We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Our Recent Essays Behind the Front Page
Thursday, August 25. 2011
From our archives, because the sound of saws may be constant around here this weekend, if Irene hits us in Yankeeland:
Burning carbon to kill trees! Good work and good fun.
The gasoline-powered chainsaw is one of the finest inventions since the wheel and the plow. It's really just a mechanized stone axe like my Indian sncestors used, and I am eagerly awaiting the laser saw to bring wood cutting into the 21st Century.
While the engineering principles of the chainsaw may go back to surgical instruments of the 1800s, the modern concept dates to the 1920's with bulky and impractical designs until the German engineer Andreas Stihl developed his "tree-cutting machine" around 1929. The one-man saw dates to around 1950 and was perfected by Stihl and their main competitor, the weapons manufacturer Husqvarna. The Stihl family still owns their company. Check out their saws here. (No, this is not an advt.)
I have always enjoyed power saws: my godfather's father started the Wright Saw Company in CT, which produces a reciprocating power saw - an anomaly in the development of power saws which never really caught on except for special uses.
Of course, the famous and indispensible Sawzall is a reciprocating saw.
Here's the interesting weather we have to look forward to, up here. Think I'll go get some gas for my Stihl Farm Boss.
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My 028AV Stihl with 20-inch bar has kept me and Sunny and Bubba in oak firewood for over 25 years. The only repair it has ever needed was when Bubba dropped it fifty feet out of a huge pin-oak, cracking the handle. German engineering is like a limp penis, it cannot be beat. With the tornadoes that passed through here yesterday, I'll be getting another season or two of free firewood for the kindness of helping a neighbor or two clean up the damage. Well, got to go get the ear protectors and bar oil. The Lord knows the ox is in the ditch this Sunday.
I was lookin' for to see a dumb ass saga but the link just delivered MF pg3.
Spent some time with MacGreggor saws and a small Homelite for trimming while culling forests for firewood for sale and personnal use in SE Colorado Rockies.
Dumbass was always lurkin' when cutting trees from steep snow laden slopes.
Me left thigh still bears a scar from gettin' to know the bitin' edge one day. It mishappened real quick and the denims were kicked to the girls sewning basket.
Still can smell the sweetness of sawdust and carbon.
"The Lord knows the ox is in the ditch this Sunday."
Translation for the secular: It's okay to work on a Sunday when you have to.
Interesting article, BD. Did you catch the engagingly ironic name mentioned in this line?
"One claim states that a California inventor named Muir was the first person to put a chain on a blade to use for logging purposes..."
We'll presume his first name wasn't "John."
Watching a chainsaw in the hands of a true artist is a real treat. There was a huge dead oak across the steet from where I lived once, threatening the power lines. The crew shows up one morning, the guy pulls out a chainsaw with a fairly long blade (3 feet?), clambered up to the top of the tree and whittle that sucker right down.
The true artistry, though, was how he handled the last ten feet of the trunk. He sliced and diced his way around the bottom, cutting out little chunks here and there, then cut it straight across dead level with the ground and down it went. Most tree cutters lazily leave a foot of trunk above the ground, but not this guy.
As long as we're lazing along on a Sunday, here's another story of a true pro at work.
I was walking along the street one day and this great big bulldozer pulls up to this 3-story house. There wasn't any work crew, just this one guy.
He first tears at one corner of the house and eventually dislodges this great big (12" x 12"?) long beam, grips it in the jaws of the 'dozer lenthwise, and proceeds to poke and prod the corners of the house with the beam for about a half an hour. He drove around the house about twice, punching out pieces of the house as he went.
Suddenly, WHAM! The whole house came crashing down in one tidy mound, just like those buildings you see demolished on TV -- but without the fireworks. The guy just knew how to slowly weaken a house so that it never 'tipped over' -- it basically just imploded upon itself.
And, BD, NJ, et al -- to repeat a point I like to make:
- A half-hour ago I arrived at Maggie's Farm and now know a lot more about chainsaws than I knew before. Ten years from now, when someone brings up chainsaws, I'll be able to contribute to the conversation. If nothing else, I can mention the "Muir" story. :)
- I read two or three articles on Michelle's site this morning and don't remember a damn thing. I think she was talking about some guy named "Obomba"? Or maybe she was talking about La Bamba, the new Mexican dance craze that's sweeping the nation. I kinda forgit, but I'm sure it was very important.
Point made again. Keep up the good work, guys. Your efforts are appreciated by many.
I used to work regularly with a Jonsered saw. It was a beautiful piece of equipment. Easy cold starts and a real performer.
A favorite story of mine. I was working with a bunch of church men, part of a charity gig, and they were all walking around this tightly packed evergreen tree looking for a way to the trunk. I watched for a couple of minutes for a laugh and then I said, "Get out of my way, boys!" I lifted the saw and walked right through that tree, chainsaw a'buzzin'.
Next they were looking at a big old pine tree needed dropped and I walked up to the job. Having a little more confidence in my ablility they asked where I was going to drop it. I pointed the direction to their weak objections. "But it's leaning the other way!" I smiled a little and said, "It's okay boys, I'm her daddy." Well, in their enthusiasm they proceeded to park my buddy's rack-body right next to the tree to get a jump start on hauling it away. Although I appreciated their confidence in me, I suggested parking the rig a healthy stretch from the pine. I nocked the fall side and walked to the back to begin cutting a high saddle and then one eager-beaver stretched his arms up over my bar to give the tree a helpful push. I punched the chain break and told him about bucking saws and such, and how he was setting himself up for a headectomy. After he made his way back to the truck I ran the chain down into the trunk right up against the bar getting pinched. I pulled out the saw and set her down, leaned up against the tree, gave a little push, and damned if that tree didn't just up and do what she was told.
At the end of the day all those respectable men gave me a wink and pat on the back. I was high on a hill that day, brothers, high on a hill.
My beloved has been asking for one for years. It arrives in time for Father's Day this year. I think it'll be a 260 Pro or 361, not sure yet. I would like to get him the best: lightest weight, no jarring device,24"blade, easy start, etc. You guys have a preference, or insights?
Jep's story reminded me of this pic:
As far as this line of BD's:
"...is one of the finest inventions since the wheel and the plow."
I was thinking a few weeks ago about the invention of the wheel, and how unique it is. BD's reference to it inspired me to jot down my thoughts just now. If anyone's interested:
I called it "amazing" on the page, but, in retrospect, perhaps "global embarrassment" would be closer to the truth.
for sure, steep slopes are not inclined to be nice to ax men and sawyers.
heh heh -- great story -- i know the feeling --well, remember it, anyway --
Yeah, but that story would end low in a valley, brothers, low in a valley. Heh.
It's hard to go wrong with the Jonsered, Dolmar, Husqvarna or Stihl saws. The tree outfits I worked for used them all; they're tools, after all, and the smart dealer could always take a lesser-known brand, and with proper customer service, turn it into a desirable brand.
In my early years, I bought plenty of Poulan and Echo (Still the largest make in the world?), mainly because they were inexpensive, serviceable, and the dealer stocked parts, repaired promptly, and offered fair deals.
Today, after "retiring" from the licensed arborist trade, I still keep a Stihl MS-200T climbing saw (made with roller/needle bearings, a top handle, and built like a Swiss watch), and an old Stihl 044 Magnum (no compression release for starting, so wear a glove on your pull-start hand!) for bucking and limbing. I never liked the noise that the Husky's made, but they are fine machines, too. My eastern (USA) logger friends have different requirements for their saws. What we share in common is the need to stop every once in a while, when the saw is still cutting well, and touch up the teeth, before they get too dull. If you hit some dirt with the chain, stop and shine up the teeth - it will take 5 minutes, vs. 20-30 when a big chain gets too dull.
If you're looking for a general use saw for around the homestead, I'd suggest a 16 to 18 inch roller-tip, "banana"-nose bar, and an engine with vibration fighting dampening. Most people who have accidents with saws are surprised how fast a small saw will kick towards their head, and how powerless they are to stop it from cleaving their noggin in two. If a big saw kicks on me, I've already made sure the area behind me is clear, and I've NOT been looking into the saw kerf while cutting. If the saw hits something in the wood and does kick, I'm going to let it go - right over my shoulder, and boy they can fly! Go to a dealer-sponsored clinic and learn how to safely run and service your tool. I still go to demos today after many years, and I always learn something that makes work easier, faster, safer.
Lots of discussion about these wonderful machines here: http://www.arboristsite.com/
another way of saying it, it is the empty space where there was wood before your saw removed it.
When jumping horses, one learns to focus on a point ahead of the crosshairs formed by the horses ears. It is a point in the distance slightly above the horizone.
Question: if you are not looking at the kerf--where should you be looking?
You can look at the kerf from the side, so that you can see if it's closing up, and you need to pull the bar out of the cut. If you position your head so that you can see down into it, your nose is now the target if the tip catches and the saw kicks back. My technique is to be looking for trouble spots, and constantly shifting my eyes around - the kerf closing up (you've almost cut through the piece of wood), peripheral vision to stay aware of people and animals approaching the danger zone, looking for movement of the rest of the tree/log to detect movement indicating I'm nearing the end of that portion of the cut, the tip of the bar cutting through the other side of the wood, where it can hit something outside the wood and kick. On this last point, unless the top part of the bar tip hits a nail, concrete or piece of fencing, the saw will stay in the kerf; if it cuts through and hits even a twig outside the wood, it can kick pretty hard.
Anytime these guys are putting on a demo, I try to be front and center - they make a living by teaching safety worldwide (and some very advanced techniques, too):
Steep slopes inclined to allow a quick skid for lodge poles to the road for the old hides teepee.
She said she'd draw the bark but didn't after the first twenty minutes with a draw proved more than her desire.
But it only took a few minutes per pole after the hide surrendered the blade to an old hand.
I'd not be looking at Steve's kerf at all but would head for the cab of the truck unless it is parked o'er his shoulder.
Thanks Steve: My beloved is not stupid and grew up in the woods with loggers all around. But, we have been away for many years and have a lot of downed trees to clean up. He may be an older hero today--but, he is still my hero and I try to keep him healthy! Thank you again
Having used both crosscut and chain saws I believe the chain saw only allows you to work faster, but you're putting out the same effort as required by a crosscut for the same amount of cut. A sharp, single buck, or a double buck with a good partner, can be almost a pleasure to pull.
Nice point Skip... a sharp double buck gives you the feel of what you're doing... an almost ecstatic experience when the rhythm is working well.
Ah, no, I don't have much of a life.
I've used a few different saws, some sweet, some not. I've also used bow saws, crosscut saws and a few different axes. I always have a hand saw and an axe of one sort or another when I'm using a chain saw. A good rule of thumb is that if you can't drop a tree where you want to with an axe or a hand saw then you should stay away from a chain saw. Just a faster road to the inevitable and less time to look and think.
When I was about twenty, I had a job of light carpentry on a new house. As part of the whole project, the lot clearing was being expanded. Most of this was a fairly steep slope on one side and the street and power/phone lines on the other. Walter and Josh Bennett were doing the clearing. Walter was working alone that day, dropping white oaks along the slope of the hill between the slope and the street. I watched for a while, but had my own work to attend to inside, until I heard the engine falter and then stop. A good sized oak, maybe 16", was about 90% cut through when a light breeze put the tree back on the bar. I walked out to see if I could help. Now the Bennetts were big men. Huge heads. Hands like shovels. I was about 130 ponds soaking wet. We pushed the trunk. We pulled on the saw. No axe, no hand saw. It was getting hot and a mid day breeze was beginning, threatening to push the tree THE WRONG WAY. Walter was developing a sweat. I walked into the house, took a sixteen foot 2"x6", cut a notch in one end, walked it back to the tree, propped it as high up against the trunk as I could and standing aside it, grabbed the free end and pushed. Not hard, but steady, like opening a jar of pickles. And slowly the oak began to go. It took only a few inches and down it went, just where Walter wanted it. I can still see his red, sweating face thirty five years later. He didn't say anything. And I didn't say anything. I walked back into the house and the chainsaw started up again.
Another great story. Did he at least buy you a beer later :)
Once introduced to a man with a large red scar. It started at the place where his neck met his shoulder line and ran all the way down across his check to some where by his stomach. He was out alone in the woods. Saw bucked, and he had to find his way back to the truck. It had cut some of his muscle tissue and he was having a hard time keeping his head straight and stopping the blood. He tied his shirt in such a way as to help keep his head tight over the wound thus stopping some of the bleeding and keeping his head from wobbling too bad. He got in truck and down to the highway; started driving and laying on the horn. Somebody saw what was goin on and stopped him and jumped in his truck and drove him to hospital. Dang that was a NASTY scar!
Greatest thing I ever found after using a chainsaw was the battery powered Dremel tool with a sharpening cylinder in its jaws. You could cut for an hour, and then make the chain insanely sharp in about a minute. then back to cutting. Nice big flakes o' wood.
My latest post shows one of my chaps using a saw whilst keeping the rest of us betting if he was going to come down before the tree.
I wore all me chainsaws out but not before nickin me left thigh with the McColloch.
The blood fly was missed by me chaps but all that cuttin' me gave up for Lent after unsuccesful search for a female sawyer to up the buzz.
A few years ago I purchased a table saw for my husband. I asked that he ONLY use it when I am home. Someone needs to be able to call 911.
He allowed me to use his chainsaw ONE time and has since hidden it from me.
We have a perfect marriage! (I want that chainsaw)
Wright Saw Company - is that the same Wright Saw Company that eventually became part of Poulan or was purchased by Poulan (can't remember which).
If it is, I have one - 1962 model in fact, but I couldn't give you the model number as its at my son's house.
I have a Black & Decker Gator. Got it after my father in law told me it was the greatest thing since sliced bread for after hurricane clean up (he lives in coastal Florida and coastal Texas). We live in Michigan and I have cut half our winter wood with it. This year I have a a cordless for free roaming. Great think is it's almost idiot proof.
Yup, chainsaws are good fun. Got an M250 Stihl and it's a very, very dependable saw.
"Wright Saw Company in CT, which produces a reciprocating power saw - an anomaly in the development of power saws which never really caught on except for special uses."
Totally unbeatable for cutting hardwood. Wharf and railroad construction. Stays sharp.
The problem with servicing a reciprocating saw is that afterwards the saw wants to service YOU.
How do you gentlemen feel when you're using a chain saw to cut through a big tree? Is it a power thing? Do you even think about it? I'm a woman writing an article on chain saws after Hurricane Irene hit our area pretty hard.
I should have read all the entries before I wrote my first comment. #4 said it all. Can I use it?