There’s a lot going on in this barn wall, not the least of which is a crowd of angles claiming to be always right. But, we’re most taken by the color and character of the shingles and the question as to whether they’re real “shakes.”


Historically, shakes were a form of shingle made from split wood, different from other shingles made from sawn logs. Prior to the 19th Century, shakes were riven (hand-split) from straight-grained wood, such as white cedar. A mallet and axe or froe (a tool with a long blade and short haft) would be used by craftsmen to rive out thin wedges. The more durable heartwood from the inner tree was used.

For hundreds of years, shakes and other shingles have been popular here for their look and durability. (Brooklin, Maine)