Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Cutting up Slabs

Having access to a large supply of slabs is a bit of a plus when you are heating with wood. It feels good to be able to use up this by-product of milling lumber.

One issue though is that they need to be cut up, and they are generally smaller than entire trees. This means you need to find a way to bundle them together and then cut a bunch at once.

Last year I had some leftover two by fours which I built into a frame for cutting up my slab pile. At the end of cutting through my pile, I just continued on cutting up my frame, as it was in such poor shape.

This year I thought of something similar, but then opted for something a bit more expedient.

Here is a disclaimer - I am describing something I do. I am not in any way advocating anyone else to do this.

First off, I suit up with my chainsaw chaps and ear muffs. I generally try to be as safe as possible when using the chainsaw. At least in this respect, I am able to work on a flat, clear surface with little overhead danger.

I set up my aluminum ladder, stacked a number of slabs through the rungs, and then put on a ratchet strap to bundle them together securely.

I also tried to anchor down the legs of the ladder with some more planks and cinder blocks. This was probably overkill, but again - safety first!

Then, with my slabs held at a comfortable working height, I alternated sides (to try to keep the loads balanced), cutting down the slabs until I made a final cut on either side of the ladder. The final cut I made with great caution, not being eager to make contact between my saw and the aluminum. I was obviously concerned about the saw, the ladder, and my person!

Eventually I even placed two bins under each side of the ladder, so my cut pieces of slab fell directly into some bins for carrying back to the woodshed.

I have to confess to some pleasure at how well this system has worked for me. Again, the place to be careful is when I am cutting close to the ladder, and just being mindful of the stability of the ladder as slabs are cut away.

 

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