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Timber Trails - a different searcher

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Alf

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Well I popped along to The Lost Gardens of Heligan this am, prompted by a snippet in the new GWW about them getting more serious about selling their timber. Well they are, but not quite ready yet!

Had the full guided tour from Andy Giles, who's a very nice man and you can tell really likes his timbers. Saw their 'ickle mill, stacks of Sycamore (well uprights of that really), Sweet Chestnut, Sequioa, Yew, Rhododenron, Spalted Beech etc etc under cover. Not huge quantities by any means; this is a very small scale operation, but personally I like that. Also saw their kiln, the operational bit of it currently back at Arrowsmith's having it's refrigeration unit fixed, which can take 300 cubic feet. At least I think that's how much he said; I was too busy gazing at the Sycamore, Chestnut and Sequioa (Californian redwood) contained therein. The latter was the most fabulous colour - does it stay like that? Alas the course at Arrowsmith has done its worst, and Andy's been persuaded to kiln dry straight from the green, and forget about any air drying. Sigh. For a moment there I had hopes - pesky kiln drying. Yeah, it has many benefits, but air dried stuff is so much nicer to work. :cry:

Poor fellow was rushed off his feet and wasn't terribly thrilled that GWW's bit about them was already out! :roll: :lol: I gather the plan is to get a rack put up near the shop area early next week with various odd boards on for people to buy. More as "souvenirs" I think, rather than serious wood buying. However I have hopes we can winkle out something more from him, with some effort. :wink: Six cubic feet of the sycamore is due to be taken up to David Charlesworth next week, and Tom, the furniture making fellow at Heligan, is apparently going too in order to get some hands on sharpening advice. :D Sigh. Plenty of timber in Devon. What's he want it from Cornwall for? :roll: :lol:

I've left my details with him and we'll see. I've come away with a couple of their turning blanks in order to get a bit of a feel for the timber - sycamore and a chunk of toona sinensis or Chinese Cedar. Andy reckons it should be called Pink Ash, and it's a pretty good name for it. No good getting keen on using it though; only one tree of it in the garden and that's it! Anyway, it's certainly the first time I've really felt inspired by wood from anywhere round here, so that can't be bad. And Tom's furniture that they're selling is really nice stuff, btw. Well worth a goof if you're down this way on your holidays.

Cheers, Alf
 

Chris Knight

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Alf,
Thanks for the interesting report - especially coming in so soon after the GW article.

It is a shame that they are not planning to air dry - that would be very nice. I shall be interested to hear how you find the toona, it is rather a fast growing tree in the tropics (I had a couple in a garden when I lived in Malaysia) and IIRC, used for a variety of fairly utilitarian purposes.
 

gidon

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Thanks Alf - hadn't even seen the article in GWW - have 6 unread woodworking magazines piled up at the minute - disgraceful I know.
I went along 6 months ago and saw the mill - they've also used all local woods for the jungle walk structure if you saw that.
Not far from me so keep us posted - Atkins and Cripps annoyed me little last time I went to their local branch.
Cheers
Gidon
 

Alf

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waterhead37":1y90hrtx said:
I shall be interested to hear how you find the toona, it is rather a fast growing tree in the tropics (I had a couple in a garden when I lived in Malaysia) and IIRC, used for a variety of fairly utilitarian purposes.
I have hopes, although the chunk I have is depressingly small. Beautiful colour, fairly coarse grain, unseasoned at the mo'.



Gidon, it's terrible. All gone to pot. Not worth you bothering with at all... :wink: How are you anyway?! Been a bit occupied lately, eh? :lol:

Cheers, Alf
 

gidon

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:).
Good thanks Alf - despite not having set foot in my workshop since the little one was born! Plus been busy with work (not on really). Hoping to venture up to the workshed this weekend. I have a 1/10th finished Oak front door to get on with. Hardly the easiest project to get back into but still!
I also need to catch up on posts here - there must be a good few thousand I haven't read!
Oh and a belated congrats to you on your excellent coffee table - you're all being far too productive at the moment and making me feel very guilty!
Cheers
Gidon
 

Alf

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waterhead37":139n85bg said:
Thanks for the picture - it is a lovely colour indeed. I wonder if it will maintain it?
Alas, I suspect like every other blasted wood, it'll end up "kinda browny" :roll: :lol:

Gidon, I think you could claim getting into the workshop is a priority. After all, what are you going to do if it keeps getting put off and the little'un's walking about and there's no front door to stop unauthorised travels? It's a safety consideration. :wink: (Well it's a worth a try anyway)

Cheers, Alf
 

Philly

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Hi All
Just a thought on Air dried/Kiln dried.
I thought it was a load of romantic nonsense. 'Course, having never used air dried timber what would I know? With Yandles being only an hour away I fairly regularly pop by-they have local timbers chopped up all the time and there is always something interesting (if a bit wet) to see.
I have bought air dried ash, yew and sycamore from them. O.k., it needs 6 months to a year in the workshop to condition but when you use it, it certainly is a revelation.
Colour-the timbers have a variety of wonderful shades running through them.I have never seen this in kiln dried stuff.
Workability-It is so much kinder to work! A pleasure to cut with fine, sharp tools. Somewhat different to brittle, snappy kiln dried stuff i've experienced (but put down to being natural).
So give some a shot if you see it.
After all, friendly timber can only be a help! :wink:
Cheers
Eco Philly :D
 

Midnight

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Last time I was at the saw-mill I was "offered" up to a dozen boards, bookmatched T&T elm... beautiful grain, nice and wide too... but the M/C was 19%... had to pass...
 

gidon

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Alf - you seem pretty good at making up these excuses?:). Did manage to get up to the shed and continue working on the front door. Didn't get as much resistance as I thought I would!
Cheers
Gidon
 
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