Monday, September 3, 2012

Biggest durn burn log I've ever tackled!

Recently posted about some cottonwood that I'm cutting up into rounds, and also ripping others for table tops. Well, the very biggest one is something I've been deliberately putting off for a very long time simply because I knew it was gonna kick my butt when I dug into it. Started this thing three days ago, and thought I'd gradually work into it doing one gas tank full per day in the chainsaw. Today, I did almost two gas tanks full and am still three cuts with the 32" bar away from being done. Tomorrow will be a day off!

Yep, that's the bad boy before any cuts had been made.

Next step was to cut with a ripping chain (only a 20" bar) which took me all day yesterday to cut. Granted, all day consisted of about 2 hours but it felt like 12 by the time I got done!

Because the log is sitting right on the ground, I couldn't quite go all the way through. Plus, the 20" bar didn't even go half way from end to end. This was stacking up to be a major burr under my saddle!

I looked and looked at that log trying to figure a way to rip all the way through, and the only thing I could think of was that the log had to be set up on its end so I could cut down through it. Can you say 600-800 lbs.? So, a friend of ours who comes up for firewood every once in awhile took a look and volunteered the use of his truck and chains to try to tip it up on end.

The photo above is of the truck. Didn't get any pics while tipping it up on end cuz I didn't want anyone to laugh at me trying to hold the damn log to prevent it from twisting and falling over on me. 

Well, after about 6 tries, this is the result.

Now, please understand I stand 6'4" tall, so this log on end like that is about 5' tall. For a little better perspective, I took a photo of my old bud, Riley, beside the log. Riley is my very old Irish Setter, and he actually stayed when I asked him to pose for the picture. He's standing about 10' away from and in front of the log.

Anyway, I found that my chainsaw kinda had a mind of its own as I was cutting from both sides. I thought I had enough of a first groove cut from both sides to help keep the 32" bar true and straight as I went down through. Boy, was I wrong. No matter how hard I tried, that durn burn chainsaw just had to overlap which prevented me from getting a clear cut on the second slab. The first one went pretty well. The second one not so much.

The first slab on the ground.

Here's a few pics of the second slab.

The last photo above is of the second slab on the ground. The heart of this cottonwood is almost separated from the outer part of the tree. Thought the slab was going to split when it hit the ground, but it didn't. If the heart isn't secure enough to withstand the pressure when it becomes a table top, I'll probably remove it somehow and fill the void with epoxy/resin over rocks or moss or something else.

This was one Labor Day I don't think I'll forget very soon, that's for sure! And I still have three more cuts to do! Heaven help me! What have I gotten myself into?