I have a project to make kitchen knife holder. My workpiece is a 6" block of tulip wood which is quartersawn. Since it is quarter sawn out of a tree that looks like it was about 14" in diameter, the grain runs diagonally through the block in quarter circle arcs.

The traditional way to divide the block is to split it, but my concern is that since the grain is in an arc, I will not get a plane split. Is there a procedure for making a split perfectly flat and straight?

  • 1
    I'm missing something here. 6" x ? x ? How about a picture - it might not help me give an answer, but it will sure help me understand the question. – Ast Pace Sep 23 '16 at 19:53
  • 2
    Although I don't know tulip wood at all there's a very big chance the split will just follow the grain. I think this is a job for hand sawing or a bandsaw log jig. – Graphus Sep 24 '16 at 8:02
  • picture of the wood grain would help – Ljk2000 Sep 27 '16 at 3:02
  • For my own edification, I'm curious why you would want to split the wood instead of sawing it? I'm not at all implying you're wrong to want to do so. Just curious as to your motivation. I.e., does it end up looking different? Just more fun to do it that way? – Katie Kilian Oct 13 '16 at 17:09
  • @CharlieKilian I noticed that when Japanese woodworkers work with larger blocks of wood they usually split them, rather than saw them, so I figured there must be a good reason they do that, so I wanted to experiment with it. – Treow Wyrhta Oct 13 '16 at 17:56

With no other help, yes the wood will split in line with the grain, but that's not (I hope) your situation. The other help you have is the line of your splitter, that steel edge will contact the end grain in a line that crosses those grain lines, and that line will create the line that the wood will split along.

The only other factor here is whether you're talking about the incredibly hard pinky-colored Brazilian Tulip (real Tulipwood) or the yellow-colored Tulip Poplar or American Tulipwood. You're probably talking about the latter, in which case you're fine. But if you're talking about Brazilian Tulipwood then be aware that it's incredibly hard/dense, so you may want to saw your piece rather than try to split it.

| improve this answer | |

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.