Progress report: we’ve sped up a bit, but not fast enough. We’ve been cutting 4.5m long 2×6’s to use as floor joists, and for 3 days now we’ve been working on the same tree, it was a big one!
We’ve managed to cut around 50 joists so far and have been turning the bits not deep enough to be a joist into wood for our staircases. We’ve settled into our rythem, we’re making progress and then morning rain.
We have a tarp we us that we can drape over the work area, so usually we just wait rain out, or manage to do limited work under our tarp. Morning rain is a different story though as a PNG wide cultural accepted norm is to not go anywhere if you wake up and it’s raining. So we didn’t get out till half past ten.
Then we ran into chainsaw issues. First off the pin in the chain tensioner popped out (again!). This involves taking the chain off, opening up the chainsaw, removing the chain tensioner and then creatively hammering the pin back in. This time creatively hammering involved holding the pin with my multitool and hammering with the backside of an axe.
That got it running again, which was good as it was the only chainsaw we had to hand. We left at 10:30, but it rained heavily at 10:40 so most people(and thus most of our tools) remained at camp.
Not half an hour later the same chainsaw just plain refused to start. This was a recurring problem from yesterday, my shoulder muscles are still aching today from the amount of pulling on the starter I did to try get it going.
Luckily our other saw arrived and we could continue, but it’s certainly slower minus one of the 880 chainsaws. We managed to get to work untill at 4:30 we decided to call it quits because our other chainsaw was squealing at as intermittently.
Back at camp, time for repairs. The squeeling turned out to be a metal barb sticking out of the guide bar that sometimes touched the chain. A bit of filing should have solved that problem. For the saw that wouldn’t start it was more of a challenge.
Taking the thing apart we diagnosed that the spark plug wasn’t firing. We grounded the end of it against the engine block and cranked the starter, no spark. That led us to the magneto, which we took out to find all gunked up, presumably meaning the flywheel wasn’t able to send a current up to the spark plug. I had my doubts – I don’t think dirt can stop a magnet inducing a voltage. Put it back together again, no go. Ok, next we checked the switch was working properly and not grounding out the sparkplug. It wasn’t, but taking the choke off I saw it was pretty dirty in there, cleaned it out. And guess what, it started!
One thing we’ve learned is that taking a chainsaw apart and putting it back together again tends to fix most chainsaw issues, we don’t know why!
Such is life here on a milling trip, one challenge after another. Problems, repairs, delays.
Still on the positive side the Kovol people love having us here, and the antibiotics we’ve been giving to one of the village leaders is working wonders on reducing the swelling in his hand after he cut it 4 weeks ago.
Keep praying for us, it can be pretty discouraging when things keep going wrong, but it’s also quite satisfying to get into a rythem of surviving one day at a time.