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11 Stitches Later

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I have my first few strips.  I am not sure how many are usable, but I wasted about 1/2 a 6' culm!  I hear that it just takes practices, but those splits just seem to go where they wish, even when I apply some English to the strips while feeding.

The stitches came from the froe I was using.  Like a meathead I left it in the vice after I was done working in the area, turned too quickly to reach for something, and ripped a nice 3" cut on my forearm.  No major damage, but the inside of the arm is pretty gross (I could never survive medical school).  Need to be much more careful.

Blood and sweat so far... just waiting for the tears.  If I don't master the splitting I guess they will come soon enough!!!!!  (Louis DeVos)

    Wow!  I guess some culms want to split and others do not.

    What makes it a little easier for me is to hand file the outside nodes first.  Then I use a 1 inch metal cylinder 9 inches long  with 8 cutting edges welded to it which slides into a 1 inch 6 foot long metal pipe.  (I saw this wedge on DVD "Trout Grass" and made one.)  This allows me to split the culm into 8 larger straight pieces in 30 seconds.  I then sand out the inside node and split those 8 strips into 3 pieces each which should give me 24 or so strips.  I use a (still attached) broken blade from a folding Swiss Army knife, and a hammer to get the cut started,  for these smaller strips. With all the blades I own, for some reason I like the width of this Swiss Army knife best.

    Or you can use a band saw.  (Doug Alexander)


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