[firewood to Grasmere]
[extracting wood over the causeway]
[bobbin wood to the bobbin mill]
[testing the bog causeway]
[stopped raining,move wood]
[Force Forge beck in flood]
[Benches installed at Holehird]
[squaring oak posts]
[Sam glueing another banjo hoop]
[Benches completed for Holehird]
[Horse logging at the MaHS work day]
[milling in Stoney Hazel]
[rain in Rusland]
[trailer hitch breaks at Dixon Heights]
[log not playing]
[clearing shavings in the barn]
August saw us completing a big cleft oak tapping rail for the National Trust on Derwentwater. It had around 200 posts on it, and while putting the points on with a chainsaw Sam suggests he could do it faster with an axe. Having tried axing the points on before I was dubious and decided on a race over 5 posts, chainsaw against Swedish broad axe. Sam managed to just beat me, but it was pretty amazing to see how fast it can be with a powerful axe technique.
[roughing out fence post blanks at Crag wood]
[extracting peeled oak]
[oak rails at Renny Park]
[more winching at Dixon Heights]
[trailer stuck at Dixon Heights]
[adzing NT fence posts]
[charcoal bagging ]
[fence post blanks for National Trust job]
[adzing tv stand]
[making fence rails]
[plank for Molly's bench]
Tried a different design for Molly's bench, with angled square through mortices which I'd vowed never to do again after a rather poor attempt a few years back. This time getting the morticer on the job to see if that works better.
[finished viKing planks]
One of the more unusual jobs has been for some 'viking planks' for a replica of longship being built at the Barrow ship museum. This involved cleaving down 8foot long planks to just under an inch thick and then adzing the triangular clefts to a more rectangular shape. Turned into a bit of a major job.
[deer browsed hazelat Catcrag ]
A tree blew over in Catcrag and the root plate levered up the deer fence. The deer found the small gap and have gone munching bonkers on the new hazel growth causing an enormous amount of damage.
[trying to cleave 8ft planks]
[felling oak for viking planks]
[installing garden screen]
This screen worked really well with cleft peeled oak cross bits and adzed frame, sweet.
[firewood delivey to Kentmere]
[cleaving oak for Viking planks]
[bark peeling at Stoney Hazel]
May has been quite a busy time. We have,at last ,had a dry spell that has dried out the mud and allowed us to get into inaccessible places like Craggy Woods.
e've been able to finish the last of the charcoal burning and remove the kilns to a new spot Dixon Heights where Saul used to live.
[kiln in Dixon Heights]
You would think I would know better than to put the kilns in another awkward place, but here we are winching kilns up very steep hills.
Luckily I managed to avoid squashing Sam with kiln largely due to his strength. We were winching the kiln up a particularly steep bit, with Sam guiding the kiln from behind when the pole we had through the kiln broke.luckily Sam was strong enough to resist the downward thrust of 250kgs of kiln till I could get it hooked up again. Stan who I bought the wood off has had a Unimog up there, which is impressive considering the terrain. I've bought a trailer with 4wd from a company in Estonia that I visited a few years back. It arrived on the back of a massive truck too big to get in the yard, half an hour before I was due at the dentist, without warning. Frantic scrabbling around trying to get the tractor going and then digging out slings.
[new trailer arrives]
The truck was so high we had to virtually drag the trailer off. I had the local tractor expert rejig the hydraulics on the little tractor and we expectantly hooked it up to find the tractor hydraulic pump is 40bar short of pressure to operate the 4wd. Not sure what to do now, but it will probably be expensive.I should probably have kept on using Sam to snig out the wood
Apologies for the long wait, I have been trying to build a new version of the website (slowly) and there is only so much looking at a screen I can put up with these days. The winter was a very wet one with about 120percent of normal rainfall with brief periods of weird weather inter spacing it.
[ice cube wood]
One such episode was an 'ice storm' where rain fell onto frozen ground coating everything in a layer of ice. It was just about impossible to move around with 100 accidents being reported in Cumbria that morning. I needed to put some hand split bits of firewood into a bag but it was like trying to lift large ice cubes and they kept slipping out of your grip.
[Warmer outside than in the barn]
An event in February called New Green Woodwork brought together craft workers and young professional designers for a long weekend trying to come up with contemporary greenwood products. It was quite a challenge but the designers really got into it and came up with some inventive ideas. I was working with a lad called Jack Smith who works for Studio Tord Boontje in London and he came up with this novel idea for steam bent legs on a stool. I had a lot of trouble getting my head round what he was after and even more trouble drilling the holes at the correct angles although Jack did offer to draw it all on a laptop program that could work it all out. The legs were hazel and I don't know if we steamed them too long but there was some breakout of the grain. One of the consequences of this course organised by Charlie Whinney and Grizedale Arts was that I briefly got onto Facebook to look at the pictures of all the pieces made (see Grizedale Arts). This became a huge waste of time and luckily the account got suspended and released me from its icy grip.
[steam bent stool]
We have also been working on a post and rail fence for York Castle Museum which I got a chance to see when delivering some more fence, and it was looking rather lovely and is in a very prominent position by the river so will be seen by millions (well tens at least).
[cleft oak rails]
Here's the rails completed and ready to be shipped out.
The other major event of recent times has been the Coppice Association North West's exhibition at Farfield Mill in Sedburgh. This was on for the whole of April and involved taking over a large part of the mill. I decided to make a pixilated picture of Bill Hogarth using wood from Moss and Height Spring which was the last wood he worked. 2000 mini shakes later and the picture was finished but it took 9 days of tedium to make. Anyone want an enormous shakelated picture of Bill Hogarth?
[part of Farfield exhibition]
Happy new year to you. It can only get better. The winter has been a return to the normal winters of a few years back with mild constantly wet weather. My brother insists there is a drought in Leicestershire and if you travel about 10 miles south of the Lakes you can usually find better weather. In fact we had a spell going off to Silverdale to extract the firewood from Eaves Wood because it was the only place we could get into.To catalogue more Apprentice abuse I had Sam dragging firewood out of Eaves Wood like a snigging pony.
He is an incredibly strong bloke and while its very useful for a lot of 'wood moving' tasks a lot of equipment seems to fall apart in his hands, to the extent that I've nicknamed him Desperate Sam. In the Lakes it has been raining seemingly every day since the brief dry spell in November. The shear weight of water has made woodland tracks knee deep in mud. When desperately trying to extract wood from Stoney Hazel for the Christmas rush, the loaded land rover and trailer slid sideways such an amount that I got a tree between the trailer and land rover so nothing was moving backwards or forwards. This sort of thing always happens late on in the day when you are just wanting to go home, and you need to make sure you don't make a daft decision. Anyway I cut the tree down and went home. Our biggest paling fence to date went in at a nice farmhouse near Clitheroe.
This didn't quite go to plan when we found the old fence was concreted in with huge chunks of concrete that I hadn't realised was there when inspecting the job. However we survived and the finished fence looks great. A brief spell of clear cold weather has allowed us to cut the willow patch and we've got a good crop of willow. After a few years of cutting using chainsaws we used billhooks instead and it seemed to be just as quick and a lot quieter.
[Sam cutting willow]