Splitting Out Black Locust Billets, and Some Talking Points About Splitting Logs

I usually finish videos late at night and then try to throw a blog post together to go with them so it will come out on the same morning.  I'm often struggling to stay awake by then though and have made some pretty lame typos recently.  This time I figured I'd just be behind a day and do this while I'm not falling asleep.  I scored this Black Locust from a tree that was cut down on a construction site and managed to score some logs for wood working projects, mostly tool handles.  Black Locust is one of my favorite woods and makes great handles.  I could do a blog post just on the virtues of Black Locust.  I took the opportunity to film the job and talk about typical approaches and problems related to splitting billets out.  I would have liked to do the more in depth lecture style version of this video, but I'm pretty busy with time sensitive spring chores right now to take that on.  I'll get to it some time, and I'm pretty damn excited about it actually, but for now, most of what anyone needs to know about the subject can be gleaned out of this version.  Also, this is in a practical setting, so it's real life which is useful.  There are some bullet points below:


A few Bullet Points


    *Before Splitting, assess the log looking for knots and observe the bark pattern to determine how straight the grain is.

    *Splitability of wood varies by species and specimen.  Some split easy, some don't.  Some tend to stay on track and some tend to run askew.

    *Wood generally splits easiest along radial lines from the center out to the edges, but there are exceptions.

    *Wood can also split pretty easily by splitting along the growth rings.

    *Runout is when the split travels off to one side rather than following the grain lines.  Runout is more common when a small piece is split off of a larger piece, so it is the safer bet to split things into halves.

    *Runout can also be prevented by chasing the split along as it progresses rather than just splitting if from one end with a fat wedge.

    *Knots are a major hinderance when splitting with the growth rings, but can be split in half when splitting along the radial lines.

    *Wooden wedges are fine if you don't have steel, but make them flat in both dimensions, from side to side and tip to butt.  Also, chamfer the butt ends and they will last a lot longer.