Wood warriors: The rise of the urban lumberjack

Date: November 2018 Client: Canvas Magazine, NZ Herald
lumberjack
City folks are salvaging wood for their fireplaces, braziers and pizza ovens. Amy Williams is at the coalface.

When summer’s just around the corner, a curious type of urbanite walks the streets pushing a wheelbarrow, following the sound of chainsaws, in the hope of taking home a haul of wood to chop, stack and dry.

These are professionals – exclusively men, apparently – who spend the warmer months stocking up their wood piles with foraged firewood to heat their pizza ovens and later, wood burners. Neighbours and friends send tip-offs about branches or logs for the taking – where there is a chainsaw, there will soon be a wheelbarrow.

You can spot a wood-burning enthusiast by their crispy fringe. AUT senior chef lecturer Alan Brown admits his got singed when he was tending to an incinerator on the lifestyle block he shares with his partner in Kerikeri.

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