”Rites of a Debarking in Process”
And so on Saturday in the afternoon, I headed back out into the woods to get busy on some debarking of wood that has been sitting out, during the seasons, over the past 1-3 years.
On some of the larger logs, I will usually let them sit, for sometimes up to three years out in the fields and forest, developing character and drying out before starting to work on them. Smaller pieces will range in time from 1-2 years and these are the ones I get table legs and small ‘free form’ sculpture from. I have sitting in my backyard wood lot now, three pieces that have been drying for character for around five years. Last summer I debarked these and hand split two of them, while starting to gouge out the inside of the third larger one.
It becomes a work in itself to keep track of all the different stages of wood that are all-ways in process over the years. Since most of my wood for furniture comes from my land, (that is roughly 80% of the wood and another 15% coming from estate sales and rooting around in old barns and the other 5% I buy at lumber yards) I am all-ways thinking in terms of 3-5 years down the road, before a piece of wood becomes rustic furniture or ‘wood art’. Although I do some work in the green, ( not Greene and Greene) most of what I slab cut will dry for some time in the woods, before coming into my barn for final drying. I also love working with the spalted woods and so I am always in the process of making my own spalted wood….this in itself can take a few years also.
Well as I was saying when I started this blog….”spending time debarking yesterday on some smaller pieces of wood.” These I will be bringing into the barn soon to finish drying and then I will use some for table and bench legs, while also running some through the band saw and then off to the planer for furniture and ‘wood art’. Ha! I was just thinking….always of most importance is to keep in mind, that what I take out of the woods, must be replaced by newly dropped trees to keep the supply always up to date….even if up to date means 3-5 years down the road all over again. I will try and remember to take some pictures soon of the debarking process and post some photos of the work in an upcoming blog. My tools I use out in the woods usually fall in line with; bark spudders, slick, timber frame chisels and lockback knife. The experience at this point of debarking the wood, can be always of somewhat new with each piece, as I pop the bark and look to see what is under the bark.
After finishing up last evening around 5:30, it was then time to proceed on down to place I call Oak Corner on our land, where I started last summer a clearing and plan to yet work out a camp of sorts. This can be a busy spot for animal movement and so I spent some time looking for sign, before taking the time to just sit a while and listen to the sounds of the woods.
...imagination starts and then the work begins at Oak Corner and the developing of a site in process with character….
....closer up and as you can see there is still some snow cover in this area of the woods….
....stone walls, is it any wonder that when the cry was sounded; “go west young man”, that many left this land that still today grows granite rock….and this is in a ways, in the woods and then even now in the summer time one must do maintenance on these stone walls….
....shifting my view to a wider range I am now able to take in the sight of these oaks standing all in a row….
....time to go and so heading on out I stop and stare at these birches all standing in the glory of a setting sun….I can never pass up the beauty of birches….
....and so turning my attention to home, I see our English Barn beckoning and welcoming me as I head for home….
-- --frank, NH, http://rusticwoodart.tumblr.com/