Author Archives: Flying Shavings

Brick, wood and stone

Just spent a couple of enjoyable days in York, which is only an hour’s drive away from where I live.

The city goes back at least to Roman times, with various periods between then and now represented in buildings and artefacts.

There is a strong Viking influence as Eirik Bloodaxe took the city during his brief rule as King of Northumbria in the 10th century.  We attended a lecture launching a new biography of Eirik by Gareth Williams of the British Museum.  Dispelled quite a few myths like Vikings didn’t really have horns on their helmets, feathers of birds, maybe.  It was the annual Viking Festival in York so there was quite a lot Viking goings on, and even a few pukka Norwegians wandering about.

There is so much to look at in York it is a feast for the eyes, from buildings to carvings and the most magnificent Gothic cathedral in Europe:

This is just the South Transept which was badly damaged by a lightening-started fire in 1985 and has been restored, you can see how crisp the stone work is near the roof as I suspect this is part of the restoration.  At present the East front is buried under scaffolding for refurbishment and I was fascinated to see the hand carved stone awaiting fitting

There is much stonework everywhere you look, and because of its age there is a delightful irregularity

This is a wall of the Merchant Venturers’ Hall Chapel (of which more anon).  How much more appeal has this than some of our modern offerings, and what will they look like in 1,000 years time?

Much prefer these delights for the eye:

Merchant Venturers’ Hall timber framing.

And this:

The Hospitium, Museum Gardens.

And this:

King’s Manor, Exhibition Square (I’m sure that dormer window would look much better painted black though!)

To be continued …

Industrial greenwood working and croissants

I’ve been rather busy shifting the felled timber back to base camp.  I can’t get so near with the trailer so I use the Lift ‘n’Shift:

This little helper allows me to move logs that are too heavy to lift by picking a log up near its centre with a pair of dogs.  The long handle gives leverage to help pick up.  I fasten a rope on to help stabilise, note the cunning use of the log tongs to secure the rope, and the tongs are needed at either end – the felling site and stacking in the trailer. A load this size (although part of the load is out of frame) is enough for one old body:

The logs have then to be unloaded as well so a load a day is a very good work out.

I’m using some of this big stuff to make scratter axles.  A scratter reduces apples to a pulp prior to pressing for cider (hard cider) or apple juice (cider) (stateside translation in brackets). The size my local brewery wants is about the biggest my current set up can cope with.  I had to drill a hole to get max capacity in the horse – the billet is about 6 inches diameter after splitting and axe work:

Quite fun turning it down too, I’ve done one in sycamore and one in birch  They are just roughed out and then I’ll dry them for a few weeks/months and skim them round again once seasoned.

One of the ash trees I took down (another leaner) was partly hollow, I thought I could make them into natural bird boxes – watch this space: