Shifting knots

I’m still hauling the felled second quality wood out to my trailer and up to the yard for drying out for logs and charcoal.  It’s all ride-side, but quite a distance from the vehicular track.  I’m using the lift and shift, but this smaller stuff needs to be bundled to make the trips to the trailer efficient,  I’ve experimented with various ways of making the bundles, which at first were rather unstable causing much cursing as the logs dropped out before reaching the destination.  So here’s my solution.

All I need is:

A looped rope, a length of rope, a stick, Lift n’Shift with carabiner and some logs.

I found this knot in Ray Mears Survival book (very interesting book but I doubt I’ll ever need to know about ice fishing for instance).

Start by laying out the rope thusly:

One loop and one rope end at each side.  Then lay on the logs for transporting

Pass the rope ends through the loop from the opposite side and pull tight.  You now have three bindings round the logs.  Tie the ends of the rope, I use a shoelace bow:

Then I fasten the 3 bindings to the Lift n’Shift with a carabiner and use the loop and stick to fasten the heavy end on.

All that remains is to walk the load down to the trailer, rather a steep hill.  Someone asked if I had brakes! Dropping the handle would be quite effective.

By the way, if anyone is wondering, the broad leaves are wild garlic or Ramsons.


Sometimes …

Sometimes you just get going and the whole thing stops, suddenly.  Never mind.  On Sunday I was just getting into a groove with bowl turning, having substituted a hi-tech strap for the cord I broke Thursday, when the strap snapped!  Boff!  Today I rigged up a leather strap, which probably won’t stand the pace for long, but may get me to the next recycled conveyor belt strap, which is supposed to be the business for bowl lathes.  Turning a bowl on a pole lathe is quite a high energy affair.  It certainly works up a sweat, even in the frost. The bowl has to turn quickly to get a decent finish and control of the cutting tool is vital, and like anything new takes a little getting used to and mastering comes later.

Sometimes the solution lies in wait and jumps out at you.  Again on Sunday (a good sunny day otherwise) all four wheels on the trailer (which is a mere six months old) were jammed as I towed it out of Strid.  The brakes were locked on, and as there are four of them, that’s quite some drag, even for a beefy Land Rover.  Three wheels were free by the time we got out of the wood, but the fourth just refused to budge.  After a lot of jerking, reversing, rocking, rolling, bouncing, decided to take the wheel off, go home on three and sort the prob out at home.  And then, sometimes this happened before, sleeping on it solved the problem.  Went out this morning, all ready to heat the blighter up, hammer it gently with a mallet etc, but it was free already.  Now I find this was another of those time machine problems.  Easy to solve if you go back and do something else in the first place.  What I should have done was time-travelled back and not applied the handbrake before laying the trailer up for a week.  So today I’ve fashioned a pair of wedges (well found them in the heap of logs I turned out on the splitter) drilled a hole in them and attached a rope loop  – stops them getting confused with the other logs if nothingelse.  Just like the chocks they used for aeroplanes, I can now leave the brakes off when the trailer’s parked up and use the chocks.  The problem apparently has become worse since asbestos is no longer used in brake linings  (of course it’s “a good thing” that we don’t use a deadly poison to stop wheels going round any more).  Modern brake linings bond to the brake drum and lock on.  Leaving them off avoids the problem.  So you see, not doing something is sometimes positive.

Sometimes if you leave something it works out while you’re not thinking about it.  This is a piece of tested wisdom, oh yes.  Doesn’t work for everything, of course, but sometimes …


The thaw has started in Strid Wood, with the snow on the trees dripping into the snow.  It was also dripping off the tarp yesterday, mainly due to the roaring fire I got going in the afternoon.

In the morning I finished off moving all the stray Spring felled timber back to the bodgery.  I’ve been using two very useful tools for this.  First up the log tongs.  This is great.  The two dogs bite into the logs and then you can haul them into the trailer, mostly without touching them and keeping your gloves drier. The logs look rough, but they are fine inside.

If the logs are frozen together (and few weren’t!) I’ve been using this home-made pickeroon.

This was originally a short-handled job, not sure of its intended purpose, but with a long handle it’s great for freeing logs and digging the spike end into  log also allows rolling and pulling without bending – great!

While I was back in this part of the woods I surveyed my thinning work last year, you may be able to see all the stumps as larger black lumps.

And this is where I’m due to thin next.

There’s a lot of small stuff in there to fell.

Meanwhile back at the bodgery I spent the afternoon making rolling pin blanks and animals:

They are supposed to be foxes, the front one is OK.  I’ve since modified the big one into a bear, the rather angular one awaits further attention from the knife.

I also had a look round at tracks – I like the ‘shadow’ of the wing in this one:

When I got home there was an interesting eBay delivery:

Guess what’s inside.  See next post.

Looking forward to felling and thinking about extraction

Food for thought! (Click on the previous text to browse the book where this appears)

There are going to be horse extraction demos at the Wild About Wood weekend I’m working at this weekend – I don’t expect it to snow though, or for the horses to be so burdened!  The chapter whence this photo comes is a fascinating brief overview of heavy logging in North West (?) America around the turn of the 20th century. No chainsaws.

And if you think the horses are somewhat overloaded – look at these poor beasts – must be about 20 people on there, and they are going from Hebden Bridge Station to Hardcastle Crags’ Gibson Mill, which is by no means a level journey!


Made a trailer load of logs today using the new splitter and the excellent Buckingham woodstation.

Wood Station

Load it up with logs
Wood Station
Cut ’em to length.
Wood Station
And then load the trailer, notice there are NO LOGS ON THE FLOOR! (OK then, just an odd one) Brilliant, every logger should have one.

The trailer is loaded by lifting up the front of the woodstation and all the logs fall into the trailer.  Because this is a tilting operation you are not lifting the full weight of the logs.  Beats handballing them out of the woodstation, or worse picking up from the floor!  Photo to follow of tipping operation.