Half a pound of tuppenny rice

A few random ingredients from my last few day’s work.

Seen one of these?  Know what it’s called?


Well apart from a pair of chainsaw trousers, it is a nail acting as a button, fastens your braces (suspenders) to your trousers.  We call ’em a joiner’s button.  Make sure you take them out before they go in the wash – could cause unpleasant disharmony at home.  Mind you if Stihl made their buttons as well as they do their saws it would be very helpful – I’ve used all the spares that came with the trousers (about 2 I think).

I’ve been preparing to make a picnic table with two benches.  It has to be like some the estate have put on the banks of the Wharfe in their car park.  Firmly attached to the earth – the table sits on two 6 inch fence posts and likewise the benches.  However, I’m not doing the tops in treated softwood, oh no my readers, oak for that.

I sometimes miss young Theo, he was a great boon on two handed jobs like hauling a butt onto the trailer.


Heave ho!

At four foot long and about 20″ diameter this butt weighs quite a lot. No the Lugall winch is not fastened to the trailer with that orange bailer band. There’s a strap going down to the tow bar through the grill. Lot of fussing back and forth, work the winch, move the rollers, move the winch, kick the tailgate, work the winch, and so on.

Getting it onto the milling dog is no joke either, especially rolling it round to get the right attitude on top for the first cut.


I use an Alaskan mill and a frame to get the first cut.


The first cut is the fussiest, except for the second one at right angles to it.

And I must say the big old Stihl 66, though a little scary, doesn’t complain about this heavy labour I bought it for.


The milling spread over two days, I can only stand so much at once as the dust is filthy stuff, very fine and mixed with the vegetable oil (sunflower currently) I use for the chain lube. Everything you touch turns light brown.

Anyway, watch this space for more adventurers in picnicing.

More gentle work is stripping bast from elm saplings. A couple of felled stems were lying around and I noticed epicormic buds appearing, so I tested for bark stripping. Yes! Quite a few rolls for a future seat.

The timber will make good mallet heads.


The stripper

I finished the new sales display stand, or whatever it might be called.  At least it looks different, and a change is as good as … well.


On the rapidly developing flower offensive Heb Paris looks about ready to bloom from its four leaves.  This just looks like an invitation to copy into a gouge-work motif.  Reader, that’s why I took the photograph.

SAMSUNG CSCI found these lil yellow and green flowers on a lunchtime stroll.


They are yellow star of bethlehem, apparently Strid Wood is known for them.

I like the contrast of new plants growing from the flood banks of the Wharfe.



And the sun shining on the glossy ramsons.
SAMSUNG CSCBut probably this week’s Number One is this little bunch of violets growing in the river bank below my woodland staff restaurant.

3 thoughts on “Half a pound of tuppenny rice

  1. Hi Richard,

    I love the way the sunlight illuminates the forest floor before the trees foliate; a unique moment in the woodlands.

    Are you happy to own an Alaskan Mill?

    It has occurred to me to look into owning one.

  2. Hi Tico!

    Yes, we seem to be blessed with quite a good deal of fine weather here lately (that would be excluding the evil East wind that blew in yesterday and tried to blow me away).

    The Alaskan mill works fine for me, I only do a small amount of planking. The main thing is to get a saw big enough to stand up to the work, and drive a long bar – the 24″ bar on my Stihl 66 is only giving me a max 18″ wide board at the moment – I could get a couple inches more by taking the spike bumpers off, which I shall get round to doing. You lose a little of the length as the mill clamps onto the end of the bar, and I like to avoid clamping where the sprocket is running underneath. The chain needs to be sharp too, and sharpened pretty often.

    Kind regards,


  3. I really like your English woodland photos, Richard–thanks.

    We once used a 3′ bar on a chainsaw mill fairly regularly and you’d have to shake the numb out of your hands and forearms every few cuts. Loud and nasty work, but handy to have around.

    I have a theory on English elm: I think it’s harder and better for hubs/mallet heads, etc, than American elm. We’ve used elm for mallets and beetles over this side (from dead standing elms). Though the trees had succumbed to Dutch Elm disease, the wood in sections was clear and rot free. But the elm never took very much of a pounding before breaking up. It just didn’t seem very dense, unlike sugar maples, etc.

    Great version of Teddy Bear’s Picnic!


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