Saturday, 19 April 2014

Splitting long logs

A few days ago someone asked me how I split logs while they're 2m (6'6") long. So I made a little video...

Convenient that I had some logs that needed splitting after clearing a bit of windblow last weekend - this is now all done:
DSC_8341 logs

Also, now that we can cut logs up at home, I've covered last season's felled wood where it is, as most of it can sit there for another year now:
DSC_8343 covered logs


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Monday, 14 April 2014

Making kindling quickly by hand with a froe

Here's how we make all our kindling. It's quick and easy, and quite a satisfying job to do too! I wrote about the method some time ago, but finally got round to making a video on how to do it:

All you need is a chopping block, an inner tube from a bike, a froe (or frow, depending how you spell it), and a wooden mallet. The inner tube is the key - it holds the log together while you finish the job of splitting it up, as you can see here:

Best not to use a fancy mallet, as it will get damaged hitting the froe. I'm using one I made myself, as in this video:


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Sunday, 13 April 2014

Getting started on next winter's firewood and clearing windblow

With the spell of good weather we're having at the moment, I took the opportunity to get into the woods and start preparing logs for next winter, and clear up some more windblown trees. For the first time I took the logs home in 2m lengths, as we now have the Truncator to cut them up at home:

DSC_8269 Trailer of logs

Back in the area I coppiced last autumn, the birch I'd left to grow bigger didn't really work out due to the storms...
DSC_8270 Windblown tree

There was also a sweet chestnut stool knocked over there too:
DSC_8273 windblown coppice stool

They were dealt with pretty quickly, I decided to pollard the birch a few feet up, and coppice the sweet chestnut in the hope it will recover in some form:
DSC_8275 pollarded tree

DSC_8278 Sweet Chestnut coppice stool

There was still some space in one of the racks for the logs produced from the work:
DSC_8276 logs

The stools I coppiced back in the autumn are showing some new growth now:
DSC_8286 Sweet Chestnut coppice regrowth

The blubells are picking up too, as the wood anemone start to fade...
DSC_8289 bluebells

... much to the delight of the bees of course!
DSC_8287 bluebells and a bee

Once I got back home, we got the Truncator out and Tracy helped me process the logs - I chainsawed the logs in the Truncator, then Tracy took them for stacking while I loaded the next lot from the trailer to the Truncator.
DSC_8302 truncator logging

DSC_8303 truncator logging

We reckon for the volume of logs produced, it had saved about 60-90 minutes compared to our old method of processing and transporting logs, and was much easier on our backs, as there was not much need to pick stuff up form the floor and all the logs ended up in a wheelbarrow.

So we're now started on the road to next winter's firewood...
DSC_8307 logs

Of course, the side effect of using the Truncator at home is that the saw chips are all over the drive... Next time I'm going to try putting a tarp down to collect it, and see if anyone wants it for animal bedding.

Oh, and if you missed it, I also uploaded a video of how to make a simple log bench in five minutes!


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Chainsaw sculpture - making a bench in under 5 minutes

Here's a quick video to show a really simple way of making a log bench. We've been using these in the woods for years, and I needed to make a couple of new ones this weekend to accommodate groups of children on school visits to the woodland:

Here's the two finished products, which only took about 5 minutes each to make with the chainsaw. You can vary the height of them by using different size 'feet'.
DSC_8296 log benches


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Sunday, 6 April 2014

Springtime in the woods - flowers and butterflies

We took advantage of the sunshine yesterday to go for lunch in the woods with my parents, who were visiting for the day. Although I saw solitary Bluebells a couple of weeks ago, there's a liberal scattering now visible!

DSC_8181 Early bluebells

The Wood Anemones are also looking good, now at the height of their flowering:
DSC_8190 Wood Anemone

Between them and the Bluebells, the woodland is completely green now!
DSC_8195 Wood anemone in woodland

In the wayleave there are also Violets in flower, to the delight of various insects:
DSC_8197 Insect feeding on Violet flower

There's a good number of Primroses too - these were near the roadside:
DSC_8200 Woodland primrose

Also scattered amongst the Wood Anemones over in Sweep Wood are Lesser Celandine and an occasional Daffodil:
DSC_8250 Celandine and Wood Anemone

DSC_8255 Daffodil and Wood Anemone

The butterflies are also out in force now, here's a Small Tortoiseshell:
DSC_8212 small tortoiseshell butterfly

a Comma:
DSC_8216 Comma butterfly

and a Peacock:
DSC_8229 Peacock butterfly

The birds are busy too - we saw some scouting out nesting sites, and the pheasants are strutting around making a lot of noise as usual for the time of year:
DSC_8232 Pheasant in woodland

The trees all come into leaf at different times - Oak is still some way off, but Hornbeam is coming out now:
DSC_8241 Hornbeam coming into leaf

Hawthorn is well on the way:
DSC_8242 Hawthorn leaves

Hazel is just starting:
DSC_8248 Hazel leaves

and in the warmer spots in Sweep Wood there are even some Sweet Chestnut leaves appearing, but in most parts of the woods they are not started yet:
DSC_8264 Sweet Chestnut leaves

Here's a view of an area we coppiced in 2010/11, with ground cover growing like crazy:
DSC_8260 coppice woodland

And here's the area we cut in autumn 2013 - we spotted a few butterflies making the best of the new sunlight in this area already!
DSC_8244 coppicing

Finally, Tracy had her class visit the woods this week, so their dens/shelters are now in a better state of repair:
DSC_8234 woodland shelter

DSC_8235 woodland shelter

DSC_8236 woodland shelter

One group even got as far as making some miniature clay pots for the den's 'kitchen'!

We're looking forward to some more sunny days so we can spend time in the woods, now the wet weather has passed...


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