Thursday 23 January 2014

Winter storms bring new timber

So a few days after clearing my outside space of oak not suitable for riving, storms arrived, blowing away the old year and bringing in the new. Heavy winds means falling oak giants means wide panels to me. Up to the woods then above the River Dart.

There is thinning work going on up here, but this tree came down in last night's wind.

The hiab on the foresters' tractor couldn't quite manage to lift it in one piece, so I had to get the wedges out and split it in situ.

The hiab was great after that, thanks Dan. Onto the trailer, then a slow drive back to the workshop.

Hoping to get some eight foot rails out of this log for the giant settle I am going to make soon.

A few days later and James the tree surgeon told me of this tree that had come down only 3 feet from his caravan, now that's lucky.

Family days out over the festive period took us to Bicton Park Museum of Rural Life. A fine collection of tools, wagons and other stuff, including this wheelright's treadle lathe for turning elm hubs. 

And this immense apple press.

And several trips to the beach.

Meanwhile, back at the workshop. I had to dismantle the 'pole' lathe to get in some huge pieces of oak, but now I have enough raw materials for riven work for a while, I can continue with it.  I have made or had made some new centres for the lathe.

I have decided to go for an overhead bungee instead of a swing arm as I only have a short bungee.

Success! It works!


Not perfect, but not bad for my first ever attempt at turning. I had never really seen the appeal of working 'in the round' before, but one spindle later and I'm hooked! These two Ashley Iles chisels, a gouge and a skew are fantastic tools and with the help of the lathe and the ash tree it came from, made this.

Meanwhile, in the real world. Its been quiet over Christmas, but in the past week or so I've had lots of prospective customers asking for quotes on heritage, and more standard joinery. Oak timber frames, another settle and a dresser among them. I like a variety of work, so this is great.

Someone said to me the other day, "Its a lovely piece of furniture, but can you justify the time you spent on it?" In financial terms probably not, but I strive to make something of beauty every day. To me that is justification enough.

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