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The Official Axe Cordwood Challenge

DSW

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If this poplar doesn't get me to a cord I have a small sassafras hanging over my trail that has a hole in it that will be my last one.
 
H-Ranch

H-Ranch

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That's a great start.

I may get strange looks from it but I consider Sassafras a premium wood. It smells good, splits well, dries insanely fast, takes off extremely fast, leaves little ash, and is in my backyard, what else does a guy need? Coals? That's why I have oak. :cool:
You forgot to mention that it grows like a weed and typically has few branches. :D I have it all over my property also. It's definitely not a premium wood for me but whenever I have to cut it, it goes on the stacks. The FIL calls it "company wood" when you burn it in the fireplace because it pops and puts on a show for visitors.

Sounds like you have to get after the one over your trail anyway, be it with ax or chainsaw.
 

DSW

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Shoot, in my area it's pretty tame compared to poplar for taking over a woods.

What's worse is I could burn nothing but Hickory and white oak if I wanted to. Makes people sick when I go on about sassafras being one of my favorite woods.
 

DSW

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Yesterday:

Wakey, wakey

IMG_20190202_163034054_HDR.jpg

Strange tree

IMG_20190202_164135250_HDR.jpg

Switching it up. Roy Underhill would approve. That look straight to you? :)

IMG_20190202_172519533.jpg

Bummer. The rest of the tree should be pretty sound. You'd think being hollow would make it easier to split but it didn't feel that way.

IMG_20190202_174103829.jpg

IMG_20190202_174423693.jpg

About 20-25 feet left to go of 16 inch diameter wood. I'll be bucking them into logs, splitting those and then chopping to size.
 
LondonNeil

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I watched your video last night Clarence, doing devilishly well for a guy with a bionic leg! Super good shout check out Ben Scott, I watched a few of his and instantly subscribed! The Shinto rasp was not a tool a knew but now I've ordered one and the tip to shave handles with the back of a pair of scissors will be tried lots! Superb.
 
LondonNeil

LondonNeil

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I watched your video last night Clarence, doing devilishly well for a guy with a bionic leg! Super good shout check out Ben Scott, I watched a few of his and instantly subscribed! The Shinto rasp was not a tool a knew but now I've ordered one and the tip to shave handles with the back of a pair of scissors will be tried lots! Superb.

Had to giggle at a Brit in a forest... Well a small stand of trees.... You can hear the traffic close by. There are so few places to truly escape it in this county!
 
Multifaceted

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After several days of well below zero temps, messing around with vehicles more than I cared to, tending to animals, dressing for the cold just to go outside, and spending most other time inside I think I had a little cabin fever. Dug out the old plastic handle ax to see what I could do. Turns out the head was not terribly shaped so a quick file and stone treatment to the edge made it usable. At 33" it's probably a touch longer than ideal, though I've not done a tremendous amount of ax work so I'm not sure what ideal is for me. It is definitely not the heirloom piece that I would prefer to be using but it's what I have.

Took a short walk past the wood stacks and I found what I was looking for: a downed sasafras about 10" diameter. Used muscles that I'm not used to (and they let me know it) to get this far. It looks like a tree exploded with all the chips scattered in the snow! A little more bucking and maybe a few pieces to split before I'm done. Might get 1/3 of the way there with this tree. Got several more sasafras either broken or dying that I would have to take down to get to a 4'x8' stack. I did spot a few small dead ash that could also meet the ax. I guess that would put me somewhere between bucking and felling according to the challenge rules. View attachment 701450 View attachment 701451
That is awesome - great efforts for your first try! I'm so glad this is getting some more interest and participants. Try and stretch your arms next time, it helps me and I'm much less sore afterwards and the next day. Eventually, we get used to it and will look like Paul Bunyan. I've been cutting mostly dead Ash and it's noticeably harder. Switching over to a green wood is night and day.

Yesterday:

Wakey, wakey

View attachment 701562

Strange tree

View attachment 701563

Switching it up. Roy Underhill would approve. That look straight to you? :)

View attachment 701564

Bummer. The rest of the tree should be pretty sound. You'd think being hollow would make it easier to split but it didn't feel that way.

View attachment 701565

View attachment 701566

About 20-25 feet left to go of 16 inch diameter wood. I'll be bucking them into logs, splitting those and then chopping to size.
Damn, you are kicking a$$ and taking names. How close to a full cord do you think you are? I can't wait to see it all stacked.

I watched your video last night Clarence, doing devilishly well for a guy with a bionic leg! Super good shout check out Ben Scott, I watched a few of his and instantly subscribed! The Shinto rasp was not a tool a knew but now I've ordered one and the tip to shave handles with the back of a pair of scissors will be tried lots! Superb.

Had to giggle at a Brit in a forest... Well a small stand of trees.... You can hear the traffic close by. There are so few places to truly escape it in this county!
Thank you, sir... I wish I could go harder, but I'm also trying to remain on even ground and keep my recovering knee as safe as possible. I only wear the brace while working outside, I've actually been walking freely for nearly 2.5 months now.

Anyway, thanks for watching my video. I plan to do more as well as update my progress in the cordwood challenge. Yeah, Ben really knows his stuff - and he's a young bloke to boot. He's up north in Scotland, and if In recall he says that is also part Aussie.
 
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Multifaceted

Multifaceted

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When out for a little bit today. Running out of standing dead around the perimeter of my yard. PLENTY to fell and cut up on my hill and in the bush, but I'm not risking slipping or tripping over a rock or something and tearing my graft.

Felled and processed four small trees, 3 Ash and one tiny little Cherry.



Got hung up in another tree:


Chopped nearly the middle to pull the snag out of the other tree:





Had an oops! Thank goodness for steel toed boots, won't be doing that again!


Here's my tally, almost a full rick:


The stack measure 8' long and 3.75' tall on the right side. Pretty close. Might have to fell some dying Ash to get more volume. I don't care for felling living trees on our small property, but the Ash is going to die eventually, so....
 
H-Ranch

H-Ranch

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Finished up what I started yesterday. 20190203_152310.jpg
And a short saunter over to a live standing but damaged 8" Sassafras. My felling swings leave something to be desired for accuracy - I feel I'm pretty good on the ax bucking swings and conventional splitting swings on saw bucked rounds.
20190203_145931.jpg
I also have less control over the direction of fall than with a saw - it got hung up where I didn't think it would so I had to work it a little bit to get it on the ground.
20190203_150449.jpg It's not a pretty stump. Don't judge me. ;)

Started bucking until I could feel a blister coming on. What the heck, this is called the 2019 Axe Cordwood Challenge, not Race, so I can pace myself until December.
20190203_152221.jpg
 
Multifaceted

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Great work, Steve!

So, what do you think so far? It's a fair amount of work at first, then you find your rhythm, and eventually you get better, more efficient. You're doing great, keep it up!
 
H-Ranch

H-Ranch

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Great work, Steve!

So, what do you think so far? It's a fair amount of work at first, then you find your rhythm, and eventually you get better, more efficient. You're doing great, keep it up!
No doubt it's more work than the saw (I know 'cause I thought of going to get it more than once! LOL) Yeah, a little stretching may be good - I sometimes forget that I'm not 21 anymore. I don't feel bad, just different muscle groups than I'm used to using. It has also been warm enough that I almost ended in my t-shirt. I'm impressed at how big the chunks are coming out of the bucking cuts. Of course I chose Sassafras to make it a little easier on myself - and there are plenty of right sized trees to select from on my property.

Good decision on your part to stay on level ground (see previous comment about not being 21...) Your knee will come back soon enough.
 
Multifaceted

Multifaceted

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Yes!

There's been times where I stare down the wood, threatening to get a saw.

Then I put my head down and get back to chopping.

You're making excellent progress.

Stay strong.
No doubt! I recently put new chains on all of my says and gave the teeth a good tickle with the file - they're ready to saw, but I'm, holding back until I at least finish 1/2 cord.
 

DSW

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Damn, you are kicking a$$ and taking names. How close to a full cord do you think you are? I can't wait to see it all stacked.
I'd say 2 rick comfortably.

This tree should put me at 2.5 comfortably maybe three by the time I finish. I'll do the small sassafras if it's less than I figured when I stack it. I'll try to do a video once I finish.
 
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Multifaceted

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Let's hear the story.
Small, thin diameter log, was dancing around on me. Got comfortable, put left leg up on said log to steady about 16" away from notch, caught a glancing blow from a rightward drive on the toe of my boot. Stopped, peered down. Gave it a moment's thought and reflected on what I did wrong.
 
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DSW

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I have the worst habits with swinging the axe, I do things like that more often than not.

I'm still waiting on Fiskars. I've taped my axe a few times but the last time I realized the head had completely separated, nothing but duct tape holding it, which was fine for a while but my paranoia or common sense, one, is telling me to hang it up.

I've thought about waiting, there's plenty of rain ahead anyway. I don't need another axe and once I finish the challenge it won't see a lot of regular use. However, I'm getting impatient and I've already got some work that'll hit before March and being so close and a schedule that's going to pick up I'd rather keep pushing and finish it out.

Tomorrow I'm going to head to a local town I like but don't visit that much, they've got a Lowe's, Tractor Supply, thrift shop, and two antique shops maybe more. They've also got an excellent burger joint, pizza place, and I'm sure I can find coffee somewhere. So I'm going to view it as a day well spent with possibly a good find, rather than more money spent and possibly another cheap axe purchased.
 

DSW

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Yes. I love the handle, curved, 28" total length, thin, perfect. (Sadly it's on borrowed time as it already was missing some wood.)

The head leaves a little bit to be desired. Very thin cheeks, the head has no wedge so it works loose quite a bit right now, and the biggest problem is it's just too light.

Excellent feel and accuracy. But it needs more heft and it sticks too much. The head loosening is just a temporary issue so it gets a pass for that.
 
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