The weather on Sunday started well for the Merrist Wood summer show which is held in the superb setting of the college grounds near Guildford.
We had a good turn out for the greenwood part of this show, with Mick Baxter, coppice worker and hedgelayer demonstrating and displaying the family collection of tools, many of which were used by his father and grandfather.
We had a new hurdle maker this year, Jacko, who works over towards Leith Hill apparently. New to the show but not the job as he’s clearly done this before though.
The students on the countryside management course have been bitten by the greenwood bug and put their own display and demonstration together which added to the show. From pencils….
…to willow weaving (i n this case it comes with a free debate on the merits of greenwood and its environmental benefits)….
…….to hazel garden obelisks.
Whilst Brian, the course tutor, was busy with his smoking oil drum, carefully disguised as a charcoal kiln
Meanwhilst out on the main show arena there were some big boys toys and ultimate woodworking power tools. So what do this AEC Matador and Greenwood work have in common?
Yes, it’s green wood. The original shed on wheels as the cab is almost entirely wooden – and painted green of course. After WWII thousands of Matadors were demobbed and found a new life in the woods winching trees and hauling timber.
The round timber club, an informal group of forestry operators to which the Matador belongs, does seem to be the ultimate excuse for big boys toys and this Scammell has even been painted up with a Round Timber paint job.
Sorely tempted as I was by the greenwood Tonka toys I did need to get some turning done – it’s good for my soul – and to keep the wolf from the door as I had no rounders bats and they are a steady seller at these shows.
Luckily I had a piece of ash that was left over from the races at the bodgers ball last week. The centre is not heartwood but an attractive brown discolouration that is called Oyster Ash.
The ash split out beautifully and it made a real difference turning with such good wood. Although most of the central wood is discarded I should be able to make a few small pieces from the attractive brown grain.
…and a final look at some more of Mick Baxter’s family heirlooms. These clearly still get used.
Just before the end of the show it’s traditional that it pours with rain -and this year was no exception. Luckily, I just had time to pack up and set off as the real downpour started.
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