Touch the Earth Ranch-House

Picture Story (cont'd)


I needed 40 logs, 20'-6" long, with a 10" minimum diameter.  The hard part is that the minimum diameter is 20'+ off the ground, difficult to measure, to say nothing of the thickness of the bark, which varies from 1/2" to 3" thick, from tree to tree.

I had never cut a tree or used a chainsaw when I cut the first tree.  The library had a few good books on the subject.  I bought a used chainsaw at the swap-meet, got the manual with it, luckily.   Talk about lucky,  I didn't cut any that we didn't use.

I was lucky too, and only two trees fell the wrong way.  Kind of scary, but in the middle of the forest it didn't matter much, I got out of the way, alright.  It's those trees that stand  straight up that'll fool ya. 

Removing the bark was a difficult task.  Way too hard for a draw-knife, so I made a tool.  I used a flat shovel and cut the head into a small sharp blade.  I duct-taped a long-slim piece of slate to the handle, for weight, and started peeling bark.


The construction help takes a break while his supervisors look/sit on.  Peeling logs is hard work, getting the bark off took about 45 minutes for each 20' long log.  The blue handled tool to the left is a 'peavey', used to roll logs.  The peavey has spiked teeth to grip the log and the handle to rotate it with leverage.






I cut trees, slashed branches and peeled logs all winter.   I left 8 trees of this age standing, for every one I cut down.  We have way too many trees on our property.






When April rolled around, enough snow had melted and with the help of the neighbor's tractor, I dragged them from where they lay to a location nearer the house site.  There I could lay two rails perpendicular to the fall line, so I could roll them easily and do the finish peeling with the draw-knife.






I "rode" every one for at least 45 minutes using the draw-knife, as well, for a total of 1-1/2 hours of preparation for each log.  I made a little peeling seat out of a 14" piece of 2" x 6", a piece of carpet and a piece of foam.  Oh, my aching rear.








I love the look of this hand-hewn pine logs.  They'll make a terrific ceiling.  April 1991.







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