New headers


I’ve been working on a new display stand to use at shows.  Above is the header which will have turned hangers fixed in the holes and it will be fixed above a new trestle table.  As you can see I’ve been having some fun decorating it with 17th century-style carving.  OK there are quite a few mistakes in the execution, but it is a learning piece.  These are only the second to fourth S-scroll designs I’ve cut.  I’ve been using Peter Folansbee’s excellent DVD on S-Scroll carving.  I’m going to have to do something about either my stance or the height of the bench, or the ever-changing depth of the floor shavings because I’ve been getting an aching back whilst carving.  I suppose this is partly because of it’s being a new thing and getting tense trying not to make mistakes, like especially when removing the background from around the last letter!.  The most tiring part was matting the background with a punch, even though I did it in four sessions.

I’ve made it from a piece of sweet chestnut left over from an epic milling session making feather-edged boards for a counter front in a cafe.  The big Stihl 66 I am running the Alaskan mill with gradually got slower and slower at cutting , even though I sharpened it, made sure there was oil in, and made sure the cut was level.  Eventually I gave in a bought a new guide bar (24″) and chain (3/8ths, chisel).  This improved matters amazingly, and no wonder. The new Oregon bar has a sprocket at the nose, like my little 18″ thinning 260 machine, it also has to be greased manually daily.  Whereas – the crappy worn out bar that came with the second-hand 66 doesn’t even have a sprocket – no wonder life was getting tough!

Here’s a picture of my newly discovered way of holding the thing in the vice whilst sharpening the blade, much better than trying to balance it on top of the timber I’m milling.

So less of this mess for a while …


I milled some oak for this job (while the old bar was working pretty well) a picnic table with benches (note the drainers at the rear of the seats).

And this weeks quiz. What is the significance of this number sequence?

It runs: 1,2,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,14,14,15,15,16,16,17,17. Hint: you may need to look back to an earlier post on this channel.

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.

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:


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:

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.


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)