The Rail Splitters of Brown County: Alan and Porter Richards

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Main contributor
Jon Kay
Generations of Alan Richards’ family has lived in Brown County, where log houses and split-rail fences have remained part of the landscape. Once his grandchildren were old enough, he recruited them to help him split rails at the local Antique Tractor and Gas Engine Show in Nashville. This video was shot of Alan and his grandson Porter splitting rails at an Arts in the Parks event at TC Steele State Historic Site. From straight grain red and black oak trees, Alan starts to split the log with an ax; once the log cracks, Porter uses a set of wooden wedges and splitting maul to cleanly split the length of the log. They repeat this until the log is split into quarters. They can spend all day transforming a pile of logs into a length of fence.
Jon Kay for Traditional Arts Indiana
Arts and Sciences
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