Friday, March 16, 2007

Our good friends and neighbors, Steffen and Nicole, have a set of large and beautiful trees behind their home. They are in the process of remodelling their home and decided to remove four of these trees, which are about as old as their house (~100 years old).

Steffen and Nicole graciously agreed to give me whatever logs were recoverable, and they hired Caleb for their tree removal services. All four trees are fir: 3 douglas fir and one grand fir.

Below is Caleb's old truck for hauling away limbs:

Below is Caleb, doing what he does best: risking his life on a daily basis!

Below is a picture of Caleb felling the first douglas fir tree. The goal was to drop it onto the concrete pad which was the foundation for the old detached garage that was recently removed to facilitate the home remodel.

Below are the logs, lined up along the edge of their driveway.

Below is Steffen and Blake, helping my little winch get one of the shorter logs onto my trailer.

Because of the species, size, and convenience of these fir trees, I decided to try and keep the butt ends of the trees as logs that were at least 20ft in length. This would allow me to use these logs as continuous 7x9 top plates. This introduced a whole new level of complexity into moving and transporting these logs: their incredible weight and long length proved to be too much for my little 14' aluminum, single-axle trailer. After loading one such log onto my trailer with a rented forklift, I drove it to the saw mill very slowly on gravel backroads. I could not travel faster than 25 mph pulling the log, since my jeep would start to fishtail wildly back and forth. Needless to say, it was a bit scary. My trailer sustained significant damage from the whole fiasco, and I'll be visiting an aluminum welder here in the coming weeks to get it repaired.

I called up Nils, who happens to own a large diesel truck with a 16' steel bed and an articulated boom with a winch. I helped him get a load of recently felled logs at the Washington State University campus. Below shows a picture of Nils controlling the boom, and lifting a large log onto his truck. That boom truck is a beautiful thing. The logs we recovered from the WSU campus were some kind of exotic japanese hardwood. He plans to mill it into flooring.

After I got back to town with the boom truck, I dropped the hardwood logs into my trailer and went to Steffens and Nicole's to get my logs. That boom truck turned an otherwise nightmarish and intractable problem of transporting huge, long, heavy logs into something very simple. I delivered the logs to Jon for milling.

Below you can see me loading the largest log onto the back of the truck. How trivially easy with a truck like this!

But before I borrowed the boom truck from Nils, I tried loading the large logs into my trailer with a rented forklift. The forklift could easily lift these massive logs, but my poor trailer has some serious issues with the weight and the size. :-(


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