01 Mar Bruce donates Lignum a Tree!
The beauty of what we do is that we get to meet people from all walks of life with a similar connection, the ocean.
We met Bruce at the London boat show in January and he was so inspired by Lignum craftsmanship that he wanted to give us a tree. Bruce owns a beautiful woodland just inland from Dover, with a herd of deer and a copious number of trees. One particular larch tree had to come down as it was encroaching on a nearby chestnut tree which needed more light to increase the chestnut crop for the deer to feed on.
We arrived quite late on a Friday night and had no idea what to expect in way of our surroundings or hosts. We were instantly welcomed into the warm family home, the Aga was pumping out heat and we were treated to a delicious venison stew. After a few hours of getting to know each other and reminiscing about the ocean we bunked down for the night.
We woke to a beautiful dawn chorus of birds and the smell of fresh coffee filtering through the floorboards. Dawn in a woodland is a magical thing, the tree tops seem to catch fire as the sun hits them and you can hear the woods waking with every moment that passes. During breakfast a couple of stags turned up to try their luck with the buckets of apples and carrots that the neighbours had kindly donated.
To Bruce and Gill, this is normal – what an experience for us though.
After a strong cup of coffee we went off into the woods to find our tree and assess how to fell it. 70 years of slow but steady growth but minutes to cut down. Seeing a tree fall for the first time is an emotive experience and you can’t help but feel that you’ve just sacrificed something primal. The way a tree hits the ground is absolute, it makes such an impact with the earth it leaves no doubt that it’s not going to spring back up and grow again.
We marked up our lengths and Bruce easily sliced it up with his chainsaw. Once we got the wood back to the mill the real work began. Chain hoist the log onto the mill, cut a flat, rotate the log 90 degrees with the chain hoist, cut another flat, rotate the log another 90 degrees, cut the bark and sap off, measure and mark the cuts for each plank, cut a plank, brush off the sawdust, stack the plank, and repeat for each plank and each log. It took us almost 2 days to process the whole tree into the various planks and stack them in our cars.
At the end of the day we rewarded ourselves with a few cold beers and stories around the coppice fire, waiting for the stars to come out and signal that the duties for the day were done.
The following day whilst packing the car and getting ready to hit the road, Bruce turned up from the depths of his wood with a last little treat for us, a freshly felled ash tree that we quickly sliced up and overloaded the car with.
Needless to say the trip home was slow and arduous filled with many goggling faces staring at us on the motorway. The timber is now stacked, stickered, and strapped on the workshop balcony. We can’t wait for it to be dry enough to use. Time to plan some new projects…
A huge thank you to Bruce and Gilly for their amazing hospitality and sharing a few days of their special life in the woods.