Today is the twenty third of November. The cooler weather has set in and the frosts are now a semi frequent occurrence. The cabin is growing day by day at a decent rate. Unlike the month of October, I have had some breaks in work and fair weather, which despite the lack of light, has led to good progress. The back wall is developing ahead of schedule and the chimney will soon be at a level where I can start to install the arch. Good progress and nice weather are always welcome in the woods.
The method chosen for the back wall is cordwood. This is where rounds of durable wood are fixed together with cob into a rustic version of a block and mortar wall. I have chosen to use dead sweet chestnut as I have lots of it kicking around the woods. It is a very durable wood due to tannins. This means that the timber despite having died many years ago is still fully sound. Another advantage of this is I do not have to peel these logs and they will not suffer and shrinkage due to drying. The entire back wall will be built using this method even up into the loft. This will allow a solid ass to be warmed by the fire as it burns and radiate it out. Cordwood is also a very good insulated wall material.
The chimney has been a battle. Due to lack of good rocks or access to bricks I have struggled to come up with a suitable plan of action. I have managed to scrounge from skips and the river bank enough bricks to make the foundation and the arch way. I have gone and taken rocks from old dry stone walls from my parents house and have carried them down into the woods from the nearest roadway. This has been back breaking and I was terribly worried that I simply was not going to have enough rock to build the chimney. However when dry test fitting the rock I discovered that they were al far to wide for the foundation. This le to me using hammers and cold chisels to split the rocks in two. This has doubles the number of useable rocks. I have got very proficient at getting the rocks to split down exactly in half and squaring them up. Now I have a useable pile of stone bricks. With which I am quite rapidly expanding the height of my chimney. Slow and steady.
The woods is almost now in full winter. Nearly all of the leaves have fallen off the trees and the cold blue skies have rolled in. It is soon time to being the forestry aspect of the den woods. Sweet chestnut trees need to be brought down to restore the coppices. Hazel needs coppicing and the sycamores with the alders need felling for long timber. The Long branches not suitable for rounding for shingles off the sweet chestnut will be carried back and will be the base for furniture for the cabin as well as braces for other buildings. Any small branch sections will be stacked upright and left to season for a year before being cut into sections for firewood. Nothing goes to waste in den wood.
Thank you for reading, as always any questions comment below. 🙂