In the process of building our new home and putting in a driveway we had to cut down quite a few trees on the property. The builder limbed the trunks and then stacked most of them in piles. I stared at these piles for a long time trying to figure out how I could use them.
So, what to do with all this wood?
Number three sounded like a great idea. How hard could it be? Maybe I could build a post a beam workshop and use this wood for the posts, etc. All I had to do was take 16-foot trees of various diameters and turn them into square posts. I looked through my toolbox. I had a couple of axes and a chainsaw. If the pioneers could do it why not me? Didn’t our forefathers build this country the same way? OK, maybe not with the chainsaw.
I began to do it the almost old-fashioned way with an axe and my chainsaw. I would draw a 6x6 square on the end of the log and then run a chalk line down the log. I would then use the chainsaw to cut down to the line vertically and the axe to chip away the cuts horizontally.
Lessons learned very quickly:
There must be a way. You Tube has all these guys in the Alaska wilderness cutting boards and beams with their chainsaw mill. In no time they are sitting on the decks of their self-built cabins waiting for moose to come by. It looked easy on You Tube and only cost about $300 with a guide track “specially designed” to work with my chain saw attachment. I bought it, put it all together and immediately realized my chainsaw is probably too small. What I really ‘needed’ was a larger chainsaw. One with a big blade and a big engine that cost big bucks.
No, the stock market is tanking, I would make do with the tools I had on hand.
Decision: I’d work on the smaller logs, those less than 18-inches in diameter. Did I mention even smaller logs are not small and it’s not as easy as on You Tube?
My first attempts came out twisted. How did that happen? Well it seems the ‘specially designed’ track was designed by an engineer who never used it. I came up with a work around and, after numerous attempts, can now cut an almost square post/board.
Growing up, and now growing old, I worked with a chainsaw a lot, having cut firewood every year since I was 16 years old. When cutting firewood you cut down, across the grain, for the width of the tree. Hard work but manageable. Ripping boards and posts requires a cut along the length of the tree. Really hard work for both me and the saw. It eats blades, it turns arms into mush and makes piles of sawdust as you try and push the saw lengthwise through the tree. It is sloooow work. Being stubborn, stupid and self-isolated I kept at it.
My back hurts, but I now have eight 10-foot posts and a few 6x6 boards I can use for Kathleen’s garden boxes.
That said, its kind of cool to look at the posts and know they came off the property and I cut them myself. Besides, what else is there to do during self-isolation?