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First bit of 2023 ... ish!


I held this story back from ...


... November - Remembrance Sunday to be precise as I thought a picture from a beautiful unseasonably warm day would cheer us in the depths of winter. It was just about the perfect day milling with Ant which is always enjoyable.


Apart from 20+ degree heat the T20/20 Cricket World Cup final was on the radio as England headed for victory. Ant's bandsaw mill with auto feed is a pleasure to watch and the Walnut we were milling smelt great ... like money!

We observed the 2 minute silence at 11 ... I did a lot of Remembrance Sunday parades in at a variety of venues when I was Mr Plod but this was the best - and the warmest!

Back to the Walnut ...


... it was a fairly big ol' lump albeit with patches of rot. It was at Ant's yard as Doris my old tractor couldn't lift it but Ant's digger in the back ground did with ease - another old bit of machinery but refurbed and given a splash of paint by the master engineer it also looks good.


Although some of the slabs have these holes at about 27" wide and 10 foot long someone will give me a few shillings for them - they are bloomin' heavy & made my back creak stacking them!

The ' to do ' list and the wish list for 2023 ...


... were a bit different this January. To be sorted on the timber front was much the same as every year - more stock and a bit of improving of the shabby sheds. The wish bit of having more desirable stock was going to need a shake up and exploration of new places to get stock with old fishing grounds closing and more demand.


The smoking wood side of the business was also due a revamp website and marketing wise. Basically it was murdered by hackers and I decided to move host and start again. I wasted a few weeks going down the cheapskate foreign bloke promising a lot cheap but delivering nothing route!


In a moment of inspiration I went ...


... to my BBQ customers via a couple of forums asking for a web designer and had two contact me straight away and other recommendations from happy website owners. The two who contacted me direct both had their own companies and a team and were similarly priced. The biggest problem was both had a couple of months lead time.


A friendly london cabbie - (yes they exist) Tony said I couldn't do better than his man an independent graphic deisgner and all round good egg Rob who did this for me. The whole process, about a week swapping ideas and progress was enjoyable so when he did that I got him to build a hardwoods one as well.


My wife was complaining that ...


... I never bought her flowers. Between you and me I had no idea that she sold them!

She also said that if anything ever happened to her I should find someone else.

Now I find out that her being stuck in traffic for hours doesn't count as something happening to her!


Back at the Woods ...


... the Winter also is the time to do a bit of Woodland maintenance of damaged trees and currently Ash with the die back fungus taking a hold is top of the list. Pretty much all the Ash is self seeded from half a dozen old trees. These sapling grow fast and up towards the light so you get tall up to 50 foot but not wide around 4-5" diameter trees.


If I just left them they die from the top of the tree branches will be dropping on your head from high enough to hurt. So, like Baldrick I developed a cunning plan with my mate Jem who manages the squirrels and has a few qualifications in Trees and stuff and has Alfie working for him.


Alfie is a young fit ...


... climbing arborist who also likes a bit of woodwork so we lured him to the Woods on a few Sundays with the promise of his choice of my timber as a reward. If you dig back a few blogs you'll have seen him in action early last year and it was great having him back.


He'd already taken 15' off this Ash. We are experimenting with this and the similar sized one to the left as you look at it cutting them in half and leaving to see if branches will pollard out and regenerate - hopefully without the fungus.

In the Autumn blog you'll see ...


... New Forest Rob reducing a large Oak for me using his Panther first cut system. Ant is also in the pic clocking how it works and suggested not only should we buy it off Rob but also to get the extension kit to allow quartering logs up to 16 ' long.


Rob is a good egg and a decent discount later I got Ant to try it on a lump of Oak that had been dropped at the Woods that Doris the tractor couldn't lift and even if she could was too big for my bandsaw.


It took Ant 30 mins to set up ... he'd already learnt how on a couple of big Beech at his place. Sawing time was only 10 mins - the time saving when milling and the ability to cut much bigger logs makes it worth every penny.

Half way through - you'll see my milling bar popping out at the bottom ensuring the log separated smoothly once holding screws were released. Having sat at the Woods 4 months the first quarter was on the bandsaw, cut and stacked a couple of days later.

As Winter receded and England lost the 6 Nations - again ...


... Mike and I got stick for the 5th year in a row from our resident jock Tuesday Dave who is getting used to having the Calcutta Cup. To cheer myself up I headed for my favourite yard in Croydon which hasn't had much in recent times but got hold of the beauty below.


I've had some of this before but it's always slightly different and rather interesting. I expect you know what it is so I won't tell you! As I only got 3 book matched pairs out of the small log the likelihood is that someone will have nabbed it before you anyway.


I will of course be searching the world - well Hants and surrounding counties for more beautiful timber to price cheaply - ish for your wood projects.


For no good reason...


... whatsoever I want to tell you about an Englishman, Irishman and Scotsman who were keen to show to that their own watering holes were the best.


"Back hooomee in ma pub if you buy four pints the Landlord gives us the fifth free," boasts the Scot. The Englishman opines that in his club in Surrey you only have to buy three pints to get a free one.


"Well", says Paddy. "Back home in moi village the drinks are free all night and after that you can go upstairs and have as much sex as you loike."


Naturally the other two admit defeat and press for more information. That sounds great, do you go there often? "Actually, it wasn't me it was my sister," he reveals.


Spring will have sprung when you read this so get yourself down with all your dosh and fill your boots with my sumptious timber !