I recently removed much of the remaining wood from the maple log that will ultimately form the bench top slab for the Roubo-style workbench that I am building for my shop. There are still quite a few high spots that I need to take down, but the bulk of the wood has been removed from this side. Only that Knot from Hell remained right in the center of the log. You can plainly see it in the photo below:
A view of the knot (and a few of the remaining high areas) from the other side:
This evening, I removed much of the knot by slicing away at some of the wood surrounding it, and then chopping the knot up with my splitting axe, being careful not to completely pop the knot out -- I don't want to be left with a gaping hole right below the line. Rather, I just want to get this bulge down before hewing this side of the log:
Here is the other view of the log, with the knot and bulge largely (though not completely) cut-down:
My next step will be to insert a few screws into the far side of the log to ensure that the existing splits don't open any wider -- I don't want a large portion of one side of the log to break off, although, if it did, I have a contingency plan for mitigating that. As things stand, this is going to end up being a "composite" top consisting most likely of two slabs (one large, one small), keyed together to provide an approximately rectangular bench-top. But I want to keep this main slab whole, if possible.
Once the screws are in place to stabilize the log (actually, I think it's officially a "cant" at this point, not a log anymore), I'll turn it over and score the other side (the bottom of the workbench slab). That should be a bit easier, as there's less material to remove from the bottom than there had been on top.