Last weekend we had a group of students from Engineers Without Borders UK (Imperial College branch) come to camp in the wood and also build us an additional firewood drying shelter.
We started off with a walk round the wood to admire the Wood Anemones:
and also the bridge that EWB built last year in Sweep Wood:
Then the first part of the shelter building started - carrying back some of the Sweet Chestnut stakes we'd made during this winter's coppicing:
Before starting on the new shelter, we all had a good look at the old one, to see how it could be improved:
Then an area was measured out so that the tarps we have would cover the roof:
and work started on peeling the stakes, so they'll last longer in the ground:
The stakes were put in with the post driver:
and then the rest of their length was peeled - this was easier to do once they were in the ground, which is why we'd only done the first bit earlier:
While all this was going on, some of the group was off felling small trees to use for stakes in the walls and also for roof slats:
Before long the outline of the shelter was taking shape:
Because the ground was slightly sloped, but we wanted the roof to be level, we used an old plastic pipe with water in it to check the relative height of thet corner stakes:
After all that work it was time for a break, and the rope swing was put into use...
The trees that had been felled earlier were cut to length and sharpened with a side axe:
then these were used to create posts that Hazel rods could be woven in between to form the walls:
The longer poles to form the ridge and edges of the roof were flattened using a draw knife until they sat neatly on the posts, then they were bolted down:
By the end of Saturday the shelter was really taking shape:
Sunday saw work start on using a froe to cleave the freshly felled chestnut poles to make slats for the roof:
Each of these then had to be smoothed with a draw knife or billhook to make sure it wouldn't tear the tarp later on:
The slats were then put on the roof:
with each being nailed in at the top to secure it:
near the end the drill battery ran out, but fortunately I'd come prepared!
And finally, on went the tarps, fixed down with zip ties and paracord, just in time for a team photo before it was time to pack up camp:
In case you were wondering, there was also some time for food, camp fires and beer!
Tracy and I are very grateful for all the help we received over the weekend - it would have taken us at least a week to get it done ourselves! Looking forward to another visit next year...
p.s. there are more photos than the ones in this blog, visit the set on my Flickr page to see the rest.