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Author Topic: Locust pegs ?  (Read 4107 times)

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Offline beetle

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Locust pegs ?
« on: June 29, 2004, 09:09:35 AM »
Someone suggested to me to use Locust pegs in my timber frame. I have access to a fresh cut Locust log.

Opinions anyone?
Too many hobbies...not enough time.

Offline Jim_Rogers

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Re: Locust pegs ?
« Reply #1 on: June 29, 2004, 02:17:26 PM »
A few years ago, I sawed out a barn for the New England Blacksmith Association. They wanted Locust pegs. I milled up some 4/4 locust lumber and they ripped it into squares and then they shaved them to size.

Locust pegs are usually very strong.

When making pegs from boards you have to be very careful of the grain of the piece. You can't have any sloping grain in a peg because it could split cross grain inside the mortise or tenon and you can't see it and think the peg is actually tightening up the joint when it truly is just sliding past itself.

We recently, here at one of my workshops, cut a white oak log to short lengths, 10". Then split squares out of these chunks using a Froe. Once we had some split squares we shaped them on a shaving horse with a draw knife and then a spoke shave.

In the seat of the saving horse is a test hole I bored with the bit we use on the frame. As we are shaping the peg we test it in the hole and continue to shape it until it's just right.

Are you going to draw bore your frame?

Jim Rogers
Whatever you do, have fun doing it!
Woodmizer 1994 LT30HDG24 with 6' Bed Extension

Offline beetle

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Re: Locust pegs ?
« Reply #2 on: June 29, 2004, 02:52:31 PM »
Jim,

Again...thank you for sharing your knowledge.
Yes I will be using the "draw bore " method, it makes sense.

I am going to grab that chunk of Locust, if the grain is straight, Im going to have a peg carving party. No tapping untill the pegs are carved....safety first !

Too many hobbies...not enough time.

Offline Jim_Rogers

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Re: Locust pegs ?
« Reply #3 on: June 29, 2004, 03:24:01 PM »
Jeff:

This probably needs some pictures to show what I mean but the easy way to remember how to layout your draw boring is that the hole is in the mortise is bored right on the mark. The hole in the tenon is bored just off the mark usually closer to the shoulder. This way the peg will push the tenon deeper into the pocket and hold it there under some spring tension.
My timber framing teacher told me an easy way to remember the direction of the draw bore offset on the tenon. And here it is: "you offset the hole in the direction you want the other piece to move".

When you are draw boring a straight tenon into a straight mortise it's easy you just draw bore it in one direction, closer to the shoulder of the tenon.

But when you are draw boring a brace tenon you want the brace tenon to move in two directions. One is closer to the shoulder and the other is closer to the bearing end. But if you bore the hole in the brace tenon closer to the bearing end, the peg will push the tenon away from the bearing end of the mortise.

It doesn't seem logical but that's what happens, believe me I know I have some tenons with holes that have to be plugged and re-bored, because I offset the hole the wrong way.

What I did to show students is I made up a sample mortise in a short timber and put a brace into it, then put in a peg in the hole, when you pound in the peg the brace moved into the mortise and into the bearing end, nice to watch.

You can use a regular brace, and a scrap piece of stock. It's fun to make and show people how it works.

Good luck with your frame.

Jim Rogers
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Woodmizer 1994 LT30HDG24 with 6' Bed Extension

Offline Squirrell_Boy

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Re: Locust pegs ?
« Reply #4 on: June 30, 2004, 11:31:36 AM »
Are the pegs Black Locust or Honey Locust? They both are very strong. I do know with pegs that you want nice straight grained pieces with no defects of very strong species of wood. I believe that you should not use pegs until they have dried substantially. You obviously would not want the peg to dry out and shrink to the point that it is not a tight fit. What species do you use Jim? I suppose that it would be a good idea to use heartwood of a decay resistant species if they would have any exposure to weather.
"Of course we don't know what we're doing. That's why they call it research." Albert Einstein

Offline Jim_Rogers

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Re: Locust pegs ?
« Reply #5 on: June 30, 2004, 03:33:33 PM »
As I had mentioned before or above, we were using white oak, but now we're using red oak.

We have cut some short lengths from some air dried boards and have cut them into squares on the table saw. We are now shaping them on a shaving horse with a draw knife and a spoke shave. And testing them in a sample hole.

Pegs sometimes aren't totally round like a dowel. We try to cut ours with eight side or so. The ridges are suppose to bite into the soft wood and hold the peg from turning.

If you have dry lumber and make your own pegs, then these dry pegs will suck up moisture from the green timbers and swell up holding the frame pieces together even more.

In an unheated structure it could take years for all the timbers and pegs to dry out.

If Jeff/Beetle shapes out some pegs now and leaves them out in the sun for a while, they will dry out pretty fast.

Jim Rogers
Whatever you do, have fun doing it!
Woodmizer 1994 LT30HDG24 with 6' Bed Extension

Offline beetle

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Re: Locust pegs ?
« Reply #6 on: July 01, 2004, 07:34:05 AM »
The log that I picked up is Black Locust that was knocked down by a storm one week ago. My intent is to cut and carve the pegs in the next few weeks so they have sufficent time to dry before I raise this fall.
Too many hobbies...not enough time.

Offline Engineer

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Re: Locust pegs ?
« Reply #7 on: July 05, 2004, 04:34:46 PM »
The way I was taught to make pegs is to use a 12-14" long green log, preferably white oak.  Use a froe and mallet to make squares and then shave down to 8 sides.  Exactly as Jim mentioned.    I have also heard that if you can get a piece of plate steel and have a hole punched in it the size of the finished peg, you can taper the end and then drive the blank  through the hole to make the peg.

I just got a couple butt logs and chunks of white oak, I am going to make some pegs for my frame with it.  Locust would make excellent pegs.  I'd like to find some black walnut to make pegs with.

Offline beetle

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Re: Locust pegs ?
« Reply #8 on: August 03, 2004, 11:42:11 AM »
Well....I picked up three 12" x 18" diameter sections of this Locust, de-barked it, and made a long hard attempt to reive (spelling?) them with my Froe.

"Attempt" is the correct choice of word here. I must be getting old !   Off to the Mill to get some green 4/4 Oak boards. Now I know why the old timers say "Locust will last one day longer than stone"
Too many hobbies...not enough time.

Offline Jim_Rogers

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Re: Locust pegs ?
« Reply #9 on: August 03, 2004, 12:25:10 PM »
We found, trying to split some white oak, that the Froe wouldn't work well until the pieces were at lease quartered.
We split the blocks up with a sledge hammer and a splitting maul first.
Then the Froe worked, somewhat. We tried using a wooden block to strike the Froe but went to a smaller sledge to get enough force to split the white oak.
Eventually we went to oak board and cut them into square and then shaped the square on a shaving horse.
Jim Rogers
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