Rocking horses in the men’s shed
WARREN Moss cast his skilled eye over the 6.8 metres of felled silky oak and declared he could see 10 rocking horses in the 2.2 tonne trunk lying on the ground behind Karl Cooksley's back fence.
Warrren, the head of the Grafton Men's Shed rocking horse division, had been a nervous spectator at the three and a half hour operation on Friday morning to remove the massive tree which had become too big for Karl's central Grafton backyard.
"There's thousands of dollars that'll go to charity in that," Warren said, looking over the massive trunk.
Grafton Men's Shed received an order for a rocking horse from Sydneysider Paul Birney, who has been coming to the Grafton July Racing Carnival for 35 years.
Local tow truck operator Ravens Smash Repairs came to the party, donating a truck and driver Beau Plater to cart the tree to the Spiro Notaras's mill in South Grafton.
Spiro will saw and kiln dry the wood so the Men's Shed rocking horse carvers have something to work with in about eight weeks.
Friday's operation was a thing of beauty that went without a hitch.
Timbergetter Shane Shipman and the crane hired by Karl combined to removed the branches leaving about 9 metres of bare forked trunk.
After lopping off the branches of the fork - they will be used to make the rocking horse frames - Shane sawed through the trunk while the crane kept the trunk straight.
"It all went exactly to plan, but having a crane there to hold up the tree made it easy," said Shane.
Later this week Spiro will cut the trunk and saw it into pieces for the wood carvers.
For the mentor of the rocking horse group, Greg Ryan, this next step is exciting.
"I'm really looking forward to seeing the inside of the trunk," Greg said.
"The wood in the stump had a lovely colour and it will interesting to see the grain when it's sawn."
On a sad note, there was an unhappy pair watching the proceedings on Friday morning, a pair of magpies who made their nest in the silky oak.
"I hope they can make a new nest in one of the other trees nearby," Karl said.