Wednesday 27 April 2022

Making a Gate From A Yew Log - Green Woodworking - Part 1

 When I was in Wales working on the roof my friend text me and said they had some Yew down in the last storm and would it be any good for anything before they log it for firewood. 

I had been just making an arch from Sweet chestnut for a magazine article for Woodcraft Magazine so had been getting into cleaving my own timber. I consulted Woodland Crafts In Britain by H.L Edlin and it said - 

"It is very durable out of doors, and old tree trunks are still cleft or hewn into fence posts that are claimed, with good reason, to outlast iron."

So I decided it was probably worth a go! 

We went up into his little woodland and looked at the branches we had to work with. None were very big, but we tried to break them down a bit smaller, seeing how we could split it or cleave it. 

The wedges went in easy but it certainly didn't split like chestnut, not that I had expected it to. 
It very much wanted to do its own thing. Not helped by the branches being knotty, so I know this wood is far from ideal or a fair judge of the wood as a whole. 

But my goodness is it beautiful. The heart and the sap wood producing such different colours. You can instantly see why it is so loved in woodturning for bowls and the like. 

From halves we split it down again to quarters. I decided that it might be fun to make something from it so we loaded up the car (my truck is in for repairs at the moment). 

So I took it back to my place and started to break it down into the component parts I'd need to build a small garden gate for my veg garden. Hopefully I'd make something both durable and beautiful. 

Anyone else built anything from yew? Or made anything straight from a log with no power tools? 

Stay tuned for part 2!


  1. Your gate should last a life time. I believe long bows were made from Yew.

    1. They were. But often the yew was imported. This stuff is too knotty for anything like that. Said to dry hard though!


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