Site for the mantel piece
The car couldn`t even reach the forest gate on Saturday, never mind drive through and up into the snowy woods to collect logs for the depleted woodshed. I was disappointed, not least because, the gate being locked, I couldn`t use my special padlock key;the one Neil Craig had entrusted to my keeping; my key to the forest.
So, on the off chance it was open, I drove instead to the RealWood studios at Ancrum, intending to buy some hardwood for the mantel above the woodburning stove.
My luck was in - they were open. As their blurb says: "Real Wood Studios is a collectively owned workshop, showroom, sawmill and timber merchant, specialising in the creative use of locally sourced native hardwoods in the Scottish Borders." I looked amongst their sale samples like a kid in a sweet shop and, with the assistance of Graeme Murray, chose a couple of pieces of spalted oak. The whitest oak I`ve seen.
Graeme and I struck up a conversation. He showed me an example of his own craftsmanship: a massive chest built from oak and beech from storm-damaged trees. Beautifully lacquered, waxed and oiled. Finishes are way beyond my knowledge-base, but I need to learn !
Both of us had studied sculpture: he in Edinburgh, me in Aberdeen. I`d wanted to go to the Glasgow school, and he: Dundee ! However Graeme has taken his talent and love for wood to levels way beyond mine.
Two lovely chunks of dressed Spalted Oak
The lower piece is to be carved
When carving is complete I intend sanding the surfaces and sealing with Danish Oil or similar. When I told Graham Murray I knew of someone who used Crisp n Dry instead of expensive oils or waxes , he showed polite interest: "Hmm, vegetable oil..."