Sunday, 8 February 2015

Stools for schools and other odds and ends

A local school recently asked if I could supply them with various items of wooden seating to use in the small area of woodland they have access to. Of course, I was delighted to supply them with what they needed!

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I took the opportunity to try out a new idea for making the benches. I started with a couple of slabs trimmed from coppice stumps, and used the chainsaw to cut a V-shaped notch into each:
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I then used these to support the log being made into a bench, which gave two immediate advantages - first, it stops it rolling around, and second, it elevates it a bit, so you don't have to bend down so low when working on it:
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The next step was the usual one, as shown in my video on how to make a bench, cutting notches for the feet in what will eventually be the underside of the bench:
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Now for the next new bit - rather than setting the bench on its feet to cut the seating area, I rotated it a quarter turn:
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I then pushed the feet into the notches, just to check they were exactly vertical:
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Then, I was able to walk along with the chainsaw, using it to slice a thin layer off to make the seating area. This is easier to do in a straight line from above than doing it from the side with the saw horizontal, and much more comfortable too!
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The only downside was that having the saw at an angle tended to leave more chain marks on the wood:
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But they quickly disappeared once I put the bench horizontal and did a quick skim over with the trailing edge of the chainsaw bar:
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And I was left with a rather nice bench!
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The school wanted some simple log stools as well, so I selected some suitably-sized logs to cut up and transported the results with my log trolley:
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I even managed to get it all into the trailer and the car in one trip!
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Here's the end results, delivered to the school field:
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In other news from the woods... the Bluebells are growing, having had the first shoots pop out the ground in the second half of January:
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And this hen pheasant has been following me around. She nearly ate some bird feed from my hand! Far too tame for her own good I think...
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Back in Rye, we did get a light covering of snow one day in January, but it only lasted a couple of hours and there was no time to go to the woods and photograph it there...
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I've also been playing around with my Carry Freedom Y-Frame bike trailer, and now have it set up to run on my mountain bike. I tested it out hauling about 25kg up and down a hill, but I'm not convinced I'll be bringing all next winter's firewood back this way...
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Talking of firewood, the insulation I installed in our dormer roof a few months ago has certainly done the trick - it looks like we might be using about 30% less firewood than before!

Till next time...

Mike

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Friday, 23 January 2015

Turbo Saw Mill - Sweet Chestnut into waney edge boards

Last weekend, Rich and I, along with my friend Alex, used the Turbo Saw Mill to convert a couple of Sweet Chestnut logs into 'waney edged' boards:

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Here's a timelapse video (made using a GoPro camera) of one of them being milled up:



We've still got some room for improvement in terms of speed, but it produced some nice boards!

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Mike

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Friday, 9 January 2015

Busy day cutting firewood and felling trees for The Pelham

Today was a busy day! I arrived at the woods at 07:45, and after sorting some odds and ends out (like a culvert blocked with leaves...), I used the Truncator, mounted on the side of the trailer, to cut some logs to take over to The Pelham:



As I videoed it for the time-lapse using my GoPro camera, I know it took 28 minutes to cut about one cubic metre of loose logs, which I think is pretty good!

Once these had been unloaded over at The Pelham, my friend Dan and I got on with felling the trees in the car park - here's a timelapse video of the first two stems coming down:



The trees weren't huge, but we put the Tirfor winch on them anyway as insurance, as having them fall the other way, into the gardens of the adjoining houses, was not an option! We got a decent pile of logs out of it, which will be split up at some point in the next few months, and hopefully will be dry enough to burn next winter:

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I also made a stool out of the bottom of one of the trees, which could be used in The Pelham once it's dried out. Here's Ollie, who works at The Pelham, testing it out:

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Don't forget, if you're local to Bexhill, that The Pelham coffee bar opens in a couple of weeks:


Mike

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Monday, 5 January 2015

Turbo Saw Mill - Making an oak gate post

A couple of days ago I joined my friend Rich to help out with his new Turbo Saw Mill, and make a video of it in operation. It's a serious piece of kit to be working with!

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Here's the video, showing several of the stages in the production of a gate post measuring 8'x8"x8" from an oak log:


As you can see from this picture, it can actually handle much longer pieces of wood than this though - the back end is behind where Rod is stood in the picture below:
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The saw is mounted on a carriage which rolls along this aluminium beam:
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There's an electric version, but Rich has one powered by a chainsaw engine, so it can be used in the woods. It's a Husqvarna 3120xp, with this small modification to the throttle so it can be operated remotely:
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Rather than driving a chain, the saw engine drives a belt, a bit like a car fanbelt:
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In turn this drives the circular saw mounted at the other end of the axle:
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The saw Rich has is about 20" across, allowing it to make cuts up to 8" deep. The teeth are tungsten carbide.
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When in action, a water tank uses a gravity feed to cool the saw, which can run vertically or horizontally, with the weight of the saw blade and the chainsaw engine counter-balancing each other:
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By being able to swing through 90 degrees (hence the other name, 'swing arm' saw mill), it means the mill can take chunks out of a log without having to cut all the way across:
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This was only the second use of this saw mill - there should be lots more coming up, and I'll be posting some more videos...

Mike

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Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Rye Harbour Sunsets

We've had some lovely sunny days over Christmas, and I've been down to Rye Harbour Nature Reserve a few times to make the most of it. Here's a few snaps of the sunset there a couple of days ago:

DSC_3107 Sunset at Rye Harbour

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Walking back along the beach I saw this huge flock of Oystercatchers...
DSC_3097  Oyster Catchers at Rye Harbour

Of course, they took off as I approached! I felt a bit bad for disturbing them, but it was past sunset by this point so I knew they'd be heading to the lake for the night soon anyway...
DSC_3100 Oyster Catchers at Rye Harbour

Mike

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