Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Can't see the wood for the trees

As wood is our primary source of heating - actually reading that back makes me smile, because it sounds so posh, in fact our secondary source of heating is one ancient oil fired radiator for emergency use only in Thea's room.

So as I was saying, wood is our main source of heating, with the kitchen Rayburn running two bedroom radiators and wood burners in the bathroom and living room, we have to spend quite a bit of time making sure we have wood stocks in place for the winter.

We buy aged oak from a local supplier and also have a small hamlet coppice for our use - this by default - it used to provide the wood for the hamlet (a grand total of seven houses) but as three are now permanently empty, one is a modern electrically heated bungalow, and the other two are occupied by very elderly ladies who benefit from diesel fueled central heating now, we are the only house that requires wood. It is mostly birch, of varying ages, and there is quite a bit of tidying up to do there, but we are very lucky to have it none the less.

In order to make life easier for himself, Brendan hand built a death saw, a large mounted cutting disc run by a petrol engine - a Moteur Bernard. The motor came from our neighbour's barn where it had sat for nearly 15 years under a pile of sand.

Brendan mounted the engine, drive belt, cutting disc and a movable platform for the logs on a steel frame, and that is now our main way of cutting wood, much quicker and safter than the chainsaw. An hour on the death saw and we can have a week of wood cut ready for use. The larger pieces still need splitting by axe for the smaller wood fires, but this can be done in the barn in the relatively warm and dry.

You may have gathered therefore from the direction this entry is travelling in that today's project is to cut wood. We normally have full wood bins beside each fire, as well as a couple of spares in the hall, and a couple of weeks worth ready in the barn, but stocks are low, therefore a couple of hours of hefting logs and splitting ahead of us this afternoon.

Brendan's death saw project was featured in Brit Chopper magazine last year.

No comments: