Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Yew Harvesting Trip

Stuart and I went over to the Shotley peninsula just South of the River Orwell and opposite Felixtowe. We had a very productive day with lovely weather and an enjoyable lunchtime break looking over the coast while eating pasties from the Suffolk Food Hall. We'd got there about 11:30 and made a good start before lunch. I shinned up the Yew and sawed off the top stuff which we stacked out the way, we made one cut at the base of the trunk and then called it lunch time.
We weren't cutting the whole tree, it has two main trunks and we took the straight one. As we cut a bird's mouth V out to actually fell it, it seemed to be almost all sapwood, but closer inspection showed the harder heartwood was actually deflecting the bow saw blade. Oddly my folding pruning saw from Wickes was working particularly well on the sapwood and we soon had it felled. For a safe controlled drop, we had it roped to the second trunk, with the rope going round 3 times, allowing us to let it slip in a controlled manner by easing off the tension.
Splitting it was a bit of a pig as there were a couple of side branches near one end, it certainly illustrates why I prefer to saw where possible. The log was just too big to handle in one piece, in fact each half was still a fairly hefty two man lift.
We had offered to do a bit of an archery demo for the guests in the holiday cottages if they were about, but they'd all gone out for the day to enjoy the good weather. the upside was that we could get the wood onto the roof rack and make it home before the rush hour kicked in.

This afternoon I've tidied up the logs a bit, painted the ends and got them stacked just off the floor. Sometime we'll run 'em through the bandsaw, but that will be a two man job again.
There is a lot of sapwood and it's easy to be a bit disappointing, but I think there is plenty of wood there. Some how an 8" diameter log with 5" of heartwood looks worse than a 6" log with 5" of heartwood! The splitting has left some ragged timber, but we have plenty of length and worst case there is probably a couple of good bows from each half, also probably a sapwood backing strip or two.
On the pic of the stump (bottom) there is a pound coin for scale.

I also got the second limb of the Hickory flight bow heat treated, ready for finishing and testing later in the week... if it stops raining!

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