Garden Diary - November 2012

Tuesday, 20 November 2012
After the Superstorm: Woodcutting


Firewood, it is said, warms you many times - when you cut it, again when it is split, then when it's stacked, and at last - when you burn it. What do you think?

Paul cleared the tree blocking the driveway. He and Daryl got the mess off my toolshed.
Now it's time to tackle the several trees across the front lawn barely short of the house.

As you can see he's getting there, but it is slow work.
He'd like to clear it before winter, but is dubious that will happen.

His primary chainsaw is a Stihl with an 18-inch bar. Obviously, it's had lots of use.

The tangle of trees look like a gigantic game of spillikins. And you couldn't even see this much
until brush is removed. He does some brush cutting, I do some. Important to expose the tree limbs.

I'm restricted to cutting smaller stuff, and preferable only branches with a free end. See
the tree trunk bowed and under tension? That happens with branches too. Easy to bind
the bar of your chainsaw and tremendous kickback when the tension is released. Not for me.

And then get the brush out of the way. There's so much brush. You really need something to give
a sense of scale here. The brush is piled higher than my head. Condominiums for chipmunks.

I'm not allowed to cut down trees. In fact, I don't even use a gasoline engined chainsaw. What I do have is this good little NiCad battery powered Remington chainsaw with an 8-inch bar. Heretofore it was used for pruning and sapling removal. But now there's too much for it to do - the battery runs out of juice well before I do. So I thought I'd buy a second battery to charge up while I ran it on the other one. Come to find out that it's old enough that I'd have to look for a purveyor of obsolete equipment.

And there's all this small stuff that's not brush but is still burnable for which a little battery operated chainsaw is ideal.

So now I have something a little bigger with some nice features the other one doesn't have. Plus
this Troybilt with a 10-inch bar, internal oiler, and a battery indicator that lets me know how much
of a charge is left on the - get this! - lithium ion battery. Definitely more powerful, easy to operate. And quiet.

Of course as is typical with guys Paul had to try it out first. I was given the photographer's job slot.

The big stuff gets transported over the lawn, across the driveway, and piled up, waiting to be split.

For this, a log splitter is necessary. Paul has an elderly one (bought used and now about about 40 years old)
but it has "issues." The fact is that the engine needs work. It leaks a thin film of gasoline over the gas tank. Plus
the starter rope broke.He did some comparison shopping and chose this nice 27 ton Troybilt with a Honda engine.

As you can see, it does a nice job. And then all the split wood needs to be moved to where

it will be stored until next winter. And once there it all needs to be stacked.

I'm good at that. I build nice stable crosslaid end stacks, then fill in with rounds and splits between
them. So, don't you agree? This wood will warm us several times before we actually get around to burning it.


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