Lead shot and brackets

Working on a log yesterday on the shave horse, I found a series of lead shot balls, very small, about 2 mm. They were pretty deeply embedded so must have been there for some years, the wood around each ball was discoloured but not for so far as I might have expected; about 4 mm each way.  The draw knife sliced through them without any damage.  First time I’ve found this but I have heard about musket shot being found in old oaks.

Trying to find a good solution to supporting bird tables on top of a fencing post.  For the first one I used split logs:

They are screwed into a notch in the post and seem pretty secure.

The next two had more slender posts, so the notches were more intrusive into the post’s strength:

For the current one, which I’m making for stock, I’m using four roughly turned supports. I’m fitting them into the underside of the holes in the table where the upright columns fit into the base and fastening them into the post in an angled hole. Getting the angle right is rather a challenge, so with the next one I’m going to revert to the original design using split logs into a notch. Now the posts I’m using are stronger a small notch should be fine.

I bought the posts from Hartlington Fencing Supplies
. The proprietor is very oblidging and we discussed Land Rovers and how the 110’s additional length is very useful for … fencing posts; my 90 is rather short, but got 7 foot posts in anyway over the passenger seat though. He also has a good welding set up so I may have some work for him in due course.

Business is rather slow post Christmas, even though many families are visiting Strid Wood. Enough spending for one month I guess. I think I’ll concentrate on some felling. There is a lot of Ash to thin out, and though the weather is rather cold, it is also dry.

Another day in the woods

Fine and mild day today so no need to put up the tarpaulin.  First job was setting up before Andy arrived for his bird table.  Gave him a demo of treen making and then ferried him and his purchases back to the car park.  Rather missed the bird table, so decided to start another, at the end of the day had the applewood base with four beech branch roof supports on the bench (or under it for over-night). Reused a failed stool seat for the base. Running low on presents for the bran tub  and Christmas decorations so finished off a handful.  Made a dibber and a spurtle.  One teenage bran tub and lathe initiation customer, the tricky part is controlling the chisel so it only takes thin shavings.  Customer bought a deer (the best one) and I offered free delivery and threw in a dibber.  When I delivered it on the way home, his wife and daughter were delighted, sounds like it will have birdfeeders on the antlers and be christened. My boat-building friend called by and informed me he also repairs accordions (mental note made).  Developing a candle stick idea, but need to decide how to make a fireproof candle holder for the top.  Also wondering about the next animal to make – wild boar sound appropriate …

Bird tables

Bird table III now in field test in Strid Woods before being collected by my client tomorrow.  Yesterday I put some wild bird seed on the table to see if there would be any takers.  Bird table II had no customers at all and I ended up after four days, dumping the uneaten seed  on the ground before delivery, and one of the many pheasants probably ate that. Field testHowever, with #III about 10 minutes after feeding the table was alive with birds: Great and Blue Tits and a pair of Nuthatches.  I guess the birds in a wood are pretty unaccustomed to artificial feeders, although I did put a red Holly berry among the seed in hopes of attracting their attention – do birds see in colour, I wonder?

To do list

On my days off I make a list of things to do.  Somehow they never all get done, but it is very satisfying crossing off the tasks as completed.

On Friday one big potentially horrid task was renewing the shower-tray/wall seal which had gone mouldy (again!).  I now know there is a permantent solution to this, but it involves taking out the wall boards and inserting a profile.  But back to reality … All I needed to do was take out the old seal and and squirt in a new one.  I’ve done this before many times, and I have always hated it; a) because is is extremely messy with the white stuff inevitably ending up everywhere it shouldn’t be (clothes, hands, shower tray etc) and b) because I’ve never got a satisfactory finish, so a pretty disappointing job all round.  But this time – blimey success!  If you have to do this job get a Stanley shower sealant tool.  This is a plastic tool that I looked at and though, “Oh yeah, as if that is going to work.” But I was willing to try anything after past attempts. This is it: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Stanley-Sealant-Tool-29-326/dp/B0001IWE7I, course I didn’t get it from that online etailer, but from my most unloved local DIY supermarket, so I had even more reason to feel depressed about the task’s prospects for success.  BUT IT WORKED!  Hallelujah! (Rufus Waiwright version).  All it does is collect all the excess gue (or goo if you will – more like gooh) and leaves behind a neat, small sealant profile.

Oh yes, a further bonus is there is a hole in the handle that allows the tool to be used as a lid for the end of the sealant cartridge thus avoiding that tiresome task of removing set sealant from the knozzle next time you come to using it.

Buy one now for Christmas for the DIYer in your life, and next time they have that vile job to do, they will thank you.

On Land Rovers and slow driving

I left the side lights on overnight on the Land Rover – still getting used to its foibles.  There’s no aggravating buzzer sound if you leave them on and turn off the ignition, so you have to remember, although the battery stood the test, I guess it’s a heavy duty one.  The Landy has other individual features distinguishing it from the average saloon car.  Flat glass in all screens; these reflect lights very well, and often I get a reflection in the rear-view mirror of car headlights from cars approaching.  In the rear-view they look like they are overtaking me at some wierd angle.  Low power heater (VERY slow) you have to feel about under the steering wheel to find the outlet to warm your hands. No central locking or immobiliser.  Apparently 87% of all cars are pretty insecure even with these modern FAST devices.  I’ve bought a Stoplock which locks onto the steering wheel in a very visible way and is resistant to at least a 5 minute attack, and in tests they gave up after 20 mins.  Of course, it SLOWs down getting out of the vehicle at home because I have to fit the lock.  It consumes an alarming amount of fuel, so I NEVER drive at over 50 mph – even in built-up areas 😉 . It IS very good off road, however, which is why I bought it, just in time time with the recent cold snap.  The one thing I must sort out soon, is getting a length of wood to hold the rear door open, which has a nasty habit of slamming onto my shoulder because the heavy spare wheel in mounted on there, may get a roof rack and stick it up there, but those thieves are a bit of a put off, apparently they nick them off the rear mounting, so lots of people put them in the back – but I need the SPACE for all my tools, stools, bran tub, slings, logs, sticks! and treen!

I guess I can post this picture of the Landy, now all the Christmas cards have gone out on which it features.


Busy day in the bodgery

Started a bird table for my mate Andy.  Apple base, hazel uprights, ash shingle roof and beech and ash gables.  The roof is longer on the back than on the front, like a Dales farm with an outshant.

Also , worked up a new top for a stool that is to be a present, and turned the rungs on the winter hedge (clothes drier to the more refined) and started boring holes in the legs to take them.  Found that my Vodaphone mobile really does get a signal in The Bodgery, so I can report in when I’ve been felling with chainsaw.  Made two deer bodies (i.e. split a tree stump in half)