Here’s a project to do with the kids, if you’re careful. A few years ago, the utility company was changing the wood telephone poles to concrete, so I got some of the pieces. I tried splitting them the way you would split Cedar into rails, but they have a pretty serious twist to them, so the results were mediocre.
In the first picture, you can see the split wood pieces on the lawn. It turned out that the one on the left was eastern red Cedar. I realized I could make this project with 3 pieces, so I saved the Cedar for other things. You can also see my electric chainsaw, which works really well for projects like this around the house.
I needed to use the double bit axe to make notches, but the wedge was lost, so I made another one quickly from a used Farier’s rasp. You can see it being inserted in this picture.
Next, my 12 year old son is making small notches under close supervision.
Here’s a closer view of a notch being made. The darker wood that we’re working on is leaning against a piece of lighter colored wood. We’re making notches down to the blue chalk line. Then I’ll use a broadaxe to remove the wood between the notches, and the edge will be straight.
In the next picture I’m removing wood from the back of the middle piece with a foot adze.
We made a level place, and put bricks there, with a pressure treated board above them. then we stood the big pieces up, and braced them with a Cedar pole that’s probably nine feet long. Below I’m standing in front of the backstop, holding the broadaxe we used.