Hmmm.. My small garden looks even smaller with a 15ft Larch tree in it…!

Ok.. so first job is snedding the pole which is code for cutting off the side branches. Larch has a lot of side branches so best tool for the job is a chainsaw as it produces a cut close to the pole with minimum effort.

Larch is a deciduous conifer so no needles to contend with this time of year but the wood is very resinous which makes cutting and working with it a bit sticky at times.

With the snedding done and a quick cleanup later and here we are with a fairly clean pole all ready for peeling which is code for stripping off the bark.

It’s my daughters project so she has the reigns now – Lisa has organised the pole between two shave horses to make it easier to peel. 
The shave horse at the back of the photo is one I made a year or so ago based on a really easy rustic design and if you want to make a shave horse easily then details of how to build it can be found here:…CDbMbB1BDtNbzA

Stripping off the bark can be done a few different ways but Lisa used a draw knife on this pole and apart from around the side branch knots, it was pretty straight forward.


Lisa put the pole aside for a couple of days for the outer layer to dry off a bit and then she did the final finishing over the knots to knock them flat using a hand plane…

We did remind ourselves a couple of times that this was a rustic maypole and not a piece of fine furniture…!

Lisa wanted to add an inscription to the pole that was in keeping with the Maypole and so she researched the history of maypoles and decided on an inscription of the title of a song associated with maypoles.

“The Tree On The Hill” is the title of a maypole song found in various Celtic and Germanic Language groups and it thought that it’s origin was probably Welsh. Of course the Cornish would say it originated there…!

Welsh – “Ar y Bryn Roedd Pren”
Cornish “An Wedhen War An Vre”
Breton – “Ar Parc Caer”

Pyrographing onto a fairly fresh Larch pole proved a little more challenging than first thought as the mass of the moist pole sucked the heat out of the pyrography pen very quickly so it took Lisa a while to finish the work which she inscribed on a spiral baseline in both Welsh and English.

With the inscription completed and a coat of Linseed oil over the whole pole to give it a richer colour it’s time to think about erecting the pole in-situ prior to the event.

The maypole is part of the Torfean Borough Council’s Spring event on Sunday April 13th in South Wales in the grounds of the newly restored Llanyrafon Manor and you can find out more details here:…type=1&theater 

Lisa is donating it from her woodland craft business “COTTAGE COPPICING” :

Come back for part 3 when we will be erecting the maypole and dressing it with the top and the garland ribbons.