Thursday, November 06, 2014


Back in the early spring just before departing for a sojourn in the UK I cut down the major portion of a wall of cedars that stood on the slope between the house and the stream. These trees have blocked a massive amount of our daily quotient of sunshine for the past 20 years and it has made a big difference to have them gone. I used some of the felled weenies to make logs that would act as spars to hold up two stacks of logs from the larger trees. Selecting trees that were well positioned on the slope I cut them a little higher than necessary to leave a stump that could be notched to make a fork that would hold the squared end of a log slotted into it. Where the slope was shallow the other end of this log rested on the ground higher up the slope, if not the other end rested in another slotted stump. This left me with the logs stacked on a kind of platform above the ground with lots of air underneath so they could dry out a little over the summer. I stripped off the bark as the logs were stacked to give the bugs fewer places to hide and aside from turning a little dark with a layer of mould they have remained sound and free of insects.
I built an extension on the roof of my scaffolding timber store shed and also laid out some scaffold pipes as joists to hold up a level platform made from shuttering panels I had used in placing the concrete for the foundation extension. I screwed two 5.5m lengths of angle iron along the sides of the panels and they form skimpy rail tracks for a frame extension on my chainsaw sliding rack to form a trolley with the notched rollers I had used on the trolley for gathering rocks from the stream bed. The chainsaw now runs on the rails instead of needing something to slide along on top of the log being sawn. I gave the thing it's first trial run on one of the logs today and it works pretty smoothly.
One other addition was an old bike fuel tank that I connected up to the chainsaw fuel line to save me having to refill the tank every couple of runs.
I can now winch cedar logs up onto the platform in turn and saw them up into lumber for the next extension to the home. I need to organise a space for the sawn lumber stack so that the timber can dry out a little more because it is still a little too heavy to shift around and work on. The 5.5m rails mean I can just clear a rip cut in a 5.10m log, but it means I have one foot braced against the wheels on the trolley to start the saw up while the trolley hangs on by the skin of its teeth at the end of the track. As you can see, the log is held in place with a few large staples knocked into it and the slats on the platform. The slats allow me to wedge up the narrow end of the log a little to get a better balance to the cut. The saw end of the mounting trolley has a screw adjuster to raise or lower the bar, but I still have to adjust the tip end by hand and measure the height each time, I guess one day I will put in another threaded rod and synchronise the two adjusters with a chain to save me this little inconvenience and I will be able to adjust the bar height parallel to the platform with the one handle. I might also make some kind of mechanism to winch the trolley along the track with a handle, it isn't a hard push to get the saw along the cut, but it means keeping a stressful pose for a few minutes each time. Twiddling a little winch handle might be a little too genteel but it would deliver less wear and tear on the body.