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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Saw It All - The First Few Days


“Write without pay until somebody offers to pay you. If nobody offers within three years, sawing wood is what you were intended for.”

Well.....we've begun the sawing process...and boy is it tiring...and fun!

We've hired our new friend Mike to help us with cutting our logs into timbers.  He's a great guy!  Fun to work with, quick with a joke, and strong as an ox!  He's got his Woodmizer saw parked up on the farm and we've been buzzing away at our stack of 75 logs.

Each log has a number spray painted on it.  That number corresponds to a major timber in the cordwood house.  That timber is sawed from the center of the log (the heartwood).  Beyond making sure we get the timber we have another long list of other wood we need (2"x6", 2"x8", 2"x10", 4"x4", 4"x6", 4"x8", 6"x8" material).  These are interior walls, bracing, rafters...the list goes on and on.

Mike had stacked up the logs (decked them) in three piles.  He'll move the mill from pile to pile.  But to get the log from the pile to the mill - you have to peavy.  That means using a peavy to move the log.  A peavy is basically a lever with a hinged claw at the end.

Once to the mill, the log is lifted onto the mill by hydraulic arms.  Then the rest of the time on the mill other hydraulic arms turn it and flip it.  As the saw runs over the log you remove the first cut which is almost all bark (the slab wood).  Then in subsequent passes the saw will cut of 1", 2", or what ever thickness you want.  These slabs (which are called fliches) are pushed to the side (back onto the hydraulic arms).  The log is rotated 90 degrees and the process starts again.

Here is a video to show how we did it.

Here's a run down of what has happened each day so far (we're gonna be at this for at least a week).

Friday, April 19th

Today we got started at 8am - well actually Nate got there at 7am to prep the site.  Mike was ready to saw and a few friends came to help (Jess, Terry, Lloyd, Mike - another Mike, and Kim).  

Nevin, Zane, Mike (the other Mike), and Jess - taking a break.

Ella and her stylish "muck boots".

Terry telling Mike (the other Mike) - how it's done.

Mike (the sawyer Mike) working his magic.

Mike (the other Mike), Terry, and Nate removing a slab.

Getting close to a finished beam.

It was a fairly nice day, but being the first day we were cutting it was a slow day.  It was a warm day but around 1pm the rain started and it was time to quit.  

Saturday, April 20th
Back up to the farm by 7am and then sawing by 8am.  Today was a crazy weather day.  It's been very windy here for about a week - and it didn't stop today.  We had wind, rain, snow, snow pellets, and even some sun.  The crew today was Matt, Tim, and Scott.  

Mike and Nate checking the lumber list.

 Matt, Scott, and Nate using peavys to get a log in place.

 Matt making sure the beam comes out right.

We made it to about 3pm before the weather got the best of us.

Sunday, April 21st
Today the sun was out!  What a blessing.  After snow and wind it was great to feel the sun on your back all day (even though we all did get a bit sun burned).  Today Tim was the helper - and boy can he size up a log and help get it cut down to size.  

We worked until 3:30pm and got tons done.

Monday, April 22nd
We're to sawing in the evenings now that Nate is back to work.  Tim came and helped again and we did 8 logs in 3.5 hours.  That's got to be some sort of record.

Here are some pics of the cut wood we have so far.

 Denise and Mira at the end of Day #2

 The kids on the beams at the end of Day #3.

After 4 days of sawing...

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Help with Sawing

Hello Friends,

This a a general call for some help on Friday, April 19th,  Saturday, April 20th, and Sunday, April 21st.

We have cut down trees for the cordwood home we are planning to build, and on April 19th and 20th the saw mill is coming to cut those trees into timbers.

We are in need of some help on those two days.

We plan to have two tractors there.  One big one to lift the logs to the mill - and a smaller one to transport the heavier pieces of lumber from the mill to the stacks.  There will be some lifting involved - but only on slab wood and smaller pieces like 2"x4" and 2"x6" and the like.

It would be awesome if we could get your help .  Of course a hearty lunch and plenty of coffee and water will be provided both days.

Here are the details:

Friday, April 19th - 8am to 5pm
Saturday, April 20th - 8am to 5pm
Sunday, April 21th - 8am to 5pm

If you can come all day on one of those days that would be great...but part of the day is great too!  Please let us know ASAP if you can help.  You can email us or call us..  Feel free to bring a friend.

Thanks for helping out.  Look forward to hearing from you.

Nate and Denise

Saturday, April 13, 2013

It's a GROUSE!

Yes...it is a small bird native to our area....but it is also a Garage that will first be a House - then be a garage again once our cordwood home is built.  Get it, "Grouse".  Well we think it's humorous anyway.   

The plan as it stands is that we will be building a Grouse this summer.  In fact Nate went and got the building permit just the other day.

Currently we live in about a 1500 square foot 2 story house with a full basement.  In an effort to practice what we preach about simple and sustainable living our Grouse will be a whopping 525 square feet (one floor with about 225 square feet of attic space above it).

Here you can see the floor plan.  Pretty simple.  A small bathroom, a one counter kitchen, a fireplace and the rest open.  At this point we are not planning on partitioning off any of the downstairs for sleeping (we'll just use curtains). 

You can think of it like the Ingall's home in the popular TV show "Little House on the Prairie".  They all managed to survive in a small one room house for years!  I like this mash-up of the "Little House" and "Dallas" TV show opening credits (you had to grow up in the 80's to appreciate this.)

For those of you who like 3D visuals - here's a few of what it will kind of look like.

This will be a simple "stick built" Grouse using lumber that we will cut from the wood on our land.  The walls will be blown cellulose insulation, the trusses wooden, steel roofing, and the whole thing will sit on a cement slab.

For those of you trying to image how small this will be think about it this way.  525 square feet divided among 5.5 beings (5 humans and a dog - thus the .5) gives each person 95 square feet of personal space.  To see how big this is - get out a tape measure and create a box 9 1/2 feet by 10 feet.  Now stand in the middle of it.  That's your space for the next year.  Now join that box to 4.5 other boxes the same size - and you've got yourself a Grouse.

When we think this can't be done we remember two things.  

#1 - some people in New York City pay a lot of money for something this small - just so they can have a view of Times Square.  

#2 - We have friends that lived in a hunting cabin (that may even be a bit smaller) for over a year, through a northern New York winter.  The cabin had no running water, no inside toilet, no insulation, and an open hearth fireplace for heating.  They had 2 small children and the wife was pregnant with their third.  

Craig and Maryann - you're our heroes!