Saturday, June 30, 2018

Chainsaw Blunders Will Kill You!

There are too many mistakes in this stump; one is wasteful, two are potentially fatal. The first one is the high stump that the cutter made. This was a white oak, and was included in a sale of high quality trees, so the stump should have been just off the ground. Cutting the stump above his waist was just plain stupid if the cutter was trying to make money on this tree. Cutting high not only throws away high value wood, it pushes the bucking points of the segments into lower grade logs, and devalues the entire tree. But that's just money.

The front cut defies belief. The purpose of the front cut (face cut) is to aim the tree, because it wants to fall at a right angle to this cut. Wood that is left in front of the face interferes with the forward and downward travel of the tree. The two cuts that should make this open face must meet! Wood in this face interferes with the rotation of the tree to the ground. In olden days the front cut was opened up to 45°, because that was what you could do with an axe. The tree would close the opening halfway to the ground, breaking the hinge. Nowadays, because we use chainsaws, we open that cut up to 70° or 90°. The tree will rotate all the way to the ground before the hinge breaks. There is no excuse for making only a single cut on the front side of the hinge. When the tree begins to rotate, it will hit that wood and split lengthwise, causing extreme danger to the cutter as the tree elevates on a springpole.

Now, the back cut. Way back in B. C. (Before Chainsaws) we cut the front opening to aim the tree and to allow the tree to turn down on the hinge. Old timers call the hinge Holding Wood. Nowadays, the holding wood is the backstrap that you cut last; so you have to be careful with your terms. The tree was felled by cutting from the backside with a crosscut saw. At some point, if the tree has forward weight, the tree tips on the hinge. If the tree has excessive forward weight it will tip too soon, and split lengthwise instead of bending the hinge, elevating itself on a springpole called a barber chair. Chainsaws can bore through a tree, making a hinge of proper thickness in order to prevent springpoles, while you leave a backstrap that holds the tree in place on its hinge. The cutter who made this stump obviously did not possess the skills to do that, and he probably did not understand the importance of a proper setup on his stump.

I think the cutter survived, because the ruined tree was cut up in pieces and left around the stump. Learn how to use your chainsaw safely and effectively. Now, go and sin no more.

PS: This is a repost from June 2015.  I have been thinking about this subject, and I have encountered only one person smashed by a barberchair incident.  Another person, whom is still living and cutting trees got busted up by one.  I know four people who have been smashed up (and lived) by trees they match-cut.  They cut from one side, then the other, severing the tree with no hinge to guide it.  The broken bone and body count in my personal experience is higher from match cutting than by creating a barber chair, but both are extremely dangerous, bad ideas.

Friday, June 29, 2018

Weekend Steam: If It Says ACME, It Has To Be Good!

The brief writeup with this video says that it hadn't run in more than fifty years.  They took it apart, oiled it, put it back together, and it ran.  Remarkable!

Thank You, Merle, for spotting!

Thursday, June 28, 2018

I Found Work

We had a storm all the way across Southern Illinois tonight, (Th June 28) and boy oh boy did it make the trees whip.  I checked the Bradford pears when the wind let up, and of course they were broken up. Don't plant ornamental pears.  Nothing but trouble.

The good news is that these things make pretty good firewood, and it will dry just fine by the time cold weather arrives.

Pears are limby, and sort of disagreeable to work on.  They are not as bad as a shingle oak to work up.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Site Indicator: There's Crawdad Holes, and There's Big Crawdad Holes

Foresters are looking up, down, and all around all the time when they are walking in the woods.  As the years roll by you pick up clues that help you understand the sites you are crossing on your recons and cruises.  I worked most of my forester years in the Clay Pan Region of Southern Illinois. The soils here are not as productive as the prairie soils north of this region, but if you understand what plants like which sites, you can use that knowledge to great advantage.  What does a massive crawdad hole mean to you?

This really big crawdad hole on a creek bottom site tells you that there is no restrictive layer in this soil; something that the ancient soils of the Clay Pan Region typically have. No restrictive layer in deep soil in a creek bottom is a good thing if you want to grow high quality hardwoods.

The two most common soil types you find in unrestricted creek bottoms are Belknap and Sharon Silt Loam.  Both are great sites for growing black walnut.  Sharon is a bit more productive, and if you don't have a soil map, you can easily tell whether you are on a Sharon site by knowing Spicebush.  It is common on Sharon, and does not seem to grow on Belknap.  These creek bottoms will have bluffs on either side, of course.  Those bluffs will have soil types such as Hickory, which also do not have a restrictive layer, due to the steepness of the soil, which inhibited fragipan development.  The bluffs are ideal sites for groundhog dens because of this.  It just so happens that Spicebush is a great seasoning to add to a groundhog in your roaster.  Cut Spicebush twigs in segments and poke them in all over your groundhog after you have parboiled it, and before you roast it with potatoes, carrots, and onions.

We were talking about walnut.  Here is a nice, 19 inch Diameter at Breast Height black walnut on a 3382 Belknap site. It was growing well, and will be worth good money when it is harvested.

One of the ways you identify black walnut is by the chocolate color of the bark when you peel off the outer, oxidized layer.

You can see the 3382 Belknap soil type between the steep bluffs on either side on this soil map. The walnut featured above was on this site.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Ruger's Auction To Benefit The Light Foundation

This week Ruger is offering a .357 Flattop Blackhawk with collector interest.  This is one that was made to commemorate the 50th year of the Blackhawk, and it is made in Flattop configuration on the smaller frame of the original Blackhawks.  The price is not outlandish yet for a collector item, and this baby is engraved!  Go to Ruger's Auction Page and click More Images to see all of the photos.  This fine single action revolver sells mid-day, June 27, 2018, so CLICK HERE to read all about it and to place your bid.  $1026.01  Wow!

Monday, June 25, 2018

Tuesday Torque: A Few Nicely Restored Economy Engines At Evansville

Evansville is home to Hercules and Economy, so you always expect to see those brands on display at the SIAM (Southern Indiana Antique Machinery) Show.   Next year will be a great one because it marks 105 years since production started.  Here are a few that were next to Gary and me when we set up.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Danger Lurks

Every time you go in the woods you need to remind yourself to watch where you put your feet.  That's even more important during the growing season when greenery may hide things like this old bell-shaped cistern.  If you fall in this thing, you are not climbing out!  It had boards over the opening, but they have rotted away, making it a deadly trap for unsuspecting wildlife and humans.  Tell a landowner they need to fill it in and seal it and they typically respond with, "Don't turn me in!"  I always carried a whistle, just in case I needed a noisemaker to attract rescuers if I fell down one of these things, but it seemed a joke more than a comfort.

I knew  of a deep hand dug well in an extremely remote area, and on a visit to the property I noted that it had been filled.  I thanked the landowner when I called him to report on my visit and he said, "Huh?"  That's a mystery.... Be careful out there.

Friday, June 22, 2018

Weekend Steam: It's Gritty, It's Real: Sandaoling Coal Mine Engines

Merle keeps finding 'em, and we keep posting them!  Thanks, Merle!  This is not exactly a tourist destination, but it should be.

One Of Our Special Treats

We made a trip back to Eastern Kentucky in the Fall of '84 and brought back some tiny sourwood seedlings from a strip mine bench. They give us a good show every June with their flowers, and again in the fall when the leaves turn red.

It's a joy and a reminder of our former lives.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Site Indicator: Blackjack Oak, Quercus marilandica

Blackjack oak tells you that you are on a dry, hot site where growing high value timber is difficult.

Blackjack leaves tend toward a spatula shape with shallow lobes at the outer end.  It is in the red oak group, so there is a whisker at the end of each lobe.  The buds are not as large and well shaped as black oak, but they do the typical bud cluster at the end of the twig like all oaks.

Foresters have historically tried to wipe out blackjacks during timber stand improvement cuts, but you need to realize that if blackjack is growing there, that may be as good as it gets in that particular spot.  I find them on 13A and 13B Bluford high spots, which dry out quickly, and on southwest facing hillsides of 340C3 Zanesville.  Those are not great sites for producing high value timber, but the soil still needs to be protected, and blackjack makes acorns to feed the turkey, deer, and squirrels.  I figure you should accept this tree for what it is and don't waste effort trying to make a site do what it cannot. 

Blackjack bark is a bit darker, with tighter blocks than black oak, and the fissures have a bit of orange showing, much like black oak.

These trees are limby, and the firewood they make is good, but it is a bit hard to split by hand due to the limbiness.  Working amid the dense limbs with a chainsaw can be frustrating, and possibly dangerous when you are making wood.

Move a bit to another site on the hillside and you probably will find the site changes so you can grow your high value tree.  Move toward a draw, or down the slope where you have water movement in the soil, and the site often changes suddenly. 

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Ruger's Auction To Benefit The Light Foundation

Ruger is offering a P95 Double Action Only (DAO) from 2001 to bidders this week.  This New In Box pistol is in 9mm x 19 caliber, with stainless slide and grip frame of urethane and long strand fiberglass.  It has a spurless hammer, no full cock hammer position, no external safety, and no decocking lever.  It is a new firearm and it comes with two ten-round magazines.  It sells mid-day, June 20, 2018.  CLICK HERE to read the entire description and to place your bid.  You may get a real bargain with this one!  $465

Monday, June 18, 2018

Tuesday Torque: Gary's Armstrong Engine

This Armstrong engine is a rare one, and it has a few unusual features.  The pushrod goes through the mixing valve on its way to the exhaust rocker, and the governor works backward from what most hit-and-miss engines do.  It is a pretty nice, original-looking engine.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Rough, But Ready

Elgin National Coffee Mill.  A little TLC and this old girl could go to work.

Back To The Old Grind!

Friday, June 15, 2018

Weekend Steam: 844 at 75 MPH

Holy Cow, those crossings come up real regular at this speed! Thanks, Merle!

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

It'll Put Your Eye Out, Kid!

How do you check the condition/temp of your hot tube ignition?  Look down that chimney and you will lose an eye.  DON'T DO IT! You will see a mirror hanging on some of these old engines, and this is why it hangs there.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Ruger's Auction To Benefit The Light Foundation

Ruger is offering a nice one this week.  It is a Single Six in .17 HMR, made in 2003, and it wears the NRA logo on the grips, for Friends of the NRA events.  Take a look at the photos and you will see this is a new gun, showing no shop wear at all. This nice little revolver sells mid-day, June 13, 2018.  CLICK HERE to place your bid.  $530

Monday, June 11, 2018

Tuesday Torque Two-Fer At The Evansville Engine Show

Southern Indiana Antique Machinery Show, 2018, Evansville, Indiana. A beautiful restoration of an Evans oilfield engine by Tony Sage, plus a bonus! The guys next to Tony were firing up a Thermoil Diesel engine with a homemade electric starter. Fuel was shooting up in a geyser, but they got it under control and made it run.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

SIAM Show, 2018, Evansville

Gary Bahre and I went over to the Southern Indiana Antique Machinery show today and had a good time.  Big Old Oilfield engines were the feature this time, and every one was a beauty.  Tony Sage always has a nice display.  He brought an engine he rescued and restored, and it would knock your eyes out.  There were a bunch of yellow-dog lanterns burning, and many of the photos look like the camera has light leaks because of the oil smoke from those lanterns.  Some photos and video will follow as I look at them and process them.

Friday, June 8, 2018

Weekend Steam: Let's Hop Across The Pond!

At least part of Britain is still there.  I doubt any of this will survive when the takeover is complete.

Thanks, Merle!

Pattie Will Soon Be 94!

Wheat Harvest is a special time for us. Susan's mother was born in 1924 when the threshers were at the farm. Back then, the wheat was harvested with a binder, the bundles of wheat were put into shocks, and then the bundles were brought to the threshing machine when the threshers came to the farm. Pattie always gets excited because of the connection of the wheat harvest to her birthday, and we do, too. Nowadays, our renter harvests 40 acres in part of an afternoon, and then goes on to other work around the fields that he farms. It is amazing to watch.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Chainsaw Rules Update

My friend Clint, who just had his skull fractured by a tree a couple weeks ago has posted a picture of the tree that did it.  He made some mistakes, and he told me about it.  He was being pushed because of having a couple of interns to watch as he was cutting trees in a timber stand improvement project.  He did not evaluate the lean on a ten inch diameter maple, and he did not make a hinge cut.  He cut one side, then the other, to make a match cut, which severs the tree, leaving nothing to control the direction of the fall. The crown jammed up on one side, creating torque, his saw was jammed and he stayed at the stump trying to pull it loose instead of escaping from the stump.  The butt end of the tree broke loose, and nailed him around his left eye as it made a swing to ten feet away from the stump.

I get negative comments on my chainsaw videos, and accident prevention is why I persist.  There is a short list of steps in falling a tree, and a long list of safety rules.  If you cut by those lists you may never see an accident while you have a saw in your hands.  The rules for chainsaws are not like the rules for firearms.  You have to violate two firearm rules to have an accident.  Violating one chainsaw rule can be fatal.  Check the list on the left side.  I should have thought of Rule 25 a long time ago, but it's there now.  You could add 24 and 25 to the Firearm Rules, too!

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Ruger's Auction To Benefit The Light Foundation

This week Ruger is offering a P89 Decocker in 9 mm.  It has an aluminum frame and a blued steel slide, with a 15 round magazine.  This is a new gun from the Ruger vault, and it is well worth bidding.  CLICK HERE to place that winning bid.  This fine pistol will sell mid-day, Wednesday, June 6, 2018.  $710

Monday, June 4, 2018

Tuesday Torque: Evansville, June 8-10, Be There!

There are always good tractors, engines, and cars to see at Evansville.  There is plenty of shade in the gas engine area, so you can really take your time and enjoy the show.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Friday, June 1, 2018

Weekend Steam: New Zealand Steam!

Merle is spotting good ones; Thank You, Merle!

Best Zero Distance For .22 LR?

I've been re-zeroing a couple of our .22s.  We have an event at the Carmi Rifle Club this week and one of the targets we have for new shooters is a line of lollipops at 50 feet. All of our .22s were zeroed at 25 yards, so I made the adjustments to ensure success for the participants.   When you zero at 25 yards, high-velocity .22 LR lands 4 to 5 inches low at 100 yards.  What I found when I zeroed at 50 feet was  the 100 yard groups were falling only 2 to 3 inches low.  That makes it much easier for a kid to hit a clay pigeon on the 100 yard berm.  The other thing I found is that at 75 yards the group falls only 1/2" low instead of a solid inch.  Zeroing at 50 feet gives you the ability to shoot with no correction to just beyond 80 yards with varmints around the compound.