Posted by: kathandroger | February 19, 2011

From a little acorn.

What a whopper! Our new oak beam for the barn arrived yesterday, and after a military operation it now sits proudly in the vast expanse of what will be a sitting room and several  bedrooms.

The military, it must be said, were a very effective though slightly roughshod crew. The Boss, M. Leroux is a curly haired Churchillian figure and his five troops were of varying ages and sizes and opinions, but the Boss was very clearly in charge. Fags were allowed, and one the chaps had a dangling cigarette between his lips during the whole operation. The beam, from nearby Loches Forest, weighed two tons, measured 40cm square, and was about 8 metres long! All from one little acorn.

The old rotten beam, which was two parallel slabs of softwood, was removed in the morning and relayed outside via scaffolding and placed carefully for me to saw into firewood. Then the proper work commenced, with the new beam being carried into the yard by M. Leroux’s big telescopic JCB, with a trooper attached to a rope controlling either end. It was then lifted onto the scaffolding, which extended into the barn, and rolled, inch by inch-sorry, centimetre by centimetre, into the hole left by the previous beam. The other end was manoevered into position with a series of wedges and careful positioning of several acroprops. Once both ends were at the right height, the whole beam was moved laterally into its final position by leaning the acroprops in the appropriate direction with the aid of car bottle jack. Magnificent! Several more fags were lit in celebration.

I am not sure that “Health and Safety” in UK would have approved, no helmets, rickety scaffolding and loads of odd bits of wood, but it all went smoothly and I was very impressed by the teamwork. I have been given the “offcut” from one end of the beam; it is a cube of 40cm solid oak, and I have difficulty in moving it. There must be some good use for it but I am still thinking! Given that an acorn is about 1cm that makes 64,000  acorns in my bit of wood. How many in the beam?


Responses

  1. We’ve a hunk of Oak that’s the end of a trunk… seasoned over lord knows how many years in the hangar… it is as hard as iron and is superb for chopping wood and sharpening chestnut stakes…
    Yours would be a bit softer… but would make a wonderful butcher’s block in the kitchen… just needs a 50cm tall, metal or wood carrier to bring it to work height and then a good oiling.

    • Dear Tim,
      Thanks for the suggestion-but it is probably too heavy to be practical as a chopping block-and we’ve nowhere to put it in the kitchen!
      Great Blog!-especially the wildlife. We are just across the Creuse from you, in Maziere, and I have a particular interest in the local wildlife myself. We saw a fouine yesterday evening, only a hundred metres away from our chickens! I would love to learn about taking photos through a telescope. Any chance of a lesson?
      All the best, Roger.

  2. Any chance of a lesson?…. yes, with pleasure…. NB…you don’t need all the equipment I’ve got to get reasonable results.


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