Stools, hazel and a building site

My wimping on about not getting a prize for my 3 legger caused a couple of comments about voting (notably from  Eric Bloodax Rick McKee, master hewer).  I’ve never tried this before so I thought I’d set up a poll, just for fun, and you should be able to see this in the right sidebar (may need to scroll down a bit or go to the “Home” page until I find out why if you go to an individual post no right sidebar info shows grrr!)).

Just to remind you, here are the stools in question:

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The three legger (Must get that focus sorted man! -Ed).

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The 4 legger with pretty flowers (Are these shots taken in a stone quarry? -Ed).

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Also ran.

Enjoy your voting – you can see the results with a simple click, unlike the retro polling of the political variety.

At the moment I feel a bit like a square peg in a round hole, bursting to fit in, where is that fitting hole?  Where is the support for 17th century joinery?  Should I try the Worshipful Company of Joiners? Am I just too square?

SAMSUNG CSCThe rubbly background to the photos is the rebuild of my workshop, don’t worry, once the masons have finished there will be some timber included, watch this space.

SAMSUNG CSCThe season of woodland deer is ‘pon us once again and my stocks of animal limbs, and antlers was woefully low, so I had a half day cutting the hazel coppice at Wood Nook.  At lunchtime I had a walk round previous years’ cut stools and some regrowth is pretty good

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Some is rather poor, but still has a chance – if the deer will only leave it alone:

SAMSUNG CSCBut around 25% have died 😦

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Two stools

Coppicing, felling, tushing (pretending to be a horse dragging timber rideside) trying to do a little woodwork.  Today it was coppicing.  Finally finished off the monster stool – it’s about 4 foot across, and severely overgrown.  Nothing else was growing within the spread of its massive (for hazel) canopy.  But after four visits its all down:

SAMSUNG CSCI should have taken a picture of the huge pile of wood we got from it.  ‘All’ that’s left to do now is to get it down to this level:

 

SAMSUNG CSCA neighbouring, smaller stool we took down in one today, thanks David!

 

 

 

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!

 

A grand day out gliding around North Yorkshire

 

Apart from the serious business of buying 5kg of dark rye flour from Food for Thought in Haxby, York, and visiting Ryedale Folk Museum, we had a bonus event watching gliders on Sutton Bank which overlooks the Vale of York:

Yorkshire Gliding Club operates from the top of the bank on a huge flat area, once an iron age fortress, thought possibly to have been used for herding cattle.  There is a rocky scar at the edge which creates an ideal up-draught for the craft, and incidentally an ideal nesting place for Peregrine Falcons – we saw and heard one cruising around Roulston Scar.

The mixed woodlands below and on Hood Hill (above) were full of song birds singing away, a great free entertainment:

Ryedale Folk museum had some interesting artefacts, these roasting dogs caught my eye:

There were a few stools, some original and some made for the museum.

The long low one caught my eye, it had a simple bead scratched along the top edge.  The legs are only splayed back to front and not to the sides as its length will give stability in that direction. Same principle as joint stools usually display.  I could imagine a couple of children siting on this and playing or, more likely, doing chores.  This was in a farm-house which had been rebuilt at the museum and had quite a good atmosphere.  Just needed someone baking bread over the fire.

Carsten and Derek managed to make a stool apiece yesterday, they were good students to complete this rather demanding task in a day with no previous experience of green woodwork.  The stools are for Carsten’s children so they are good and sturdy.  We used some of the black bog oak from the Bodgers’ Ball, makes a contrast with the lighter ash seats and legs.  I was particularly impressed by how ell they got the leg angles drilled – neat!

Back in Rydale, I was somewhat dismayed by what had been done to mange their little hazel coppice –

It isn’t as though they are short of a few good Yorkshire bills:

The Museum has a great collection of local buildings which have been moved and rebuilt there.  How about this photographic studio with its airy porch glazed with recycled glass photographic plates?

Meanwhile back at the beach near The Bodgery, we’ve had a visitor:

Hum, a web-footed visitor, hungry too …

That’s an American white-clawed crayfish, rather a scourge of our native ones as they are bigger and carry a pox (just like grey squirrels) that does for our little crayfish.  However, looks like an otter is finding them a tasty snack.

And finally a couple of new work items:

A wine valet, from an idea picked up at the Ball, and my current bench project, I’ll be finishing off the seat tooling today and splitting out some back spindles.

This is derelict coppice

So, a little more explanation of coppicing, for those who don’t know about it (those who do, please click somewhere else – now!).

The above is a rare West Yorkshire (or West Riding of Yorkshire as we used to say) hazel coppice I’m working/restoring.  It has not been cut for about 55 years, and should have been cut every 7 years. This is why it is called derelict.  It’s over-grown, lots of dead wood, large tree-sized members in the stools.  OK rewind, a stool is this:

Essentially a collection of stems all growing from the same roots.  When it’s derelict it contains: very big stuff – in our case up to about 7 inches diameter; living and dead sun shoots (these are rods which shoot up to the sun very quickly doh!); rotten wood; birds’ nests; long thick straight poles; long bent wiggly poles and anything in between.

Usually coppice woodland contains some standards.  These are trees which will be harvested outside the coppicing 7 year cycle, that is they are left to mature into proper timber, maybe 50 years or more.  “Our” woodland seems to be lacking in proper standards, and instead has self-seeded trees, mostly only fit for firewood.

Cutting.

This is a hazel stool that has been cut. Notice how I’ve angled the trimming cuts to shed the rainwater away from the centre of the stool.  It will now regenerate and hopefully grow lots and lots of straight rods, useful for a hundred things, including hurdles.  The re-growth will be better after the second cut – in about 14 years’ time, hey that’s when I’ll be 73, well if I’m still going strong (why not?).

I’m not sure how or when this coppice woodland was established, but someone, quite a while ago, planted a host of hazel over 2.5 hectares.  It has been cut previously, and the stools are well established, but not ancient.

The trouble is.  Once the hazel is cut, and it starts to push up the re-growth in spindly stems.  These are seen as ideal snack material for deer (mostly roe deer around here).  So, it is a good idea to attempt to discourage the deer.  We try to do this by heaping the brash (cut tops of the hazel) on top of the stools.  The regrowth will come through, but hopefully the deer will be discouraged. A better way is to erect high fences to keep the deer out.

The brash stack gets deeper and deeper and avoids burning anything, and ultimately ends up as dead hedging.  This is a method of using the rubbish from cutting to form a hedge of dead material which has a temporary function (deer repulsion). It will later rot down and return to the soil.

We are after getting several marketable products out of this: logs for fire wood: logs for charcoal; hedging posts; staves; sticks; weaving material; stuff for courses etc, etc.  The piece looks a bit chaotic, but there is a method.

An opportunity for the world

Derelict coppice – who needs it?

Just a load of old hazel overgrown, or is it?

This is a coppice wood that has been left without management for around 50 years.  It is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (just like Strid Wood).  Lots of trees and flora, and birds, and deer (OMG).

It needs a bit of loving care and attention, … and a chain saw.

These overgrown hazel stools will be a source of all manner of coppice products …

Wait until you see what comes out of this woodland – you’ll need to wait a bit though!