Friday, 16 May 2014

Removing an urban tree

My shop had my neighbours 80 year old ash tree towering over it less than 4 feet away. The tree was around 50 feet high and most of it leant over my side of the wall. Birds roosted in the tree and crapped on my car and driveway. The shop floor is a cast concrete slab and is one of the only remaining parts of the original garage. It is around 12" thick (not sure why so thick) but the previous owner of the house used to keep Ferraris in the garage. Anyway I digress and when I had the shop rebuilt I noticed one or two minor cracks. I also had an inspection pit filled in as that had evidence of tree root damage. Not good when you are under a car getting your eyes poked out by a tree root. The pit had to go and did.

I noticed that the driveway was being uplifted and it was coming from the tree. I notified my neighbour and he was kind enough to apply for planning permission to get approval to remove the tree. The local council came to have a look and the conclusion from them was that the tree was causing "nuisance" which is a legal term. Approval was granted and a tree surgeon was called November 23 and 24 of 2013.

The tree shown near to the shop (Nov 2012)
before the new fancy doors were fitted

The guys got kitted up with climbing gear and set about first of all removing the upper limbs. Then gradually working their way down taking slices across the trunk and dropping the chunks into a skip (dumpster) at it's base.
Climbing up the tree and
removing limbs
The shop is the building with the greeny/blue roof
It took them the best part of two days to remove the tree due to the laborious process involved. There just was very little space for them to drop it by conventional felling. They even came around to my house and cleaned the sawdust from the roof of the shop and pathway. They got seven wheel barrow loads of sawdust from the roof alone.
Next day slicing 3" thick chunks off
the trunk

When the surgeon had finished he said the tree had quite an amount of rot at the base so could have fallen anyway. Only a couple of months earlier the same neighbour had an adjacent tree blow over and block the road.

So now the tree is gone. I didn't manage to get any boards from it, the car can park on the drive without a mass of bird crap coating it and there are no more seeds populating ash weeds everywhere in the garden.

Monday, 12 May 2014

Positioning your work bench

Over the years I've had my bench in various locations in the shop:
  • Against the wall under a window
  • Against a wall with no window
  • Bolted to a wall
  • In the middle of the shop
  • Adjacent to a wall near a window with space between the bench and the wall.

I've found that the best place for my bench is the last one, with a gap of around 10" at the back of the bench to the wall, for the following reasons:
  • My tool rack is across the window so I don't want to stretch too far to get tools
  • The bench is heavy enough to stay put without the extra help from a wall when planing for instance
  • The window casts natural light onto the bench
  • Anything that falls off the back of the bench can be easily retrieved
  • I can use the rear apron of the bench to clamp onto. The space gives access to get the clamps in.
The bench is also on a mobile base that can be jacked up so I can pull it out further if need be.
This arrangement works well for me and I've arrived at the solution by trial and error.