Winter Wood Work

When it is cold, frosty or even snowy winter tree work is a great way to keep warm. We have been working on restoring and laying the hedge that runs behind our house, all done with hand tools of course.

Amazing pink interior of a felled Willow limb

Amazing pink interior of a felled Willow limb

Phil began by tackling a large willow that has been threatening to collapse onto the Trust car park. Following a visit and felling demonstration by members of Coppice Wood College earlier in the winter, he has been inspired to improve his axe skills. Willow is an ideal subject for practice, as the wood is soft so progress is relatively rapid even for the less experienced axe man.

Phil is already finding the Gransfors Bruk small felling axe to be an effective tool, easily equivalent to the tools that we may have used to fell similar trees in the past.

The axe can then be used to sned (de-branch) the felled trunks…..

And cut them up into more manageable lengths… All good practice.

Further along the hedge I lent a hand to deal with a laburnum that gradually fell out of the hedge last summer, almost taking our old compost toilet with it. This was an enormous and glorious tree and it was sad to lose it. There are signs of new life around the stump, so hopefully it will rise again.

The majority of the tree had been tided up late last Autumn on a Trust work day, when the compost toilet was rescued from underneath and given a new lease of life elsewhere. There were still a couple of large fallen trunks and a stump to deal with before the hedge could be laid past it.

These were tackled with a two man cross cut saw. This is a beautiful tool, made byFlinn Garlick Saws, of Sheffield, and is a joy to use.

With a person positioned on each end of the saw you take it in turns to pull the saw across the wood, then relax as your partner pulls the saw back.

With a stump this large the work is not exceptionally speedy, but it isn’t exceptionally hard work either. The sawing soon falls into a steady rhythm, accompanied by both conventional sawing noises and the amazing “singing” of the saw as it’s metal blade pulls through the wood. I can’t really describe in words the noise the saw makes – a sort of metallic wobble accompanied by a high pitched “zing”. All round much more pleasant then working with the whine of a chain saw.

(I notice that the Flinn Garlick Saws even produce a musical saw, specifically for playing!)