- Riving is splitting wood into long thin pie sections along the length of a
log. You want a tree that has a lot of heart wood and was sort of old growth
to do this. Long straight trunk, few low branches.
The resulting "boards" are essentially "quartersawn" in that the growth rings
run in a similar direction to a quarter sawn board.
Riving is how you make proper shingle siding or roof shingles.
You have to choose a splittable wood to rive. Oak and Hickory? Yes! Elm and
Sweetgum? NO! (don't ask me how I know about that sweetgum...)
I lucked out and got some very good billets for chairmaking from a tree that
fell in a Baltimore park. It fell across a road, but a large part was left on
the root side that there was quite usable wood. The tree was older than
Lincoln and 4 feet in diameter. White oak. Very straight. A buddy of mine
saw it and got permission from the ranger to harvest it, so we divided the
spoils between ourselves. It took all day to rive two four foot long logs. No
injuries except for a jammed finger. It had been in contact with the ground
for a month or two so one wedge of wood was already going bad, but the rest was
Roy Underhill discusses riving in his books. Especially the first one.
Also, there is a link to a site on this board: www.greenwoodworking.com where
there is some information about. (I took the Make a Chair from a Tree class,
and I recommend it.)