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!