Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Busy few weeks in the woods

It's been a busy few weeks, starting with me going to the South Downs Show to sell logging saw horses on behalf of Truncator - I've been using their product for a couple of years, and thought it was time I had a go at selling them. It went very well, here's my stall at the show before it opened:

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I was too busy to look round the show while it was open, but I did see this guy opposite demonstrating basic blacksmithing - I might be tempted to have a go some time!
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I had good weather for the show, apart from setting up in the rain on the Friday, but even then there was a nice sunset!
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Back in the woods I've been moving the seasoned produce from 2013/14 coppicing, some cut into logs and delivered to customers, and some relocated to where I can access it more easily for our own use this winter:


While moving the logs I found a few interesting things in the log piles, such as three Peacock butterflies, which I helped warm up and depart for new hiding places:

A nest of some sort, from a mammal rather than a bird by the look of it:

And finally the remains of an old wasp nest, I think:

I've also been cutting green branches and poles for a customer who'll be assembling them into decorative panels:

And to top it off, camping in the woods with my brother and his family!


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Sunday, 26 July 2015

Turbo Saw Mill in action in the woods

Over the past few weeks I've given my friend Rich a hand a couple of times using his Turbo Saw Mill to produce useful timber from some wood he's coppiced. Here's a timelapse of us using the swing-arm circular saw, driven by a chainsaw engine, to produce batons from a sweet chestnut log:

And here's a video demonstrating the slabbing attachment, which is basically a big chainsaw with a 5' bar and a system to suspend it from the mill beam:

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Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Making a table using a chainsaw and a sledgehammer

Having seen someone make a wooden bench using only a chainsaw and a sledgehammer, with no nails or screw, I thought I'd have a go, but making a table for use at the camp in the woods rather than a bench. As it was my first attempt I decided to use an old piece of sweet chestnut I'd had sitting around for a few years.

First I raised it up off the ground:

Then used the chainsaw to rip it down the middle, cross-cutting when I had a long enough section:

Then I put the two pieces side by side on some bearers. I flipped one of them round though, so that the combined width of the two of them is about the same all the way along.

To get them to fit together nicely, I then used the chainsaw to rip along the gap between them, then push them together. Having repeated this a few times I got a nice fit:DSC_4118

The next step was to make a 'dovetail joint'. I made two cuts with the chainsaw like this:

Then used a bore (or plunge) cut, followed by a bit more fiddling around with the saw to get it looking like this. You can see I've also used the saw to roughly shape a wedge of wood to go into the gap as well:

Having inserted the wedge into the gap, I then used the chainsaw to carefully rip along both sides of the wedge, taking care to take wood off the wedge rather than the table top logs.

Having repeated that several times, the wedge now fitted nicely:


After using the sledgehammer bang it securely into place, I then used the chainsaw to trim off surplus wood, so it looked like this:

Then did it all over again at the other end:

For the legs, I used the chainsaw to rip another log in half, and made four pieces like this:

Then I used a bore cut with the chainsaw to make holes in the table top, trimmed the tops of the legs, and hammered them through the holes:

Here it is with four legs in place:

Of course, when I turned it over it was far from level!

But a bit of trimming on the ends of the legs got that sorted:

The final step was then to use the saw to cut off the bits of leg poking through the top, and tidy up any rough spots:

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Next time I make one I'll video it...


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Sunday, 21 June 2015

Peasmarsh Forest School

Last week I was delighted to go along to the opening of Peasmarsh Forest School - my friend Rich supplied the oak they made into the sign, and I'd helped with the milling of it. The school had got a pyrography expert to put their design into the sign, and had also treated it with some preservatives so hopefully it will stay looking like this for some time to come:

Peasmarsh Forest School

I'd supplied them with some benches, and small logs to use as stools, as seen in the photo below. But the main reason for the photo is to show their innovative method of making popcorn over a fire, using two sieves and a wooden pole! No oil required, and it just uses a bit of wire to hold the sieves together:
Making popcorn over a fire

Here's the end result, I shall be trying this myself very soon... expect a video!
Popcorn made over a fire

In our own woods, I've mainly been upgrading some of the tracks and moving logs...

Not that exciting, but at least we've had some nice weather to get on with the job!


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Sunday, 7 June 2015

Digging in the woods

For once it wasn't the wild boar digging holes, it was me! I've been trying to persuade this bog not to drain into the track for some time, but have finally decided the only way is to dig a ditch to try and drain it in a different direction:



As you can see from the above photo, part of the reason for this is that I need to drive on this bit of the track this summer, to extract wood I cut 18 months ago, and a drier track will make it much easier. I'll go back in a week and see how it's going... But the rest of the track was fine - for readers that know the woods, the photo below was taken by the Wild Service tree and two Oak trees on the track that separates Chestnut Coppice from Sweep Wood, which is quite deep inside the woods:

Here's a few pics from Rye Harbour too, taken a few weeks ago.The gulls were busy building nests:


They were all making a lot of noise, especially this Common Tern:

For the first time I got a photo of Great Crested Grebe down there, though I think they are fairly common.

And finally, a couple of scenic shots to finish off. First, Rye Harbour:

And second, Pett Level:
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