Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Timber Harvesting: Day One

After working the most gorgeous week of the year on the most gorgeous private island in Maine (no seriously… check this place out > Nautilus Island), Mike and the boys came over on Saturday for some tree felling fun. Mike did most of the felling, Casey did the limbing, Kyle ran the excavator for brush and lifting the logs onto the trailer, and I… well, I walked around with a tape measure and cut list directing traffic. I worked through my plans several times over making sure I had a complete list of all the pieces I need. There are about 150 pieces to the frame including braces, purlins, joists, etc. Having not done a project like this from standing trees to complete finish, I was a bit nervous about knowing just which pieces to select for each timber.

Jon Ellsworth has been helpful to me in our discussions about what to look for in size of tree. I trust Jon’s advice. He takes his draft horses up into the woods behind my current studio pretty frequently and takes down trees that he brings to a local sawyer for all the frames he builds. He’s been doing this a long time. I will truly miss hearing the clack clacking of the horses on the road and the subsequent chainsaw in the distance while I am working.

Julia had been busy all week preparing food for the big day. After french press coffee and country store donuts in the morning, we devoured her burritos for lunch, and grilled barbeque chicken with homemade macaroni for dinner. It was so amazing. Thank you Julia!

On occasion throughout the day, Julia would bring Eden up to watch the work from a distance. He, of course, loved it. He frequently talks about how he wants to be like Kyle and run an excavator or like uncle Mike with a chainsaw.

I think the first highlight of the day (besides the sweet fellowship of my brothers) was the take down of the large spruce tree for my 24’ 7 x 7 tie beam in the center bent. All the rest of the 24’ spans I will end up scarf jointing, but this beam is a little more critical. It was pretty cool watching these guys take this down so efficiently. After a little struggle, Kyle’s excavator finally loaded that beast onto the trailer. Cheers abounded as he laid it in place.

The second highlight was the take down of the smallest tree. First Mike, as a professional arborist, put on his climbing gear and worked his way to the top. We had a crew of three guys pulling on the rope from below as he cut the top off. Finally, Casey notched and took down the rest with a little help from the excavator. It was nothing short of ridiculous. And good fun for the end of a long tiring day.

We got the trailers loaded to capacity and only had about a third of what was needed. The plan from here is that Kyle and I will very soon mill what we’ve got and we’ll schedule another work day to get the rest. Next time we will have more hauling capacity so that we can hopefully get the remainder in this second load.

I am so thankful to have such an awesome family. Mike, his brother-in-law Kyle, and Kyle’s brother Casey were so generous to offer their help on this project. I am indebted greatly to these dear brothers and I look forward to helping them fulfill their each of their dreams someday. Thank you, guys. Thank you.


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