Ax(e) in t’leg. [NB, this post has no gruesome pictures of slight flesh wounds] (Thank Goodness – Ed)

In the 7 or so years I’ve been in this game I can’t recall any axe accidents.  Other, maybe, than a few nail shaving events, but no major catastrophes.  I was hewing today in a somewhat untutored manner, preparing the seat for the current oak bench and somehow  (well I know exactly how really) I followed through a blow into my calf – the worst damage was a hole in my fairly new working trousers (two layers).  Bit of a flesh wound too, but nothing a medium sized bandage couldn’t cope with.  Surprisingly little blood, probably my age, but my fingers still bleed like fury from tiny nicks.  Anyway, enough of that, here is the oak before I started hewing.

SAMSUNG CSCI went to Summerbridge to buy the oak butt from Nidd Valley Sawmill (there’s been a mill there since 1540). First I had to wait for a mixed load to be expertly stacked from a timber lorry.

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Just look at that perfect Yorkshire blue sky (it’s always sunshine in Yorkshire).

I sometimes wish I had something like that, but then …

I had a good old chin wag with the man in charge, mainly about the way the whole economics of the timber trade have been sadly distorted by the biomass energy fad.  He is finding it more difficult to source timber to add to his 40,000 cu foot stock.

A very small portion of 40,000 cu ft.

A very small portion of 40,000 cu ft.

He was most concerned about not tipping my rather small trailer over with the large lump of oak on board.

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Please note, the sledge NEVER made contact with my pretty 2.5 lb Kentish pattern axe – I use a wooden maul (out of shot).

I guess it weighed more than a ton(ne).  It was a challenge to open up – took about an hour.  I am more and more finding that the way to deal with awkward splits is to start them by getting the axe embedded partly into the sapwood and partly into the heartwood and sinking it until a split opens on the bark profile, and then I get the wedges in.

SAMSUNG CSCI am usually very fastidious about changing from steel to wooden wedges as soon as possible so I can hack away at crossing fibers, which latter you can see above (betwixt the axe and the steel wedge).  Immediately after I took this photo I nudged the wedge with the axe – 20 minutes on the grindstone and honing put that right again.  Riving a butt is an energetic job (Showing your softee Lancastrian roots? – Ed).

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See the axe on the left? – that’s the one that bit me!)

Eventually I’d got the beggar split into three.

SAMSUNG CSCThe split the little one into two – so three and two makes four huh?

Anyway, I’m going to mill off the bench seat, following the split, and I’m hoping to get a slab just as good as fully riven, but with less waste – this butt is not straight-grained.

I’ve been doing lots of other things, not so exciting for others but time demanding – attending wet shows.  This is really mad – we are having our best Summer for years and yet I’ve been at 3 wet shows this Summer, bummer.  Also making hurdles.

SAMSUNG CSCThese are special order – barriers to corgi pup escape attempts.  My mate Dave Jackson, whom I met at a wet show in Leicestershire, had just fulfilled an order for 50 sheep hurdles  for an Oxfordshire sheep auction.  I bet there are not many people who are able to say that they provided sheep hurdles within the last 20 or 30 years.

SAMSUNG CSCBy request, I made a Parson Jack Russel terrier today and it immediately started chasing the peace-loving wood-loving pigs.

I just relaxed and watched the smoke rising …

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Speed drawknifing

Hello!

August used to be the month we went on holiday.  Nowadays it seems to be my busiest month what with courses, shows, and caving …

SAMSUNG CSCWell, actually this is my garage/store-room and it leaks far too much, so much so that it will be destroyed and out of the ashes will be built a new glorious stone and green oak workshop with brewery area and a pitched roof. NOT a flat concrete slab that sweats and leaks, cold in Winter boiling hot in Summer.  But first I have to get this lot:

SAMSUNG CSC(You should have seen it before I started throwing things out.)

.. into this:

SAMSUNG CSCThis is a tin shed, 10 foot by 13 that my brother and I just spent 2 days putting up (including making a floating floor for it).  I think I must have screwed about 200 screws in and dropped probably 400 into the flowers.  Anyway it’s up now, and the poor flowers are down.

SAMSUNG CSCAmongst other things to go in The Shed like bee keeping equipment (photo op. for my first honey extraction:

SAMSUNG CSC) are a cast iron band saw, a second-hand multi-fuel boiler I bought in readiness for the new workshop (well for the brewery really), all my tools, two bikes, about half the last charcoal burn output (our warm Summer has suddenly stopped), various jerry cans of fuel etc, etc.  And then I need to find somewhere else secure to put the two chainsaws.  Man!

Anyways, I’ve started running spoon carving courses finally and made this totally silly spoon during the course of it.

SAMSUNG CSCYep, bark and moss on (C’mon – who’s going to buy that? – Ed):

SAMSUNG CSCThe interesting thing is the spoon is photographed casually relaxing on the roughed out top of the clover leaf top three-legged stool I’m about to make for a competition.  I’ve worked out that the legs will be truncated equilateral triangles where the draw-bored M&T joints will be in the apron and rung areas.  Then turned between on the pole lathe (important consideration for the comp).  Ah well, perhaps ye olde 17th century joinery will catch on over here one day (maybe after Peter Folansbee has taken his class here!)

I’ve been busy with oak again – another garden bench commission.  Here’s some speed drawknifing work (Not too long I hope – Ed)

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So lots more shavings, and a growing pile of parts,

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must make sure I don’t mix members for the stool with those for the bench.