Monday, April 10, 2006

The Benefits of Clean Living Part 2

So where was I? Oh yes.

With the booty safely stowed in the, erm, boot, off we went to see the Wood Man. 'Course that joke wouldn't work in North America, but the trunky in the trunk makes no sense... It's debatable if that joke works anywhere anyway, so we'll move on.

Funny how in Cornwall you can go for years bypassing whole sections of it; this place was such an area. Not a stone's throw from the A30 yet you felt like you were dropped in the middle of nowhere. Which is probably why we missed it. Belatedly His Nibs mutters about needing to look out for "rustic fencing" as a landmark and I point out we passed some about 1/4 mile back. D'oh. We turn round, make for the rustic fencing and I know we're in the right place. The Wood Man, let's call him, erm, "Kim" (seeing as how that's his name) had mentioned something about an oak barn and here is was. And here I was without the camera. Bum. Anyway, proper oak framing, cedar shingles, the works. The kind of place you'd say "I want a workshop like that". Or I would anyway. The open half is currently housing a tractor, various other bits of forestry-related machinery and stacks of boards. The enclosed half houses Mrs Kim and a wood stove - I believe the long-term intention is she will sell her lavender plants from there. Not only is this place a candy store for me but my mum would love it too. Oh deary me...

The rest of the place is a bomb site. Rubble, weeds, more bits and pieces of old machinery than you see on Scrap Heap Challenge, you name it. Further up the track is an open garage with the chassis of a truck being reassembled having been taken right down to the individual nuts and bolts and restored. Bits of truck litter the place, grey primer and oil pervade the air, odd boards of oak and acacia lean against oil-smattered work surfaces.

I love it.

We have a tour looking at the various timbers he has about the place. As always happens when I'm presented with a sensory overload I forget most of what I wanted to say or look at. I did manage to enquire about average prices, moisture content ("this feels like it's dry" probably means he doesn't have a meter...) and so forth. Prices are good, sourced locally including the Tregothnan Estate which used to offer the stuff themselves until they got a joinery manager who knows jack about wood. But I wander off on a rant... Anyway, delivery is not a problem, which is my usual stumbling block when it comes to buying wood. A Honda Jazz may be good for the enviroment but it's hopeless for capacity.

He's particularly proud of the Chestnut; very stable, dries quickly. I'm particularly interested in the Chestnut because I had some from Tregothnan before and it's lovely stuff. Apparently a local sculptor has just used huge blocks of it from him for a giant pineapple to stand at the entrance to the Eden Project and not a split.
Okay, so how about a cube or so of Chestnut as a trial run? He has some in the barn that's fairly dry so it makes sense to go for that in order to get to the point of using it asap. Then I'll know if I'll be buying again, see? Anyway, I pick over the 1" (bit more than 1", actually) boards and pick three that seem not bad. Of course any local wood is going to be what you'd call "characterful", but that's what makes it nice IMO. He's careful to allow for the knots and sapwood in his totting up, which is good to see, and £21 lighter we agree on delivery on Monday or Tuesday of this week.

It's coming tomorrow. Can't wait to see what a pig's ear I've made of my choice...

Sunday afternoon I did some of this:

A bit of this:

A little of this:

And got this:

Still needs sharpening, but according to Hand-Saw Makers of Britain (birthday pressie) it's probably by Constantine Brothers, 68-70 Hollis Croft, Sheffield 1856-1900. 'Course it might be Francis Constantine of the same address between 1845 and 1849, but as the Brothers used the F Constantine mark the balance of probability is for the later dates. J Hobbes (or maybe Hobbs - forgot to check), well he really, really didn't want to lose this saw. Not only did he stamp his name all over the handle "many" times, but he stamped "Js" on the heads of the nuts. Kinda like that, I must admit...

1 comment:

  1. Hope the timber turns out good-you can't beat using local timber. And it's air-dried. That makes quite a difference to it's workability (IMHO)


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