I went up to Arkansas to find the white oak logs for these ladder back chairs I am making. The fellow that I bought the timber from let me go up and see where he was cutting the wood. I noticed that some of the logs were coming from the side of a fairly steep mountain. I had a feeling that the wood might be curly based on some of my past experience about hillside timber, more on that in a second.
I also looked at the end grain of the log and noticed a little wave to it. It was too nice a log to pass up so I just went for it.
It split fairly nicely for white oak, except I noticed some curl, it was especially harder to split along the ray plane. However the drawknife really let me know about the curl and yes it was curly. I just hope I can get the entire tear out of it with the spokeshave.
I have experienced this same thing with a walnut tree that I harvested. When the tree is growing on a hillside, it is put under incredible stress as it is trying to grow straight. The stress is translated to the grain thus creating some very nice curl. Well, I am not sure if it so nice trying to rive it and work it with a drawknife! The walnut tree that I harvested a few years back yielded me some incredible curly walnut. I was able to make a few pieces from that walnut tree. I have posted a couple pictures of those pieces below.
The next log that I split for rungs, split so incredibly beautiful that I felt spoiled!
Next time I go get logs for splitting chair parts, I am going to make sure the wood has been growing on a perfectly flat plain. In the mean time I am going to go back to fighting curl!