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Spring into Summer 2012



Last time I was trying ...


... to persuade one of my tree surgeon mates to fell a Beech in the woods, preferably cheaply. Eventually I pinned Tom down with a promise of more money I would have liked and a lot less than he wants for climbing a tree.


Sod's law on the day early in the New Year it was raining first thing and a bit blowy, well alright a gale. The forecast was for improving conditions so I got up an hour early and headed down the M3. Halfway down Tom rang & tried to cancel, citing the weather and 'elf and safety.


As it wasn't me climbing the ...


... 60 foot of swaying tree I was prepared to crack on! I persuaded him to at least come for a look and once there to have a go. It's a good technique with women- steer them where you want them a step at a time!


There was a brief lull in the wind and up he went. Almost immediately the sky turned black and it started to pelt with rain. I sensibly retreated under cover in the wood shed. From this haven through the wind I could hear a stream of abuse directed at me for dragging him there.


Difficult to make out and actually he might have been commenting on the changeable weather as I'm sure I heard him talking about bucking fronts.


The shower passed without me getting wet and he was able to work in winter sunshine below!

Meanwhile sales were hotting up ...


... and stock shrinking. Fortunately Andy's Elm (see below) and the top Oak brought to the wood a year ago was ready for sale if not quite for indoor use. This lot looked so good that this time I dug deep into my pocket and have bought a load of Elm from Scotland, more of this next time.


I also have bought some Brown Oak with Andy and am generally trying to add stock ... you buggers keep buying it.


Pictured below is Andy ...


... and his mate Dave. These boys sure know how to stack a bit of timber. This is Andy's Elm being unveiled after 12 months, unfortunately my photographic skills don't do it justice- you'll just have to come and have a close look !


There's a rumour that Dave used to work on the Dodgems at Southsea Leisure Park before they sacked him and led him to Andy. It's said he did them for Funfair Dismissal!


Whilst I'm adapting the truth to fit in another dodgy joke another mate told me his Thai girlfriend had told him that having a small penis was not a bar to a good sex life. He said that whilst that was probably true he still wished she didn't have one !


I expect the turners amongst you will be eying that lovely burr in the foreground!

As the Woods are ...


... a mile from civilisation from all directions if I need help, it isn't close! I have the map reference chalked about the place and Casualty Evac plans that I hope I won't need.


It's good to know the Air Ambulance can and will land close by ... my neighbour fell off a ladder as I was working in the Kiln and as he'd stoved his head in a bit I dialled 999. The chopper beat the ambulance by 10 mins, it was very impressive.


Dialling 999 every time ...


... the truck leaves me stranded in the wood is a tempter but as I'm not a low life who thinks the world revolves around them, I resist. Graham the nearest farmer's mobile doesn't work so I tend to call Mark from Box Farm as he is good at answering his.


I had to do this for the second time in as many years and I was glad me and Andy had coughed several hundred quid each to mend his Landrover after one of his men bashed it bringing some timber in for us last spring.

As his tractor's ...


... jump leads brought my old truck back to life I grovelled, "I'm sure a put a new sodding battery on this the last time ". I checked back in the newsletters and it was Spring 2010.


I went to see Dave the Garage in the village who said he would check the paperwork. The result the battery is indeed guaranteed for two years and surprise surprise it expired 3 days before... arse !


We risked getting snow balls to keep planking & reload the wood sheds... keeps you moving - 6 o C!

On a happier note ...


... I had a double reason for thanking Sir Tim Berners- Lee and his world wide web - you may have heard of it! It's a rather handy invention - I often witter on that 12 years ago before it got properly going my father spent £3K a year on advertising and now I spend nothing as the Web brings all the business I can handle.


The first happier note was an always welcome email about the Walnut tree featured below and the second saved me money - deep joy!


Our Lumbermate Diesel bandsaw has a rubber V Belt that drives the wheels. Ten years ago when it first broke I contacted the American makers Norwood who provided within a fortnight a new one at a cost of £57.


When that snapped ...


... I thought I'm buggered if I'm getting one from them, there must be belts in England. Blow me there was & following a one hour tour of local trading estates I landed one for half the price so I bought two! The spare sat in the drawer until the old one pinged recently and I popped it on.


Unfortunately, I didn't line it up right and the new one came off only to be cut in half by the bandsaw. Old belt 5 years, new one 5 seconds... more arse! Rather than spend ever exy diesel driving around looking for a replacement I Googled, found the fantastic Bearing Boys and had new one in 24 hours for £11.

The Walnut Tree ...


... mentioned above was owned by a thoroughly sensible chap called Ian and was in the garden of a house he rented out in Basingstoke. He emailed a picture before Christmas but it was heavily clad in Ivy so I replied I might be interested but had seen a few women who looked good dressed up but were disappointing when stripped!


He duly let me know it was down and I went for a look more in hope than expectation. Had it been a woman, it was a Supermodel (but happily not as skinny) 12 foot around the base and has been around longer than Basingstoke, let alone the newish estate that had popped up around the tree.


I've got a massive one ...


... and I can't handle it, I told Rob in the New Forest - not for the first time either. Fortunately he can and I got him before he disappeared to France for 6 weeks as he is inclined to do when not in the West Indies - there's money in furniture making !


I made two schoolboy errors ...


... on the day we went to mill the Walnut. The first was telling Rob not to break his neck and let the traffic go and meet 10 ish - this in Rob speak is start thinking about leaving yard in The New Forest about then so consequently didn't arrive until 1130.


Handily, this gave me time to sort error number 2 where on the first hot day of the year I forgot I was now a baldy and needed a hat and sun screen!


Tackling a big old beast like ...


... this requires a lot of expensive kit and skill so frankly whatever time he rolls up is good enough. The biggest Alaskan mill and Chainsaw on the market is needed but handily he sells them. More difficult is the dreaded metal usually old nails from 50 + years ago but also other annoying metal as well.


With his metal detector we located the nasty nails and mostly avoided them but not before crunching a few teeth on the saw which always makes a nasty noise following by more nasty noise in swear words. I'm not sure you readers know how we suffer to bring you the best Walnut- and make us a load of money naturally!

I say loads of money ...


... quality wood flies out and gives a good return. Sometimes what looks good when green is disappointing when seasoned. The Walnut Rob milled near me about a year ago looked promising but when I moved it recently, the shakes and nasty bits were worse than I remembered.


I said to Rob " That Longparish Walnut was a bit crap really ". "I know", the git said "I could have told you that at the time" - still at least I had a year of thinking I was sitting on a winner!



Rob is nibbling round a nail, you can see the tell tale bit of blue at 10 o'clock on the heartwood.

The Smoking Wood season ...


... was kicking in and in anticipation I talked Clive from Cookequip to order in a pallet load of Hickory from the good ol' USA. This wood is very popular with the BBQ ers particularly the ones who compete for places at the American Jack Daniels Comp in October across the water.


I usually try and get people to use English woods like Oak and Cherry as they are more readily available. By readily available I mean from the wood or nearby as opposed to across the pond. It shocked me to discover than the freight cost more than doubled the cost of a 18kg sack.


Back to the mega Walnut ...


... which we were the next week to fill our boots for a second time, hoping to avoid more metal.


Pictured below a beautiful bottom - and Rob ... I asked him to smile, I used the wrong word I should have said cash and then he beams from ear to ear!


At my age this is the sort of bottom you can look at all day long - 17" of lushious heartwood!

With great teamwork ...


... ie Rob doing all the work and me making encouraging noises we got our heads down and milled the butt above and two other smaller bits in 3 and a half hours and had it loaded and on the road in under four.


It does help when neither of us smoke or talk into mobile phones constantly. Rob is also a bit of a camel as he takes on water at the start and then goes for hours with nothing. He even found time to film it so here is a first for my blog a video ... starring , well co- starring my dodgy freebie sawing shirt and nobbly knees:


You Tube video of Rob showing how to mill a 4 ' Walnut

Next time I will be ...


... describing the Elm from Scotland including a small amount of beautiful burr. Just before finishing this newsletter I had my first phone call from Erwin since the Farleigh School Ash in the Autumn. This Ash tree was the next one along to some of the best Ash I have ever had and those who had some are keen for more.


It's been at Erwin's yard since November as it is too big even for Mark at Andover Down so next time I will describe how we break it down. Erwin's call was unbelievingly about an Elm he had just felled within a mile of the woods - sod's law you fork out thousands buying Elm from Scotland and one pops up on the doorstep!


Collecting it was a piece of ...


... cake or piss depending on your vocabulary, due to Erwin's new super dupa forestery machine which can also double as a loader. It's very rare to find decent sized Elm in the south but this one is about 2 foot across and has some good timber in it.



The beauty of loading with a quality bit of kit is that it lays the log gently on the trailer!


So Summer is just ...


... around the corner and as ever there is lots to do. Not sure how the Olympics and the real job is going to impinge on my wood time - you'll probably find out when I tell you I am too busy as I have to do now and then.


Come over if you can. I am really getting fed up chasing couriers and though the old website is called woodbypost it should be called " IfyoureallyinsistImightsendthewoodbypost.co.uk " but I'd rather not .com!