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Autumn 2009



Well the summer turned out...


... pretty good sales wise putting a bit in the kitty for restocking. The Walnut mentioned last time turned out to be an expensive disappointment but more of that later. I had regular help from Greg and Matthew Seeber who live in Quarry House and were home from Uni and School respectively. As Brian now lingers solely at Andover Down sawmill the help was appreciated and they broke a lot less stuff than Brian used to!


I promised last time to...


... reveal a metal riddled tree. Doubtless many of you will have had sleepless nights trying to imagine the most amount of metal ever to be found in a living tree. Well, you see quite a bit of barbed wire, 6 inch nails and memorably in the Tulip blog a bit of brass.


If you have followed the blogs for a few years you will have read about the Oak Mark bought from France that had so much World War I shrapnel in that it's scrap value was greater than the timber value. But the all time winner must be the London Plane and Royal Mail partnership pictured below from sunny Hammersmith where I pass my days with the real job.


I can't decide if it is hugging or eating the Post box !

You left us last time...


... in the usual position, ticking along but in need of stock, particularly Oak. I had been getting regular mail shots from an English bloke living in France who had set up a business as a go between the French sawmills and UK businesses. I finally got in touch and the speedy reply told me what I half expected. Not helped by the weak Pound against the Euro the price for green Oak bought in bulk was a bit more than my seasoned Oak price.


So it was back to my local sources, slightly hampered by the lack of Gordy's timber trailer. Erwin is on the lookout for one but at the time of writing getting a decent size tree on to a trailer to get it to the saw is a problem. I can get a saw i.e a woodmizer to the tree as demonstrated below but this isn't a cheap fix.


So in the meantime...


... I bought a bit of American Oak off Mark at Andover Down sawmill. You'll see from the picture below it's got an interesting figure in it with some small patches of sworls. It's quarter sawn which adds to the waste and cost timewise but I think's it's worth it.


Mark pictured where he should be: sawing & not smoking fags and chatting!

During the summer...


... I remarked to Colin, the wild man of the woods that as putting the roof on the back of the Pick up was a two man job it was easier leaving it off. He offered to design me a pully system so that I could do it on my own and sure enough in early September on a sunny Sunday, sort it he did.


It took a bit of fiddling about, well dodgy tree climbing from two blokes who are a bit old for it really but the result pictured below is just what the doctor ordered - that is a way of me taking it off and putting on without straining my back and the NHS's already swine flu stressed service.


I just reverse under, lower gently and Bob the transvestite is your Aunt.

Having waited months...


... for one reason or another in mid August I went with Rob to mill and retrieve the Walnut tree. It was a bit of a last minute job in the end so I was unable to choose a time when the owners were home. Apart from missing out on a cup of tea it meant I had to agree a price based on what I had seen back in the spring.


I offered a cash price on the assumption it was as good inside as it looked. To be fair to the owners they weren't greedy and didn't haggle for more money, nor did they know what it was like inside.


The answer tragically was a) lacking in decent black heartwood and b) not lacking in several nails hammered in many years before. This not only blunted Rob's saw but also resulted in Mark at the sawmill refusing to plank any more after his big blade found an old nail.


The trouble with not having...


... the tree owners present was that I couldn't renegotiate the price. I rang the husband and he agreed a tenner off the price but frankly I was looking at halving my offer. They would never have believed me had I left what it was worth so I had to grit my teeth and take a hit.


Some you win and some are rather lacking in dark hot selling heartwood !

Putting that behind us...


... it was on to the other long planned timber seeking event with a Woodmizer to Christopher's wood near Whitchurch. Chris had a reasonable collection of Oak butts stacked near his new barn and wanted as many turned into beams as possible.


Richard had done a day on the same site a couple of years before- see old blogs but as he had moved further north to the Blackpool area I was looking for someone closer. With Richard the first crusading oop North I found Richard the second from near Reading with the same top of the range Woodmizer.


This Richard II may not...


... be the son of the Black Prince but he was a thoroughly decent bloke and able sawyer who worked solidly from 9 until 5. I had booked Gordon's mate Dave the tractor driver to load the logs and he brought along his sidekick Daniel who refurbed my tractor in the 2007 blogs. It was lucky he was there as there was a need for at least 3 people feeding and stacking all day.



Richard firing the beast, Daniel in the tractor and David standing around whinging that he was only there to drive the tractor and should be getting double the money... he had a point, which we ignored! The sun shone and I got a bit of Oak planked to sell you next year.

It was a hot and...


... knackering 14 hour day for me but it has to be done now and again. Christopher now has 22 beams stored in his barn with sizes varying from 8' to 18' and max size about 14 x 14", see me for details.The benefit for me and therefore you, will hopefully be in a bit more stock available once it has dried. I'm still on the look out for decent straight trees.



A sight for sawyered eyes... Oak - racked, stacked and drying!


Like last year and...


... of course all the years before Autumn faded into grey ol' winter. There's a great Monty Python sketch where a bloke keeps getting hit with a cricket ball in the face. The Punchline after the third hit is 'of course by now I was getting used to it '. Personally I don't get used to the light fading until after Christmas and it starts opening up again but you just have to get on with it.


Paul Killen the...


... amiable and sensible charging mobile agricultural repairing blokey came and sorted my PTO driven saw bench which helped me get a stack of firewood ready to sell. This is the first year I'm doing it and only in net bags until stock or my back gives up.


If you want a full load Erwin is your man but if you want 5 bags of about 10kgs of Ash, Oak and other bits and bobs delivered locally for £20 email me.


Come and see me over the dark months.. cheer my soul with Bank of England notes... Euros ok too with the current exchange rates. Special rates for nymphos with low standards.