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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