Title Bar

Late Summer into Autumn 2011



Last time we were about to ...


... get 16 tons of top quality Oak into the wood. We had a dummy run with Andy's beautiful burr Elm the week before. It has to be said that if that was a bit of a ball ache, the Oak was a full blown nasty stabbing pain in the nuts that has you thinking you really must go and show some poor doctor!


There was more than twice as much as the 190 cubic feet of Elm and it had rained heavily in the previous 24 hours making it a bit slippery. After the Elm we decided to pay the local farmer to move it from the lorry drop off at Box Farm as he has bigger and better toys than us.


I wanted to put it on a trailer ...


... and use a tractor and this is what Andy who was director of operations at that end advised Henry the driver as it was off loaded. Henners decided that the farm Land Rover would be quicker and better.


Well quicker it was! - the weight of the Oak pushed it down the hill into the wood too fast and with the brakes locked the trailer jack knifed into the back of the Landy bashing in the back and breaking the lights.


So back to Plan A ...


... tractor and trailer to the gate and Manitou it the rest of the way into the wood. With some of the planks 18 foot long it was still a bit of a struggle but one we hope is worth the effort.


Henry has his buttocks firmly clamped together- the drop is worse than it looks in this pic !

Andy and Dave then spent ...


... two days stacking as impecably as the Elm. I am sure that when the time comes to move the Oak this will pay off. I am trying to do the same with my other timber.. er honest !


In the past someone has always broken into the nice stack for a plank or three. No more amigo, wood is being dried elsewhere and not brought into the shed until it is ready to go.


Pictured below is the result of three hours stacking and about 25% of what is there.


Sit on your arse in the tractor watching some great stacking- what could be better?

With the Bluebells out ...


... and a lot of hard work done coppicing I wanted to have a bit of a social. Who better than a Championship BBQer, our own Steve from Royal Q Pit Crew. I sold it to him as a warm up for the Competition at the end of May and waved a few quid under his nose.


The result was 5 chickens of various BBQ flavour, much admired Pork Brisket and some other things for the 40 odd troughers and not a veggie in sight. He is available for rent!


More Walnut bigger and better ...


... and closer than the bit in the last newsletter followed swiftly after the Barbie. Credit has to go to the old bugger Brian for ferreting it out in his ferrety way. We're too busy at the sawmill you can have it was the message- ok Bri lovely. It was black and beautiful but the big bit was still standing and in a tight spot - what's new?!


Milling on site was the only way and I was out of my depth so I called Rob Dyer the expert. Like me he's turned on by a bit of Juglans Regia as they used to say in Rome 2000 years ago. A deal was struck and as promised he came and did the business.


I've measured it and I think ...


... well, I'm pretty sure it won't hit the fence, he not as confidently as I would have liked predicted. The fence was metal and expensive. I risk assessed and thought sod it, the Blacksmith can always come and repair it.


Happily the landing was inch perfect as were the huge slabs he milled. Each one made the truck sink on it's springs past it's limit so that they needed taking to Mark at the sawmill one at a time.


It looks like it will fall the other way but the rope was just to gently ease it down using wedges.


It landed on the log in front 4" from the fence... just enough room to mill - perfick!

Having more Oak and Walnut ...


... gave me the urge to stock up on other stuff so I bought a few hundred quids worth of Beech, Ash and other bits off Rob who is concentrating on his furniture making, tree surgery and growing Chainsaw accessory business.


Me and Dave had a major clearout of the second wood shed and it was then so tidy that I didn't want any customers coming and messing it up. "Bloody sell it" says Dave in his usual blunt way. He is from South London originally but I reckon there's a bit of Yorkshire in there and not just the pudding.


Sell we did ...


... with the usual stream of delighful people new and old - some very old in terms of years alive and visits over past 25 years & one 14 year old. I pick up most of my knowledge from customers so if you spin me some old crap and I swallow it, I will be churning it out as gospel to other poor sods!



After the driest Spring for 100 years ...



... it seemed a good idea to sort the track into the wood as I have been urged to do over the years. The logistics of getting a 25 tonne truck with 20 tons of of planeings into the wood worried me. I had Gordon 'six sheds' Barnes and his son Phillip booked but anticipated one of the long and weary days we have now and then.


As it turned out ...


...the truck driver Pete was mega helpful loading Gordy's tractor drawn tipper trailer and in four loads it was all in. Phillip did 90% of the work, whilst me and the ol' raconteur jawed about his ever increasing outbuildings.


He had been told that the Great Wall of China and his various tractor and trailer sheds are the only things that can be seen from outer space. He reckons it is actually my wallet but admits that The Queen blinks when a note is taken out of his - he doesn't spend them, just counts,kisses them and pops them away again.


I think that is Gordon's foot bottom right...accidently cut it off with the digger!

The promising Walnut ...


... on the South Coast mentioned at end of last issue resulted in a day out for me, a bit of wood for Rob and a waste of time for Andy. As Andy was nearest he went to have a look at it and pronouced it crap- which put me off a little!


As Rob has the tree surgery skills and thinks Walnut is Walnut even if not top drawer he struck a deal to fell and remove what he wanted.


Rather him than me- brittle dry branches... the tree like Michael Jackson died in 2009!


Still I had good fun waiting for a branch to snap and me earn £250 on You've been Framed!

Another day out ...


... that could be described as a waste sales wise was to The New Forest Show where Rob was exhibiting his furniture including some rustic picnic tables from the above tree. We had a good ol' gossip and eyed up the talent before I bailed out to beat the traffic.


Another Walnut popped up sounding better still, info from a friendly gamekeeper who knew my old man and was his oppo Old Harold's great Nephew and only 6 miles from the wood. I poodled over for a lookee ... it had fallen into a field of mustard or something- I'm not too hot on agricultural crops so was difficult to assess.


Dave the game keeper ...


... kindly offered to drag it to a flat place with a Manitou and I went back only to find that like Elvis it was 'all shook up' and had been dead nearly as long, so was a non runner... curses- they only wanted a drink for it!


Nearby in posh North End was John the magistrate's country pile and a large Apple tree that I checked out at the same time- more of this next time!

Back in the Spring ...


... I had a run of Peter's one of whom bought some Oak and Beech for a Cider press. I like selling wood for projects like these- usable bits and he wasn't looking for furniture grade timber. I think you'll agree the finished job looks great.



Peter plans to flog it and many more... I'll supply the Apples!


I lost August ...


... to a combination of holiday and a few long days in London dealing with the great unwashed with the real job as they did their bit for the glazing and re building industry. Fortunately it was quiet wood wise unlike last year- I suspect my customers where stocking up on plasma tellies rather than timber.


Being a one man band doesn't allow any resilience if I'm absent. In the past Brian covered for me but I've found most people can wait a day or two until I'm about. The problem will come if I ever injure myself or something- I guess I will be shut !


Plans for Autumn ...


... and this side of Christmas are pretty simple- find some interesting wood & flog what I have. We are taking down a couple of Beech trees in the wood so can sell some of that green and cheap. Erwin is getting a super dupa forestry machine so maybe he will unearth some cheap (for me- not you dear reader) timber!


Come on over if you can, visitors are always better for me rather than having to shrink wrap and send by courier, so there is a bit of discount to be had.


If you like old fashioned pub games this will amuse: A man bursts into a doctor's surgery and says: "Dr Dr I've got a Domino stuck up my arse" to which the quack replies " Don't you ever knock?"






Top of Page