Thursday, May 28, 2009

New shaving horse and riving wood.

For a long time now I have wanted to make myself a shaving horse. And as the tent that Louise and I are working on is almost finished, I am definately going to need a shavinghorse for making the tentpoles. So a couple of weeks ago I decided to do something about it.

I called the local forester and bought a 5m long trunk of ash. And thats what I made this beauty from :-)

I have been reading alot about greenwood working lately, so I decided that it would be interesting to try making "The horse" from fresh riven wood. Hence the call to the forester.
With help from a colleague of mine I got the trunk sawn in to smaller pieces, that I could work with.

I then split the wood into quarters, that I could transport home (also with the help of my colleague and his trailer).
At home I rived the quarters into eights, wich were shaped into planks that I could use for making the bench. For that I used a small single bevel axe that my dear friend Jesper (Ildsmeden) made for me last year.

When riving large pieces of wood (that you want to split evenly down the centre) start by scoring the wood in a straight line across the end of the log. Make sure that the two halfs are of equal size.

Scoring the end of the log will create a plane of weakness through the wood, that will guide the split.

Start riving from the edge of the wood with the wedge set at 45 degres.

The wedge will open a split across the end and down the length of the log. Open this split further using wooden wedges, set into the split running down the side of the log.

Continue hammering wooden wedges into the split until the log cracks open.
You will need an axe to clear out crossing fibers in the wood.

The result should be two halfs of equal size.

And here is a picture of how clean the split can actually be.
It's pretty incredible if you ask me!

For more info on riving and greenwood working, take a look at these sites:

Peter Follansbee, joiner's notes (Blog)

Bodgers ask & anwser forum


  1. Scoring that line across the end of the log is something I hadn't known about before. Looks like it works like a champ. Thanks, Mikkel!


  2. It sure does. I read about it at
    If you don't score the wood I guess the split will run to the side after it crosses the pith.
    The split will always follow weaknesses in the wood.

  3. Hi,

    What's an other name for scoring?
    Or what tool do u need it for



  4. Scoring is the only word I know for it.

    I used a steele wedge, but an axe would also do just fine. Just be sure to be acurate. You dont want to create weaknesses in the wood where you aren't going to split it.

    Use an axe and skrike it with a wooden mallet or club of some sort.

  5. hello,
    I've been playing with riving wooden logs (pine). It's not as difficult as it seems. But I have a problem with choosing properly dried wood.
    Did You work on freshly cut or seasoned logs? If seasoned, than for how long?
    best regards from Poland,

  6. I would prefer as fresh wood as I could possibly get my hands on.

  7. Put your goggles on!