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!


  1. What an exciting adventure you are taking. Our cabin is a bit unique on the handmade cedar log float, but the cabin itself is quite traditional with lumber store products. When you are done you will feel you've won for sure. - Margy

  2. What an excellent blog post title, and what an excellent blog!

  3. Try a ripping chain from Baileys, 20 cents a link. Run your saw down the middle, not as hard as it sounds, lot easier than wedges and whatnot. You can rip it in about five minutes if your saw can handle it. If you saw is small, it'll just take longer, but you can still do it. What kind of saw do you have?

  4. Thanks Mark
    It's an old craftsman with an 18" bar. Definietly not made for this kind of work. But it has been a trooper. I did finally get the log split an funny enough I did exactly what you suggested with one of the halves. I ripped it in two with the saw. I ended up with two quarters that I used on the short side walls. The other half tuned out to have too much rot to use for much of anything. It's still laying in the woods. I'm thinking of using it to make another bench.