Thursday 26 April 2012

Trying out the Logosol Big Mill / TimberJig chainsaw mill

Last weekend I was able to have a go with my friend Rich's Logosol Big Mill / TimberJig chainsaw mill:

DSC_3925 Logosol sawmill

The TimberJig can actually be used directly on a log, once you have a square corner to run it on, but we were using an aluminium bar that Logosol sell as part of the Big Mill Basic kit.
DSC_3903 Logosol sawmill

The basis of the TimberJig is an attachment for a chainsaw that lets it run along the aluminium bar or a square corner of wood:
DSC_3912 Logosol sawmill

Rich had built a log ladder, and on top of that had a couple of Logosol log-lock clamps. These can be set up with the jaws close together for a round log:
DSC_3915 Logosol sawmill

Or further apart if you're putting the flat face of a partly-milled log on them:
DSC_3916 Logosol sawmill

Once a log is lifted in..
DSC_3918 Logosol sawmill

... you just push the jaws firmly onto the log, and then lock the clamps in place.
DSC_3919 Logosol sawmill

The aluminium bar is fixed to a pair of adjustable brackets, which are used to change the height at which the chainsaw is cutting. They can be screwed to the end of the log itself if you're out in the woods, but Rich had mounted them onto the log ladder. He'd also added some spacers, made of sections of copper pipe:
DSC_3922 Logosol sawmill

These ensure the saw chain doesn't hit the log locks!
DSC_3914 Logosol sawmill

Rich thought I ought to have a 'trainee' badge as it was my fist go...

It's actually very easy to use, you just open the throttle and walk slowly along pushing the saw, making sure to keep it firmly placed on the aluminium bar.
DSC_3926 Logosol sawmill

Here's a couple of close-ups of the milling I took when Rich did some:
DSC_3931 Logosol sawmill

DSC_3933 Logosol sawmill

The only downside is that I gather you end up having to sharpen a lot of chains!


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Friday 20 April 2012

Lightstorm SL1 ultra-capacitor LED torch

It's over a year now since I started selling the Lightstorm CL1 ultra-capacitor torch, and it's been pretty successful. So I'm getting another product from the same company now, the Lightstorm SL1 wind-up torch. This uses the same ultra-capacitor and LED technology as the CL1, but has several new features:

  • single spot-LED (as with CL1), but THREE LEDs for flood-lighting.
  • three flashing red LEDs for emergency signalling.
  • disc shaped, with magnets and handle/hook combination on the back, so that you can fix it up in various places to provide light while on your camping trip, during a power cut, etc.
Here's a quick pic:

More info when the new stock arrives...

p.s. I'm also getting some micro-USB phone charger connectors for use with the CL1 and SL1, which come with mini-USB by default, so if you have a compatible phone (most new ones will work) then you'll also be able to buy this from me too.

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Saturday 14 April 2012

Uckfield Fire Station open day 2012

As part of my fun new role as an East Sussex Fire and Rescue service volunteer, I get to help out with events like open days at the fire stations. And yes, I did sit in a truck!


It was a superb day with hundreds of families visiting. They could find out more about the emergency services, play football, sit in the appliances, make badges and play games. We also had 2 live demonstrations which were brilliant.

There was a demo on what NOT to do in the case of a chip pan fire. Don't throw water at it... and the motto 'get out, stay out and call the fire brigade out!' was often repeated. We are advised not to try and fix things ourselves!

Here is Chris throwing water on the oil fire. Don't do this! There was a big explosion of flames which knocked him to the ground.


The fire fighters came in and rescued Chris.



Then they came back into the room and put the fire out.


They look a bit alien in all that gear!


After that we had a demo on how the ESFRS cut people free from cars. Amazing! Those are some sharp scissors ;-)



The roof was off in no time.


My job for the day was to help kids on and off the trucks. So many tantrums when they were told they had to get off and let someone else have a turn! And I quickly learned how to turn off the alarms on the breathing apparatus that kids kept setting off!


Lovely shiny red trucks everywhere. I suspect I might be becoming a fire truck spotter, but don't tell anyone!




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Monday 9 April 2012

Wilderness first responder July 2012

You may remember that Mike and I did a wilderness first aid course in a wood.

This was an excellent 2 day course and prepared us well for all kinds of eventualities. Andy is coming to run the course in our woodland near Rye on the 21 and 22 July 2012. I fully recommend this course. Please contact us if you would like to come along.


The training is interesting, high quality and realistic and the price reasonable. The training is particularly relevant to those of us who are sometimes working in remote situations, and with trees and tools - but it also covers all kinds of first aid needs that we come across at work and in normal life.

Come and join us! Email

if you would like to know more

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Spring trees

It's not just flowers, butterflies and birds, the trees are waking up now as well. Birch always seems to be first off the mark:

DSC_3783 Birch

DSC_3782 Birch

But Hawthorn is catching up fast:
DSC_3786 Hawthorn

Hornbeam is a bit slower, but is now coming out, with the characteristic pink around its new leaves:
DSC_3800 hornbeam

Hazel seems to be in different stages, for example the stools that were coppiced a year ago are just opening their buds:
DSC_3792 Hazel

while the more mature specimens are coming into leaf:
DSC_3798 Hazel

Sweet Chestnut is much slower that the others, but is starting to come out now:
DSC_3807 sweet chestnut

But having talked about the trees, I really should mention the Wood Anemones again, which are building up to their peak now:
DSC_3794 Wood anemone

There should be some interesting developments in the patch of woodland next to ours soon. There's been some fairly major coppicing operations going on there for a few years now, so there's a big area with 0-3 years regrowth in it now. It looks quite drastic as it's a much larger area than we cut each year, but this is what the ecosystem here is used to, and depends on, so I'm expecting it will look great in the coming years:
DSC_3787 cut coppice woodland

Finally, the wild boar have once again decided that our 'pond' is a great mud bath:
DSC_3805 wild boar bath

Though they don't seem to be looking after the dam which is needed to keep it there:
DSC_3803 hoof print

It's mean to be wet today, as it's a Bank Holiday, but we do need the rain...


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Friday 6 April 2012

Easter butterflies

Well at least one day of the Easter weekend was sunny - and here's some butterflies to prove it. First, the always familiar Peacock:

DSC_3696 Peacock butterfly

There were also a few Commas around:
DSC_3780 Comma butterfly

And this one, which had me puzzled until I realised it was a moth - it's an Orange Underwing:
DSC_3777 Orange Underwing moth

Plenty of other wildlife around as well, like pesky rabbits:
DSC_3682 Rabbit

and a nice little Robin:
DSC_3685 Robin

DSC_3688 Robin

While we were up there we had friends drop in for a freshly made bacon sandwich lunch, and then headed off to to some finishing touches to the EWB bridge that was built recently - just fastening down some chicken wire so the deck doesn't get slippery in the rain:
DSC_3763 bridge

DSC_3764 bridge

Weather looks a bit cloudy or wet for the rest of the weekend, so glad we made the most of it today!


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Thursday 5 April 2012

Spring in the wood!

Well, it did seem as if Spring had truly arrived in the wood last week. Seems to have vanished for the moment, but here are some pictures captured at the end of March.


The best part of the woodland for plants at the moment is the newly coppiced area in Sweep wood. We started work there 2 years ago and the plants are loving the light!

The first bluebells of the year are coming out.

The brash piles we left around are being overcome by honeysuckle and look great. The birds are loving them!

Wood anemone are everywhere.

The whole area is covered.

The foxgloves are springing up as well!

My favourite photo of the day!


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