Monday 18 October 2010

Ash coppice and splitting Hornbeam

I'd like to start this post with some pictures of coppiced Ash, which creates the most interesting shapes I've seen from any coppiced tree. It looks like it's trying to climb out of the soil!



Ash is easy to split for firewood after felling, but Hornbeam isn't. If you've every tried splitting Hornbeam, you'll know why it is also know as "Ironwood"! So, as you might imagine, splitting a 2 metre length is not an easy task!

However, here's a way round the problem. Use your chainsaw to cut a notch in the end of the log:


Then drop in a metal wedge:

Hit it hard with a sledge hammer, and there you go!

A few more wedges banged in as the split travels along the log will finish the job easily, then it can go on the stack ready to be cross-cut after seasoning.

Speaking of stacks, we filled our second one and started another today:

We've now cleared enough of a space to start felling edge trees into the wood:

On this side they are mostly Hornbeam, and we're keeping them as pollards, felled a bit above waist height. We're hoping that it might be possible to lay the regrowth to form a hedge, but we'll have to wait and see. There's just one stem left to do on this stool, but it'll have to go into the field:

Here's how the site looked at the end of today:

And just in case you were wondering, we did cook some more sweetcorn on the cob, and this time also baked some vegetables and potatoes too!

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