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Archive for the ‘cladding timber’ Category

Today was wonderfully warm and I was feeling too lazy to walk the dog uphill on the South Downs Way so we both settled for a stroll around the yard…

and look.

Look!!!

I mean, is that meant to be funny?!!!

It’s a jolly good job that I wasn’t planning strawberry pavlova or a fresh strawberries and cream for a dinner party this weekend… that’s all I’m saying.

Graham. Keith. Matthew.

I could’ve been warned that there would be monster trucks and digger dancing and Evel Knieval would be performing earth flattening tricks out behind the kiln dried shed*.

That’s all I’m saying.

I could’ve not gone blabbering on about being knee deep in flipping strawberries.

That is all I’m saying.

But this is life people, this is the aggrandization of the air dried yard facilities. Who wouldn’t want that??!!

It’s augmentation, it’s expatiation, expansion, enlargement, development.

In a word people… it’s progress. Just plain old fashioned progress. And when digger dancing comes to Cocking Sawmills you just don’t stand in it’s way.

Progress.

And I can tell you right here, right now, that the ‘progress’ that happened to this vast expanse of chalk downs has resulted in a surprise improvement that may or may not have been Tom’s intention…

it is now the perfect place to sunbathe.

So. if we just get a few deck chairs, a few sun loungers…  a picnic table or two and a couple of parasols dropped off over the back. Perfect.

I haven’t asked Tom yet what he’s planning for out here, but it would do very well as a small beach.

I have measured up and there is at least enough room for an olympic size swimming pool, and possibly a velodrome if we could just move the Ash over a bit.

I’m just going to go and ask Peter if we’ve got any decking in stock…

He still exists http://evelknievel.com/

Don’t tell me you’ve never gone to the Ardinlgy show just to watch the digger dancing http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_81dv2V8mT0

Second only to the Olympics for world class competitors http://www.monstertruckgames.org/

Come on you lot.. get with the programme http://www.london2012.com/

Track the progress at the velodrome.. get it? track the progress…  http://www.london2012.com/venue/velodrome/

Swimming, the sport of champions  http://www.london2012.com/swimming/

Check back on our progress anytime you feel like it  www.englishwoodlandstimber.co.uk

*I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again… you can’t believe everything you read.

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I oiled the new floor at the weekend ‘she says nonchalantly’…  the new floor?!

The glorious new CHESTNUT FLOOR!!!!

You better believe it..! I mean we’re having a hard time believing it ourselves and we’re standing here staring at it.

Tom will be back from summer holidays today and I’m not sure he will recognise his own office thanks to the handy-work of Philip and Steve over the weekend.

Sweet Chestnut was Tom’s choice… and I was going to say it is an under-used timber but on reflection that’s only really in comparison with Oak, otherwise Chestnut seems to be very popular these days.. we’ve machined alot lately for interior and exterior cladding and for joinery.. and of course the local Sweet Chestnut coppiced products are very close to our hearts.. anyway.. so sweet Chestnut it is, and I LOVE it!

And I really didn’t expect it to look so rich and varied in colour… but that’s probably because we did go for an ‘all inclusive’ kind of grade where the idea is to throw nothing away if you can help it.. and we can help it!

Now for office number two…

and… the new desks!!!

I think can feel an office warming party coming on…

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Sometimes in our yard you need to know where to look to find something special.

I frequent the machine shop where I know Philip can be relied upon to hike out the interesting and the unusual from boards as they are going through for machining.

Then Peter and I argue over who get’s to have whatever treasure has been unearthed…

Mine!

Philip is a bit of a Wizard of Oz… pulling levers and switches and making everything happen behind a big, sawdust covered curtain.

Not many people get to meet him, but his handy-work is evident wherever you cast your eyes in our yard… including (behind the curtain) in the machine shop.

If, like Alice,  you’ve never been through the little door behind the curtain before, take a peak at what you are missing

There’s not much we can’t ask the Wizard of Oz to do for us so this week he will be mostly (apart from doing work for customers) machining us a new Sweet Chestnut floor for the office!

Don’t you want your own personal sawmill???

I know, we’re so spoiled!

Here he is…  our Philip…  showing off the lovely brown streak in our new floor…

…and see that woven panel behind on the wall? He made that up in two minutes right in front of me one day out of waste strips…  clever huh?

A lovely old Castanea sativa at Kew  http://www.kew.org/heritage/plants/sweetchestnut.html

Someones’ on their way to Ent moot…  http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3063/3079705221_018991c443_z.jpg?zz=1

Prepare to start collecting for roasting…  it’ll be Autumn before we know it…  http://www.5min.com/Video/How-to-Roast-Chestnuts—Holiday-Recipes-80487258

The Wizard himself in 1939 guise with Judy et al .. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0032138/ and Alice in 1951 although you really should read the book..  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KLIqErnQCuw

Shopping for a six head moulder? Weinig machines http://www.weinig.com or try Weinig TV! http://www.youtube.com/user/WEINIGGROUP or come and watch our Weining TV behind the curtain with the Wizard of the machine shop www.englishwoodlandstimber.co.uk

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keeps the doctor away…  that and a can of sardines.

Today I left the office (yup.. I really did) to go here…  http://www.sustainability-centre.org/

I don’t leave the office very often so I thought I’d make the most of the opportunity…  which, I should add, arose mainly because we now have extra hands on deck… yeay!!

Our lovely Chris…  and here she is

… oh please don’t look at the office!!!  We are getting a make over imminently…  new floor, new desks, new storage wall… everything…  in our own wood!!! I’m so excited…

Anyway…

I scurried around the yard doing some chores…   packed the dog, a google map (hmmm I wonder where the road atlas is…  Augustus Farmer???) and a camera into the car and promptly skipped off down the A272.

I found (yes I actually found it first time) the Sustainability Centre  in between East Meon and Clanfield It’s  SO pretty round there, all rolling hills covered in forests and meadows… I can’t get over how many trees there are in Hampshire.. one section of the A272 has incredible, huge copper Beeches at the side of the road… but I digress… Sustainability Centre..

After a quick trip to the reception desk I started wandering the paths and trails until I found what I was looking for…

Hurdle making central!

Hurdle making should be an olympic sport… can you see Darren Hammerton at work here? He is leaping up and down as Hazel strips sweep through the air at a rate of knots… he uses his whole body weight to stamp down between the vertical staves until they sit tightly on top of the previous strip. Hurdles are not as flimsy and delicate as they look!

No wonder there’s not an ounce of fat on this man… he is lean (but not very mean)…  although he puts it down to sardines (!) I can see a mile off that he get’s more of a workout hurdle making than I ever have on two wheels (there are plenty who will attest to that) and this is what he does from morning ’til night! It’s very impressive.

And so are the hurdles …as are the other beautiful woodland products he makes.

 

So that’s his day.. cut the Hazel, split the Hazel, shape the Hazel, weave the hazel, jump up and down with the Hazel.

I’m afraid I’m being flippant about something that is actually very important. Darren manages coppice – Hazel and Chestnut woodlands. He uses the timber harvested from those to create these products for use in building, landscaping, gardening. And if it wasn’t used to make all these different products then the timber would be perfect for fuel at the very least.

He’s just one person and he’s doing all of that. and ‘all of that’ is growing, naturally, out of the ground

I don’t want to bore you here and now with all the reasons why I think this is a big deal but it just is. What is exciting is there is so much room for more of this kind of industry, we have so much un-managed coppice in our part of the country and perhaps it could all be as productive as Darren’s?

If I wasn’t so decrepit I might have to consider it.. don’t laugh!! I’ve never met an unhappy coppicer…  just coppicers with sore hands and sore backs who are a bit soggy around the edges and haven’t had a holiday for.. ummm years?! Take a break you guys!!!!

So I stopped bothering Darren and asking him stupid questions. We said our goodbyes through a half made hurdle destined for Broadlands and I marched off back to the car.. dog in tow.. and made my way back to the office.

I got about 1 1/2 miles.

First of all there was a joinery shop with lovely old wooden buildings like something out of The Waltons I wanted to get a picture of… do you think that hole is for the birds or the dust extraction? I don’t care, I love it.. and I love the cobwebs..

The young ( I am old remember.. he was probably in his 30’s) guy from L Scott Joinery who came out to find out why I was skulking around his workshop was very friendly.. he turned out to be  a joiner who is a closet furniture maker… isn’t that just like all you woodworkers?

Harbouring thoughts of diversification in your own time ?  I know you’re all doing it.. I know hurdle making Darren wants to build a viking long ship… ! did I mention he was an ambitious chap??

So, it didn’t stop with ‘The Waltons’ at L Scott Joinery

Then I started hurdle spotting.

I found this sweet but sturdy village house displaying a wealth of traditional building materials and methods… I couldn’t not stop. Hurdles? check… flint wall? check… thatch? check… waney edge cladding? check.. black painted? extra points? check.. exposed timber frame? check…  shall I stop now? ok one more… handmade brick coping? check…

 

ok, I’m done now.

I did hurdle spotting all the way back to Cocking.

Conclusion? There aren’t enough of them. Same goes for coppicers… duh! That might of been one the dumbest things I have ever said..

On that note I shall go and get back to work on our stock list and website. Both thoroughly overdue.

Hey… (my Grandma used to scold me for that – hay is for horses.. ) in amongst leaflets at the Sustainability Centre I found there is going to be a WOOD FAIR at the Queen Elizabeth Country Park.. are any of you people going?? I’ve never come across it before….  maybe I need to get out more?

You want to be a coppicer now don’t you? Do it! Darren started off studying at Sparsholt one of two local colleges for forestry, aroboriculture and woodmanship are http://www.plumpton.ac.uk/ near Lewes and  http://www.sparsholt.ac.uk/ near Winchester

If you’re not partial to that there book learn’n’ try one of the courses Darren runs himself with another well known coppicer Ben Law at the Sustainability Centre  http://www.sustainability-centre.org/courses_adult_detail.php?id=50

If you are desperate to have hurdles, or shakes or laths or any other lovely woodland product in your home or garden or landscape or building project just let us know and we’ll do our best to furnish you with whatever your heart desires.. or your client desire.. in wood.

Thank you for being you.

Back soon. Sarah

Not had enough yet? try this.. the website formally known as  www.englishwoodlandstimber.co.uk .

One of these days you’ll get a shock when you visit here and find you can check our stock without having to rely on ‘the hawaiian shirted one’ to do it for you!!!

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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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People are so aften surprised to find that English Elm is available to work with.

The trees no longer survive in our southern part of the country (except for a few pockets eg. Preston Park Brighton) but they do grow healthily further north where climatic variations have meant they didn’t ‘go Dutch’… and here’s the proof!

Adrian and Chris at Cimtree ( fine furniture designer/makers www.cimitree.com ) have recently finished this handmade Elm kitchen. (more…)

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When I have a spare minute I like to go out in the air dried yard and wander among the log stacks…

…not only because I love to get wafts of Cedar of Lebanon perfume on the breeze and not only because there is so much incredible nature to see in our yard (we have amazing birdlife.. and hares!!)  but also because I love to see the sawn logs all stacked up, drying. (more…)

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