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It’s pretty easy to think that modern tools and techniques are the only way to reduce a piece of stock to size. In fact, methods handed down since edged tools existed are still extremely effective. One perfect example is riving — taking a chunk of log and reducing it to the rough size and shape for your project by using a stick and froe.

The most interesting part is how quick and straight the work turns out to be. If split from the end on with a straight blade (and I’m guessing a little practice), wood is very predictable in the way it separates. A recent program on frontier cabin building featured a pair of guys using the same method to build siding for a log cabin-style house. The resulting planking was remarkably even and straight for jumped-up timber. Though they needed some heavy wedges and a jig framework to hold the board, the process was exactly the same as the one in this video.

It’s a shade on the brutal side, and the result is far from a finished material — but you can indeed rough-cut lumber in the middle of nowhere with surprising accuracy.

Riving Boards [YouTube]


5 Responses to Video Friday: Riving Wood

  1. Adam says:

    What’s also a pretty rad process to watch is how to hew a log with just an axe

  2. Ian says:

    Not as far from finished as i once thought. Not 2 minutes through the planer but less than 10 with a couple hand planes and it’d be perfect – and no sanding!

  3. ROb says:

    The trick is finding straight grained wood.

  4. Chris says:

    What the heck kind of wood is that? The chair itself looks like oak, but the wood being split looks too “stringy” to be oak.


  5. Ryan says:

    It looks easy but in fact, takes a lot of practice. My dad used to to it as he was into furniture making. First time i tried it myself, i had to use the handplaner on it after.

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