Tales from the Wood

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Eel and Moon in Portland Stone

After a break from stone carving, I've returned to it with a vengeance. More specifically, I've returned to it with an electro-mechanical hammer.

It's been an interesting decision: will I be avoiding the repetitive strain of continuous hammering, only to replace it with continuous vibration and Raynaud's syndrome ?

I needn't have worried; the new machine is very smooth and quiet and very different to the pneumatic hammers I've dabbled with. I guess only time will tell, but I've made a commitment to spend at least the next year working in stone - maybe in combination with other materials.

This Eel (Anguilla anguilla) is carved in Portland stone and is part of a new sequence of work that focusses on our British fauna, in particular, those species in decline - quite a wide area of study !

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Eel 1


Eel 2


Eel 3


Overstood Sweet Chestnut Coppice

It will be 14 years until the new chestnut coppice is ready to crop, so until then, I'll have to make do with some rather old and neglected specimens - classic 'overstood' coppice that hasn't been managed for years. Not really a worry, as there is always plenty of straight usable wood even in the most untended and sad looking individuals.

This is a characteristic, which in my experience is relatively unique to sweet chestnut (Castanea sativa). Even when crowded out by insensitive over-planting it doesn't seem to contort and twist like, for instance, hazel or ash. So riving it up and shaving it down for steam-bent handles, it's still an absolute pleasure.


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Emma et al

So soon after the planting, a series of storms (the most recent being Emma) did their very best to flatten the new sweet chestnut coppice. A little disheartening, but most saplings survived the ordeal and after rehousing in new tree guards they are now ready for their first spring.

Storm Damage 1


Storm Damage 2