Monday, October 29, 2018

Reviewing Timber Tuff Skidding Tongs

Now with the sawmill no longer in the mix, I'm focused on trying to make my firewood production as simple as possible.  With that in mind, I tried to take to heart the parts of the job that are messiest, as well as most frustrating.  One of these annoyances occurs out in the bush, trying to thread a chain under the end of a log in the mud or brush before my log arch can pick it up.  To that end, I decided to try out a skidding tong.

Hitting up Amazon proved to be the most economical option, so I waited patiently for it to arrive.  Once it did, I at first tried to use a short chain between the tong's hook, and the hook on my arch.  The tong hangs down a fair distance though, so I realized that every change to shorten the chain would help in lifting the logs higher off the ground.  To that end, I eventually removed the hook from the arch, and simply bolted the chain directly to the roller on the arch.

One can see how low the hooks hang here.  In this photo I have already bolted the chain directly to the roller, and the tongs can be hooked on to the best position for the situation.
Since then, the tongs have worked in an acceptable manner.  They aren't quite as trouble free as I would have liked - small diameter logs don't easily get picked up by them, and require some nursing before I can drive off with confidence.

Occasionally, a log does shake free of the points - of course, this could happen with the chain too.

This is a pretty decent sized log for our property, and it fits onto the tongs well.
A fairly significant shortcoming is that it really can only carry a single log at a time.  I will perhaps try to experiment with ways of getting it to hold more, but for now, it seems a limitation.  Not a huge one, as I'm currently trying to bring in larger logs anyway - but it could be frustrating.  I may consider only using it for larger logs, and just chaining smaller ones together in my original manner.

I'm not sure if I would consider purchasing it in the future - perhaps once I see it pick up some nicer sized logs that I'd have had to muck about to retrieve, but for now, it's not a whole lot better than a simple chain and slip hook have been.

Lots of brush under this log, it would have been a mixed bag to thread a chain around it in the bush.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Sealing the Outside Crawlspace Vents

As you may have read, I have changed up how I seal the crawlspace vents.  Now it was time to take the final step and cut and fit some foam to them.

At least I didn't need to put on the full kit it takes to go under the cabin.
From this for under the cabin...

...to this for under the porch.
This year I cheaped out and used some open cell polystyrene foam sheets that are really inexpensive.  Once I know that my concept works, I can switch it up with something more pricey.

Easy to cut, but also a bit messy.
The sheets were only an inch thick, so I inserted multiple sheets to build it up thick.
And the generally finished seal.
So far, it went well, and looks really good.  We'll check in again in the spring and see how it holds up over the winter.


Thursday, October 11, 2018

The End of an Era - Selling the Sawmill a.k.a. How to Dismantle a Woodmizer LT10 Sawmill a.k.a. New Beginnings

If I recall correctly, last year I only cut two or three beams on the sawmill.  I didn't have any big projects in mind, but did have some large logs on the skidway.  One of the largest was a huge birch that had blown down previously, and Grandpa helped me to portion it off and bring it in.  I wasn't sure what I was going to do with it, but I knew it had some good board feet in it.  I cut it into two large eight by eight beams.  Kenny offered to help move one of the beams, and immediately pinched the tip of his finger badly and that really killed my interest in doing any more unneeded cutting for the season.

This past summer Donna and I made loose plans to build a new sauna.  With that in mind, I cut up a stack of true two by four beams in twelve and eight foot lengths.  Once they were on my drying rack, I realized that I didn't really have too many future projects in mind again.  This coincided with good friends of our family talking about their own desire to own a mill to help them construct a barn in the near future (they have quite a menagerie already - and are open to expanding it).

A handshake arrangement was made (after consulting Donna), and Thanksgiving weekend was arranged as the best opportunity to get it dismantled and moved to its new home.

Several times during this process, the phrase "highest, best use" came to mind - not just for the mill, but also for things like my time and attention.  It's a principle I can only attest to know about and occasionally strive for, not something I claim to have mastered.

First part of any job - forming an overall plan of action.

Picking the low-hanging fruit to boost our confidence.  Removing one bed section.

Down to just the very heavy mast - time to bring in the big guns (both mental AND physical!)

A little grunting and groaning to get started.  Note the powerhouse framed by the mast!

It felt easier to move laying flat.

I asked for this picture NOT to be taken.

This slope seemed to get steeper once we were carrying the mast.

Ahh, sweet relief!

The beams are required to lay the track on.

Everything all banded up, and the family finally rounded up and buckled in!

Kenny found a tree - maybe Christmas material?

Bonus Blue Jay who had been visiting us.