Saturday, October 17, 2009

Chainsaws...not just for firewood anymore.

Some very old maple trees harvested from city property found their way to our yard recently, and I had to figure out what to do with them. At nearly 3 feet in diameter, they were far too big for our sawmill and too heavy to move. Cutting them into firewood would be criminal. So after a little research, I invested in a used pro-sized chainsaw and an attachment called an "Alaskan Mill", which combine to make a simple, portable sawmill. The Alaskan Mill has been around for decades- I remember seeing their ads in Mother Earth News magazine when I was a kid and thinking they were cool. I never thought I'd actually own one someday, but then I never expected to be building a barn at the North Pole, either. So, today I went to work on one of the smaller logs (!). I started by screwing an aluminum ladder to the log to guide my first cut across the top. It worked great, leaving me with a surprising flat, smooth surface. With the ladder removed, I set the mill for a 3" cut and started making slabs. The excitement dwindled after about an hour when my forearms were burning and I was getting dizzy from the chainsaw's exhaust. These slabs will be used for stair treads in the barn, as well as some table tops and who-knows-what-else. It took me all afternoon to whittle one log down into 16" square timber- just small enough to fit onto the Hudson sawmill where I can finish the cutting without so much effort. I've got six more logs to go, so looks like this will become a winter project...

1 comment:

benningtoncolonial said...

Kudos for not making firewood or mulch out of that great, old wood! I only wish I had had the means to save a very large maple in my back yard that I had taken down a couple years back.