Today feels like a total, complete failure.

We spent all day yesterday preparing a big tree. We get excited about big trees because they give a lot of wood. We felled it, cut it into sections, manhandled the sections into good positions, cut the scabs off so we had square and level cuts.

Today was supposed to be a day of massive productivity. We had 3 logs ready to skim 2 inch chunks off, that we could cut into 2x3s. So many things went wrong…

First of all we cut into the base of the tree only to find it was rotten in the center a significant way up. Oh well, instead of getting all the rest of our floor joists and headers from this log we’ll have to cut around the rot and make smaller pieces.

Rotten in the middle

We get to work, manage to get a dozen planks cut and then… the chainsaw won’t cut anymore. We check all the usual suspects but paradoxically this tree with rot in it also has parts that are too hard to cut along the grain. Nothing was wrong with our chainsaws – but they just refused to bite in along the grain!

No matter how hard we push it just wont cut

Disaster! We spent a whole day (and the fuel it cost us to do that) getting this log ready and we can’t cut it??

Let’s try the next log. Same problem, and our chainsaws refuse to even cut through 2 inches of the stuff!! Unbelievable!

Ok then. The center of the tree seems to be made of steel, let’s just cut the edges. It’s more work for less wood, but we’ve already sunk a say and a half into this tree so let’s do it.

No dice. We cut the chunk off and… It splits, top edge to bottom edge and we can’t do anything with it. Yet more fuel and time wasted. In fact the circular saw we used to edge it jams with sap and smokes terribly as we cut the stuff. Even the edges of this tree seem made of iron.

Cracked from top to bottom, junk

Gummed up circular saw

What about the head of the tree? It buried itself into the ground pretty deeply and required much effort to uncover and cut off branches jammed downwards into the earth. Guess what it’s rotten- unusable.

Huge effort exerted to dig this beast out
And it’s totally rotten

Now I’m so frustrated I could cry manly tears. I’m looking at 3 beautifully prepared logs; straight, level and square and we have to just abandon them.

Heavy heartedly we move onto another tree. I start working at cutting it down, and it falls the wrong way. Hidden in the core of the tree was a big section of rot making it unpredictable and uncontrollable. It falls the wrong way, off the mountain and is lost to us. We can handle milling on a slope, but a cliff, nope.

Onto tree number 2 then. Cutting away, and it gets its branches stuck in another tree. We try to persuade it to untangle and fall down, but instead it jumps off its trunk and lands 3 feet away totally vertical, tied to the other tree even tighter. We have to leave it, it’s too dangerous to try do anything more with it.

And so went today. Total, dismal failure where we expected encouraging progress. I hate milling.

What a disaster


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