Xylofence

Playing the Xylofence with stick

Playing the Xylofence with stick

Playing the keys with sticks

Playing the keys with sticks

The Mayor investigates how the Xylofence works

The Mayor investigates how the Xylofence works

Preparing to install the rails

Preparing to install the rails

Volunteers learning to use the spoke-shave and horse

Volunteers learning to use the spoke-shave and horse

Volunteers learning to use the spoke-shave and horse

Volunteers learning to use the spoke-shave and horse

Volunteers learning to use the spoke-shave and horse

Volunteers learning to use the spoke-shave and horse

Splitting with a froe

Splitting with a froe

Preparing to install the rails of keys

Preparing to install the rails of keys

Sculpture made from the shavings

Sculpture made from the shavings

Xylofence viewed from the forest

Xylofence viewed from the forest

Checking out the relative pitches of the keys

Checking out the relative pitches of the keys

Removing the bark and softwood

Removing the bark and softwood

Xylofence at Oxhey Woods Sculpture Trail

Xylofence at Oxhey Woods Sculpture Trail

Putting some finishing touches

Putting some finishing touches

The Xylofence was made for The Oxhey Woods Sculpture Trail in 2012.

Each Friday throughout the summer of 2012  volunteers from the local community helped me prepare the 120 keys. These were made from pollarded sweet chestnut trees that were being removed from the rides in Oxhey Woods as part of its restoration. I collaborated with Iain Loadsby, a green woodsman,  who taught us the technique of using spoke-shaves and shave-horses to remove the soft outer wood and then how to split the wood to make the keys that hang from the rails. People are encouraged to play the Xylofence with sticks from the forest floor, or just by brushing fingers along the fence. The keys were tuned initially but as the wood was still green the pitches go on changing over time according to the moisture in the wood.  I was inspired to make the Xylofence from sweet chestnut wood because traditionally it is split to make chestnut paling fencing and can last up to 25 years outdoors without treatment.

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