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Archive for April, 2012

A rare opportunity to work in the timber trade in the Sussex Downs…

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I know that if I’m not talking about wood I’m talking about food… (don’t worry everybody I’ve spotted the pattern)…  it’s not that food is my only frame of reference but…  

Anyway, the only reason I even mention it is this…

I mean.. what does that remind you of ??? and if you don’t say rhubarb and custard, raspberry ripple ice-cream or fruit-salad chews then, frankly, you’re just not being honest with yourself!

Now, try again… relax… empty your mind. Now what do you see???

               

Feeling hungry yet?! No? I know…  that’s just me.

Joking aside… it is wierd looking stuff isn’t it?

It’s Plane… or London Plane… or Lacewood as it’s often referred to. This stuff is fresh sawn so very saturated and raw, not at all the creamy white  colour it will be when it’s dry (hang on you wood worker people.. I’ll get to that in a  bit).

These are the same tree species that you see in those incredible avenues of giant trees on the outskirts of French villages in the Tour de France (go Cav!)… or on the very hungry Raymond Blanc’s TV series…  or famously lining the Canal du Midi and soon to be felled – supposedly…  poor Canal du Midi.

So there you are.. these boules of Plane have been sticked and, unlike most other hardwoods, after a short air drying period we are going to vacuum kiln this timber straight away.

It would be possible to air dry in the yard over a long period but it is highly likely we would end up with stick marks across the boards. With this species, as with Sycamore and other sensitive stimbers we really need to maintian the integrity of the colour by not keeping it in stick for very long because the pale cream and the extraordinary grain are the desirable qualities in this timber. The vacuum kiln should give us this. 

So the kilning should be happening any day now… and then after 2-3 weeks it will be ready for use. This is lightening speed for timber (as I write we have thunder and lightening!) and the result will be lots of sparkling new Lacewood for everybody to help themselves to…

And it really is lacey and very delicately grained… the pictures do give a hint of that in amongst that raspberry ripple…  imagine if it stayed this colour… that would be wild!

I can’t wait to see something in the fine furniture vein made of Lacewood… I know I do nag you all but one of you superstar wood workers must have pictures?

Plane tree avenue heaven http://bit.ly/IRF7wR

Plane trees also have this amazing bark that changes colour and keeps shedding so you get can gather it up and take it home… I would go to France solely to do this is…  if I didn’t have to work http://bit.ly/IjV1iy

I’m a massive TDF fan and not only because of the amazing helicopter footage of France you get to see…  if you’re not sure where to go on holiday the Tour de France will help you decide   http://www.letour.fr/us/index.html  (if you’re Graham it helps you decide not to go to France)

Food! The very hungry Frenchman  http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01bqwlm 

If you haven’t seen ‘Adam’s Rib’ with Spencer Tracy & Katherine Hepburn (real life husband and wife) then the title of this post means nothing to you… but if you’re interested, it is a great film http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0041090/

Don’t talk to Tom about the Canal du Midi   http://www.canal-du-midi.org/fr/liens/offices_du_tourisme.aspx

Anyone who wants to see the Plane boules (or any other timber) is welcome to visit anytime http://www.englishwoodlandstimber.co.uk/contact_us.html  or get in touch and ask us anything you want to know…  

G-unit have measured all those boards especially so you can demand to know what stock we have and get a sensible answer without having to trek all the waydown here on the off-chance… so for more information over the phone 01730 816941 or fax 01730816875 or email sales@englishwoodlandstimber.co.uk

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I have never smelled anything like this!

This little treat  is courtesy of our friends at Besmoke who gifted this beautiful smoked garlic in return for Oak sawdust and shavings from our machine shop… 

Now that ‘s what I call a perk of the job !!  

  

The Besmoke guys are based over near Arundel in their newly kitted out ‘smoke shop’ .

They have an incredible business smoking herbs, garlics, oils and all sorts of delicious food stuffs. Not surprisingly, people just can’t get enough of they’re smokey flavours so in turn they can never get enough of our Oak sawdust!   

Want some of that super smokey flavour for yourself?

Well, you can visit @besmokefoods if you’re on twitter or plain old www.besmoke.com if you’re not! 

Or you can get in here quick because we have a few bulbs of the georgous garlic left… LOOK.. we’re re-gifting !

First come first served I’m afraid people…

This is what the internet was invented for  http://www.bewitched.net/

Not convinced? maybe Garlic Central can help… http://www.garlic-central.com/garlic-health.html

Great website from The Garlic Farm in Newchurch on the Isle of Wight  http://thegarlicfarm.co.uk/

If you’re utterly addicted now then forget Glastonbury you need this…  http://www.garlic-festival.co.uk/

So you’re a do it yourself kind of person huh?.. ok then.. do it yourself… http://www.brookshomesmokers.co.uk/index.htm

And some ‘how to’ for you DIY-ers.. http://www.forfoodsmokers.co.uk/acatalog/Food_Smoking_FAQ.html

Good old wikipedia…  never lets you down… bit of info in here on why you would use Oak and why wood in general..  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smoking_(cooking)

And yes…   if you need some lovely Oak sawdust we’ll turn our backs whilst you fill a bag or two from the hopper ( the scoop is hanging on the right hand side!).

Also..  I don’t like to say I told you so but…  Oak..? smoked garlic…?  answer to life the universe and everything ? I think it’s pretty clear I did tell you so. 

I don’t just make this stuff up you know*…  (thanks to Dave by the way, for keeping the dream alive!) 

Want to get your hands on that sawdust hopper? http://www.englishwoodlandstimber.co.uk/find_us.html

*of course I am making alot of this stuff up!

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It’s easy to rib students for being slack and having an easy life…  for being unorganised,  for eating last night’s takeaway for breakfast and for doing all their work the night before a deadline…  but aren’t we really just a  little bit jealous?

I am.

Days and nights spent indulging your ideas, studio/workshop facilities on tap, tutors to drain knowledge out of…  the college sports facilities and the SU bar !!? Yep.. I’m jealous.

I remember the first student to call us from the 1st year of the 3D Design BTEC at Chichester College was Ugne Krymcevaite.  I remember so well because she knew what she wanted!   She was so well prepared I was quite taken aback. In a matter of seconds she had given her details, reeled off her cutting list – finished sizes of course – and she was gone, back into the ether from whence she came. 

Steve called her back within minutes with the price for the Ash-planed-all-round and before I knew it the timber was ordered, paid for and Peter was walking out of the office with the ‘mill copy’ in hand… 

“Most unusual!” I thought to myself… and promptly got on with what I should have been doing.

When the second student called and exhibited similar evidence of being organised, decisive and knowledgable I started to smell a conspiracy…  this was not the world as we knew it!  Surely alien imposters were inhabiting the bodies of Chichester students???

After at least 18 more phonecalls in the space of 3 days we were convinced and had started to batten down hatches.

As it transpired, under the tutelage of Terry Molyneaux – 3D Design course leader and active furniture maker – students were thoroughly drilled in the art of timber buying and had the added weight of a module deadline to steel themselves against…  hence the flurry of  decisive action.

Tom (our illustrious leader) was obviously as relieved as I was that we were not going to be fending off an alien invasion and took his own decisive action…  “Prizes for the Students”

 

So to reward their fantastic work ethic, their commitment to design process and inevitably, their finished design pieces we sent Steve and Peter down to meet the students, view the exhibition and award the 3 prizes. Here is some of the work on show to whet your appetite…

These are the choices they made. 

1st prize  Kai Alexander with his Walnut tribute to Gerrit Rietveld

2nd Prize Madara Degterre with a finely executed Oak lounge chair

3rd Prize Liam Bailey with dining chair in Ash with nice use of colour & grain

These three lucky people very deservedly get to come and raid the timber larder for their next ‘woody’ projects.

So a very ‘Well Done’ to all the students. ‘Thank You’ for using our wood in your designs, and Please don’t take your time at college for granted…!

P.S. Great to see models of the furniture pieces too… you can never have enough models!

The 3D Design Course brochure incase you’re feeling like 3D design is the life for you http://web.me.com/terry.molyneaux/The_Design_Course/About_files/Course%20Leaflet.pdf

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I took a quick walk round the stock shed to look for something I know is there and yet again…  it’s been moved.  The wood that is.

The stock shed fairy has had another change around!

I know we have the weekly challenge of finding places to put new stock…  and at the same time Peter is a complete neat freak and refuses to just pile something up infront of something else if it isn’t the right species or thickness or country of origin or something.

So just when I think I know my way around… I discover I don’t.

Funnily enough, I don’t even mind because I never get tired of snooping around in the stock shed.

It’s a great source of inspiration for me. I usually end up getting way too overexcited about all the things I could make or build the following weekend, at which point all the guys in the yard look at each other and roll their eyes…

and then the coffee wears off and I decide to just go and take pictures and wait for someone else to be inspired to make things instead.

  

P.S. 3 things I love about the stock shed…

1. When we stand boards up so that you can actually see what they look like…  I know it’s not how we should store timber (thank you Peter)  but it is SO much more interesting to look at this way

2. The old mining bucket that makes me feel Lilliputian.

3. The Sycamore. We take it for granted as a tree and yet it makes a beautiful, affordable wood.

Ok 4 things.. 

4. I just realised I LOVE that we are tagging & measuring & listing all our boards… it’s yet another thing I can get a bit overexcited about…  having a new stock system!!!!!

Ok, I’m finished now. Thanks for visiting !

And then…

I’ve said it before and I’m not afraid to say it again…  SUCH a great website for people that like to make stuff with wood  http://www.thewoodwhisperer.com/

Someone else who’s inspired by wood  http://wood-yeah.tumblr.com/ it’s Design Squirrel!

Are you inspired? Tell us about it and get making! sales@englishwoodlandstimber.co.uk

Want to know where all this is coming from ? www.englishwoodlandstimber.co.uk

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That darling Diane…  look what she made for us! A scrumptious chocolate cake with chocolate icing and chocolate eggs and and and fluffy chicks…  did I mention the chocolate???

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Peter was busy sorting his Sycamore last week… he didn’t complain about it at all(!)… and whilst sorting for ripple he came across these few boards which were a nice surprise and will hopefully go to a good home

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