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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone,

Is there something special about forks, other than the shape, that makes them desirable? Is it because the grain in running parallel to the forks, providing strength?

A standing dead tree was cut down in my yard and I have some large limb chunks, maybe 4" and up in diameter. Some have small fork ends (I wasn't there and the smaller limbs/forks were chipped) but I'd have to cut into the limb itself to get a long enough fork to be usable. Would that pose a structural problem?

Going one step further, could you take an unforked segment of a thick limb, run some "boards" off or thin it out, and essentially make a board cut? Would that pose less, more, or the same structural issues that regular board cuts have?

Sorry for all the questions just curious if there's something special about the integrity of forks versus other cuts from trees.

Thanks!
 

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Tex-shooter
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Before we can answer any other questions we need to know what kind of tree. That can make all the difference in the world as some trees are just not suitable! Assuming that it is a good hard wood here is why My classic board cut is got the shape that it does.

WtXw9MKatE8
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Sorry about that! It’s an oak tree - it was standing dead wood but looks ok structurally and no rot where any of the cuts were made, I’ll do some strength tests to make sure.
 

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Alright, Sneaky...please, stop apologizing. We love questions and pics.

Tex is as fine they come at shooting & making.

Seems like I saw some builds in Homemade Slingshots.

Kind of flatten the fork and rough sketch the desired shape..tye follow your idea and the grain.
 
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There's a lot of variables here. If it's Oak, it's a safe assumption that almost all forks should be plenty strong enough for a frame. One thing I do when I find some branches on the ground is to grab them a couple feet above the V and pull them apart. If it holds it should be fine, other times it looks like a sturdy fork but it will snap.

As far as board cuts, it depends on the wood also. With almost any board cut I use, I'll make sure the forks are very low to reduce stress. When I do use a board cut or straight grain (and many forks) I will clamp them in a vice and use a 1" nylon strap around the fork tips and pull it as hard as I can.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks! Is there a structural reason that forks seem to be considered safer than board cuts? Is it just a matter of grain direction?
 

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Sneaky

Think of a big old oak standing there with a limb going out maybe 50 feet from the fork. Have you ever had a sheet of plywood that you were carrying catch the wind broadside? That was just 32 sq. ft. .think of the thousands of pounds of force put on that fork! There is a reason that forks are so tough, they have to be. A board cut could not match that unless you do something like laminate it. just saying..., aint looking for a fight!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
That makes a lot of sense when you put it that way, thanks. I definitely wasn’t looking for a fight or to start any disagreement - just trying to better understand the differences between forks and boards and reasons for certain preferences.
 

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Tex-shooter
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The reason that I mention the type of tree, there are several trees like the China Berry tree that I would not trust at all! Then there are some that are strong when dry but weak when green, like a Walnut or Butternut. A mesquite fork when found on the ground may have the inside hollowed out by a click bug that feeds on that dry wood almost exclusively! Green forks should be cut long and let to dry for about 60 days before trimming to size and removing the bark. A board cut that is not laminated should be of a hard dry wood and care taken to have plenty of grain length every where to avoid breaking or splitting!
 
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