Sunday, June 27, 2010

I fought the log and the log won


I  am not a smart man but sometimes I amaze even myself! Last March  I cut a nice straight ten foot length out of a fallen elm. This was before I realized I couldn't really work with 15 inch diameter trees. That is until I can afford a mule team. Anyway, I left this log sitting in the woods until I convinced myself that I could split it and get two for one. The last log I split was a red oak. It split into two fairly even halves with a moderate amount of work. So off I go to split this elm at 8:00 a.m. yesterday morning. I have since learned that elm is nothing like oak when it comes to splitting a ten footer. Elm is moderately heavy, hard and stiff with excellent bending and shock resistance. It is difficult to split because of its interlocked grain.

I spent the whole day yesterday beating myself and my tools to death on this log. By 4:00 p.m. I had broken the handle off my hatchet, knocked the head off my axe and stretched the chain of my saw beyond its ability to readjust. CAN YOU SAY STUBBORN! As you can see the log is still not split. It was 100 degrees in the shade all day and I think I lost about a half a gallon of blood to the mosquitoes that surrounded me despite bathing in Deep Woods off. Something tells me this log will be a featured piece of the cabin, some way or another. Maybe a monument to my pigheadedness!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Hot and Wet!

Rain finally stopped yesterday morning about 9 a.m. The sun came out and turned the woods into a sauna. I got three logs peeled. Thought I would post a picture of the spud hoe in action on a log. A spud hoe is so named because it is used for digging potatoes....(I think). Its a straight bladed hoe. Works great taking off big strips of bark.

This is the cause of all these dead elms. These little trails you see on the log below are the work of a beetle that carries a fungus that kills the trees. (At least that's the story I've heard)

I decided to try notching this log with just the axe. It was pretty tough and it took a lot longer than using the chainsaw but I have to admit it felt pretty darn good to whale on that log and watch the chips fly!

By the end of yesterday I had eight new notches cut and a new course stacked. No where near the three courses I'd convinced myself I could do. The heat and humidity made four hours seem like eight. We have a 30% chance of rain everyday for the next five days so I got out early this morning and stacked the logs up to get them off the ground. I tacked a couple of salvaged 2"x6" boards up in the doorway to check the width of the opening. I don't know if you can see it but there is an orange trumpet vine blossom tied to one of the boards at seven feet. The bench is 20" tall. So, it looks like the notched part of my walls are just under 1/3rd up.

Happy Father's Day!

Monday, June 14, 2010


Not much to report this weekend. Rained Saturday and Sunday. Got two logs peeled including the Cherry and took an inventory of the logs on site.
  • 15 - 12 footers
  • 10 - 3 footers
  • 7 - 9 footers
  • 6 - 6 footers.
If its dry next weekend I could notch and stack three more courses and get the walls half way up!

In the meantime checkout this amazing collection of videos from an incredible cabin builder known as dirtTdude on YouTube.

Monday, June 7, 2010


Rained most of the day Saturday so I didn't get much accomplished but the new windfall I found in the woods last weekend turned out to be Cherry.
I got a  nice straight twelve foot log out of it on Sunday but couldn't lift it. I didn't want to cut such a beautiful log in two so I used a rope and a stick to drag it out of the woods.

According to the Log Weight Calculator this thing weighs at least 350 lbs. I had to strap it on the trailer crosswise to keep it steady.