I was very pleased to be invited to a coppicing weekend at a private wood. The wood is owned by people who make high quality chairs using traditional methods including pole lathes. There was a mix of experienced people at the weekend with a variety of skills (chair making, carving, pole lathing) and I hoped to learn some of their basic wood working techniques.
Coppicing is the process of cutting trees but leaving a stump and then allowing each stump to generate a number of new stems. The new growth continues for a number of years (depending on intended use) until the wood reaches the desired size and then it is harvested. This weekend we were harvesting wood on previously coppiced trees
Some of the uses of coppiced wood are ship building, construction, tool handles furniture, baskets and many, many uses in between. Woodland has been coppiced for centuries and would be coppiced in a rotational sequence offering different stages of regeneration within the woodland.
I arrived at the woods to be met by a very pleasant bunch of people, they had a workshop and a kitchen making up the social area, food throughout the weekend was wonderful as was the company.
The next two images show previously coppiced stumps with new growth
This hornbeam was coppiced many years ago and has formed some wonderfully shaped new growth.
There were a number of chain saws being used to fell large boughs so the camera was put away so that I could pay attention to falling timber.
The stumps are covered by brush as a defence for the new growth against deer.
After a day of physical effort lifting heavy logs it was back to the social area for food and chat. Listening to people who have learned their skills over many years is very educational and I learned a huge amount about wood and working with it.
At the end of a wonderful evening it was off to bed... well hammock. The hammock is amazingly comfortable and offers early morning views of the wood and and it's creatures starting a new day in the sunrise.
I ate a tasty cooked breakfast and then another day of the same, work in the sunshine and the beautiful woodland... wonderful