Monday, June 06, 2005

I'm a lumberjack and I'm okay!

I doubt if anyone remembers my series of log blogs last year about the saga of having a couple of trees cut down in my backyard. If you are dying to read them, go to my August archive and scroll down until you see Log Blog. Then scroll back up until you see Log Blog II.

If you are too lazy to do so and just want me to cut to the chase, the bottomline is that I had two trees cut down by the tree service from hell. They were conifer trees. The tree service from hell cut them down and left about 25 18-inch rounds of wood strewn about my backyard. The wood has sat there since August because I am an idiot and didn't pay the tree service whatever extra it would take to just haul it away. I am an ultra idiot because a) I don't have a wood burning fireplace and b) No one will haul the wood away in its present state for less than $1000.

And yes, I tried listing it on Craig's List. Craig's List is a free Web site where you can sell or give things away. It's kind of a socialist's eBay without fees. Tons of people responded to my Craig's List ad and said they'd take it, but no one followed through. People are flakes.

So this weekend, after staring at the wood for months, I decided to take matters into my own hands. I went to Home Depot and pushed my way through the throngs of shorthaired women with toolbelts and bought myself a sledgehammer and two wedges for splitting wood. I also bought myself a manly pair of workgloves and some mirrorlensed safety goggles, because it is important to look good when you split wood.

I am no novice when it comes to splitting and chopping wood. When I was a kid, I used to love to grab a hatchet out of my dad's work shed (the one that was originally a chicken coop) and spend some quality time chopping on this log we had in the backyard. One time I convinced the neighbor kid (his name was Wendell) to take a hatchet and whack away at the log, too. Pretty soon my brother Dan had joined in. Wendell unfortunately put his hand down on the log at one point to steady himself. I was in mid stroke with my hatchet at that same point and hit Wendell a pretty decent blow on the hand (luckily he didn't lose any fingers, but he did get rushed to the emergency room). I was know as the Axeman of Colorado Avenue for quite some time.

Anyway, I brought my newly purchase wood splitting equipment home and faced the wood with great enthusiasm. I already own a axe-maul, so I was loaded for bear as I faced off with the cursed logs.

I rolled out the first round and whacked it with the maul to make a dent for the wedge. Then I placed the wedge and whacked it with the sledge. After about three hits with the sledge hammer, the wood began to split nicely and the round broke into two pieces. Then with superhuman strength, I split those pieces into nice chunks of manageable wood that finely resembled firewood. I stacked those neatly next to my tool shed.

Piece of cake. At this rate I figured I'd have all of the wood split and stacked in no time and then I'd sell it on Craig's List rather than give it away.

Then I rolled out the second round. Now in a perfect world, felled trees would have no branches and therefore no knots to impede the splitting process. I have never lived in a perfect world. The second round of wood not only had more branch stubs than you could shake a stick at (no pun intended), it was soft in the center. When I drove the wedge in, it disappeared into the log. Not a problem, I told myself. That's why I bought two wedges. An experienced woodsman knows he will sometimes have to drive a second wedge to release the first one. I rolled the round over and placed this wedge away from the center to avoid sinking and losing it. But try as I might, I couldn't get the thing to split. I must have delivered forty whacks with that sledge hammer and it barely cracked the wood.

So, I did the only logically thing considering the circumstances. I put away my tools and went back into the house to watch television.

But I'm not through with you yet, wood.

4 comments:

shandi said...

I relate to this. My family at one point, cut wood for a living. My brother and I were expected to help. I can't tell you how many pieces of wood I have stacked. To this day...I so allergic to wood products that I can't get paper bags at a grocery store without breaking out.
Great post!!!!

Tim ID said...

Does this mean you won't take any of the wood? I was hoping to send it out as Christmas presents this year. I was going to put a bow on each piece and call them Yule logs. Marketing, marketing, all is marketing.

Lights in the wake said...

Don't you take no guff off that wood Tim. Of course, there's no hurry. That wood ain't going anywhere. And, as Shandi said: "At least you've finished starting". So you've got that going for you. Which is nice.

Tim ID said...

Damn, Lights in the Wake, you are right. It never dawned on me when I started splitting the wood that it was another beginning of something I likely wouldn't finish. I'm glad that's out of the way.