Forest Diary

Steam Peeling – February 2018

March 23, 2018 by admin in Garden Furniture, Peeling, Rustic Fencing with Comments Off on Steam Peeling – February 2018

A Steam Boiling

It’s an early start this morning, up with the lark to light the boiler with some kindling and offcuts from the shed, to light our vintage Cradley steam boiler, in action since 1943! Its a great morning for some Steam Peeling.
Last night, the steam tank was packed full of chestnut poles, about 200 of them, in preparation for the day of peeling ahead. Once the steam gets up, after about an hour, the door of the tank is sealed and its contents are allowed to cook for about three hours. As long as the fire is tended regularly and the water level is maintained, the process looks after itself, so we can go on with other things until it’s ready to peel.
Around lunchtime the steam is quenched by increasing the water level, enabling the safe opening of the steam tank door and the removal of the cooked poles (with the aid of my welder’s glove!)
Paul taking the cooked poles from the boiler tank
Out come the poles in batches of about 30 and while they’re still hot, we begin to strip off the bark with our peeling irons, leaving a pile of it on the ground and stacking the poles under cover in a ventilated shelter, where they’ll stay until dry and ready to use.
  Dan peeling the chestnut poles

After about an hour the three of us have emptied the tank and at this time of the year, when we’re trying to gather in as much wood as we can, we’ll probably load up again for the next day.  We don’t want to waste the bark, so will use it on the log burner in the shed.
Henry stacking the peeled chestnut poles

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