Tuesday, 18 June 2013

I'm a lumberjack and I'm OK

How do you chop down large trees when you are all alone with no-one to help? How do you do it safely?
Jean-Claude demonstrates his efficient techniques. Hardly a day goes by right now when he doesn't chop down at least one tree. They are very tall and taking sun off his house. It's a great excuse to bond with his closest friend (other than me), his chainsaw.    These particular trees are Thuja, also known as Northern White cedar, an evergreen conifer.        
Having chosen the tree, you need to attach a rope to it. What if the tree's too tall to climb and too dangerous? That's where his extendable hook thingee comes in handy. He attaches a rope to the tree which is attached to an even longer rope which is attached to a tightening doofer.
Attach this to a sturdy tree in the vicinity or something else unbudgeable and start tightening until the rope is taught. There must be tension on the tree to be chopped so that it falls in the right direction and not (as has happened) on his fence.
Now comes the fun part. Cut a large wedge out of the trunk. Do Ncut all the way through and don't cut too low as you may need a bit of stump for leverage when tto remove the stump later. Remember you can always cut more later but if you cut too much now......you're stuffed.
Now start ratcheting and increasing the tension on the rope attached to the tree to be removed. Note that the open V is cut in the direction you want the tree to fall. This tightening can take a bit of effort.
As the strain increases the tree will fall in thgee direction of the cut and the tension will ensure it doesn't wander. Now theere's the messy job of cutting off all the little branches, cleaning the trunk and chopping it up to make things or use for firewood. At present he's using it to make enormous compost bins and a cabin to tore firewood.
Part of the cleanup includes shredding/ pulverising all the branches and foliage. This is bad news if you have sensitive eyes and lungs and the dust and resin can play havoc with these. Wood can fly into your eyes so you need a breathing mask with an appropriate filter, JC has several mask for several jobs. There's the one for wood, there's also one for protecting the eyes but without breathing assistance, for using the weed trimmer.
JC is well-endowed with tools to make all his efforts a success. He likes solving practical problems. His workshop is even more impressive than my Dad's was .And at the end of a lumberjack's day in France there's the pinot, what else?


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