Peeled posted and wrung

Here’s a post and rung stool I’m working up for an exhibition coming up in April (Ah, joyous month!) at Farfield Mill at Sedbergh.  The event is Working Woodlands and is intended to show the range and quality of products that come out of coppicing woodland.  There will be a special section devoted to products made from Moss and Heights Spring Wood timber.  I’m making my stool above with peeled oak from there, and it will have an elm bast seat woven from bark from Strid Wood (West meets East kind of style!).

Do call in if you can get there.

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Hole filled

Here’s a (rather blurry/soft focus phone) photograph of the peeled oak gates installed.

I’ll take another when I return with the oak drop bolt with renewable pin.

Many thanks to Dave for his sterling help – it was definitely a two-handed job to get everything looking good when there are no right lines to follow.

I delivered this renovated bench today too:

It’s another hand tooled finish in chestnut.

Wild About Wood coming up this weekend at Castle Howard.

Spooning the gates

I’m using a couple of old-fashioned methods with these peeled oak gates I’m making.  One is rose headed black iron nails and the other is a spoon bit.  I’ve been making the main frames of the gates with mortise and tenon joints.  The setting out is a bit of the old “rack o’th’eye” work, but the effect seems to be coming along nicely.

The two middle members are one log split in two.

I’ve been using a spoon bit to make the holes where the pegs will be driven in to hold the joints together.  As it’s round wood (or half round) starting the hole is a little tricky, but, with the help of a small gouge to make a starter hole, all 12 holes worked out OK.

I’m using 3 inch rose nails – the longest I could find. There’s a little article about the history of nails here: History of nails.  The village of Silsden next to our own village used to be a big place for the making of clog nails, but alas! all trace of this has now vanished, except for …

 and, I now find there’s just been a sculpture created to celebrate this piece of history:

Anyway, back to the work in hand.  These are the nails I’m using:

They do look rather fitting when hammered home:

They are oxide coated to prevent rusting in the oak,  Square cut so they provide a large area of contact to hold them into the wood, plus a swelled stem near the head for even greater grip.  They certainly take some hammering in!  My ears were ringing, as were Mrs Law’s, who was on site to cope with the huge demand for Woodland Elves:

The smoke’s there to deter the midges.

Fitting the infill branches to the gates needed a lot of fiddling around to get the maximum contact with the frame members, and I managed to get a few more bracing triangles into the structure that way.

I’m pleased with the outcome, hope my client is too.

The gates have a built-in hat hook:

In fact you can hang quite a few things on it – well it is for a garden, I’m sure the gardener will appreciate the thought:

All they need now is a wooden bolt, some drop bolts and … fitting!

I spotted some embryonic acorns today, and I think they may be sessile oak ones – there seems to be no stalk.  I’ll be checking on them as they develop.

In Summer the freshness of Spring soon pales as those insects, moulds, fungi, viruses and other chaps get to work, even the Lammas growth seems to be suffering on the above oak tree:

…but always at my back I hear,

Time’s wingéd chariot hurrying near …

Oh no!  The bird cherry leaves are yellowing – well to be fair, they were the first ones to flush.

Fill the hole

At the moment I am very busy. Sales have suddenly picked up, in the woods, at shows and commissions.  The latest commission is to fill the above entrance to my client’s garden with a gate made from this peeled oak.

This is coppice oak from the wood formerly managed by Bill Hogarth, of Bill Hogarth Trust fame.  The thickest one is about 27 years old – quite a long time for an oak coppice rotation.  The plan so far is thus:

I think splitting the middle pole so it will be in each gate should be pleasing on the eye, for those who prefer wiggles to straight lines. And speaking of wiggles here’s a bench I delivered last night:

I also found a home as planters for some of the hollow ash cheeses I cut earlier this year.

Another reason (excuse) why I’ve not been posting much recently was because my son and his wife were over from Brooklyn and we were out and about, gardening, cooking vegan delights etc.

One of our visits was up through Langstrothdale Chase to Hawes.  We had a picnic on the way through The Chase and the trust Kelly Kettle was on duty.

Some people got a little carried away by the sunshine and wild flowers:

But it was very relaxing I must say:

We carried on over the top to Gayle and Hawes, stopping at Gayle Mill.  This is a water-powered woodworking shop.  It has been restored as a museum, but courses and demonstrations are run there.  I was very interested in this treadle lathe with a fly-wheel sitting in a corner.

Could be a project for the bodgery, but possibly a bit too “modern” 😉 .

There were a couple of other interesting things to see in Hawes, an antiques shop with an unrestored naive stick chair (oh yes I must make one of these – look at that front right leg – just a branch!)

There was an interesting turned spoon in the window too:

And ideas for a Dales game for the new sales booth (see later!) in the Dales Countryside Museum.

“Wallops” what a great name for a game, and who can resist chucking sticks?

My brother Chris acquired some good winter clothing for me (very considerate!), an old ex-army leather jerkin.  Unfortunately the last owner had removed all the buttons.  Hah no problemo, turned some new ones out of dry applewood.

Suitably rustic – watch out for the fashion show!