It’s all connected up you know.

Someone ‘liked’ my little Instagram picture of straw skepmaking in the Strid Bodgery.  Just an aside, I wish they’d used other words than ‘like’ and ‘friend’ on the Big Imaginary Tree of Knowledge.  The thumbs up is more like it.  Anyway, the liker (we don’t have friends on Instagram, but scary ‘followers’.  Just another quick aside, I do find it hard in my dotage to distinguish in my memory the difference between following and followers – who is following whom?) ahem, yes the liker was erthewoodworks.  Well she’s really known as Susan (much more friendly name!).  I had a look at her pictures and then her website.

Susan’s not been posting on her blog for long, but there is great potential so I’m adding her to my Netvibes dashboard.  She’s interested in old oak. Like Rivers Joinery and myself.  We should form a club of oakies, there seem to be few of us in the UK with a working interest in our carved oak heritage.  Any other UK oakies, please get in touch by a comment below.

OK the connection came from Susan’s blogroll (list of interesting twigs on The Tree (Bitok)) link to Tools and Trades History Society. As I examined the leaves on the TATHS twigs I fell upon an amazing resource:

This 1988 issue of the TATHS Journal contains an article by Ray Tabour on The Craft of Riving Wood.  The article is the best resource I’ve found on splitting or riving hazel rods.  Ray wrote the article from the knowledge of the remaining skilled workers.  Here is the prophetic end-piece:

“ln the last 40 years woods, woodmen and the craft of woodmanship have declined at a rate unparallelled in their 3,000 year history. Mass production has little place for variable raw materials whose variable conversion needs skill, judgement and adaptability. Another generation could see woodmanship consigned to the history book.

Of the three woodmen who have taught me their craft, and whose skills I have tried to reproduce faithfully here, only one is still at work in a Suffolk wood. One has since died, and the third retired, neither having been replaced by a younger man.”

There has been something of a revival in The Woods for example The Bill Hogarth Trust in the North West of England.  Only just in time though!  And the problem of skills ceasing with no replacement followers-on is being addressed by The Heritage Crafts Association. And it was the HCA selfiday on instagram with the tag #HCAworkspace for which I posted my own straw skep making instagram.

Jolly japes at the Strid

David took a time-lapse video of our Tuesday activities felling near The Strid:

cropped-StillWharfe.jpgMost of this will end up either as fire wood or in the charcoal kiln, but there is some decent ash, sycamore and what seems to be willow, new one for me from this woodland.

Don’t take it too seriously, the shot where a bough nearly took my head off has been edited out, along with other inappropriate content.  Also I am not in the habit of using a 24 inch bar for felling saplings.  My 260 was in dock for carburettor cleaning so the 66 was hauled into service, most inconvenient, I can tell you.

Just for clarification, the punning title was supposed to be Tree Fellahs at The Strid, we had it several times during the course of the day.

Many hands make light work, thanks chaps.

Dead hedge, dead accurate, cremation.

Been doing a little dead hedging.

SAMSUNG CSCWith a little help from my friends David and Theo.

SAMSUNG CSCI’m the one with the chain saw who messes everything up with fallen trees and severed limbs then we try to make some order out of it all.

SAMSUNG CSCWe are working a long narrow strip opposite the bodgery on a bank above the river.  At times it’s rather challenging as the natural tendency of the trees is to go for a swim when they’ve been cut from their roots.  Much use of the winch required.  Some accurate felling.

SAMSUNG CSCFinished the live hedge-laying at home and had a good fire to burn the brash.