Saturday, August 21, 2010

Stihl Life II, or my aching woodpile

Well, Lysander the tractor wouldn't start. Sounds like he's out of gas. What could be wrong? But I put 5 gallons in! Blocked fuel line? Evaporation? Horrors. Lysander always starts. But winter is coming on express rails, and I have to build up my wood pile. So I decided to get in the stuff my neighbor had left piled up by the side of the power line right-of-way. This I can haul out with the car (Vicky, short for Victoria Suzuki Vitara) in compound low 4-wheel drive, as long as she's on the road. A couple days frenzied work with the logging chain and the cant hook (to lever the nasty logs around) and I had some prime victims.
The next job is to cut these guys into the 45cm Chalupy standard droob length. This is, of course, chain saw time. Here Parsifal comes into play.
My target is the log shoved up on my japanese style sawbuck, a remarkably simple X shaped sawbuck. Works like a charm, and you can maneuver it with one hand. Parsifal is, of course, my trusty Stihl MS 170 chain saw. Both my Stihl saws are named after Wagnerian heroes. They are, after all, loud. And somewhat temperamental. About one hour later, we had some more Stihl life:
Everything has been bucked, as the expression goes, to 45cm length; Parsifal is taking a break; standing up against a log is the cant hook, necessary to get the log off the ground so's you can saw it; and my new hard hat/ear muff/face shield, which, by the way, doubles as an extraordinarily effective mosquito deterrent. In the background, the regular sawbuck and the last of the logs, all sawn up.

It is not the sawing that is the "critical path" as the Operations Research people say; it is handling the better part of a ton of wood. You can't saw a log on the ground. You will run the chain into the dirt, and then your chain saw is kaput. So you have to raise the log off the ground. For this I use the cant hook (leverage) and a variety of hold-it-for-now fixtures. The japanese sawbuck is one, but a very useful thing is a piece of 4x4 with a ramp cut into it. Cant-hook your log up on the ramp and go.

Still (or Stihl) after a couple hours of this, the chain saw was dull, my back ached, and then some, and it was time to quit. The various pieces of wood await their interview with Jack the Splitter (See previous post). Then we have to stack it (more handling).

Notice the sun shining in these pictures. It has been 30 days or more without sun. I thought I was hallucinating when I saw blue sky. Sun? Whazzat?

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