Watch: 4 Videos of hand-Hewing Logs
Russ Chastain 08.16.17
Making a log nice and square has become a mechanical feat in today’s world, where trees are fed into machines and nicely-sawn (if not nicely straight) boards come out the other end. But hand-shaping wood into lumber is an excellent skill to have, and these folks have it.
This first video was recently posted on YouTube, and it’s short & to the point. Here’s the description:
French traditional carpenter Mourad Manesse (www.charpenteur.fr) showing high-level skills using hewing axe while standing on the pine log. It was traditional way of hewing in Japan (although with naked feet) and in ancient France. After the rough shaping is done, the fine work to the line will be done with German style Goosewing axe or Breitbeil. This short clip is an intro for upcoming documentary about french carpentry and medieval scribing techniques using plumb bob.
And here is that video, which is just 1:45 long:
Looks like he does good work.
The next video features a barefoot Japanese person (reputedly samurai!) hewing a log. I had to skip forward several times to avoid brain cramp from boredom, but it’s worth watching just the same.
Around 5:10 he apparently pauses for prayer, that he might keep all of his toes!
Here’s a guy who eschews tradition and hews the top of a log from off to one side, rather than standing atop the log and hewing one side of it. Heck, he even uses a foot adze differently than it was intended. A foot adze is usually swung between one’s legs while straddling a log, which is why my father called it a “foot subtractor.” Get it?
This next one doesn’t have the greatest video quality, but the method & results are interesting.
Just after the 2:00 mark, the camera changes angle to better show the results of this guy’s work, which is impressive. Of all the videos, though, this one looks the most unsafe; a glancing blow could easily lay his leg or foot wide open, which would be unpleasant. Sure does create some good results, though.