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Thread: Splitting lengths of windblow pine.. Can it be done practically?

  1. #1

    Splitting lengths of windblow pine.. Can it be done practically?

    Didnt know where to put this so hope the mods dont mind..

    Ive got a few windblown larch trees (fully grown) in a small wood and have been wanting to erect a decent sized tower in the corner of the wood. Access with a vehicle is limited due to the waterlogged ground so its mandraulic labour only. I was thinking it would be great if i could split a tree into 1/4s for the upright posts, say 15' lengths. Ive got a chainsaw but think it might be a ball ache ripping them down the grain. Ive looked on youtube and theres guys splitting 6' lengths but nothing as green or as long as this larch.. Anyone got any experience of splitting poles like this using (i assume) lots of wedges and a sledgehammer?

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    If you want a hand I will bring the quad up etc.
    I wouldn't bother splitting then, we used to make German style towers on my 1st estate out of march and should have some plans some where.



  3. #3
    When you say fully grown, what diameter we talking?
    there some good hydraulic splitters on trailers that the quad will tow. Chainsaw wound be that bad if you get some ground clearance. Just have a sharp chain and bar the length of the diameter. Failing the above wedges are your bet.

  4. #4
    SD Regular teyhan1's Avatar
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  5. #5

    I've got an Alaakan Mk3 and it's amazing what you can do with one. To be honest though, if you don't need a board flat finish i'd just do it freehand with your chainsaw and save l the £££.

    One thing I would advise though is to buy a "ripping chain" for your saw. These have fewer cutting teeth and different sharpening angles than a normal one and will make the job much quicker and easier. They stress your saw a lot less too, as cutting with the grain is a lot more difficult.

    You'll get one from the page teyhan1 linked to above.

    Good luck with the project!

  6. #6
    Wedges should do it for you. With pine you might not find it too difficult. Start at one end and work up. I have found that it helps if you very carefully cut a straight line up the length of the tree with a chain saw. I doesn't have to be deep but it forms a track for the split to follow. Be careful though because if you go crooked so will your split.

    Hope this helps,


  7. #7

    actually ray mears did an episode using handaxes all the way down the length

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by flyingfisherman View Post
    Ive got a few windblown larch trees (fully grown)
    Please keep in mind that the trees may have been weakened. At least here in Finland sawmills don't want to take windblown trees since there's a possibility for some invisible lengthwise cracks which compromise the strength of the timber.

    I don't know how real this problem would be unless you'de be building a house or something.

  9. #9
    Thanks for the replies guys, think i will give it a go with some wedges as per kalahari's idea.. If that fails then i think i will be calling on cockerdog and buying some treated timber.. Ive seen a few vids on youtube of them splitting long lengths, but nothing which is still pretty 'green' also, i will be interested to see if i can get it to split evenly..

  10. #10
    the dia? I have a froe which i've used to split ash poles 9ft long and 5" dia, quite easy with a few lateral spas and some cut on site wedges.
    They have all been freshly cut too


    nice pic here showing the technique
    Lee Valley Tools - Shingle and Riving Froe
    Last edited by jungle_re; 12-03-2013 at 15:52.

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