I've hand split shingles with a home made "froe" before just to see if I could do it. I shingled the north face of a room I added on to our old place. It's been well over 20 years and those things are still in good shape! I wouldn't mind shingling the walls of our house if I could make the shingles. A pretty big task to hand split that many though. We have quite a bit of red cedar that is very good for shingles. Red cedar doesn't split as straight and will be better sawed. Ash ought to make good shingles since it splits so straight. I can split them on my hydraulic splitter, I've triued it and it works pretty good. I know one fellow that has an old shingle mill but he won't part with it.