Birch gluts (wooden wedges)

First off, a correction of sorts: In my anniversary post, I forgot to give credit to OZme of Bush n’ Blade for two pictures which he took. His pictures are now credited there. Sorry OZme!

Now to today’s post…


Several years ago, a diseased and weakened birch tree near Scandic Woodsman‘s house snapped and came crashing down in a storm. The dark and light brown discoloration and different wood texture indicate disease.

A few days later, I helped him bring the rest of the tree down. To aid the felling process, I made two gluts, or wooden wedges, with my axe. To make each glut, I tapered a section of small birch log over about 75% of its length. I then beveled both ends of the glut to prevent it from splitting while being pounded on. As you can see, I did not taper the sticks down to a completely sharp edge (again, for strength).

After I notched the tree with my axe, Scandic Woodsman made the cross cut with his chainsaw. If I remember correctly, he deepened it further after this picture was taken.

The remainder of the diseased tree came down after Scandic pounded the gluts in with the poll of his axe. I was pulling a rope secured to the top of the tree to help guide it. You can see the gluts at the bottom right where they dropped out after the tree fell.

I’m happy to say that after 2.5 years and a fair amount of splitting by Scandic, at least one of the gluts is still going strong. 🙂

(All images shown here are from Scandic Woodsman’s camera. I can’t remember who shot which pictures, though!)


8 comments on “Birch gluts (wooden wedges)

  1. Dogwood (when available) is the favored wood for gluts over here.

  2. Finnman says:

    Yes, as you can see from photo there´s saw dust on the notch side so it was deepened with chainsaw before picture was taken. Those wedges were later used to aid splitting big knotty rounds where I started with steel wedge and continue with birch one, which was then enough to split it completely. One is used to end I think and other one will still last quite long time. Wooden wedges are good tools when made from hard wood and used with care.

    – Finnman

    • Did you use the saw on the notch side as well? I only remember you using it on the cross cut side. What I meant was that you made the cross cut, then we took the picture, then we had to make the cross cut deeper, because the tree wasn’t ready to fall yet. Right?

      Glad you’re getting good use out of them. 🙂

      • Finnman says:

        I don´t really remember. I just saw that sawdust on both side of the tree. Cross cut was made deeper for sure and then use wedges and pull-rope to get tree to fall right direction (my house was on other side) then needed slightly deepen that cut and quickly pull saw out and step back when tree started to give up.

        – Finnman

  3. wgiles says:

    I’ve seen a couple of recent blog posts dealing with gluts. I’m glad to see the use of field made tools.

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