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Making oak frames from this?

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A friend of mine is planning on building some hobbit houses in his field and after a large oak came down a few months ago, he's keen to use some of the timber:




He's mindful that access is a bit difficult although carrying an Alaskan down there wouldn't be too hard. However, the bit on the left, whilst being about 20" in diameter and fairly straight, it has some big knots in it. Is it possible (or worthwhile) to cut the smaller bits (about 10" diameter) into curved beams freehand or should I lend him a drawknife to just remove the bark?

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It is possible to use the smaller sections to make curved beams. They will be box-heart and hence strong, but will develop cracks through to the heart (which is fine but they will show - just expect it).


He will need to find lengths without substantial knots and there is very much an art to this, which takes time to learn how to 'see' the timber in the tree and get the most out of it. He would then need to remove the bark and I would also remove the sapwood.


I would still be inclined to use an Alaskan to cut two parallel sides, then cut the other two (curved) sides using a side-axe to follow a drawn on line. You want a smooth, swept curve of equal thickness along the whole length. This will then effectively be the same construction method as standard framing, rather than roundwood framing. A 10" diameter probably has a 6" x 4" in it with slightly waney corners.


From the picture, I wouldn't be writing off the fatter bit either. There looks to be a reasonable length for shorter sections such as upright posts in the foreground, so again with careful mill placement it should be possible to recover some decent timber.



Edited by agg221

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