Hewing and joining white oak sill timbers

After finishing the foundation for our workshop, we turned our attention over to the timbers. Most sources recommend that your sill timbers be the hardest most rot resistant wood you have, as these will be closest to the ground, insects, damp and whatever other evils might betray your buildings solidity in the years to come. In the past many cabins had sill logs of chestnut, walnut, oak or black locust. White oak was what we had and that became our sill choice.

Felling with axe.


Bucking the felled tree into timber lengths, we were able to get three 12′ timbers from this one tree, not all are so straight and free of limbs.


The log was debarked …


A 6×6 square was laid out keeping the heart of the tree as close to center as possible.


My brand new snap line I made from Roys plans goes on its maiden voyage!


wedges were cut in to the depth of the snapped lines every foot or so…


then the remaining wood was split off.


A shipwrights adze cleaned up two opposite sides, these would be the inside and out or the building, where the other two would be invisible, either under the building against the rock foundation or up inside the wall covered with wattle and daub.

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5 Responses to Hewing and joining white oak sill timbers

  1. msjoy1234 says:

    You are doing so well on hewing your logs – it is very exciting to see your progress!


  2. msjoy1234 says:

    I like your boot covers or legging. Are thy leather?


  3. msjoy1234 says:



  4. Mark W says:

    Re: hewing your timbers. Would it work to make a series of cuts with a bow saw rather than the wedge shaped cuts with the axe? Seems like it would be the same result with a lot less work.


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