A Yew Bench!

In April 2010, a Yew tree was cut down at my work to make way for an expansion of the bin compound. The trunks were unceremoniously dumped at the bottom of a field and unsurprisingly I wanted to find a use for them.


It took me some time to decide what to do with them but eventually I decided to make a bench for my allotment though there may be a different plan now.

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Early March 2013

If you didn't know what was there, it would be very easy to miss what was hidden:




First job was to trim one log to length so I borrowed a cross-cut saw from my Dad:





and in short order, this beautiful sight


So the next order of business was to section the trunk into two halves. For a short time I considered sawing along the length but I felt it would be too impractical to manage. Instead, I decided to split it. I made some wedges out of wood - lots of wedges. I believe such wedges are called gluts.



Then started the very slow process of hammering the wedges along the trunk. An axe was hit in at one end to make a start then removed and replaced with a wedge. As the wood starts to split, another wedge is put in place.
Slowly the wood splits along it's length. Sometimes a wedge that you think will go right in sticks solid so another one is tapped in to take the pressure off and allow others to be hit in further. I spent three mornings before work tapping away before I got it to split in half.



An annoying break that slowed me down!!











The final bit of hitting:




The end result!



I dragged one half up into a storage area to get it out of the weather but forgot to move the other.

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March 2014.

I transported the half that had been stored inside home in my car (it only just fit!) and got the other half of the trunk into shelter. The 'dry' half was heavy but the half that had been left outside was noticeably more heavy from the damp.

Sunday 9th March
A lovely sunny day prompted the start of some work to get it into some sort of usable shape.

My two little helpers!


Due to the wood having been split, all the fibres along it's length are rough and torn. These need to cut removed.

I let the kids have a play at removing some wood. The best way for them to understand and learn. A plane isn't the best tool for this job but I couldn't find my spokeshave and wasn't going to trust a two year old and a four year old with a drawknife!

They found the results quite fascinating and it was lovely to have them involved.






Onto more serious effort as it would take a lifetime at the rate they were going so out came my old draw knife.



The finish left straight from the draw knife:

Spending time soaking up the sun's rays while making wood shavings is a lovely thing.





This shows how torn the grain fibres can be


and after some time shaving it down


My son was fascinated by the purple staining on one part of the wood. This is a reaction between the wood and some of the metal used in splitting it apart. I hope I can keep some of the purple in the shaping


I didn't want to commit it all to being flat at this stage. I wanted to have the second half alongside this one before I commit to what's the base and what's the back so I switched to using a gouge to remove the torn fibres in the hollows.






A quick check in by the dog!

Done for the day with plenty more to do!




Stewart

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