Stretching Wood

I’ve finished my second wood-stretching exercise since arriving at Morro Bay and made a awesome discovery. Evidently wood has a limit of about 3  1/2 inches that it can be stretched.

Or maybe it is just type (Eucalyptus) of wood that I used that is limited. Here’s the story. Our friends Paul and Ginny have a grand daughter that likes to do wood-working. She has given them the cutest little box with a pivoting top, that she made in shop. For an eleven-year-old, that is awesome.

So I’m thinking, “I’ll make one of my favorite tricky projects… a wooden chain carved from a single piece of wood, just to see if she will be challenged to replicate it, or at least figure out how I did it.”

I started by cutting a dried branch to 10” in length. When I finished my magic it looked like a wooden Numchuck, with 3 links, that was almost 13 1/2” long. Then I thought, “I should have documented that in photos, for who would believe that the piece would turn out 3 1/2” inches longer than when I started?

A couple days later I get inspired to make another one, by the young son of one of our co-workers. This one I would photograph at each stage of the process. I started this time with a 12 1/4” piece of the same kind of wood.

I began by planing it into a 4 sided stick and marking where the links will be located. This one will have seven links. I’m hoping to double its length.
Then I began carving out the middles of the links. At this step the wood is still the same length as when I began.
When I free the first 2 links the stick grows to 13  1/4” in length.
With the freeing of each succeeding link , the stick grows in length.
Sorry the tape measure obscures so much of the wood, but it can plainly been seen to measure nearly 15  1/4”  at this point.
 Katarina accepts the “magical chain” on behalf of her son.
A little refining and polishing of the links and the finished product is a little over 15  1/2”… But wait, that’s a growth of 3  1/2” ! The same amount that my first effort yielded, and it was only 3 links long.

Reason tells me that more links SHOULD equal more length!

Is there a scientific answer to this dilemma? How can I grow the stick more than 3  1/2”?

I will try again, this time making the links different lengths. Any other ideas? Shoot me an email: