Hewing

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Hewing is the process of converting sections of a tree stem from its rounded natural form into a form with more or less flat surfaces using primarily, among other tools, an axe or axes. It is used as a method of squaring up beams for building construction.

Methods

One can hew wood by standing a log across two other smaller logs, and stabilizing it either by notching the support logs, or using a 'timber dog' (a long bar of iron with a tooth on either end that jams into the logs and prevents movement). The hewer marks a line along the length of a log, usually with a chalk line, then chops notches to a short distance (10 mm for example) from this line into the log every foot or two using a chopping or scoring axe. The hewing can be done on the sides with a broadaxe by standing over or to the side of the log and chipping off the sections of wood in between the notches. This results in a rough surface pared down just shy of the marked line. The notches remove a fair amount of wood, make chipping easier and prevent long shreds of material being removed, only smaller chips. Hewing occurs from the bottom of the stem upwards towards what was the top of the standing tree, reducing the tendency of the broken fibers to migrate inwards towards the eventual beam.[1]

An adze was used to chip or plane the top surface in the same manner. Further smoothing can then be done using a hand plane, drawknife, yari kana or any other established or improvised means.

References


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