Monday, 25 July 2011

Firewood again

With summer now in full swing the barn where I had been storing some of my firewood is going to soon be needed for storing grain, so I took the opportunity today to have a bit of a shuffle and move it all to somewhere where it wont be in the way. Fortunately the bags are quite stable so I was able to stack them up quite high, I also made sure that the older wood was stacked so as it gets used first. 

There is about 50 bags here, which is all the bags I've got at the moment, but there is more in some bulk trailers so hopefully I wont be running out anytime soon!

With plans to sell alot of wood this winter I wanted something more effective and efficient than dragging the bags off the back of the trailer, which as well as being hard work tended to wreck the bags.

I had an idea in my mind to use an engine hoist with a hand pump to lift the bags up then I could pivot it round and drop it down on the ground. I mentioned this to my dad and after a few phone calls he came up with something much better.

We managed to get hold of a very reasonably priced Hi-ab, which I stripped down and painted up. The mechanic who works for my dad than fitted this to an indespension plant trailer I brought for the purpose. It is powered by a 24v hydraulic pump and is capable of lifting up to 3/4 of a ton, which is way more than the bags weigh.

I have to admit, it is way more than I initially thought I needed, but they have a tendency to over do things here and I'm definitely not complaining as this will prove to be very useful!

It is possibly to get 6 bags on the trailer, stacking 3 more on top, but I find most people don't want this many in one go anyway, but is handy for multiple deliveries 

For especially heavy lifts it even has a small ram that can be pulled out and extended to support the trailer. This ram can then be move to the front of the trailer to lift it on and off the ball hitch, as with the weight of the pump, hi-ab and 2 leisure batteries it becomes way to heavy to lift off with a standard jockey wheel.

Just need to start selling some wood now!

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Rustic furniture set

Just finished an Oak bench and matching coffee table I was asked to make off the back of the one I made for the 80th birthday present

close up of table

close up of table

Quite pleased with these, especially the table, as I've not made one in this style before. Its pretty chunky and could happily be used as a bench if need be

Saturday, 16 July 2011


My sister saw some carved wooden bangles in a small arty shop the other week and really liked them, but unfortunately they were quite expensive, so she asked me if i could make something similar for her. So I spent a couple of hours this afternoon playing around with some bits of wood and here's what I came up with




Emma wearing the birch one

Quite fun to make, I love sanding something down to a really smooth finish and then seeing the transformation when you apply the oil and the grain comes alive. I also enjoy experimenting with different species, guess I'm quite fortunate in that respect.

Friday, 15 July 2011

Birch spoon

I sometimes go though stages where I feel uninspired and not very creative, especially if I've had a hard week at work and really can't be bothered to do anything in an evening.

And sometimes all it takes to inspire me is a tree, and a log like this one from a birch tree I cut down today. It wasn't an especially difficult tree although it was about as big as a birch gets and half of it was overhanging a static caravan, but there was a nice big drop zone the other side and it ended up being a really fun tree to do. And the whole time we were doing it i was thinking that I'm going to take some of this home and carve a spoon tonight as very few woods are as nice to carve as green birch.

And it really doesn't get much greener!

The log looked like it was fairly straight grained, but once I started cleaving it down it became apparent that it wasn't, undeterred I decided to work with the grain instead of fighting it and ended up with a very wiggely handle! I kind of like it, and they do say there are no straight lines in nature.

Monday, 11 July 2011

Go Ape container building - week 2

 Unfortunately I wasn't able to stay for the whole week and didn't see the job completed, and due to time constraints I think there are still a few things to finish off, but by the time I left on Thursday lunchtime it definitely didn't look like shipping containers anymore! We'd had another hard week at it, putting in some 11 and 12 hour days trying to get it ready to open on Friday, and whilst it wasn't 100% finished they did serve some customers on Friday, so we all counted it as a success!

Cladding the rear of the structure

Velux in and roof going down 

Cladding the front, before the roller shutter door was installed

The 'nearly finished product' not bad for 2 weeks work,

This was definitely one of the more interesting jobs I've had to do for Go Ape, I quite like the concept of a building based around shipping containers, especially in this situation where security is the main goal, and once the shop is fully fitted out inside there is very little evidence of what lies under its timber skin. 

Oscar had definitely had enough by the end of the second week, we were all feeling it!

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Go ape container building - week 1

As part Of Go Apes growing development they have started to move into other areas of recreation within a forest setting. This initially started with Forest Segway and now bike hire. All this week we have been turning 3 shipping containers into a building that can be used for safe storage of the bikes as well as a reception/shop.

But we wanted to avoid them looking like shipping containers as they wouldn't really blend in with the surroundings and would go against the image go ape like to maintain.

Sorry for the poor quality photos, only had my phone this week.

Crane maneuvering containers into place. trying to get these square and level was a nightmare!

using a telehandler to position the trusses. We prefabed these back at our yard a few weeks ago

installing the ridge pole and rafters

Plying the roof

Managed to get alot done this week, but we were on sight till 7/8ish most days so we were all feeling it by the end of the week. But as opening day is next Friday we still have got alot to do. The roof needs finishing with 4 velux windows to be installed, then there is the space between the containers that needs a floor putting in and the ceiling to do as well as the patio doors and cladding the whole thing and well the list goes on! may well be a few more long days next week.