In a woodland workshop in Dorset TOR McINTOSH learns how to make beautiful objects from freshly felled wood, using the time-honoured methods and tools of green woodworking.
“Green woodworkers aim to expend as little energy as possible,” explains Guy Mallinson, my tutor, as I pound the wooden club onto the froe tool for the umpteenth time, attempting to cleave a sycamore log into quarters. “With no machinery to do the hard work for you, it’s vital to pace yourself during the tree-to-product process,” he continues. Finally the stubborn chunk of wood divides. Wiping the sweat from my brow, it’s clear that I have a lot to learn about the age old craft of green woodworking.
Guy’s woodland workshop, hidden in a seven-acre wood near the west Dorset village of Holditch, is not only an idyllic place to learn such skills, but as a master craftsman in woodcraft, I’m in capable hands. After 20 years running his own furniture business in London, Guy relocated to Dorset with his family to set up and teach green woodworking courses. A career spent working with timber that had numerous wood miles attached to each plank heightened the appeal of using unseasoned, green wood from local and sustainably managed sources.
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Published in BBC Countryfile, Easter 2010.