Thursday, 13 June 2013

Early Father's Day Adventure.

One of the guys from the club was contacted by a tree surgeon ( )
who was going to pollard a V old Yew. He was unable to go and see if there was any decent wood there, so I nobly stepped into the breach ;)
My daughter ran me up there in her trusty Suzuki Carry Van 'Binky'.
When I first saw the tree it looked a bit bushy and over trimmed in the style of a church yard Yew and I thought there wouldn't be much decent timber there.
Closer inspection revealed some decent thick stems which would make excellent billets and a good few cleanish ones long enough for full length staves. The stems hadn't shot up ramrod straight, but were rather undulating, there will be some work involved in teasing out the bows, but then ramrod perfect staves would soon pall and become boring.
As the tree was rapidly reduced by Alexander and his two guys, the potential timber was piling up and I was struggling to appraise it all sensibly.
By lunchtime we'd done and the van was pretty much full to overflowing and I was flagging a bit.
Once we got home and unloaded I was very pleased with the haul, plenty of good 4' lengths each of which should yield a good clean billet, with some yielding a matched pair.
Some of the longer bits were a tad tight for length, with the tips encroaching into knotty areas or where there was a fork (drat I've forgotten the tree surgeon term for a fork.. update next morning:- Ah yes 'union'... amazing what a good nights kip will do.) but there were quite a few promising staves.

Despite being too tired for safe sensible work I set to trying split off the bad half of one of the large logs. I managed to gouge a lump out of my thumb, on a splinter of steel on the edge of an old axe blade I use as a wedge.
It had been caught with the axe blade driven in from the other side of the log and a big curved splinter of steel had been raised from its edge. A pretty weird accident, but an plaster and a cup of tea soon had me fixed up. The billets are piled up nearest the camera in the last pic, the longer bits at the back.

I'll have my work cut out over the next few days tidying up the wood and painting the ends with PVA to stop it drying too quickly from the ends and splitting.
It was great to make contact with a tree surgeon who is keen to work with a bowyer, and I'm hoping to help out showing some bows on his stand at a village fair later in the year.

Counting rings on one of the large stems showed the stem was about 120 years old, and that was when it had last been cut. The main bole of the tree was vastly bigger and had doubtless been pollarded (or copiced?) several times before. There was a set of wooden steps leading up into the heart of the tree which had doubtless seen generations of children playing in it.
The copious new growth near the base, shows it will doubtless recover nicely and be ready for another trim round about 2133 !

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