We've had some really powerful storms blow through the area the last couple of months and they've wreaked havoc on my long-term wood supply. When the power goes out (and it does) we rely on a fireplace and wood-burning stove to keep warm so it's important to have plenty of backup — plus, the wood is one wall of the dog run.

So when a good friend of mine told me he had purchased some unprocessed logs needing to be bucked, split and stacked all of which would require a couple of days of work, more manual labor than I'm used to, chain saws and a 22 ton hydraulic splitter I naturally thought it a great idea and volunteered!

raw logs

Raw material.

somewhat done

I don't own a chain saw, usually preferring to go at it by hand, but there's no way by hand was going to cut it (pun intended) on this job, so we rented a beauty of a saw from Bainbridge Rental, the Stihl Farm Boss, to supplement the one we did own — this baby chewed through the big logs but even it's 20" bar couldn't completely slice all of them.

big, strong dave

The basic process is simple, mentally mark off sections of wood and saw as deeply as possible without hitting the ground. Once all the cuts are made on the top, the log needs to be rolled, using muscles I never developed, to expose the other side and provide access to finish the cut. Then you roll, or heave, the bucked sections all World's Strongest Man-like to the stacking grounds. To give an indication of the weight of these logs, the "stick" in Dave's hand is a sixteen pound bar of steel — it flexed, easily.


After six hours of work, five or so fuel re-fills and some soon-to-be very sore muscles, we proudly displayed the finish product, ready and waiting for the splitter. A neighbor remarked how cool she thought the display of "manliness", sitting there all proud and proper. Splitting commences this weekend.

carpenter ants

I knew nothing about carpenter ants before we moved here but I hear stories of their destructive abilities. Now I've seen evidence first hand. Unlike termites they don't eat the wood, just burrow through, but to the structural integrity of a house it's all the same.

pot in a fireplace

In addition to wood for my stove and fireplace I now have a beautiful chopping block and stool, measured and cut to exacting standards with a perfectly flat top thanks to Dave's masterful finishing skills with the chainsaw.

Some thoughts:

  • a lefty and a righty should not finish each other's cut, our natural tendencies to cut on an angle (well, mine anyway) make for some ugly finishes
  • chain-sawing for four and half hours with a fifteen pound chain saw is more work than programming but oddly addicting
  • I have more respect for those guys on ESPN with their homemade beasts
Categories: gardening  photography 
Tags: ants  chainsaw  logs  wood 
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