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Friday, July 2, 2010

A tale of two saws

I'm doing things the hard way. I can't use a gasoline chainsaw. It's not for lack of knowledge, but due to the fairly dirty 2 cycle engine exhaust. Ever since my lungs were damaged during my Firefighter days, the old lungs have been hypersensitive to certain things. Engine exhaust is high on the list. The fumes can cause violent coughing to the point where I pass out -a really bad reaction while holding a running chainsaw.

Most of the time I can work around it. A heavy duty electric chainsaw does an adequate job, if the chain is kept sharp. That's fine for jobs within extension cord distance. My truck's wired up with a heavy duty inverter so that it can power the saw. Handy for gathering firewood.

However, there are some places where the electric saw can't go, my swamp for example. It's too far to use an extension cord, and there's no way to drive the truck down there. For those jobs I have a really good 3.5 foot long German steel crosscut saw. It's a serious tool. In fact, for cutting one or two logs, it's probably faster than getting out a gas saw.

Cutting more than a couple logs, it begins to get tedious. My daughter and I were building bog bridges and I was cutting the cross pieces out of cedar. It didn't take too long to work up quite a sweat. We got the bog bridges done, but more logs needed to be cut for stairs. I gave up.

Today my son-in-law showed up with his chainsaw. He knocked out those stair logs in short order. While he was at it, he ripped a good sized cedar log down the whole length. It'll make a good bench seat. No way would I have done it with hand tools. Old fashioned rip saws do exist, but it would have taken me all afternoon to do what he did in a few minutes.

Only a few ounces of gasoline were used. Most people don't appreciate how much energy is in petroleum. Trying to do the same job with hand tools quickly gives one a level of understanding that no book learning can duplicate.


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