Laura at Ripon’s Yorkshire Wildlife Trust got in touch and asked me to carve six marker posts for the Wetlands, featuring different wildlife found in the area; I’ve done many of these for other YWT sites and they are always nice to do, with a simple bold design to aid identification and the name of each species underneath.
What wasn’t quite so straightforward was part 2 of the job: to construct a very large frame, which would be set in place in front of the picturesque views for photo opportunities. I knew it would have to be big enough for two or three people to pose behind, but also had to make sure the proportions looked right: after a few drawings I settled on a beast of a thing measuring 7ft x 4ft 6″. With the timber (sweet chestnut, my favourite wood at the moment ~ all the character of oak but a fraction of the price) ordered, I got the posts out of the way first.
The marker posts finished it was time to tackle the frame; I carved the lettering first, for the lower horizontal beam, and decided on a simple oak-leaf-and-acorn design to go on the top beam. So far so good!
To construct the frame I cut some mortise and tenon joints and used glue and some heavy duty screws to keep it sturdy; the screw holes were plugged with some rustic oak pegs to give the impression it had been pegged in the traditional manner. Actually fitting the pieces together was a job and a half. They were so heavy individually and cumbersome due to the size, that much salty language and sweat ensued; it was far trickier than I imagined, and took me most of the day to put together ~ not to mention shifting it the 15 yards from outside into the workshop, awaiting collection.
Obviously this heavy lot wouldn’t fit in our Citroen Picasso, so I was indebted to Dave Powell from YWT who collected and transported all up to Ripon.
Once at Ripon City Wetlands Dave and the volunteers spent a busy day installing the marker posts, where hopefully the visitors to the site will be enjoying them.