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Last Bit of 2014



It's been business as usual ...


... since last time - badly run with lack of energy and motivation to put in long hard days to get the sort of timber you want in decent quantities. But hey, we have a go and there's been a few gems added and a bit achieved.


A summer of Walnut ...


... brought some good, bad and ugly and that was just the owners! One of the best had the potential of being a complete waste of time and effort. On the plus side was perfect access, a very sensible owner Geoffrey and a decent size. It was also felled and stacked where we could park right alongside.


The risk was in that it had been dead for a while and the bottom of the trunk was as rotten as the lead singer of the Sex Pistols ... jolly rotten or is that Johnny!


Super Sawyer Rob the ...


... New Forest love machine wasn't suprisingly on holiday but was very busy. This resulted in him cancelling the day before the job was scheduled. I considered going ahead without him but wisely postponed for a week when the maestro was ready and actually the weather was better.


First job was to establish the extent of the rot ...


... which turned out to be about 25% leaving 8 foot of good timber. The first step in Alaskan milling is always using the ladder to create a flat surface to mill on and this was quickly achieved by Rob whilst I ate biscuits and chatted to Jan the lovely lady of what was once a manor house.


What normally follows is some hours milling for Rob with a little sweat for me lifting boards off and loading them.


A single cut through the middle ...


... of the log was swiftly followed by a vertical one using the Alaskan Mini Mill - available from all good stores ... well actually just Rob, but well worth having! With the log now in 4 quarters the benefit of getting Rob's truck alongside kicked in.


Before you could say oooh me bleedin' back it was on the back of both our vehicles thanks to Rob's hydraulic crane and no effort from me - happy days.


If you like a naughty video the above is on You Tube



The Alaskan Mini Mill ... simple, but if used correctly a top bit of kit!

My tongue flicked in and out ...


... in and out, faster and faster until she was completely helpless.


No woman can resist a good lizard impression.


Or perhaps ...


... Frantically I tore off her dress, bra and knickers. My heart was racing but I just managed to close the wardrobe door before she got home.


And finally ...


... Staring at her naked body, I asked what she wanted. She told me to go for something between a smack and a stroke. So I went for a smoke.


Back to Wood stuff ...


... and more Walnut - a bit closer to home but in a difficult location. By that I mean the only access was through the house and at the bottom of what was a really nice but long garden that got longer with every board carried up it and out to the vehicles.


The owners were just as amiable as the previous Walnut and the timber though not highly figured was shake free. Rob as usual milled which left me in charge of extraction & begging cups of tea.


I enlisted Joe the 15 year old son ...


... of the owners Colin and Liz to help carry each board which weighed around 40 kgs for the first one and about 3 times that so it seemed for the last on a 75p a trip up the 200 foot garden.


There is hope for the youth of today as he staggered manfully with me but we were both knackered before the last one was out. Fortunately his Dad came back from work in time to help Rob do the honours.



Another day ... another bit of Walnut - always worth the sweat!

I love Beavers ...


... well what's not to like the lovely little hairy things. Erwin has recently just bought the tail - well to be accurate a 26 ton beaver tail lorry capable of carrying enormous amounts of wood to and from Helmdon Sawmill for me!


The small snag is he needs to pass his Class II HGV but he's on it so hopefully more about this bit of kit bringing me timber in future blogs.

Last time I wrote about a new ...


.. source of Timber from the beautiful Surrey Woodlands and had bought a little Holly and agreed to buy some Ash and Sycamore.


It took a while to get to their sawmill near Leatherhead but eventually Leo the Ranger reported it had arrived. I expected another wait to get it cut ... perhaps not as long as the year or two Mark at Andover Down can take, but a while.


It's all cut - come and remove ...


... was the alarming email a couple of days later which brought a lot of stress on the Goulden Hardwoods machine in general and my back in particular. Still, it's now stacked in the woods and drying and available to sniff or buy whenever suits you.



A well run Sawmill ... but too efficient for my liking!

When John found ...


... out he was going to inherit a fortune when his sickly father died, he decided he needed a woman to enjoy it with. So one evening he went to a singles bar where he spotted the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. Her natural beauty took his breath away.

"I may look like just an ordinary man," he said as he walked up to her, "but in just a week or two, my father will die, and I'll inherit 2 million pounds."

Impressed, the woman went home with him that evening and three days later she became his stepmother.

Women are so much smarter than men!


My Grandad covered his back in butter ...


... he went downhill quickly after that!

The search for timber took me to ...


... Croydon - you don't get much more dedicated than that wood lovers, it's an arse of a journey. I'd visited this yard three years ago mainly in search of London Plane but just couldn't get round to getting a deal & transport together.


The problem is that everything comes back and is dumped in a huge pile and in amongst 50 nasty lumps is the odd nugget - the skill is in finding and extracting it. The man who operates the 360 moving it around knows his stuff so I bunged him a drink to pull the best bits out and put them aside for me.



Delve deep enough you'll find something good - that's my policy with women & wood!

A guy walks into a bar ...


... and sees a sign that reads:

Cheese Sandwich: £1.50
Chicken Sandwich: £2.50
Hand Job: £10.00

He checks his wallet and beckons to the sexy bartender.

"Are you the one who gives the hand jobs?" he asks.

"Yes," she purrs. "I am."

"Well, wash your frickin' hands," says the man. "I want a cheese sandwich!"

A steady stream of Customers ...


... old and new kept me busier than I like but it is motivational! I've been to more different places looking for timber in the last year than the entire 15 previous years.


I've said it many times before but it bears repeating wood buyers are a decent and interesting bunch from Apache Heli Pilots to a quiet GCHQ engineer who helped my son land a good job when he graduated in the summer.


I finally got my sweaty mitts on a delighful pair ...


... of Cherry trees mentioned back in the spring. I won't bore you with why it took months but when my offer was accepted the double barelled owner decreed she wanted it out immediately and she was clearly used to getting what she wanted!


Happily, she didn't mean my little one eyed trouser snake but even so I was under pressure again to get my act together & remove two large trees from a very boggy wood with tight access.


I needed to call in favours and Gordy ...


... was quick to agree to meet me on site two days later with his tractor and trailer and take it where I wanted, which was Andover Down Sawmill. That sorted I needed someone who can crosscut biggish trunks unlike me straight and then for a telehandler to take them out to Gordon.


I asked my mate Tom up the hill who is a) good and b) very expensive but he was after some of my best Oak and agreed to come and play. Two down one to go.


Not for the first time I was helped out by Mark McClay ...


... a local landowner and all round good bloke who lent me his telehandler and his extremley helpful bloke Big Mike who did the necessary with skill and no drama. What could have been a major ball ache was for me a doddle given that I just stood around being impressed with other people's skill.



With the right kit & his skill Mike makes moving the Cherry to the gate look easy !

Before you could say it's bleeding raining ...


... Gordy showed up bang on time and had it unloaded at T'mill in an hour. Usually, I then have to report several months trying persuade Mark to cut it, but with his new Woodmizer it was cut & back at the woods in record time.



Gordy in his 'dead man's hat' is still a valuable cog in the timber chain. Long may he continue.


So as 2014 drifted out and 2015 in ...


... there was lots of interesting wood coming in - Burr Elm with Rob and the first London Plane for some years. You'll have to wait until next time to see if either were exciting or firewood ... or get yer arse over and come and grab it before someone else does.


Also on the horizon is possibly the best bit of Yew ever - or possibly not we'll have to see once it's cut.