Friday, 2 January 2009

Tool repair and more coppicing

Before we start... today's bird in the cant we cut last winter was a Great Tit (well, several of them). Here it is:The handle on our sledge hammer broke last week, so we made a new one over the last couple of lunchtimes and breaks. Ash would make the ideal tool handle, but I wanted to try chestnut - partly because we have plenty of it, but also because the hammer will be left outdoors, and lying on wet ground, so a durable wood will be a good idea.

I selected a suitable short pole and use a knife to trim the end to fit through the hammer:
My Dad took over after this, and cut a slot into the end with a saw:
You need to cut a slot rather than cleaving it, otherwise the split could continue too far down the handle. The next thing was to make a wedge, and he cut a small piece of oak from one of the pieces we have left over from when they were thinned. The wedge needs to be made of a hard wood, so oak is ideal. The wedge is then hammered into the slot:
After he'd done that I took over again and peeled the handle:
It's best to do this as various bugs can live under the bark and cause the wood to rot. I've tried hitting a couple of things and the handle seems to be secure, so we'll see if it stands the test of time...

Anyway, back to the coppicing. I had to sharpen my saw today, which took about 45 mins out, and we also sold a couple of wheelbarrows of offcuts to some people we'd met in the woods who were visiting the area for New Year - they'll take them home to season and burn later in the year. Despite all this we still got some work done. I cleared a couple of stools with dozens of stems on the right of the main ride in this picture:while Tracy worked hard to fell a number of large stems on the right of the path between the junction and the pond, and that section is now finished:
My Dad carried on with the bit near the pond, and then Tracy felled some stems there and he helped process them. Here's the before and after photos for the last couple of days there:
We then knocked off early to go and meet David, who lives near our wood, and pop to do some shopping before going home.

So what's left to do? Well, there's a section on our main ride between the footpath junction and the cant we cut last winter, but it's mostly small twisty trees and will be relatively quick to do. There's also some near the pond we'd like to finish. After that, there's just the odd tree here and there to fell, and some logs to put into racks, then we're pretty much done.


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