Book review and damned mark

This is a good book I’m currently reading.

Peter Thomas, a lecturer in environmental science at Keele University, recognised there was a hole in the literature of trees dealing with the technical side of tree growth etc in a straight-forward concise way.  It brings together a lot of information that is otherwise scattered over many books of far more technical depth, but the latter are referred to for further reading and lots of diagrams are included such as this:

It has taken me some time to find a book that covers the mechanics of how trees grow and die so I thought I’d share this.

I had a bizarre experience yesterday.  I noticed I’d run out of garlic presses so I turned a couple as relaxation from the heavy work on the double gates I’m making.

I now have a nice mark (impact stamp) so I bashed this into the tops.

First customer who wanted one said “Have you got one of these without Flying Shavings on it?” Doh!

He bought a potato masher instead!

Fill the hole

At the moment I am very busy. Sales have suddenly picked up, in the woods, at shows and commissions.  The latest commission is to fill the above entrance to my client’s garden with a gate made from this peeled oak.

This is coppice oak from the wood formerly managed by Bill Hogarth, of Bill Hogarth Trust fame.  The thickest one is about 27 years old – quite a long time for an oak coppice rotation.  The plan so far is thus:

I think splitting the middle pole so it will be in each gate should be pleasing on the eye, for those who prefer wiggles to straight lines. And speaking of wiggles here’s a bench I delivered last night:

I also found a home as planters for some of the hollow ash cheeses I cut earlier this year.

Another reason (excuse) why I’ve not been posting much recently was because my son and his wife were over from Brooklyn and we were out and about, gardening, cooking vegan delights etc.

One of our visits was up through Langstrothdale Chase to Hawes.  We had a picnic on the way through The Chase and the trust Kelly Kettle was on duty.

Some people got a little carried away by the sunshine and wild flowers:

But it was very relaxing I must say:

We carried on over the top to Gayle and Hawes, stopping at Gayle Mill.  This is a water-powered woodworking shop.  It has been restored as a museum, but courses and demonstrations are run there.  I was very interested in this treadle lathe with a fly-wheel sitting in a corner.

Could be a project for the bodgery, but possibly a bit too “modern” 😉 .

There were a couple of other interesting things to see in Hawes, an antiques shop with an unrestored naive stick chair (oh yes I must make one of these – look at that front right leg – just a branch!)

There was an interesting turned spoon in the window too:

And ideas for a Dales game for the new sales booth (see later!) in the Dales Countryside Museum.

“Wallops” what a great name for a game, and who can resist chucking sticks?

My brother Chris acquired some good winter clothing for me (very considerate!), an old ex-army leather jerkin.  Unfortunately the last owner had removed all the buttons.  Hah no problemo, turned some new ones out of dry applewood.

Suitably rustic – watch out for the fashion show!

Quick overview of another grand day out

Here is a picture of taxes being used for something interesting.

It is Coldstones Cut.  This is a large sculpture funded by aggregates levy (and other funds too, I believe).  It replaces a small viewing platform over the quarry (which I find very spectacular:

So, a good place for the artwork; you can’t otherwise see the quarry as it is surrounded by earth bunding.

It’s a good and interesting shape too. Obviously a lot of thought and planning has gone into it.  Lines up East too for the sunrise.

However …

I don’t like to nag, but, sometimes artworks just have rubbish craftwork.  I’ll justify that.

The sculpture is made from a large amount of seriously heavy rocks (not wallstones).  No problem with that, it’s just how they’ve been put together.

This would have looked a whole lot better with a lot less mortar showing.  It would have been stronger too and maybe this crack (it runs from the second to top course on the corner to around the back of the rightmost bollard) might not have been there only 9 months after it was finished.  There are also lots of holes there for water penetration.  It will be interesting to re-visit in a couple of years’ time to see how it’s bearing up.

There used to be a better way to build a corner too, where the two faces were locked together by overlapping corner stones.

Anyway, I’d still recommend a visit as there are fantastic views of a huge range of Yorkshire and an old lime burning kiln:

OK, I was going to cram another day’s outing into this post but it will have to wait.

Back soon!


Un-green wood

I’ve just finished a rather unusual job involving old oak.

The brief was to find some driftwood to fill a space over a garage door, 8 foot wide. Well I live about as far as you can get from the sea in England (90 miles East, 46 miles West – (Funny, I thought we were about in the middle!).

Anyway, I found some old oak and scrubbed it with washing soda:

When it’s been up a while, I think it will fade to grey.  Anyway, the client and I were pleased with the result.

It is fastened up properly – invisible fixings.

Saw some good old kitchen chairs on the job too. Further investigation required.


Been a bit busy with ladders, shows, large bird tables and painting shrink pots (you can see some of them here).  I’ve also got a mark now which I’ll be practising with today and take some pictures.