Monday, 30 January 2012

Not your average January

Been a while since my last post, I've had a busy few weeks. We spent a week or so in London working at the Excel centre for Go ape, helping to build and run the worlds largest indoor zipwire for the outdoors show. This was a pretty cool thing to be involved with and the week flew by we were so busy. Very manic though, as anyone whos ever worked at a show will know,  everone is trying to do everything at the same time, so when your running a 500 ft wire cable past all the main access points it does tend to complicate things!

Fortunatelty everything went to plan and we managed to average about 400 people down the zip everyday. I started off taking some photos before realising one of the guys was doing a time lapse of the whole build. So I figured it was easier to show you that instead.

After that was finished and we had packed up (last ones to leave the grounds!) I had the pleasure of spending a long weekend in Rome with my girlfriend, which was amazing, its such a beautiful city.

Just an average view in rome!

Back to reality this week as I had 4 days coppicing overstood Hazel and Alder along a small brook with my brother. Quite a hard few days as the field was a bit wet and the bank pretty steep in places. With that tacky mud that sticks to everything and makes you about 3" taller!

We had a good 4 days and managed to make a big dent in it, got alot on at the moment and not wanting the firewood to go to waste I spent sunday cutting out cordwood from the piles of hazel we'd winched into the field. This was as well as working saturday freelance climbing for a local firm, taking down some bigish ash trees in a neighbouring village. Think I'll need another holiday soon!

Oh and think I managed to fit in a few loads of firewood at some point

Its that time of year

Monday, 9 January 2012

Big dead Hornbeam

Not your average Sunday morning, had to fell this big old hornbeam for a family friend, pretty busy at the moment so yesterday morning was the only time we were both free. Not sure the neighbours were too impressed though as the 880 is not the quietest of saws! 

You can just see the rope going to the tractor we used to pull it over, probably would have gone with just wedges but we had it there to move the wood so seemed silly not to use it

And it did come down with a mighty crunch, its been dead for about 3 years now and was quite happy in the field until it started shedding branches with increasing frequency, and as the fields are let for horse grazing it had to come down

Whilst felling big trees like this is fun, the tidying up after definitely isn't, must of shattered into about a million pieces! luckily for me there were a few people helping with the smaller bits so I could concentrate on the bigger lumps

Unfortunately the trunk was a bit to far gone to warrant milling so instead it got ringed up for firewood, pity really as if we'd done it a couple of years ago would have been an ideal sawlog.

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Saved from becoming firewood - Dawn Redwood

I got to fell a small dead Dawn Redwood for a local firm this morning, I gave the guy a good deal on hiring my chipper in exchange for the trunk as I couldn't resist getting my hands on something as unusual as this.
Dawn redwood was thought to be extinct up until the mid 40's and only existed in the fossil record. Upon being rediscovered it has since been widely planted in parks and gardens and makes an attractive tree in the urban environment. But they are still an unusual tree, this being the first I've ever cut down.
My hi-ab trailer was proving its worth again making picking up and moving the trunks easy, the only downside being that I had to cut them into 8ft lengths so they wood fit in, fortunately this is the distance between 3 bunks on the mill (the orange bits that support the timber) any shorter and it can get quite tricky clamping the timber in place.

Putting the pallet next to the mill I was able to place the logs down without risking damage to the mill as the controls can be a bit jerky sometimes, especially with heavy lumps like this.
With the pallet at about the same height as the deck of the mill I can then easily roll the logs on with the use of a cant hook, a brilliant tool that makes handling big lumps of wood much easier.
First slab off, pretty impressed with the grain pattern, a nice amount of contrast between the sap wood and heart wood.

Looking on the Internet it seems it doesn't have much use for structural purposes so I'm thinking I might cut it all through and through so I can use it for rustic furniture as it apparently polishes up really well. I love that I now have the kit to save bits of wood like this from being ringed up and turned into firewood!

Friday, 6 January 2012


I managed to make a start on a biggish coppicing job today along the banks of a beautiful little brook, would have like to have started earlier in the week but the weather so far hasn't really lent its self to tree felling!

Best part of a weeks work to do here, although I was on my own today doing some of the smaller stuff and clumps of overstood hazel, the plan is to then come back in a couple of weeks with the tractor and winch to get the bigger alders down and out.

Plenty to go at

Some of the work is grant funded, mostly the larger overstood alders, but the farmer has decided he'd like to restore alot of the other coppice stools, partly as he has to fence the field and it'll make his life alot easier and partly because like me he thinks its a shame to see them go unmanaged. Especially as he is the 5th generation in his family to farm this land and its nice to think that we are coppicing stuff that would have been cut by his ancestors.

Some of the hazels are well overdue for coppicing, makes good firewood at least

don't think I could handle an office!

Pretty nice place to spend the day, looking forward to getting back here and cutting some more, but next week I'm in London working at the outdoors show helping to build the worlds biggest indoor zip wire with Go ape, and them I'm off to Rome with my girl friend for a long weekend. They do say variety is the spice of life!