Ax(e) in t’leg. [NB, this post has no gruesome pictures of slight flesh wounds] (Thank Goodness – Ed)

In the 7 or so years I’ve been in this game I can’t recall any axe accidents.  Other, maybe, than a few nail shaving events, but no major catastrophes.  I was hewing today in a somewhat untutored manner, preparing the seat for the current oak bench and somehow  (well I know exactly how really) I followed through a blow into my calf – the worst damage was a hole in my fairly new working trousers (two layers).  Bit of a flesh wound too, but nothing a medium sized bandage couldn’t cope with.  Surprisingly little blood, probably my age, but my fingers still bleed like fury from tiny nicks.  Anyway, enough of that, here is the oak before I started hewing.

SAMSUNG CSCI went to Summerbridge to buy the oak butt from Nidd Valley Sawmill (there’s been a mill there since 1540). First I had to wait for a mixed load to be expertly stacked from a timber lorry.


Just look at that perfect Yorkshire blue sky (it’s always sunshine in Yorkshire).

I sometimes wish I had something like that, but then …

I had a good old chin wag with the man in charge, mainly about the way the whole economics of the timber trade have been sadly distorted by the biomass energy fad.  He is finding it more difficult to source timber to add to his 40,000 cu foot stock.

A very small portion of 40,000 cu ft.

A very small portion of 40,000 cu ft.

He was most concerned about not tipping my rather small trailer over with the large lump of oak on board.


Please note, the sledge NEVER made contact with my pretty 2.5 lb Kentish pattern axe – I use a wooden maul (out of shot).

I guess it weighed more than a ton(ne).  It was a challenge to open up – took about an hour.  I am more and more finding that the way to deal with awkward splits is to start them by getting the axe embedded partly into the sapwood and partly into the heartwood and sinking it until a split opens on the bark profile, and then I get the wedges in.

SAMSUNG CSCI am usually very fastidious about changing from steel to wooden wedges as soon as possible so I can hack away at crossing fibers, which latter you can see above (betwixt the axe and the steel wedge).  Immediately after I took this photo I nudged the wedge with the axe – 20 minutes on the grindstone and honing put that right again.  Riving a butt is an energetic job (Showing your softee Lancastrian roots? – Ed).


See the axe on the left? – that’s the one that bit me!)

Eventually I’d got the beggar split into three.

SAMSUNG CSCThe split the little one into two – so three and two makes four huh?

Anyway, I’m going to mill off the bench seat, following the split, and I’m hoping to get a slab just as good as fully riven, but with less waste – this butt is not straight-grained.

I’ve been doing lots of other things, not so exciting for others but time demanding – attending wet shows.  This is really mad – we are having our best Summer for years and yet I’ve been at 3 wet shows this Summer, bummer.  Also making hurdles.

SAMSUNG CSCThese are special order – barriers to corgi pup escape attempts.  My mate Dave Jackson, whom I met at a wet show in Leicestershire, had just fulfilled an order for 50 sheep hurdles  for an Oxfordshire sheep auction.  I bet there are not many people who are able to say that they provided sheep hurdles within the last 20 or 30 years.

SAMSUNG CSCBy request, I made a Parson Jack Russel terrier today and it immediately started chasing the peace-loving wood-loving pigs.

I just relaxed and watched the smoke rising …




4 thoughts on “Ax(e) in t’leg. [NB, this post has no gruesome pictures of slight flesh wounds] (Thank Goodness – Ed)

  1. sorry to hear your ax bit you, glad you’re not severely wounded. the ax that bit you….where did you get it?, what sort is it? (I want one like that and can’t find one).
    Karl ( who is called “K”)

    • Hi Karl,

      The hewing axe is made by Goldberg who operated in Lorraine. It is similar to the ax Peter Folansbee uses, but not the same make. I’ve found this info on them on another thread:
      “Goldenburg was a company that has apparently been around since at least 1835. It was founded by Gustav Goldberg. Their plants were built in the Alsace / Lorraine areas of France, which explains why the history of the company can be found on both French and German websites. The German website had the most detailed early history of Goldenberg company. The French website is a forum where a French guy had found an old Goldenberg. The translations didn’t give me a lot of information, but the pictures were fun to look at.”

      “Goldenberg and company started making hardware and edged tools around 1851( Alsace) merged with another company in 1924 then merged with peugeot freres and ceased in the mid 80s when Stanley took them over.”

      It is a fine axe, but terribly sharp. I had to get the Steri-Strips out this morning to patch the knee up. Much better now.

  2. Wow, that’s hard labor and made the more difficult on the back of a truck where you can’t generate optimal swinging power because of space restrictions. I’m going to share your post on facebook because many of my friends will get a great chuckle at the terrier and pigs.

    • Hi Tico!

      I had to keep it on the trailer for fear of tipping it over if I rolled it off whole! There was just about enough space to manage, but as you observe the swinging was rather restricted.

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