Obviously, any usage can be thought of as wrong, but this one seems
quite well established. The OED doesn't have this usage, but has
several citations of hew in the sense of forming or shaping, as by
masons or carpenters, including "hewing the arch of a perfect circle"
(slight mangling possible as it's back on the shelf now.

here's on etymology, courtesy of


O.E. heawan "to chop, hack, gash" (class VII strong verb; past tense
heow, pp. heawen), earlier geheawan, from P.Gmc. *khawwanan (cf. O.N.
hoggva, Du. houwen, Ger. hauen "to cut, strike, hew"), from PIE base
*qau- "to strike, beat" (cf. O.C.S. kovo, Lith. kauju "to beat,
forge;" L. cudere "to strike, beat;" M.Ir. cuad "beat, fight"). Weak
pp. hewede appeared 14c. Seemingly contradictory sense of "hold fast,
stick to" (in phrase hew to) developed from hew to the line "stick to
a course," lit. "cut evenly with an axe or saw," first recorded 1891.

> Mr Purdum's usage seems to me to be on a par with a south Walian
> councillor I once heard on the radio talking about a "resumé of work" when
> he meant a _resumption of work_ - trying to use a fancy phrase and
> choosing the wrong word!
> Ray
   -- David