Hurdle Making

The Hurdles described on this page are my adaptions of hurdling techniques that have been used for thousands of years, our ancestors used similar methods to construct shelters for themselves and for their livestock, they have been used in industries and gardens, fortunately this ancient craft has been kept alive (just), and with the revival of interest in woodland crafts more people are learning these ancient skills.

I do not profess to be an expert on this particular craft as I have an infinite number of things to learn but only a finite time to learn them in, so I tend to specialise in diversity. On with the show.

stages of riving

Above: The photograph shows different stages in the preparation of the oak, the oak is first quartered using wedges, it is then riven using a combination of wedges, froe and brake, Each time being split in half until the required thickness is achieved. When riving thin pieces I use either a knife or the hook of a small billhook to open the split and use my hip as a brake to control the direction of the split.

Descriptions and illustrations of tools mentioned on this page are on this link Tools of the trade

The photograph below shows a lat being riven with the nose of a small billhook, this is about as thin as I can achieve using a billhook, if I need to go any thinner I tend to use a knife.

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Below: Best described as total chaos, this is one of my work areas in the foreground is a sawhorse with billhook and froe resting on top, and riven oak laying behind it, just in front is my woodmans mare with a drawerknife laying on the 'saddle'. To the right seeming to grow from the hedge is a brake, which is used for leverage when riving medium sized pieces, and in the background is a partialy completed hurdle

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Twilley rods being added to a hurdle, these are fitted as a pair and as well as being woven between the zales (uprights) they are also twisted around each other. When I get time I will do a sketch of the different parts of the hurdle to make it more clear.

Small scale production of charcoal using oil drums

Coppice woodland

Tools of the trade

Products of the Coppice

Hurdle Making (this page)

Peter Wright, To Email Click me


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