Sweet Chestnut Peeling

Here are some photos of our Tuesday volunteer team peeling sweet chestnut fencing material.  These are the posts and rails that we cut from One Tree Hill, destined to be the new fence surrounding our ancient monument site Coldrum Long Barrow.  The previous post mentioned that we were unable to buy in a suitable product for the fence, so we’ve taken the time to cut and process our own.  This way we can ensure that the material is straight and the correct size, but also that it was cut at the right time.  With chestnut we have to be very careful to fell the trees between November and February, when the sap is down.  If we cut outside these times, often there will be plenty of sap in the timber which encourages the posts/rails to rot much more quickly.  Ideally we would like this fence to last 12-15 years, so it’s important that we get the timing of felling correct, not something we could necessarily do when buying material in.

peelers NT 2

We have around 45 posts and 80 rails to remove bark from.  The volunteers are making good progress, having been on the job for two days with another day or so to go.  The tools used are the draw knife and the bark spade (or bark ‘spud’) as some old timers call it (see picture below).  The draw knife is a small two handed tool that is used in a pulling fashion, better for fine work.  The bark spade is a longer, heavy tool that is pushed to generally remove more bark with each blow. 

Bark toolspeelers NT 3

The completed posts and rails get stacked in the yard, stored ready for the fencing project.  We’re looking at mid-May for the installation, so will post photos when it happens.

Peeled sweet chestnut


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