The slippery slope to winter

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Anthony Bailey

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Well, autumn has officially arrived and the nights are drawing in, which I find hard as I much prefer working outside in the garden to being stuck in front of the gogglebox. Last week I was working with our village footpath group doing path clearance, to keep them open for all users and resurrecting a couple of waymark fingerposts I had repaired - they are the things that hopefully point you in the right direction when walking across the countryside. One problem we are trying to address is the fact that these posts, with their arrowed direction roundels aren"t all that visible from across a ploughed field. Visual acuity without binoculars just isn"t that good, so without "urbanising" the countryside too much, I"m starting to add strips of bright hi-vis yellow paint on the posts so they stand out, as the wooden posts tend to mellow and blend into their surroundings.

There"s still plenty of DIY jobs to do at home, they never really run out... My latest one being to refinish a large modern ash (Fraxinus excelsior) refectory-style table I made many years ago. It has had various coats of Danish oil, which work for a while and then it discolours, plus various paint and glue marks from various creative activities have spoilt it even more. So this time, I decided to try the same tough varnish I have used recently on an ash draining board. It is called Le Tonkinois and hails from a small French company, who supply the sailing training fleet of the French Navy no less.

The only problem I gave myself was trying to strip off the old finish which, with the latest lower toxicity strippers, is harder to do, but also I didn"t really leave enough time before applying the varnish because we needed to get this centrepiece of domestic activity back into service sharpish. That didn"t work, as it"s taken several days for the varnish to cure because of solvents still lying in the ash underneath. A lesson there I think, never rush anything. Oh well, a second varnish coat this evening should settle matters.

Here at the GMC workshop, external building repair work earlier in the year should pay off as the weather changes, now we are sealed up nicely. Currently, I"m busy writing some articles and trying to source all the images and of course making a lot of it at the bench myself. Never a dull moment editing a magazine...

Until next time,

Anthony Bailey.

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