Wednesday, 26 October 2011

More LightStorm CL1 ultracapacitor torches in stock!

I've just received another box of these neat torches from the manufacturer. With darker nights approaching, you might like to take a look.

Because they're wind-up, and also not damaged by being left uncharged, I think they're ideal for leaving tucked away in a car glovebox or at home, ready for when you unexpectedly need some light!

You can read about the torches, and buy one, on this page. The price there is £1 cheaper than my price on ebay.


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Sunday, 23 October 2011

Cutting a new woodland ride

Over the past week I've been working in my friend Alex's wood, cutting trees to make a new ride - he originally had no rides at all through the 7.5 acres of land. We actually made a bit of a start a year ago, going from this:


to this:

Moving inside the wood, Alex and I spent a few hours last weekend and made this progress on the other side of the (currently dry) stream:

By the end of the week it look like this from that viewpoint:

and a bit further in:

and further in still:

What's left is the section bounded by the trees marked with yellow paint, the other side of which is a small clearing we created a couple of years ago:

Coming back from that end, this is the view:


At the end of the week I flattened off some of the stumps - this really blunts the chain on the saw (due to inevitably hitting dirt), so is best done just before you go home to sharpen it!

I had to clear up some windblown chestnut as part of this work, but it was still actually alive and so I got some good logs to use next year for building a bridge over the stream, and the tree itself may well recover to some extent.


There were also a couple of more problematic trees, like this chestnut:

which had been growing through this gap:

and was only brought down by using the tirfor winch and ploughing a long furrow in the ground!


Anyway, it was all OK in the end. I'll be back there soon to finish the job... Once it's done, there'll be a nice ride to walk/drive into the wood, and it should also help improve the biodiversity by letting in patches of sunlight - I've already seen increased insect life in some parts of it.


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Friday, 21 October 2011

More coppicing and a new chainsaw video

Let's start with my latest GoPro video, this time with the camera mounted on my helmet while felling and logging a tree in our wood:

I made a timelapse video on the same day as well, with lots of bustling around to fell trees, burn the brash and process the logs:

The work has already resulted in a rack full of logs, split or striped to start seasoning:

and the Sweep Wood side of the track is now cleared, leaving a Birch and a Sweet Chestnut to grow on a bit:


The recently coppiced on the other side of the track will of course grow up, but we'll keep the strip either side of the track low, so it is lighter and more beneficial for biodiversity.

Next job is over in Alex's wood - pictures to come soon...


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Sunday, 16 October 2011

This season's coppicing work

The last two years have been pretty intense during the period when we've been working in the wood, as we had a set area to fell for a grant, and it was a bit more work than we'd realised! Still, we got an awful lot of wood out of it, and are now well stocked so that we can burn 2-year old wood at home. This year's different, taking a much more relaxed approach. Our only target is to fell at least one year's worth of wood for home heating, which is probably about 12m3 of solid wood. So, there's time to clear up odds and ends that have been left over from the past couple of years, and we're also going to do some work in a nearby wood that belongs to Alex, a friend of mine.

I actually started by going back up to the top of Sweep Wood, where we were working almost exactly two years ago. The problem we had then was lots of Sycamore leaning over the neighbouring farm yard, which all needed roping to pull them back into the wood. This was a lot of work, so I've resolved to cut them every few years, so we never have the same problem again - this will also create a kind of shrub-like edge to the wood there, which will be good for wildlife.

So Sycamore which looked like this:


now looks like this:

The only problem I had was the chainsaw hitting a metal object embedded inside a coppice stool...

This left me with a chain to sharpen...

I've also done the same work to the regrowth on the tree that the electricity company felled about a year ago:


While doing this one I tried out the GoPro on the chainsaw:
DSC_9000 GoPro mounted on the chainsaw

Here's the result (which may make you dizzy!):

If you liked that, there's more to come soon from a helmet-mounted version!

Down at the bottom of the hill in Sweep Wood, there's another area where a bit of work needs doing to complete a link between the widened rides we created a couple of years ago and the recent coppicing. This involves felling the edge trees here:

and both sides of this bit:

The first afternoon I did I just dealt with one corner of it:

which may seem a bit slow, but I was also splitting most of the logs as well, so they could start seasoning:

I've left one birch standing at that corner to grow on a bit and ensure that there are seeds coming down for regeneration:

Last but not least, back near our camp we actually have a few samples of fruit on our trees! We only left a few blossoms on, as the trees are still small, but it's nice to see that pollination is definitely happening!


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Saturday, 8 October 2011

Finished moving last year's logs!

We've finally finished moving all of last year's logs away from the felling area!


By moving them now, they're a lot lighter than when we felled them (they've seasoned, as we split or striped them straight after felling), and we've also avoided doing damage to the tracks, as they're dry. In fact, I'm not sure we'd even have made it up some of the hills if they'd been muddy!

The trailer has worked very well for moving logs, as it's light enough to turn round and push up the hill rather than having to try and reverse it, and it takes our 2m logs no problem.

My parents were visiting last week, and we had a lot of help from my Dad with the logs:


Tracy and I moved some other wood too, such as another big chunk of this Sycamore to use to make a table in the camp area (my brother and I moved one earlier too):

There were also some logs to make into stools as well (see the timelapse video of one being made):

We also had some longer logs that we wanted to move for use in future projects, and I found we could easily drag them along with the car, using a ratchet strap to fasten them to the tow bar:




They're all back at the camp now, ready for building stuff...

Finally, we've also been busy taking logs home ready for the winter, and the firewood store is full! These are all 2-year old logs, so will be nice and dry.
DSC_8992 Full firewood store


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Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Timelapse chainsaw scuplture: making a stool

I've been out playing with my GoPro camera again... Here's a timelapse video of me making a stool from a log using the chainsaw:

Don't forget there's a longer video with full instructions on how to make one of these stools as well:

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