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NickR (UK)

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Estwing Fireside Friend Log Splitter 4lb 78mm Blade [Misc.] [Misc.]
Estwing Fireside Friend Log Splitter 4lb 78mm Blade [Misc.] [Misc.]

4.0 out of 5 stars Woodland Friend, 11 May 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Excellent. Exactly what I was looking for.

I haven't yet used it as a general-purpose kindling or small-log splitter, and I can't honestly see myself keeping it by the fireside. Instead, I use it in my wood for wedge-splitting big logs, 4 feet long and 6"-12" across. Stand the log upright, rest the edge of the blade across the diameter, then wallop the hardened poll of the FF with a lump-hammer. When the log starts to split, you can either carry on banging the FF down the split, using the handle to guide it, until the log falls apart, or rest the log horizontally on the ground and thump in a couple of steel wedges. This technique works like a dream, and is as fast as and much more precise than using a big splitting axe (even though a big splitting axe will occasionally split big logs with just one blow, if you're lucky - generally, for me, it just breaks off a slice, or gets stuck).

Update: reduced to 4 stars. The poll is already starting to distort as a result of being walloped with the lump-hammer. Ideally, it should be more aggressively hardened and more aggressively beveled, to reduce mushrooming.


Silky Zubat Professional 270-33 330mm Curved-Blade Hand Saw with Scabbard
Silky Zubat Professional 270-33 330mm Curved-Blade Hand Saw with Scabbard
Offered by The Oregon Shop
Price: £59.00

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not just for pruning branches, 14 Mar. 2016
My first year with a Zubat, I coppiced 25 m3 of logs from overstood hazel, sycamore, ash, birch and oak. I replaced the blade afterwards, but I'm honestly not sure I needed to. My neighbours with chainsaws were amazed when they saw me taking down 70-footers with this 'toy', some of them with trunks over a foot across. My Zubat is the 300, and I think I would now get the 330, because the blade design is good enough to fell even bigger trees. Incidentally, the curve in the blade really helps, because it increases your pressure at the end of the pull cut. It does make wedge cuts a little harder though.

For bigger trees I sometimes use a Silky Katanaboy 600, but it's hard work compared to the Zubat.

Overall, a superb tool, and worth every penny.


The Silver Spoon (Cookery)
The Silver Spoon (Cookery)
by Phaidon
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £20.37

4.0 out of 5 stars Huge and comprehensive, 3 Jan. 2016
I do like this book, but would just echo a couple of previous reviewers' comments: it's not for complete novices; and it's as much a recipe book for Italians as it is a book of Italian recipes. With those caveats, it's excellent.

Phaidon, when you next reprint could you please do it with two bookmark ribbons, not just one? The nature of the recipes in this book means one often has two dishes on the go at the same time, for even a simple meal, and an extra marker would really help.


The Brewer of Preston
The Brewer of Preston
Price: £9.49

2.0 out of 5 stars Not up to scratch, 18 Dec. 2015
Fairly amusing, but not a patch on the Montalbano series. Even the usually excellent translator, Stephen Sartarelli, seems uninspired in this book.


My Dog Tulip
My Dog Tulip
Dvd
Price: £6.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Warts-and-all gorgeous, 4 Dec. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: My Dog Tulip (Amazon Video)
Utterly unsentimental, observed with eye-watering detail, this isn't a film for everyone - but dog-owners will understand it, particularly the observations on a dog's unwavering trust and honesty.


Slade House
Slade House
by David Mitchell
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £9.09

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining, but., 11 Nov. 2015
This review is from: Slade House (Hardcover)
The story-telling is terrific, the range of narrative voices is virtuosic, and the novel is a series of time-discrete tales. So far so David Mitchell, and pretty good. Also, the book has a wonderful jacket.

For Mitchell fans like me this book is good entertainment and definitely worth reading, and for the author, it will probably be a good earner. Still, I hope he won't get diverted into short-form horror writing - not least because nobody, but nobody, beats M R James. Mitchell is at his best in bigger books, where the scale of the issues and the humanity of the characters are allowed room to develop. To his credit, he hasn't yet put a foot wrong, and you can't say that of every author.


A Game for All the Family
A Game for All the Family
by Sophie Hannah
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £7.00

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars and I nearly liked it a lot, 20 Oct. 2015
This was the first book I had read by Sophie Hannah, and I nearly liked it a lot. The first two thirds was very gripping - after that it went to pieces. Interesting, though, and I think I'll try some of her earlier books.

A couple of trivial observations:
1) My daughter's name is Justine, like one of the main characters. My mother's name was Olwen, like another. Like the author, I used to live in Cambridge. Also, like the author, I gather, I have a Welsh Terrier (two, actually) with which I am besotted. So of course I had to read this book.
2) It looks to me (a man) as if 95% of the reviews are by women. Don't men read Sophie Hannah? If not, why not?


Salter Big Button Electronic Kitchen Timer
Salter Big Button Electronic Kitchen Timer
Price: £7.12

1.0 out of 5 stars Really bad, 13 Oct. 2015
I used to have a big, clunky, wonderful Salter timer, which lasted about 15 years. This one is awful. The time advance either does nothing or skips forward two or three minutes. The button rotates, falls out, or stops and then restarts the timer. A load of rubbish. The Salter name used to be one you could trust.


Sweet Caress: The Many Lives of Amory Clay
Sweet Caress: The Many Lives of Amory Clay
by William Boyd
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £9.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars We all grow old, 7 Oct. 2015
Not one of Boyd's best. His main character is not very engaging. The plot is too linear and episodic. This is more a tour of the high spots of 70 years than a novel with any great depth. Memes are predictably introduced (WW1, early feminism, WW2, landed gentryism, Vietnam, hippy communes...) and swiftly ticked off. The ending is mildly weepy, but the rationale for it lacks credibility.

Nobody should be criticised for growing up - and I guess that's a theme of this book - but I do miss the early Boyd...


The Critic: An Enzo Macleod Investigation (The Enzo Files)
The Critic: An Enzo Macleod Investigation (The Enzo Files)
by Peter May
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars After his Lewis books, what a disappointment, 15 July 2015
A thin, implausible plot, poor characterisation, a mishmash of offhand gender stereotypes and national stereotypes - I can hardly believe this nonsense was written by Peter May. Has Jeffrey Archer been moonlighting?


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