Snow and finish

Spot the bodgery.

snowy bodgeryWe’ve had about four inches of snow, which seems to be hanging around a bit.  It is not terribly cold, but this brings its own problems.  The snow was a bit soft yesterday and it started sticking to my clog soles.  The wooden, unsoled part in the middle welds to slightly damp snow, and then builds up, in the same way as how children roll large snow balls for snowmen.  Add a few shavings and pretty soon you’re a couple of inches taller, until one falls off and then your limping!

SAMSUNG CSC

 

I believe there is a dialect word for these clods of snow, but I’m blowed if I can find it.  Any ideas anyone?

We had the return of a little sun in the afternoon which was very welcome, it having been rather cloudy for many days.

SAMSUNG CSC

The last slab of the oak butt I milled attracted the attention of a cafe proprietor, so I’ve been working that up for a couple of food presentation boards with my usual knife-tooled finish.
SAMSUNG CSCIn the background you can see some progress on the green oak bench I’m working on.  It has a lower back than the last two.  I need to get the trailer down into the woods when the snow melts so I can level the legs in, the front two need taming a bit from their current wild splay.

Felling again today.  I have a new camera that takes pretty decent video – it looks really good on a big TV screen, but this extract is compressed for ease of downloading so quality is just ordinary.  Spot the inattention just before it finally goes down.  Tut, tut!  On this day that was the only tree to fall in one, all other three had to be hand winched down – I’m sparing you the endless video with a click, click, click sound track.

Not wildly exciting.  Today (it took a little while to load up the video) I’ve been felling on the slopes above where the video was taken, rather more snow now, melting stuff.  Keeping a footing is rather important, and the escape route is vital.  I did a lot of dragging timber to the ride, and left some pieces long to fit on the Landy roof rack, I’m not taking the trailer in until the weather improves.  I got the Land Rover a little stuck last week and ended up winching a rock out of the way so I could get home.

SAMSUNG CSC

 

I leave the brash piles as shelter for wildlife.  Not that all wildlife is the forester’s friend:

SAMSUNG CSC
The top of this sycamore had been de-barked by squirrels, the upper one in a full ring and killed the lead growth.

 

 

New Year, new milling dogs

SAMSUNG CSCPlease note, since this photograph was taken, the near side rear wheel has been replaced

Day 129 - March of the Mole Grips

Day 129 – March of the Mole Grips (Photo credit: DaGoaty)

by the spare.  The one you see in the picture had a pair of Mole Grips or Vicegrips, or cheap crappy copy (not checked yet) embedded in the tyre, as I found last evening at 9:45pm after band practice.  Should repair though – as the puncture is not in the side wall.  I was relieved that it was  a mere puncture as it sounded more like the prop shaft had broken or something serious as the grips hit the ground each time the wheel turned around.  They are not my Mole Grips; if the owner is reading, please stand forward.

Anyway next to the Landy is my new bench, or sawing dogs as it is described in Salaman. You can never have enough benches.  This one will live out-of-doors, there not being enough room really in my workshop:

Workshop

I’ve made it to help me make the seat for a spec. garden bench.  Benches, benches, who’ll buy my benches?

The idea is that the plank or bed of the dog rests on the ground at the rear and is supported by two crossed legs at the front (four legs good, three legs better on rough ground).  This makes a nice slop up which a heavy log may be rolled by one man and another tool:

SAMSUNG CSC
This is another dog, ring, cant hook dog, or log hook according to Salaman.  Essentially a hook (I’m using the double dogs from my Lift and Shift which in turn are spare hooks from a felling bar) fastened to a ring into which a stout pole is inserted as a lever to roll the log up the bed.

dog

This oak log must have weighed about 4 cwt I would estimate and there was no way I could have lifted it – one end lift would have been difficult, and so I would have ended up milling it on the deck with my back bent over for about half an hour (try it!).

While rolling up the slope I insert 1 inch dogs in mortices at the back of it so I can take a fresh hold with the ring dog.  Once at the top it is at a good working height and held in place at the front by the top of the legs, at the back by 1.5″ dogs and its own weight.  I could fasten it down with a couple of log dogs but it didn’t seem necessary.  Milling proceeded with a fine straight stance.  Although I did subsequently find it easier to work from the other end so I didn’t need to step over the two beds!
MillingRather a messy business with all that fine sawdust, and I admit using a chain saw for milling, is not very efficient, but I only do a small amount, certainly not enough to justify anything more sophisticated (read expensive).  I’d recommend one of these pairs of sawing dogs, I’m pleased with the result.

Sawing dogs

Another dog:

Dog Looking at and Listening to a Phonograph, ...

Nipper, “His Master’s Voice”, The Original RCA Music Puppy (Photo credit: Beverly & Pack)

Working in public & baking at home

Two aspects of working in public:

and:

There are stories behind both these messages (cunningly in the same frame), but I’m not one to nag.  The latter one does seem to have worked the last couple of days of schools’ half-term break at least.  Don’t know why anyone would want to play with a nice ash log in a muddy puddle though.

I was away last week at Knights Wood near Sand Hutton, York, giving some advice to a family who recently acquired it.  Beautiful mature woodland, oak, sycamore and Scots Pine mainly.

English: The Scots Pine - cones (Pinus sylvest...

English: The Scots Pine – cones (Pinus sylvestris),  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On the way there I stopped off for this:

Not just organic:

This stuff is great for making the sourdough starter I use for baking my Forester’s Bread.  In fact it tends to get over excited even when in the fridge between bakes and tried to escape from the container, with partial success. I bought it from Food for Thought in Saxby (No not that Food for Thought, good though it is.)

VERY busy in the workshop now.  Two sets of pegs made to go to a customer in Lancaster.

These are random ash turnings on a chestnut backing board.  I’m also making deer and animals fifty to the dozen, and now an order for salad servers, and I want to develop some hazel log hods, being less hassle than  bent wood ones.

Getting cooler now and the long johns, lined socks and long-sleeved vests have been pressed into service again.  Looks grand when the sun eventually rises though:

 

Poles and hazel coppice

A customer needed some 8″ by 8′ poles for a play house (sounds like an interesting project).  I thought I’d left some at Wood Nook that size, but when I got there none to be had.  However, it did give me an opportunity to have a look at how the hazel coppice was re-growing.

Rather pleasing to see about a yard of new shoots coming through the brash.

I ended up felling a couple of dead elm trees in an adjacent wood to get the 8 foot poles (thanks Michael) and got them onto the Land Rover roof rack (silly me, no picture).

Back to Bolton Abbey, stopping in a gate hole for lunch just outside Burnsall (what no picture?).  Loaded up the trailer for Halifax Show.  I couldn’t get the poles for the lathe and shelter straight fore & aft because of the elm poles up top which needed transferring to the customer’s van back at the car park outside Strid Wood.  So the poles ended up sticking somewhat jauntily out at the side a foot or two.  I intended to straighten them out after I’d dropped off the elm (Ah but!  The road to Hell is paved with good intentions!)

Meanwhile,  I had to unhitch the trailer and do an emergency run for a lady with her three children, one of whom was injured.  Also meanwhile there was the air ambulance buzzing around – hard to make out from under the canopy of trees.  Later, found out it was on a rendezvous with a road ambulance that had a lady who’d fallen in the river on board, thankfully she hadn’t fallen in The Strid, from which few emerge alive.  And later still staff were recovering another casualty from the ford on the other side of the river, who’d fallen from his electric scooter.

What a day, I was glad to be on the way home, then the trailer started banging a bit – damn!  The jockey wheel had dropped down.  No damage though, secured it and on my way again.

Now my way home with a loaded trailer is up our village passing through a culvert under the Leeds Liverpool canal.  I remembered I’d not sorted the poles, so decided to go up Priest Bank, which starts with a bit of a narrow S-bend over a swing bridge over said canal. A car was coming downhill and I pulled into the side, so did the poles – into a road sign.  Bust the two longest ones.

However, I’ve now found a couple of replacements, obviating the need to go to BA on me day off.

Just need to drill a couple holes in one of them, the other’s the pole for the lathe, on which I think I’ll be demonstrating turning some potato crushers in spalted alder wood at t’show.

And in between fetching them and putting some sourdough to rise I broke my brewing record time, finishing by 9am!

 

Bike racks

Here are the four HEAVY racks in use.  My finger is still broken from where I dropped one on it!  The split logs are beech.  They are outside The Lodge at Sandholme quite a charming building – even if the number of downspouts looks a little overdone.

The boy’s new fence

Theo built a dwarf hazel fence in situ yesterday, and made a really good job of it I reckon.  Especially as it was both our first attempts.  It’s woven from the thinnest stuff I’ve taken out of Wood Nook.  It replaces a rather naff-looking nylon cord I had in the same place to discourage visitors coming uninvited into the work area (with its attendant sharp tools, hot stove, etc.  It should also help keep the shavings in the workshop, rather than spreading over the track.  The fence has proper bindings on the top with under and over weaving and wrapping around the end sales (upright poles).

I’ve been working on a split hazel hurdle too.  Not as easy as it looks in YouTube videos, so this hurdle will be destined for an inconspicuous place as its neatness leaves quite a lot to be desired, although it does have the required strength.  Here is a small section behind this lump of spalted ash I’ve worked up for a caterer to display cakes on (they wanted it just like this, honest!).

I’ve also been making a shave horse for a customer this week, here’s the finished article

And today it’s log making, working on the oak bench, finishing that large sycamore bowl, which, as predicted, is now as hard as iron, even to the sharpest tool.

London at the weekend for the Heritage Crafts Association annual meeting.

Five ton gates

This morning I went early to:

Five Rise Locks on the Leeds Liverpool canal where the lock gates have just been replaced and British Waterways (soon to become a charitable trust) held an open day to celebrate.  And what a thing to celebrate.  This is a section of the canal where the barges go through five lock either up or down using gates that weigh 5 tons each and are manufactured from green oak in BW’s Wakefield workshops.  The deal was a walk through the lock beds where you can only walk but occasionally, the gates are expected to last for 25 years, so I may not be around next time.  The turnout of people was impressive, a large queue had formed by the time I had chatted my way through attempting to make the many attendant employees’ day less than boring.

One of the otherwise hidden gems was the masons’ marks to show who had worked which stone and therefore needed payment:

See the two top stones with a half arrow pointing left and the star on the one below?  There were many different marks, it must have been a massive operation when they were first built in 1774.

There was a video playing at the canal-side showing in time-lapse photography the manufacture of the gates and their installation.  This is supposed to be on-line in April – watch this space!

I had today away from the woods, as I was there yesterday running a deer and fox making course: great fun:

 

Ah too much fun!  Back to felling tomorrow.