mjm timber works

Serving Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire and the Surrounding Area
Formerly Southdowns Green Wood Centre
Product List

Memorial Benches

Bridges & Countryside Access

Structural Timber Frames

Shakes & Shingles

Preparing Hewing for Lea village fete 11th July 2015

To all those interested, I will be demonstaring hewing and shake/shingle making at this years Lea village fete.

Although hard work it is not as brute force as it might appear. I prepared the log doing three of the four sides so I should be able to start and finish hewing the last side on Saturday.

Marking Out

I start buy marking out a straight line using a string and an axe to scribe into the bark to mark a straightish line, a little outside where I want the finished timber to be.

Timber Dogs

The log is held in place using Timber Dogs hammered into the bearers and sap wood.


Using a large felling axe with a long handle standing on the log a series of v cuts are made (“scoring”) into the log to the marked line.


The notches are made every 4 inches or so depending on the type of timber and where the knots lie. Big knots can take a lot of effort to get through so removing the majority of them with a few blows of the felling axe now makes sense.



Again using the felling axe either standing next to the log and striking down, or by standing on the log and swinging the axe like a pendulum the wood between the v cuts can be removed.


A Broad Axe is then used to cut down to the line and “straighten” the face of the timber.


On the first face I stay a little shy of the line and don’t continue to the final finsihed surface. Instead I work at least one of the sides perpendicular to it to assess where the final timber will be in the log and how much sap wood will be included in the arrises. In this case I moved the first edge on this end of the log an inch further in to include less sapwood along the face of the timber. Although the sap wood is not durable it was quite common to see sapwood included on the edge of timbers. Old beams often have rounded parts of them where the sap has degraded over centuries leaving the heart wood intact. Knowing where and how the timber is to be used allows experienced carpenters to determine how much sap can be allowed or otherwise. In exposed conditions sapwood will generally degrade off within a few years.


After rolling the log and levelling we can mark up the two perpendicular edges of the log. And repeat the process.