Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Chainsaw Chuckles II

Yeah. Right -- you know, if the chainsaw works, then the body has issues.

Last chainsaw post left me with a chainsaw whose cutting chain lay loose, free of the bar, and found me using a bow-saw to clear a tree I'd felled across the driveway. Since I've never actually removed a link from a cutting chain, and I haven't the tools for it, I decided to let the professionals look after it.

I got my chainsaw back yesterday morning, so I took it up the paddock to the big pile of wattle logs there. Wattles are an early-colonising species in Tassie rainforests. They grow fast as hell: three years can see them at five metres in height under good conditions. However, since they grow early and fast, they also senesce quickly. A wattle 20 years old can be nearly a metre across at the base, and 20 metres or so high, but it's also at the end of its life. One good wind... and we had one of those last year.

Hence the pile of logs.

After a year, I figured they would have cured at least partway, making them easier to cut, and more suitable as firewood. Of course, a year on the ground isn't long enough for the main trunk, but for a lot of the larger branches, and for secondary trunks that had already died while the trees were standing, it was a good bet. So I trundled up with my chainsaw and my trailer, my earmuffs and my eye protection and my boots and my gloves, and I went to work.

Three tanks of chainsaw fuel later, I had two trailers worth of timber which I duly loaded up, transported to the firewood zone, and then stacked. Then I cleaned the trailer up and parked it.

And then I got out the heavy splitter, and went to work. Many of the larger chunks of trunk still have bark on them, and they have to be split and stacked for another year or so -- but as I'd thought, there was also quite a lot of stuff that could be burned now. (Some of it is, as a matter of fact.) So, two hours later there was a nice new pile of firewood, plus a pile of stuff which will serve next winter.

All up? About three and a half hours of work.

Don't let anybody tell you that using a chainsaw is easy or restful. And as for swinging a four-kilo block splitter... yeah.

The chainsaw worked beautifully. The body, on the other hand, has certain regrets. Particularly between the shoulder blades!


  1. Yikes - a good few hours work by the sounds. I've never used a heavy splitter but I do get a certain satisfaction from a couple of hours with an axe each week.

  2. If you're doing a lot of splitting a hydraulic splitter is hard to beat.

  3. probably a better workout and more productive than the training session i did today. Used to love the big splitter at the island.

  4. That's a great way to spend the day. I do the same thing everytime I go up to my parent to collect firewood. I find it painfull but in a strangly relaxing way.

  5. Nautilus: you're right, of course. There's a righteous quality to the soreness afterwards, and one feels extremely justified in quaffing a beer.

  6. Just as long as you're quaffing and not queefing.

    Sorry. Someone had to say it.

  7. Sounds like a good way to burn off some calories. Too much like real work for me though.

  8. Sounds like the beginning of winter rituals we had at the parental home. Bits of tree we'd found or been given, chainsaw, splitter.
    It stopped about 8 years ago. Used to be satisfying sitting in fromt of the fire with a cold beer after a day being a woodchopper.
    There's still a shitload of wood in mum's backyard.

  9. yeah, it does not get much better I must say and swinging a splitter, well, the larger the person I find, the easier with which they can do it, still not girly work mind you.

    I have to venture south west to the parents next weekend, seeing as Dad just got out of Hospital ( Gal Bladder), and I am the eldest AND the oldest, AND his fucking son in laws cannot do the job, I shall b doing EXACTLY as you have just done, but with one small addition. we have a swing saw / saw bench at the house. One of the most dangerous implements ever invented i suspect, If I remember I shall take a photo, assuming I'm not shagged or pissed or both. Good job.

  10. Oh, yeah -- gotta LOVE a good saw bench. I've got a cheap little fucker (just a table saw, not a big ol' swing saw) and it still scares the poo outta me.