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Wych Elm Journal

Making a Homemade Wych Elm Journal

A Journal in the Making

By Mike & Gail Dixon

Elmus Glaba also known as Scot's Elm or Wych Elm

Ulmus Glabra, or more fittingly, “The Scots Elm” is a tree that has been ravaged over the years by the Dutch Elm disease and it is hard to find timber of practical size and use. A while ago I came across three twisted, bent and in places cracked boards. Despite all the faults the beauty of the grain hidden beneath was crying out for a special purpose. So I bought the wood, thinking they may come in for door panels and they have sat in my wood yard since then.

Sanding, Sanding and More Sanding

The cover panels taking shape

To get this timber level and useable I had to remove so much of it using a wood thicknesser and then by lots and lots of sanding and planing. Each level of sanding just kept revealing the true beauty of this timber until finally a number of beautiful boards.

The Journals Take Shape

All the tools needed for binding the journals

After a lot of paper folding, lining it up and poking holes through with a sharp awl (try not to get blood on the paper when you poke your finger!) You then get to sew the paper and wood together. Eventually, after what has been a most enjoyable project, the journals emerge.

Wych Elm has a grain that just seems to reflect the colours of the beautiful countryside in which it has lived and grown; the swirls of the wood, to me, show Fellsides and Sky.

The various finished boards - such beautiful grain!

With the paper sewed in, all the oiling of the boards completed and one or two final touches just to finish off with that give the Journals that personal touch.

The grain of the Wych Elm gives the appearance of Fellsides and sky

A small copse of trees burnt into the cover to compliment the landscape effect of the wood.
A small copse of trees burnt into the cover to compliment the landscape effect of the wood grain.

Now all thats needed is something to record within their pages!

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