. The next time the wedge gets trapped and you have to knock it out sideways, just imagine if that was your hand in there!
    Steve, mostly hand tools. Click on my name above and click on "Visit Homepage" to see my woodworking blog.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Branam View Post
    Yikes, make sure you use gluts and always have at least two things in the gap when you move a wedge! There's enough spring force in a partially split log to snap shut and trap or crush you hand. The next time the wedge gets trapped and you have to knock it out sideways, just imagine if that was your hand in there!
    Couldn't agree more, I never stuck my hand in the split, took some cutoffs and "wedged" them; but they didn't work as smoothly as a glut would.

    Pam

  15. #15
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    Reid - While a bit too late with the particular tree pictured, making a maul out of the stump-end of a dogwood is worth the pain of having to dig the roots out. Specifically, the end that one uses to beat against a froe (or a steel wedge) is made out of the root flare, with the handle being about 3-4 long & shaved down from the trunk above the roots. Wooden mauls aren't long-lasting tools since the wood on the surface gets chipped up by the edge of the froe or steel wedge, but if made this way they will last at least a season of hard work, or several years of occasional-to-frequent use.

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