Coppice products

Adding value to your timber

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

The coppice worker of old did not just cut wood for beanpoles, pea sticks, firewood and charcoal. He added value to the produce by making a variety of items from for sale, and the list is rather a long one.

coppice_prods1For some reason today the modern coppice worker, as we have discussed before, seems to be able to thin k no further often than just fire logs, charcoal, beanpoles and pea sticks. Adding value, which takes forethought and skills in making, does rarely seem to enter the equation, but it must.

It is thus no wonder that today's coppice workers cannot make a living when the product range they offer is limited to but the four products mentioned, plus one or two more. Few only appear to venture outside this mindset.

While beanpoles, pea sticks, firewood and charcoal undoubtedly have their place other products make for better use of the wood grown and harvested and create a greater income.

The products of greater value are a multitude almost and it requires the vision to see them and certain skills to make them. None of it is rocket science, however, and both vision and skills can be learned.

The woodsman, the coppice worker, of old had developed “the eye”. He could see what every piece of wood harvested could be turned into without too much of an effort. Today's coppice worker and woodsman has to relearn and redevelop this “eye” and remove the blinkers that often seem to restrict his vision.

While firewood, charcoal, etc., are by no means waste products too many bits of wood are “wasted” needlessly as no value-added use is perceived by those that lack “the eye”. Every piece of would that is cut should be found a use for and that includes even the twigs.

Twigs, dried, can be turned into faggots (no, not of the edible variety), fire lighting bundles, and even brushes and, while still green, besoms.

The wood from our woodlands is too great and valuable a resource to waste any of it and the more value that can be added the better it will be for the woods, the woodsman and also the Planet.

© 2014