Firewood Therapy

Maggies Farm mentioned the history of the chainsaw.

“The gasoline-powered chainsaw is one of the finest inventions since the wheel and the plow. It’s really just a mechanized stone axe like my Indian [a]ncestors used, and I am eagerly awaiting the laser saw to bring wood cutting into the 21st Century.”

So beautiful!  Just thinking about chainsaws brings a tear to my eye.  The two tools I value the most are my chainsaw and my tractor (and my *&^%$ tractor is dead).  (Honorable mention to the woodsplitter.  Theoretically you can live without a woodsplitter; but is that really living?)

At any rate a saw is essential for anyone who lives in any environment that grows any tree taller than a lamppost.  (Which means just about everywhere but the Sahara and Manhattan.)

If you want to homestead you need a chainsaw more than you need anything else…including your trusty dog, your beloved truck, and even your banjo.  Yes…they’re that important.

Here are some freshly invented Curmudgeonly facts about a chainsaw:

  1. If a tree falls and you don’t have a chainsaw you’re SOL.  Trust me on this…the overpriced hippie bow saw with the unobtanium Nordic metal blade you saw advertised in some organic gardening magazine won’t do shit on a real tree.  Loggers are proof; they ditched their beautiful two man handsaws (the misery whip) as soon as they could.
  2. Not every lifestyle requires a chainsaw.  For example, you might be a stockbroker or a crack dealer.  If you live a lifestyle which doesn’t require a chainsaw, perhaps your life is empty and meaningless?  Buy a chainsaw just in case.  Maybe you’ll get lucky and a tree will fall on your car.  Then you’ll be happy you’ve got your trusty saw!
  3. One chainsaw is all you’ll need to cut plenty of wood to keep a household warm all winter.  You’ll work like a dog and the saw will look basically brand new.  This is because God prefers chainsaws to humans.
  4. Running a chainsaw is serious exercise.  In my youth I would run a chainsaw 10-12 hours a day.  How the hell did I do that?  Getting old pisses me off.
  5. No matter how smart you are…you’ve got to have muscle to operate a chainsaw.
  6. No matter how tough you are…you’ve got to use your head to operate a chainsaw.
  7. Chainsaws are powerful, obvious, adaptable, reparable, don’t have electronics, don’t need batteries, don’t require Internet connections, last a long time, and can move mountains of material.  This is why society sells more iPods than chainsaws.
  8. Chainsaws are the ultimate mechanical Rorschach test.  Is it a nimble little powerhouse that can do the work of ten men?  Or is it an obnoxious polluting death machine that can kill you in gruesome ways that exceed your worst nightmare.  The answer a person gives to this question is a window into their soul.

Here’s to the noble, dangerous, handy thing we call chainsaws…  Huzzah!

Update: My good friend Dr. Mingo responds to #2: “I bought a chainsaw when I lived in a townhouse and didn’t need one; just because they’re so fucking cool!”  He also sums up #8 perfectly “chainsaws can be both nimble powerhouse and obnoxious death machine; like a gun they’ll work no matter which way you point them”.

About Adaptive Curmudgeon

I will neither confirm nor deny that I actually exist.
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11 Responses to Firewood Therapy

  1. #4: About 20 years ago, after my 1st year of serious felling/bucking to feed the two stoves here at the ranch, I thought I was getting a weird growth on my hand. It was a hard lump alongside my thumb… wait… there was one on BOTH hands!
    Who knew sawing would give you “thumb-muscles”?

  2. aczarnowski says:

    I’ve wanted a saw for a while knowing all of this but always having something else to take care of. This put me over the top. A saw and accessories will be inventoried shortly.

  3. Joel says:

    Owning a chainsaw means you will never involuntarily sleep in the cold.

    A woodstove helps too, of course. But if you can only have one of the two, go for the saw.

  4. Matt says:

    Re: #8

    If ten men set to work at killing you, chances are it’ll be even messier than one man with a chainsaw. Indeed, if they devote their full combined effort to the project, there likely won’t even be much left of you to bury. On the plus side, what little remains of your body will likely be removable with simply the judicious application of a garden hose on full power. So yeah…work of 10 men.

    Can’t say as I’ve ever properly _needed_ a chainsaw (if one of my trees ever falls inconveniently, my neighbor will be happy to cut it up for me, just for the right to keep the wood — he’s said so, several times 🙂 )…but I know I _want_ one.

  5. With the recent hurricane Irene, chainsaws have been a must here. Although, that being said, I can accomplish about as much clearing of trees with our front end loader as I can with a chainsaw.. and faster too!

  6. Joe in PNG says:

    Meh, I’d rather have a good tablesaw… that and a good chopsaw, and maybe a quality router… plus a heavy duty plainer… and …

  7. Joe in PNG says:

    Indeed- I can hardly look at a bit of lumber without thinking “what kind of cool guitar/ bass can I make out of this?”

  8. Roger says:

    People fail to realize a chainsaw is good for more than “cutting wood”. I have used mine to build polebarns, stair runners, trim hedges and process deer. I will admit they are a little hard on a carcass for quartering deer but faster than a hacksaw.
    Your wife will start to really question you when she walks into your barn and finds you square filing the chain on your ported, squished and muffler modified saw muttering “This is my saw. there are many like it, but this one is mine…”

  9. MaxDamage says:

    Chainsaws are very much akin to power tools and automobiles — what you spend on them will determine how long they will last and how reliable they will be. There is only a slight difference in money from a one-time, throw-away tool to a usable saw, but there is a gap from there to the utterly reliable product that might be difficult to justify for a banker in Des Moines.

    In my experience, if you buy a Husqvarna or a Stihl you will, like a fine firearm, have a tool that will last the rest of your life. For a bit less you can buy a Poulan Pro or McCullough or whoever-is-making-the-one for Sears or John Deere, and you’ll have a saw that works most of the time and only takes an hour to figure out what parts are needed.

    Or you can buy one at Wal Mart and throw it away after two chains.

    It’s hard to justify the purchase of a Mercedes when you only drive a mile to work. The Kia seems to make sense there, especially given the savings. A chain saw, on the other hand, only comes out to work when there is storm damage, heating fuel to be made, or other important work to do in order to maintain the most valuable investment you’ve made thus far in your life, which is likely your home. Risking a multi-hundred-thousand dollar home to save $50 on a no-name saw is a false economy.

    Spending money on good tools is never a waste.

    – Max

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