I did a bit more riving last Sunday and almost have the first 5′ log all split up into usable sections. Being a backyard tree, I did get quite a bit of waste splits as well as good splits. No big deal. The waste splits still make good firewood once they season.
Forest trees tend to grow straighter and have fewer lower limbs (a.k.a. knots). So if you are able to get your hands on a good forest tree, you will likely get more straight splitting usable lumber out of it (see most of the trees that Peter Follansbee uses) vs. a backyard tree. Still, some suburban and urban trees will yield to the wedge and froe. You might get lumber with a bit more twist and it may not split perfectly straight, but by riving a bit more oversized than you would with a perfect forest tree, you can still get a an awful lot of usable wood from the right backyard tree. And in many cases, you can get this lumber for free if you look around. Talk to your local tree services and I’ll bet you can find some.