Monday, 21 November 2011

Dead wood?

There is much discussion about wood that is dead, standing dead, fallen etc. Some people condemn it outright.
I always say, when in doubt collect it.
As I still had the roof rack on the car I went to see a dead standing Yew near where I live. It wasn't how I remembered it. It was totally unsuitable, so tall that if I did cut it, there was no room for it to fall, it had too many branches and the sapwood was all gone and it was full of splits.
From the base of the tree there were green shoots sprouting, so was it dead or not?
I think a bowyer's recollection of a branch or tree is over optimistic somewhat akin to a fisherman's recollection of the fish that got away!
I had a look round the other trees and spotted a limb sticking out horizontally about 6-7' long broken off at the end with no shoots on it at all. It was about 7' off the ground and I expect kids had tied swings to it. It certainly wasn't a live branch, but the tree itself was certainly still live.
I sawed it down and found the upper surface which I couldn't see had lost all it's sap wood and was pretty manky, however the under surface was fine and the cut face revealed nice thin sapwood and fairly dark heartwood. Definitely worth trimming up and seasoning.
There were plenty of other branches left for the kids to swing on as was evidenced by some rope and old blankets tied to one tree.
I've run it through the bandsaw to cut off the bad half and sealed the ends, I'm pretty sure there is a bow in there.

By the way, the little dolly I made the other day was very handy for moving the long log on my own, I just slipped it under one end and easilly dragged the log from the other end, whereas it had taken two of us to get it on and off the roof rack.

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