Hole filled

Here’s a (rather blurry/soft focus phone) photograph of the peeled oak gates installed.

I’ll take another when I return with the oak drop bolt with renewable pin.

Many thanks to Dave for his sterling help – it was definitely a two-handed job to get everything looking good when there are no right lines to follow.

I delivered this renovated bench today too:

It’s another hand tooled finish in chestnut.

Wild About Wood coming up this weekend at Castle Howard.

Spooning the gates

I’m using a couple of old-fashioned methods with these peeled oak gates I’m making.  One is rose headed black iron nails and the other is a spoon bit.  I’ve been making the main frames of the gates with mortise and tenon joints.  The setting out is a bit of the old “rack o’th’eye” work, but the effect seems to be coming along nicely.

The two middle members are one log split in two.

I’ve been using a spoon bit to make the holes where the pegs will be driven in to hold the joints together.  As it’s round wood (or half round) starting the hole is a little tricky, but, with the help of a small gouge to make a starter hole, all 12 holes worked out OK.

I’m using 3 inch rose nails – the longest I could find. There’s a little article about the history of nails here: History of nails.  The village of Silsden next to our own village used to be a big place for the making of clog nails, but alas! all trace of this has now vanished, except for …

 and, I now find there’s just been a sculpture created to celebrate this piece of history:

Anyway, back to the work in hand.  These are the nails I’m using:

They do look rather fitting when hammered home:

They are oxide coated to prevent rusting in the oak,  Square cut so they provide a large area of contact to hold them into the wood, plus a swelled stem near the head for even greater grip.  They certainly take some hammering in!  My ears were ringing, as were Mrs Law’s, who was on site to cope with the huge demand for Woodland Elves:

The smoke’s there to deter the midges.

Fitting the infill branches to the gates needed a lot of fiddling around to get the maximum contact with the frame members, and I managed to get a few more bracing triangles into the structure that way.

I’m pleased with the outcome, hope my client is too.

The gates have a built-in hat hook:

In fact you can hang quite a few things on it – well it is for a garden, I’m sure the gardener will appreciate the thought:

All they need now is a wooden bolt, some drop bolts and … fitting!

I spotted some embryonic acorns today, and I think they may be sessile oak ones – there seems to be no stalk.  I’ll be checking on them as they develop.

In Summer the freshness of Spring soon pales as those insects, moulds, fungi, viruses and other chaps get to work, even the Lammas growth seems to be suffering on the above oak tree:

…but always at my back I hear,

Time’s wingéd chariot hurrying near …

Oh no!  The bird cherry leaves are yellowing – well to be fair, they were the first ones to flush.

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!