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OMG, do I really have to noodle cherry?

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by Jon1270, Mar 20, 2013.

  1. Jon1270

    Jon1270 Minister of Fire

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    I took a turn late this morning through a less-traveled section of the 1950's suburban development I live in, and couldn't help but notice a pile of cherry rounds sitting haphazardly in someone's front yard. I knocked on the door, introduced myself to the elderly homeowner and said that while I realized she probably had plans for the wood, I'd be happy to get any excess out of her way if by some chance she had more than she knew what to do with. She told me that the guy who'd said he wanted it hadn't been returning her calls for weeks, so yes, I should go ahead and take it. And by the way, I was welcome to those elm rounds over there, and also she wasn't ever going to use the little forsaken rick of seasoned mulberry behind the house, so I'd be doing her a favor if I got it out of her yard...

    I drove the whole third of a mile back to my garage to pick up my saw, my sled and the Fiskars, and headed back to help the nice woman out with her problems. Some of the rounds were too large for me to lift, so I figured I'd split them into pieces.

    The Fiskars bounced right off, over and over again. No amount of whacking the rounds in the same place repeatedly, or in the same line, had a noticeable effect beyond scribing a fine line in the end of a round. I did eventually break up the larger pieces enough to make them manageable, but doing so involved sawing about 4" down into the endgrain, setting a steel wedge in the kerf, and repeatedly dropping a roughly 30# slice of the tree on the wedge. I had no idea cherry could be so tough. I've put my Fiskars through white elm with less trouble.

    So anyhow, here are the money shots of the face-cord or so of pitch-laced cherry that came home with me this afternoon. Any words of wisdom as to how I might split this stuff without hydraulics would be much appreciated. cherry1.jpg

    cherry2.jpg
    smokinj, PA Fire Bug, ScotO and 4 others like this.

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  2. pen

    pen There are some who call me...mod. Staff Member

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    I'm guessing since this is suburbia that the tree basically lived all by its lonesome or in a hedge row for its life? If so, it took a heck of a lot more pounding than a tree in the middle of a forest would have. Because of that, I think trees that are "loners" are often times more difficult to split. Well, at least that's been my experience.

    Also, it sounds like you need to get a good sledge to work a wedge more effectively.

    pen
  3. Thistle

    Thistle Minister of Fire

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    Looks like about $500-700 worth of turning & carving blocks to me.....;)
  4. rideau

    rideau Minister of Fire

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    Beautiful wood.

    A ten pound sledge and a spiral wedge will likely do the trick. (Spiral wedges available at Lee Valley online. They really work)
  5. tfdchief

    tfdchief Minister of Fire

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    I would second this. That has been my experience. Even normally easy splitting wood can grow twisted and gnarly. I have even had Ash that was tough to split. Do what ya gotta do.;)
    Backwoods Savage and pen like this.
  6. Jon1270

    Jon1270 Minister of Fire

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    I know, I know, but I don't currently have access to a decent lathe. I'm more of a furniture maker anyhow, so I tend to look for board-length pieces rather than chunks. But the thing that set me on the path to being a woodworker, maybe 25 years ago or longer, was a wall clock built from wood just like this. I'm trying not to think about how sad it is that the pieces aren't longer, and that I'm not so well set up for drying furniture wood right now.

    Yes, it was a suburban yard tree, not confined or shaded in a forest. But then, the same could be said of almost all the other wood I've scrounged, and none of it has been so much like a sort of rubbery iron as this stuff is. There isn't even any twist to speak of.

    I do need a bigger sledge. I thought I could get away with a large mechanic's hammer, but not so much with this stuff.
    Thistle likes this.
  7. Thistle

    Thistle Minister of Fire

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  8. tfdchief

    tfdchief Minister of Fire

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    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  9. pen

    pen There are some who call me...mod. Staff Member

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    Wood can be a lot like people; some are simply miserable without great reason for it.

    I'll start a wedge with a 3lb hammer from time to time if the wood is stubborn and I don't feel like using the saw to cut a mark for the wedge to sit in. But if I need a wedge, I resort to the largest sledge I can comfortably slam down into the sob. I keep a variety of axes and mauls around, but for the sledge, it's the judge and it's involvement is going to make an impact.

    Had one year a few back where even my long time trusted 8lb maul couldn't touch this beech I had access to. Every bit of the 5 cord I split was just a sob. 10lb sledge and wedge for the whole lot of it. Never touched anything lighter as it couldn't do squat. I wound up with some pretty big splits in them piles but it's all just ash now.

    pen
  10. pen

    pen There are some who call me...mod. Staff Member

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  11. rideau

    rideau Minister of Fire

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    They are great, aren't they Thistle. I've been using one on Ironwood for over 8 years. It's got a few dents in the top, but still works just fine. I'm going to order a second, for those really big tough splits.
  12. HDRock

    HDRock Minister of Fire

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    A twisting action on a wedge makes a lot of sense, never saw these before.
    Even if U have hydraulics ,busting up big rounds on site to make them manageable is what U run into.
    Sounds like I need one in my arsenal.
    So are these the best wedge period ;?
  13. Woody Stover

    Woody Stover Minister of Fire

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    Yep, they can get gnarly or grow more branches lower on the trunk. That stuff can be nasty. :mad:

    Or he could man up and get a Monster Maul. ;lol;)
    Locust Post, Thistle and pen like this.
  14. Thistle

    Thistle Minister of Fire

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    I really like them. Went right through this large knotty White Pine,5 hits with 4lb sledge.The Wetterlings & Mueller wedges are similar design,slight difference & a bit less weight.On Back Order so I should see them in about a month hopefully.Interesting to see how they compare.

    Attached Files:

    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  15. Redlegs

    Redlegs Feeling the Heat

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    +1 vote for adding a sledge hammer.
  16. TimJ

    TimJ Minister of Fire

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    " Down to the Dredge " was chapter one "
    " Cherry Score " chapter two
    The story of Jon1270 and his wood burning exploits
    Nice score.....very nice
    PapaDave likes this.
  17. Jon1270

    Jon1270 Minister of Fire

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    Yesterday's score threw a small wrench into my end-of-season post too, since the cherry came with enough seasoned mulberry for a few more solid fires. When the homeowner pointed out the old woodpile that she wanted me to take, she said it had 'probably been there for 5 or 6 years.' It was in the shade and not top-covered, and the sapwood had completely rotted off many of the sticks, leaving nearly perfect heartwood inside of strangely intact jackets of bark. Not the best wood ever, but not a bad way to extend the season a bit either.
    PapaDave likes this.
  18. Boog

    Boog Minister of Fire

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    Sotz Monster Maul comes to mind! Just think of it as a big wedge and a 23lb sledge combined into one simple tool. ;)
    Thistle likes this.
  19. WeldrDave

    WeldrDave Feeling the Heat

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    First off, SWEET LOAD:cool:.... I use a wood grenade and some straight wedges when needed... I have an old 12lb maul, (sledge-o-matic) "usually" does the job. "Kills my back though" Good luck, but with that load, I'd eat a whole bottle asprin to get through that. :eek:
  20. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    Wood for you . . . and you helped out a senior neighbor. Good karma all around.
  21. Jon1270

    Jon1270 Minister of Fire

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    I took a piece to the shop today and cleaned it up. I'm not sure I'm allowed to burn this stuff...
    cherryP1120245-01.jpg
  22. WeldrDave

    WeldrDave Feeling the Heat

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    Very Pretty, still looks like fire wood to me......<> Maybe save some for a project:cool:
  23. CHeath

    CHeath Member

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    If I cut cord of live cherry and split it, will it be ready by next Oct?
  24. Locust Post

    Locust Post Minister of Fire

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    Now your talkin
    Thistle likes this.
  25. Locust Post

    Locust Post Minister of Fire

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    Split it small and don't leave any rounds. Get it stacked in a single row where it can get plenty of wind and it will be awful close to ready. It should do fine.
    CHeath likes this.

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