Saturday, December 06, 2008

Almost done with this tree

A short update as I'm off to bed. I put in another couple of hours and almost, but didn't quite, finish this season's cutting today. First I cut and stacked the bits that were small enough not to need splitting, that I'd left on the lawn the last few weeks, and thought I might finish there. But I felt up to trying to cut the enormous trunk that's left so I gave it a try.

The problem was that it's supported at both ends and there isn't room to cut from underneath (not to mention I never really got anywhere on that cut anyway, at least not with anything big, and this is huge). So I did another "notch cut" -- don't know if that's what it's called, since I haven't found it explained in books, just figured it out myself. Cut down from the top in two cuts in a V that will meet near the bottom of the log, and use hammer and wedge to knock the slice out as I go. This time I did my best to prop up the two halves beforehand, and it worked beautifully. Despite the log being a good 14" across where I cut, and harder than I thought it was possible for wood like this to be, it came apart without pinching the blade, and both ends stayed in the air.

I was able to cut all of one half, and about a third of the other half (the "butt" end), before I packed it because of cold more than tired or sore. I probably have less than an hour's work left on bucking this log. The rounds are huge; I can barely lift a 16" round. And it takes forever for the blade to cut through. And the wood inside is just beautifully uniform and hard and dense. It'll all sit out in the snow until next year, though. I can't split it yet.

Each time I do this I learn a little more of techniques to make it go easier. I'm finding ways to let the saw do more of the work and not get my arm as sore as quickly. But it's still exhausting.

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