• Alison Hodge
    Most ringers will know that wood from ash trees is used to make stays. Ringers will also probably have heard in the last few years that many ash trees are now suffering extensively from "ash die back" - a disease that leads to the death of the trees affected.

    We may therefore anticipate plenty of ash being available for stays as dead ash trees are felled. I have however, heard that one of the problems with the diseased ash is that it becomes very brittle once affected by the disease and hence likely to be useless for making stays. Affected wood may be streaked along the grain by dark brown markings but is this a sufficient guide?

    I am not an expert so does anyone else have more information please?
  • Philip Pratt
    Hello Alison, being someone that has NPTC C&G Qualifications in Arboriculture, I can confirm that trees suffering from Ash dieback also have a discolored or brown/black stem. The timber goes a brown/black from the center of the stem and works its way out.
    If trees are too badly infected with disease, it is not recommended to climb them to dismantle unsfate trees as they have no spring to them and will just drop limbs, the advice is to just fell them. The timber becomes very brittle and means you need to vary felling cuts to ensure it falls in the intended direction.
    This will no doubt have an effect on the Ash market and what is available as a replacement for ringers going forwards.
  • Simon Linford
    Changing the subject slightly, if you didn't know anything about the stay/slider mechanasim and were given the requirements of the roles of the stay, would anyone come up with anything different, or is the stay/slider a very elegant and relatively cost effective solution to the problem that couldn't be bettered?

    I suppose you could do it with electronics and magnets, but that wouldn't be better necessarily and it definitely wouldn't be cheaper.
  • Robin Shipp
    Accepting the slight change of subject, many would argue that the Hastings design is a much better engineering solution. Difficult to set up maybe, but much less clunky and requiring much less maintenance. Talking about arguing, a good game when a group of ringers are in the pub is, quite innocently, to say "what do you think about Hastings stays?". I guarantee that some of them will still be there arguing when everyone else has gone home.
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