Thursday, September 26, 2013

Collecting Fruit Wood

There was a touch of panic after I decided to start this project - it was just forming as an idea when I heard that the trees being pulled out at Shepparton would be burned as soon as they had dried out - and before the fire season started. So with help from people in the fruit growers association I set off to Shepparton in a rented moving van - fortunately with a friend - and looked at the mountains of trees awaiting their fiery end.

remains of the William pear trees

Three great piles of William pear trees that were already planted and growing there when Marley's father bought the orchard in 1948 or 49. All around other trees were blooming - their fate sealed by being a different variety suitable for the fresh fruit market.

Packham pear blossoms
new apple trees leaning out of their double rows
apple blossoms
As it turned out the orchardists were flat out that day - there was a storm with rain coming and the trees had to be sprayed beforehand. All around you can see the different way the newer trees are trained - apple trees in double rows leaning out must yield their fruit more readily and likewise open to the sun as needed.

One thing I was glad to have was a strong Dutchman to cut, and roll and wrestle the big ones into submission:

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Log from Lorne

Well it started as a lemon scented gum with a problem - then it was a felled log in the rain. We chose it to "clean up" because it had cool wrinkles on it. Then came the hard work of lifting it into Jamie's car and getting it to the studio.

And here it is with its spongy middle and wrinkly bark looking cool but heavy in the studio.

The next part was to make it stand up like a bridge and then take out the unsound wood from the middle. And for that I was working first with the arbortech wheel on the angle grinder and then with the old chisels..... and I dug and dug and dug... and found lots of ants and a huge witchety grub (which the chook enjoyed because I'm a wimp).

A moment of triumph came as I saw daylight through each end - then the fiddling to cut back to sound wood... a bit like dentistry - cut out the rotten, probe for good wood, cut some more..... wow I've got a bit of respect now!

And the space was too small for the angle grinder plus handle to get in there so a trip to Pop's Shed got me a mini grinder and onwards ever onwards.

 and then some more......

and well it's nearly there - so soon the grand oiled product ......

it's a very hollow log now - but mainly sound wood. Let's see how it looks finished and oiled....