Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Building Hurdles

I have to admit, when I came to Great Dixter I had no idea I would be doing woodwork in the barn as part of the scholarship. However, it has been so much fun to learn some of the traditional skills of a dying art.  I was specifically helping make hurdles that will be used for gates and corrals for our sheep. 

Our work station in the barn

Using the chestnut (Castanea sativa) that we harvested from Dixter Wood in the fall, we cut the required lengths and spit them to get the most out of every length. 

Fergus demonstrates how to split the wood by hand

Using a range of traditional tools, we shave the wood, cut out notches and assemble the hurdles. The whole process is very efficient and sustainable, beginning with harvesting from our own woods, and using as much as possible from each length of wood, to using leftover scraps as fire kindling. 

This frame is where we assemble the hurdles

The finished product

New hurdles keep sheep in the grass carpark to graze

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