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splitting hazel

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Postby woodbodger » Thu Jul 15, 2010 3:44 pm

Has anyone out there any experience of splitting hazel(successfully), I have tried fiddling around with a few bits and have very limited success with the splits running true, I saw one brief clip on utube it was as exciting as watching paint dry and I learnt nothing


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Postby Toby Allen » Thu Jul 15, 2010 8:48 pm

Practice, practice, practice.

If some are going ok, you must be doing something right.


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Postby woodbodger » Fri Jul 16, 2010 5:10 pm

They are not.


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Postby Henrietta » Fri Jul 16, 2010 7:23 pm

I watched someone at a show only last week, splitting Hazel. He was making baskets. The hazel was about one to one and a half inch diameter. He said he had had it soaking about eleven hours but twenty would have been better. He started it off with a sharp knife, just cutting a little way in. By carefully bending it over his knee, a thin strip began to peel away, and said it was about a years growth. He did this very slowly. I asked him about the knots and he showed he could pretty well get past them. I have to say it was the most impressive thing I saw that day. he did say, it was best to cut it in the autumn. He also tried with fresh Hazel cut that morning, but it didn't work that well.

Hope this has been of some help.


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Postby Rich » Fri Jul 16, 2010 7:33 pm

Yes I saw a guy making baskets at a show too, maybe the same one, he made It look ridiculously easy!

Woodbodger, if you get a chance to read Mike Abbot's description of how to cleave in his living woods book, it kind of makes sense of the theory, but yes I think it is, as Toby say, practice...

Actually I was thinking today as I was cutting some tent pegs from chestnut that one of the most satifying sounds (in my small world!) is the kind of 'plink' you get as a dead straight grained bit of wood splits and springs off! Another is the smell ahh...


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Postby Toby Allen » Fri Jul 16, 2010 8:06 pm

How are you splitting them, what size are you using and what are you splitting them for?


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Postby RichardKing » Sat Jul 17, 2010 7:51 am

Did some Hazel splitting on a course a couple of years back. It took me a whole day of continuous practice to get it right.

Having started a split I found that the easiest way to guide it was to to push the split around a vertical post and simply push the rod left or right to steer it.


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Postby woodbodger » Sat Jul 17, 2010 4:19 pm

Thanks folks I guess I am just impatient, Yes I have Mike Abbotts book, It is just that having made windsor chairs for the past 15 years I think something like th is should work for me, I guess if I want to do it I shall have to set myself up with a cleaving post and get in some practice.


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Postby Toby Allen » Sat Jul 17, 2010 7:39 pm

Winter cut hazel is a lot easier to work. It lasts a lot longer aswell.

Were you making chairs commercially?


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Postby woodbodger » Sun Jul 18, 2010 2:51 pm

Yes I used to make a lot of chairs including , very boringly, 98 antique ladder back chairs for a castle in Germany, but by choice triple bow children's Windsors are my favourite. Now I have a wood with all the best chair making timbers I spend all my time working on the wood


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