Thursday, 3 January 2013

Green woodworking - a new obsession

Tuesday 18th December
Weather: Beautiful and sunny

Splitting my first chestnut coppice

Dan Pearson and his team came to Dixter to learn how to make ladders. This took place in our wood workshop in the medieval barn and we were around to assist. I was exhilarated to be given the chance to make my own too. I was over the moon when I successfully split my first length of chestnut wood (from Dixter's own woods). We did this with a froe and a mallet (some were made that day from an arm of a tree), using a frame that was specifically designed to help hold it in place. I loved how it particularly had a curvaceous swerve at the bottom. Then with a draw knife (I had a real preference for the rounded turkish kind), I took off the bark of the tree so that it would not rot and rounded/ finished off any edges and surfaces to how I liked. I was particularly liking the roughly hewn look - the primitive quality that gave no mistake that it was carved out of ones own hands. Then we drilled holes along the length for the rungs, which I carved out of individually chopped pieces of wood. Then we clamped the whole thing together tightly, putting long nails in it for extra security. I enjoyed using a shave horse - which will be my next project! 9 ladders were made, piled on a car roof rack and taken back to London on the train.

1 comment:

  1. So beautiful Maggie. Especially your smile. So sorry I missed this project. xo Laurie

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