Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Splitting Chestnut and some chainsaw sculpture

Friday and Saturday were both good days in the woods. On Friday I had a friend, Jodie, come to help and get some practical woodland experience - we finished filling the the rack on the right in the photo below, then built and started filling the one behind and to the left:

DSC_7039 Coppicing woodland

Saturday involved some better-sized stems than those I'd been felling a couple of weeks ago, so there was some splitting to do. I love splitting Sweet Chestnut - there's not many types of wood that you can hit with a maul and do this:
DSC_7043  splitting sweet chestnut

A couple of steel wedges finish the job:
DSC_7046 splitting sweet chestnut

Splitting the wood prior to stacking does slow down the coppicing, but it gets the wood drying quicker and saves so much time at the other end of the firewood production process that it's worth it. The logs that are too small to split are 'striped' with the chainsaw, just to break the bark and let the moisture out quicker - very easy to do whilst snedding the branches just after felling.

I also tried a bit of chainsaw sculpture, making what could be an ornamental planter to put flowers in on a patio:
DSC_7047 chainsaw carving

Definitely an experimental prototype though, I overshot with the plunge cuts and came through the bottom! I think it'll need a bigger log to work properly...
DSC_7049 chainsaw carving

By the end of Saturday I'd got a rack half full of split or striped logs:
DSC_7055 Coppicing woodland

Monday brought a nice sunny day, but I knew rain showers were on the way in the afternoon and that I had some jobs to do at home, so I got there early and fired up the chainsaw at 7:45am! By 1pm the rack of logs was full:
DSC_7096 logs in the woods

So that's two full now:
DSC_7065 coppicing in woodland

I also saved a nice straight 4m log that could be useful for building a raft for Rye Raft Race next summer... Tracy and I are both community first responders, and our local group, Rother Responders, is planning to enter the race in 2014!
DSC_7078 logs in the woods

I've actually managed to plan ahead this time as well, and have a pile of stakes ready for the next log rack:
DSC_7091 chestnut stakes

As promised by the weather forecast, the showers did come, and I then saw the strange sight of steaming logs when the sun came back out:
DSC_7070 steaming logs

Here's a couple of shots of the area I've been coppicing:
DSC_7081 coppicing in woodland

DSC_7089 coppicing in woodland

It's a surprisingly small area for the volume of wood it's yielded so far! I've even left a few chestnut stems standing to grow on and become larger trees!
DSC_7084 coppicing in woodland

That's all for now, next update in a week or so I hope...



Gwion said...

I had the pleasure of spending some time with Dominic Clare last month, a fantastic local sculptor based here in Snowdonia, North Wales. Dominic Clare. Snowdonia, North Wales.

Mike Pepler said...

Thanks Gwion, I'll take a look!