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Thread: I don't think it is OT machining juniper

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2010
    sierra mountains

    Default I don't think it is OT machining juniper

    Yes juniper heartwood. Harder than my ex's black little heart.
    Blacksmith hammer handle tightening wedges are traditionally juniper heart wood when available. And it definitely available around me.
    I just got a forge setup to start tempering the soft tools from the fire and decided to tackle the hammers first.
    I have a well seasoned straight grained ash log out front for making handles. Sure wish I lived in hickory country.

    How to manufacture the wedges? Here is my idea. Pick it apart as you see fit.

    I will harvest typical limbs of three inches diameter which has about an inch of heart wood. Crosscut to the length of the wedges. (1 1/2")
    Now flip it onto one of those cuts and make two parallel cuts on either side of the heart. Flip it again to a new cut and make the next cut at a 90 then a 15 or 20 degree.
    repeat the last two steps over and over.
    Once I get the first wedge that I am happy with I can slide it under the wood being cut as a jig.

    I think the bandsaw is the right tool for the job. I have most of the wood working machines but I can't see anything safer for working on something the size of a match book.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Huntsville Ala


    That sounds like as good a way as any. Depends on how many you plan to make.
    If making just two or three I'd probably just whittle them to shape with a sharp knife.

    Or if you anticipate a continuing need, you could carefully chisel out a rectangular tapered recess in a board to use as a jig, and then plane the taper. I'm not familiar with juniper heartwood. If it splits nicely this method would be handy, and retain more of the natural, straight grain for strength.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011


    Use hot melt glue or super glue to attach the blank to a jig. Heat to remove hot melt glue, acetone to remove super glue.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Metcalfe, Ontario, Canada


    I haven't made a lot of wedges, but when I do I like to start with a stick cut to width and approximate thickness.

    Cut the taper for the first wedge (eyeballed, on the vertical band saw), cross cut to length, cut the next, etc., until the stick is too short to hold safely.

    If you're not comfortable eyeballing the tapers, mark out the wedges on the edge of the stick, but if you do that, add the thickness of the cut to the thickness of the stick, and make two wedges with each cut.
    Last edited by cameron; 01-19-2019 at 04:54 PM.

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