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Autumn 2022


It turned out to be a different ...


... Summer and into Autumn than previous years which had settled into a familiar pattern of same types of sales and one year much like the other. Covid, the bounce back and then the massive hikes in fuel energy and actually pretty much everything else made a dent on sales with people holding on to their money.


If I was a proper business man I would have been worried but it was great not being run ragged sending out boxes of smoking wood. The trickle of orders were easy to manage and extra work time enabled me to research changes into where and how we sourced timber. This opened up new contacts, there will be more of that later but first a favourite joke of mine:


"Granny, What's that" ...


... asks little Suzy pointing to her lady bits as they shower after going swimming. "That's my beaver darling", granny replies. A couple of weeks later Suzy is showering after swimming this time with her mum. "Is that your beaver mummy", she asks pointing at you know what. "Well, yes it is Suzy but who told you it was called that"?


"Granny, when we went swimming last time - only I think hers is dead because it's tongue was hanging out".

The first of the new sawyers mentioned above ...


... came my way from the Walnut and Oak deal with Andy in the last blog. Ollie is a giant of a man but a top bloke and has to be said handy with a Woodmizer and all associated machinery like loaders.


The set up was complicated and it took a while to get the Walnut cut but like everything that comes to those that wait & I'm very used to waiting for Steve at Helmdon, it got cut !


Ollie is relocating to a yard closer to the Woods so I hope it will develop into a regular thing.

I met David the second Sawyer ...


... through Paul the Tractor - they knew each from being in the Young Farmers group 40 years ago. Paul wanted some Oak cut into beams and one log was too large for my saw and set up so we arranged to do it at David's yard.


It turned out that David's Woodmizer had once been owned by a geezer who did milling for my old man in the late 1980s and early 90s. We got on well and the next job pictured below was for Erwin who had sorted me some Oak and Elm (The Elm is rather lush!) so in return I paid David to cut some Douglas Fir and other stuff for a barn Erwin is building.

Excellent seeing a couple of old pros in action. In the picture they are turning the rather chunky log with a ratchet strap.

A job that had sat waiting for ...


... Rob the chainsaw bars sales supremo was the Oak pictured below which Doris couldn't lift and the bandsaw couldn't handle. If a regular reader you'll have seen Rob perfectly quartering a much bigger Oak in Spring last year.


The key to getting accurate vertical cuts is in the frame and the jig that goes with it. I had the urge to buy it but knew I wouldn't have the skills to do it as well as Rob so I went halves on it with my mate Ant pictured who is moving on to bigger logs now with his fabulous home made bandsaw


Always time for a cup of tea and to discuss the world of timber especially as Rob camped overnight so we weren't rushing as sometimes is the case.

My Grandad covered his back in butter ...


... he went downhill quickly after that! Have I told you about the Baker who had smelly fingers as he kneaded a poo? Wouldn't want to shake his hand eh!


Back to the timber front - (with gloves on) we got into cutting a variety of stuff including a lot of Oak. The Oak pictured above was about a 5/10 & not one of my best purchases. It's a fact that you can get 10 Oak trunks that have grown close to each other but are totally different colour, figure and quality wise.


My various sources for Oak ...


... quite often mean that I get what I'm given - for instance in the job lot sourced with Andy earlier this year. Some are better than others. You can tell a fair bit from the outside like whether it has burr or not and clean branch free logs will usually mean no knots. This is important in Oak as knots don't dry well and open up. As there is value and a customer for all the grades of Oak I take them all.



This Oak quartered by Rob last year and beautifully milled by Mike on the Timberking is now dry and on sale soon - the medullary rays show it to be the finest quarter sawn or to put it another way good news financially for me!

Sad news came of the death of Bryan ...


... who worked with me for quite a few years when I started in 1998 when my old man died. There are a few long term customers who will remember him though as he was well into his 80s he's been retired a good while - RIP bud.


In addition to all the Oak we restocked were my two favourites Elm and Walnut. You can have a bit too much stock of some woods but not these two - always someone after them!


The first three of the five Walnuts ...


... mentioned above were milled by Ollie at 1.5" which suits a lot of my customers. They were ok but not top quality. One had a large rot hole through the log but were fairly shake free and will find homes when dry with a bit of discount here and there.


The fourth Walnut is with Ant and we will most likely cut it all 2" later in the Autumn. The last log though only 6 foot long showed best colour and had a decent bit of girth which I believe goes down well in some quarters!

I took this one to Helmdon and ...


... managed to get Steve to cut it in 1.25" boards before he had his long awaited and needed hip operation. He will be hoping he will be pain free and much more mobile. I'm hoping he'll be less grumpy and start measuring logs accurately rather than to his benefit by slinging the hoppus tape over the fat end of the log and adding a bit!


I moan about Steve but he's the best sawyer in the Country and some logs justify extra costs of getting them to him. 20 odd boards reaching 29" wide amounting to 20 something cubic feet. This is the best figured Walnut I have had in recent years

The death of HM The Queen ...


... came around the 10th anniversary of my escaping the Plod. Whilst it has been a pleasure and a privilege being retired, most of us old geezers who served and swore allegiance remember royal events fondly. A break from normal duties which usually involved dealing with the bad, the sick and injured it was good to spend a few hours on ceremonial crowd control looking after normal decent people having a day out.


As this is a wood blog I won't bore you with me stories but if anyone running the job now had asked I'd have happily squeezed into my kit and lined the funeral route for a day. Truth is of course the modern young politically correct and too scared to have a laugh officers would be horrified by the style of my generation of Policeman. Anyway, we'd all keep sloping off for a cup of tea and a wee half an hour later. !

Trooping of the Colour, Buck House behind me Blues and Royals approaching & keeping a sneaky eye on dangerous looking old girl in the purple.


So as another year drifted away ...


... I have to assume I'll be alive and trading in 2023 but you may not want to risk and and get yer arse down to Vernham Dean and buy some wood in case I don't make it !