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Last bit of 2021


When my mate Andy sells me timber ...


... it's always good news for me and then in due course for you as it's up there with the best timber in my shed. This time it's beautfully dried burr Oak all in 2" boards and as flat as a cat that has been run over by Doris the tractor. As an added bonus he also brought a couple of Walnut logs.


I expect you know the difference between a penis and a bonus - your wife will blow your bonus! Anyhow, back to the wood you logged in to read about. As ever it was exactly as described about 70 cu ft in two logs - the one pictured a few inches over 10' long and the other 12' long.


Andy and his strong as an ox oppo Dave not only deliver but stack them in the Wood sheds ... they ain't light so you better bring a van. I thought I'd push my luck and get them to sort out the base on my kids camp which of course he did for a cuppa - well Andy is a builder!

Two people were hunting in the Woods ...


... when one collapsed. Luckily there was a phone signal and his mate dailled 999. Help me ... I think my friend has died, what do I do?


The operator advises to check if he's dead. Shortly after a shot rings out and the man gets back on the phone and says: He is now - what next?


The dream team of old gits ...


... Tuesday Dave, Mike and me pushing 200 years old v hard between us cracked on with cutting timber. We won't win any productivity prizes just doing a log or two each Tuesday but what we cut is done well & properly stacked, something that didn't happen in my early days with Brian 20 years ago when it was all rush rush rush and sod the quality.



Mike tends to be the sawyer. Dave is the master at rigging strops so that we can turn big logs with Doris the Tractor and not busting a gut. I walk around looking important and taking the odd pic!

If you've read a few of these ...


... blogs over the years and not lost your mind you'll know that sourcing timber is the hardest bit. Getting hold of the rare or unusual is all about contacts. The best non trade sniffer outers of gems are wood people who know what they like and consequently what they want me to have.


A perfect example is Steve pictured below who first bought timber from me over 15 years ago just before he retired as a senior Army officer. Once retired he secured a high brow but quite demanding job wth one of the biggest building firms in the UK.


What some Sweet Chestnut? ...


... he asked and of course the answer was yes and a large amount came my way in 2008 for just transport costs which was very helpful in the non profit making days. Steve does do a fair bit of woodwork but his main love is fishing particularly on the River Test where he excercises his skills as a coach. Which is where he found the beauty below and after deciding it was too much for his aging back to pick up himself he messaged me.



More about this later when we'll find out if it's as good as it looks - Steve certainly is!

I heard a tragic tale of a bloke...


... who found his willy had turned orange and took it to show the doctor. The quack was puzzled and wondered if it was stress related.


Do you have a stressful job he asked ? No, was the answer, I used to have a crap one but now earn loads and really enjoy it. Well it's not that, what about a stressful relationship? Er, nope he responds.


I had a horrible old mare...


... but she left a year ago and I've been living on my own ever since - I like it!


Well, in that case you must have a stressful social life. No, he replies I don't really have a social life I just sit around, watch porn and eat Wotsits.


Summer drifted into Autumn yet again ...


... it only seems a year since it last did this. The kids camp or junior client entertainment centre as it says on my tax return took a step forward thanks to Jem and Andy who gave up their Sunday for nothing just to be helpful and breath some country air. Further progress was made with help from Tuesday Dave's son in law Shane - his cheerful competence and his nail gun achieve a lot in a short time!


There's still a long way to go with plans evolving all the time. The drawbridge designed and built by Thursday Dave was given a good hammering by various kids to the extent that the engineer in Dave decided to change the counter weight mechanism to make it a bit harder to raise and lower but safer for all users.


I allowed the chaps one 10 minute tea break and only charged half price for the beveridges ... I know, I know, I spoil them but that's the sort of bloke I am !

Before Winter hit Rob was lured up from ...


... Cornwall to bring his vast bag of tricks and kit to mill the Walnut above. It turned out to be a scorcher of an Autumn day 30 degrees in full sun that had me moaning ... just a little bit as I still remember the last Walnut we milled at the end of last year when it pissed down all day and was freezin' .


The first 4 foot or so of the first length was rotten and I was beginning to think it might be a dud - happened before and will again but in this case we hit good shakefree heartwood. There is a lot involved getting the initial cuts in ... not for me I just stand around looking beautiful making the odd suggestion. Getting the log level and at a safe height for the chainsaw cut is a challenge.


Amazingly Rob agreed with my plan ...


... which involved a farm jack which worked a treat, these jacks are great except when you try to release them. It just wouldn't release and after swearing and other less destructive attempts we had to hammer it free and it seemed to be cattle trucked. Having one myself I offered to try and fix it whilst Rob cracked on.


A couple of hopeful hits with a hammer and it was as good as new. Rob was mildly pleased - " fuck me Paul that's the first time you've ever fixed anything. But, let's wait we haven't tested it again yet so it may not be the miracle I thought".


It was fine and useful later ...


... I wasn't at all upset by his lack of faith and tact. To be fair he was right, I usually just break things and get others to fix. As for his tact, well this is the man who once said to his former girlfriend. No offence but everything you do and say is annoying me right now!


You can see the rot in the stump end - happily becoming firmer from where Rob is putting the centre cut in for later quarter sawing. I am available for repair and service of farm jacks like the model in the foreground!

In the far background is another Walnut tree that will hopefully fall down before I do!

Unusually we had a ...


... weary period when everything seem to break ... not us oldies fortunately - though a few more bits may well have dropped off as we peered hopefully at various things that wouldn't start - even the turning off and hoping before trying again failed.


So, with Doris the tractor, the bandsaw engine and most damaging for morale the Genny that powers the kettle all on the sick list and beyond Tuesday and Thursday Dave's semi expert prodding we had to call in the engine whisperer Paul the Tractor as Ant my other go to was annoyingly v busy.


It took over 4 weeks ...


... to get it all sorted - mostly because Paul lifted a gearbox that he wished he hadn't and couldn't move for some time. The Saw with new fuel filters and plug is running like new and Doris has a new radiator and belts. I've had Doris for 10 of her 36 years and she isn't as expensive as some women to run. Paul delved into her inside and found the plate that says she was made by the afternoon shift at Basildon on 27th February 1985.


Sods law a couple of weeks after Doris's power steering leak had finally been found and fixed the steering went rather weird. Turned out, it wasn't a failure of fixing but a sodding puncture ... so off to the ever efficient Trevor the tyre and more expenses.


Fear not faithful reader ...


... we are not skint yet and had enough spare cash to waste on a totally unnecessary upgrade to the Woods visitor bogs window. Thursday Dave donated a nice but slightly damaged bit of stained glass. That mistake lumbered him with fitting it which involved creating a frame out of cedar.



I'm sure you'll agree it looks fab. Regulars know you need an old penny to access it - I have a stock and only charge a pound each!


Hope to see you in 2022 ...


... this should mean we are both alive. Bring sunshine, your woodworking dreams and aspirations and an unreasonable amount of cash that you aren't good at counting.




Paul Goulden

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