Ive been taking photos for my website – traditionalwoodlandworker.wordpress.com. The photos are taken in Cat Cragg woods, it is my first section of coppice to tackle alone, it is mostly hazel coppice (with small bits of ash and sycamore) with ash, yak and yew standards. Im felling the coupe all by axe (and other hand tools), working on my bill hooking, axing and dressing out technique and experimenting with ways to make my working more efficient. It is alot of fun most of the time although it sometimes feels as though im stepping blindly into a grike, not sure if my stride is large enough or if im just kidding myself and am bound to plumet into a gurt big hole- so when things are going badly its mentally tough to keep cracking on. These effects on my state of mind do also seem to influence my working, potenially making a bit of a viscious circle for me to ride around! The image of me running from camera (set on self timer) to stool and then trying to swing the axe exactly ten seonds after i pressed the shutter must’ve looked hilarious to anyone lucky enough to witness it!
Below are two of the pictures, check the website for the others (… i know its a bit rubbish of me to do that if you are genuinly interested and so I highly reccomend telling me to bugger off and never visiting the website if that is the case, however if you are genuinely interested… please visit my website).
aswell as my deepening obsession with axe felling-
Ive been felling alot of birch in Moss and Heights Spring. Ive been felling and dressing out with axe. Exploring how to grind and sharpen, swing and cut the axe to make felling as efficient as possible. I feel like progress is being made, I have two felling axes- a Kent pattern 5lb Brades and a 4.5lb (not sure of the pattern- sort of an english I think but dont quote me!) Ellwell. The Ellwell, being a shorter head feels as though it has slightly more control upon contact with the tree (as in it doesnt pivot or twist because the point of contact is nearer to the full momentum of the swing). Both are good and sharp and do the the job well, maybe more off the shoulders of the bevel on each would provide a slightly deeper slice and still extract the wood chips from the cut and shorter shafts that fit my height slightly better…. but thats my thinking so far and I am in the process of improving all the intricate details I read about and find through working. Ive been reading the book ‘The Ax Book – The Lore and Science of the Woodcutter.” by D. Cook. which covers all questions I had and more with great depth, both philosophically and scienctificaly- this bloke knows his stuff! Ive also been hugely inspired by my recent discovery of an intruiging photograph of a ‘Lumberjill’ (link below)- the women that worked the woods when the men went to war in WW2. They worked, as the men did, in the woods felling and processing all timber by hand and kept it all going, highly skilled inspiring people.
I spent a whole day inside on a laptop finding my way around Photoshop, came up with with this as my business card. Website with a similar style/theme is in progress and ill post a link when its up and running. (exciting…)