Make Your Own Wood Shingles

  • 12-30 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 150-450
What You'll Need
Trees To Cut

Wood shingles can dramatically change the look of your home. They provide a lot of character but are also quite energy efficient. In the wintertime, wood shingles will act as a barrier to the heat and keep it inside your home. Wood shingles also make for the perfect "green" building material. By sealing your wood shingles against water, freezing, heat and other weather conditions, you can double the life span of your wood shingles. Many people purchase bundles of wood shingles at home improvement stores, but you can make them yourself.

Step 1- Find Quality Trees

When you make your own wood shingles, you will be constructing them from actual trees in the forest. This means that they are still growing and you must take your time to find good trees. Not every tree will yield good shingles.

Look for trees that are growing with a straight grain. This means that they do no have a lot of different branches, or offshoots. They should be standing straight, but that does not mean a straight grain. Trees like poplar, cedar, oak, and chestnut make great wood shingles. Cedar, or red cedar, are the best options for wood shingles because they look great and are naturally water repellent.

Step 2- Cut down Trees

Once you find some suitable trees, you will need to cut them down. Make sure you know how to use a chainsaw safely before attempting to cut down a living tree. Practicing on fallen trees will help get you started.

Stand to the side of the tree and start the chainsaw at an upward angle. Once you get halfway through the tree, then start at a downward angle above your original cut. Cut until the tree starts to lean and fall. Keep your eyes on the tree as it falls and move quickly out of the way. Take the limbs off and move it to a cleared area where you can make your wood shingles.

Step 3- Cut to Length

Determine how long you would like your shingles to be. This is really up to you, but they should be at least 12 inches long and 4 inches wide. After that, you can have them longer or wider depending on the application. Once you know the size of your shingles, cut your logs to length.

Step 4- Form a Block

Using your sledgehammer and a wedge, remove the sides of the wood to form a block. This is what you will be making your shingles from.

Step 5- Form Wood Shingles

Set your ax head on the wood at about 1/4 inch from the edge. Strike it with the mallet to force it through the wood. Continue this method to make the number of shingles you need for your roof or siding.