Wednesday 30 March 2011

EWB students build us a firewood shelter

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.

EWB UK 2011 camping trip DSC_7117


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:
EWB UK 2011 camping trip DSC_7105

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:
EWB UK 2011 camping trip DSC_7112

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:
EWB UK 2011 camping trip DSC_7109

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Before long the outline of the shelter was taking shape:
EWB UK 2011 camping trip DSC_7127

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:
EWB UK 2011 camping trip DSC_7114

After all that work it was time for a break, and the rope swing was put into use...
EWB UK 2011 camping trip DSC_7119

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The trees that had been felled earlier were cut to length and sharpened with a side axe:
EWB UK 2011 camping trip DSC_7131

then these were used to create posts that Hazel rods could be woven in between to form the walls:
EWB UK 2011 camping trip DSC_7128

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:
EWB UK 2011 camping trip DSC_7133

By the end of Saturday the shelter was really taking shape:
EWB UK 2011 camping trip DSC_7135

Sunday saw work start on using a froe to cleave the freshly felled chestnut poles to make slats for the roof:
EWB UK 2011 camping trip DSC_7136

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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:
EWB UK 2011 camping trip DSC_7142

The slats were then put on the roof:
EWB UK 2011 camping trip DSC_7149

with each being nailed in at the top to secure it:
EWB UK 2011 camping trip DSC_7146

near the end the drill battery ran out, but fortunately I'd come prepared!
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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:
EWB UK 2011 camping trip DSC_7154

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.


Unknown said...

Great pictures! We had a fantastic weekend - just what we needed to de-stress after all our coursework deadlines!

I think we all learnt a lot and are definitely looking forward to coming back next year to build another bridge.

Thank you Mike and Tracey!

Best wishes


Mike Pepler said...

Thanks Sarah, it was great to have you all here! Mike

Anonymous said...

so sorry I couldn't come! maybe next time ;-)