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.

Delivery into the past peculier bench

We’ve been to the peculier of Masham. Delivering.

First we went to Hackfall (again) and among lots of other things we saw this elm pipe, water delivery – now in use as a bench (there are a couple of themes in this post).  The hole in this pipe was bored by hand using a large (I would estimate 4 inch) spoon bit with a decently sized handle – I’d be going for about 5 foot long.

Like this:

I think the near end is the butt of one tapered pipe broken off inside the female end of the complete one.  The other end is tapered where it fit into the next one along.  If it was anything to do with me I’d be preserving this in a perhaps more sympathetic way than as a bench.  We don’t really have elms big enough to make pipes from anymore, and I bet those spoon drills are hard to come by, not to mention chaps tough enough to turn ’em, remember spoon bits have no leader and need to be pushed in all the way through.  This one was about 5 foot long.  This pipe must have been used to lead water to the restored fountain that works from a natural spring, but was off today.

The ramsons were out in force.

As was Jack by the Hedge, along with his pals, nettles and goose grass.

Apparently Jack i’th’hedge is a good substitute for garlic for those folk who don’t like their garlic too strong.

The violets were out too.

Did I mention it doesn’t cost anything to visit this wood and is in driving distance of home, and we were on our way to The Old Mill anyway?  No aeroplanes involved.

One of the many pleasure features:

And another:

Feast your eyes on those masonry joints.  This is how Coldstones Cut should have been executed, can’t they do this anymore?

Dead wood felled and lying to rot, also opening up a stream vista  I know dead wood is a great conservation asset, but there were quite a few good straight-grained pieces of ash and oak that would have been great to work.

There was a great rough cut bench in Hackfall, loved it (watch out for forthcoming pale imitations!)

Hackfall is next to the village of Grewelthorpe – very easy on the eye:

Look at those Yorkshire corbels stopping the roof coping stones slipping off the eaves.  The near-to roofs have them absent – watch out below!  Chimneys in variety still in use.

In Masham, we noticed the primary school was still in a very old building, even though extended as recently as 1834:

Great, good to see an offset door and the old school bell.

Masham is just far enough away from everywhere else to have its own personality – like this part of Quaker Terrace:

Get those original Yorkshire sliding sashes – what other type of window is needed? Not sure whether this is a barber’s shop as the pole suggests, but it smelled like one.

The town is well worth visiting, and even had a vegetable shop.  There is a very large market place where the Saturday market is held.  I might also mention that there are both Theakston  and Black Sheep brewery in Masham which has a thirsty population of only about 1,200 souls.

And at last we arrived to deliver the bench – here it is at The Old Mill (you can commission your own in my shop):

As a bonus there is an apotropaic daisy wheel on the window head (click on the image to enlarge) you don’t want the evil one in your mill now, do you?

You maybe can’t see but the arms are styled on sycamore seed wings, but the bench is all solid oak from Bolton Abbey.  Phew, that was a lot of work, must sit down.