Remember what I said a month or two back? Free comes at a price, but at the price of lumber these days one might be willing to pay the price of a bit of sweat* and chainsaw gas for free lumber. Whether it is worth the wear and tear on the chainsaw is debatable, but who does a realistic cost-benefit analysis on a hobby? On something you were going to do anyway?
I watched a video on YouTube. How many stories are going to start that way? The guy was testing a cheap, simple sawmilling attachment that he used to make a square timber. So I went on Amazon and bought one Lumber Cutting Guide (Canada)Lumber Cutting Guide (USA Link) or one which looked like the one he tested. It arrived and I chose a windfall spruce discovered during my path building. I slapped the attachment on my chainsaw, carefully mounted a couple of reference 2x4’s on the log and screwed a straight 2x6 on top and spent two afternoons cutting. After each cut I would unscrew the 2x6 and re-screw it in the next spot to give me the desired thickness of lumber. The first afternoon went well enough. The second afternoon I changed the saw to a ripping chain. Things went even better.
Here’s what I learned.
The attachment was sturdy and well made. It came with hardware for and instructions on how to mount it to the chainsaw bar. There is a guide strip that can be attached to use a variety of sizes of guide lumber. Out of the box it fits a 2x6 without the guide strip.
You can use the supplied setscrews. They are tricky. You have to make sure they are tight enough not to slip while keeping in mind you don’t know how strong the clamp is. It might be cast steel it might be a forging. I don't know. That would make a difference on how much tightening it can stand. Keep in mind that the consequences of too loose can be a destroyed chain. I guess I found the "just right" for my sessions.
Also supplied were some bolts. They require you drill a couple of holes in the bar. No biggy, but I was impatient and went with fast. It worked. For now. On to the cutting.
My saw was powerful enough and the bar long enough. This was the second section of the windfall. I had cut the first up for firewood. You’d need a monster saw to make lumber of that diameter trunk. It took two afternoons to cut the piece I selected for lumber.
The clamp on the sawmilling attachment I was testing was not at a perfect right angle to the plane of the bar. It was out by around 1-1/2 to 2 degrees. This doesn’t affect anything as long as you are making slabbing cuts in one direction. If you start cutting the reverse direction to remove slabs from the other side of the log or if you go to square things up it makes a big difference. The clamp is hard, machined metal. I can’t see a practical way of the hobbyist to touch up the surface to square up the mounting surface. I do think if a person went with the bolt on mounting method and did a bit of shimming that it would work fine. I will try that next spring and report back. In the meantime there are other windfalls to be cut up and stacked for next year’s firewood. Play time is over for now.
One more thought. I don’t know how many clones are out there of the same design. The one I bought was well made other than the angle of the mounting surface. It had instructions and all the hardware. I read reviews of some that are missing parts and instructions. For the price I was willing to risk it and mess around to fulfill my curiousity. If you want to make serious amounts of lumber and not just cut up a log or two this is not recommended. I have friends who have invested thousands of dollars into serious home sawmills and made serious amounts of lumber. That’s not for me. Make your own choices based on your circumstances. Don’t take my words as advice or blame me for your choices. This is entertainment.
May 2021 Update: I was looking at the guide and deciding how to shim it when I realized it was a warrantable defect. The distributor in Minnesota is sending a new bar clamp by mail. I'll let you know how it works. With lumber at current prices I am visuallizing a tool shed that uses little or no store bought lumber.
* I worked for a forest products company that was considering building a pulp mill in Northern Brazil. The owner of the company said the company was not going to put any capital into the project, but would earn sweat equity. It was obvious who was going to be sweating and who was going to get equity. That’s not going to discourage project junkies. I and others worked on the design standards.
Millions of fast growing trees were planted. A long-term contract for 80 MVA of hydropower was secured from Venezuela at two cents a kW-hr! The Swiss teachers’ pension fund agreed to supply the capital once the mill was operating, but nobody came up with any bridging financing. So no pulp mill. I gave away my Learn Portuguese CD’s and life went on. I still wonder what happened to the millions of trees. They grow to pulp wood size in five years there. I wonder how big they are after almost twenty years. Does acacia make good lumber?
Every year we go south. One year we go right after Canadian Thanksgiving (same date as Columbus Day in the States). The next year we stay until Christmas with the family and then we go south, to Nicaragua. This is the grease up the wheel bearings on the fifth wheel and head to Texas year. Well, no. Covid you know. Or maybe: “Covid!” “You!” “No!”
Thanksgiving happens. The Edmonton clan arrives and we walk our paths. And mostly maintain a safe distance. Grandmas hafta hug, don’t they? Grandpas not so much. Why would you hug a petri dish? Grandpa accepts his secondhand risk with minimal grumbling. That’s my story and I’m sticking with it.
We celebrate Odelia’s first birthday on the porch. Partly.
Annual flu shots happen.
The process has changed.
Last year we just showed up and sat in line and visited with people we hadn’t seen for a while, waited for the shot and waited to be sure there were no immediate side effects. This year would normally be our year to get shots in the States but we’re here.
So we book an appointment for our flu shots. No more just showing up without an appointment. So we book and arrive at the location (different public building than previous years) at the appointed time. The door is locked. There is a sign to phone a number. I do. We stand in the bitter north wind of October (the leaves are almost all gone. Snow often happens here in September and always in October) and answer an extended questionnaire. Somebody unlocks the door and retreats. We enter the entry way. We are instructed by a masked, gloved, coveralled person standing inside the inner sanctum to take off our masks and don the surgical masks they have laid out on the table. Our temperatures are gunned and we are instructed to follow the taped walkway to our cell. We enter. A safely garbed nurse enters, gives us our shots and leaves saying to wait fifteen minutes for any reaction. Her shape and actions reminded me of the grammar book Eats, Shoots and LeavesUSA Link . She returns in ten and kicks us out. We follow that taped path to an exit door, leave the building and walk around the building to our car.
Last year we voted in the Canadian Federal election in October. I also worked on a campaign and worked on the GOTV (Get out the vote) process for the candidate I supported. Every hour I was given a list of people who had voted at that polling station and I entered it into an app on my smart phone. That enabled the campaign headquarters for the riding to monitor which supporters needed to be called to be encouraged to vote and be offered a ride, etc. The polling station was split up into smaller entities. When a voter entered the hall they would be directed to a specific table with a ballot box and two paid poll workers. They would present their voter registration card, be handed a ballot, go mark it, return to the table and watch the ballot be placed in the ballot box. Also at each table were scrutineers, unpaid volunteers from the political parties with a candidate in the election. Usually just two or three scrutineers per table even though there might be five or more parties with candidates running. Some parties do not have enough members to come up with enough volunteers to do that.
At the end of the day when the polls close the scrutineers and I stay and watch the votes be counted. Scrutineers get to check the ballot box is empty before voting begins. They also watch the ballot box being opened. They can look at every ballot to verify the vote being counted. They are not allowed to touch the ballot but they can ask to see it better. It’s a small town. We all know general party preferences of many of the paid poll workers and the party preferences of the scrutineers is obvious but generally there is only occasional slight friction when a paid poll worker counting the ballots doesn’t particularly like the voting trend. There is never a suggestion or even the possibility of hanky-panky in this process. Open and transparent.
When the results are in I take them to the campaign headquarters as do others from polling stations in the area. This federal riding is the size of France so others are phoning in their results to the people huddled over laptops compiling results. Our candidate wins. I don’t stay around for the party. It’s time to go home. It’s almost ten o’clock and a riding the size of France has its results. How civilized. A simple system. Simple works. One professor during my MBA program said the best baggage handling system in the world was Air Canada’s in London, England. It was designed using Post-It Notes on a whiteboard.
A civilized, transparent, non-corruptible election process that produces a head of government who is a moron supported by less than 40 percent of the people who voted. Can’t have everything, I guess. Still, we vote. I floss, too. There are studies that show flossing doesn’t do any good. Still. I floss. Two or three times a day. Habits.
This year Juanita voted in the presidential election in the States as did one of our daughters.
We both voted in the provincial election this year. In the same building as last year’s flu shots. A very Covid process with Plexiglas barriers and single use pencils and being exited from the opposite of the building from the entrance and our car.
The leaves are almost all gone. It snowed. I shovelled. Juanita said, “I know what I want for Christmas.” “What?” “A snow blower.” She didn’t really, but she didn’t want to demonstrate that she doesn’t know CPR as I lay comatose with a snow shovel in my hands. That’s all the excuse I needed. It didn’t change my gift buying plans for her, but I started on the process of buying a snow blower. When the one I wanted came on sale in Lloydminster I drove the ten miles to town to the local Co-op. I showed the person who could decide, the ad from Lloydminster (2-1/2-hour drive) and said, “I like this price in Lloydminster, but I’d like to shop locally. This floor model which you’ve had since last year is a three-stage, but I only need the two-stage that’s on sale. What can you do?”
She matched the price of the on-sale two-stage. I paid. They loaded. I drove the ten miles home.
Halloween happened. In over thirty years here we have had treat or treaters once. This year was normal. No trick or treaters.
I bought bulbs for spring flowers. I bought them a bit late. The dirt has frozen and has to be chiselled to plant them. Better planting planning is needed next year.
The mower control cables I ordered in August arrived. The one i built using The Rotary Universal Cable Ends (Canada)(USA) is still working fine so these cables will become spares when mowing season returns in the spring.
I read many books but only took a picture of one cover this month, The Brenner Assignment, the fascinating true story about a secret mission in the mountains of Northern Italy.
It looks like the Canada - USA border will be closed to RV'ers for the foreseable future. One couple in B.C. hooked up their trailer and headed south for their annual parking spot in Mexico on the Baja Peninsula. They drove past the Canadian border station and arrived at the US checkpoint.
"Sorry. Border's closed. Go Back."
Back they went and arrived at the Canada checkpoint.
"Oh. You've been out of Canada. Go home without stopping anywhere and quaratine for fourteen days. Have a nice day."
We went south in October 2005 and have never been back in Canada for the coldest part of the winters ever since. Well, except for Juanita coming back from Texas when Ezekial was born. When she did that I went to Nicaragua. Priorities! We certainly have never been back since having pumbing in our tiny house and it has always spent the time we were away with winterized piping full of RV anti-freeze.
Consequently, I am concerned with keeping the plumbing above freezing with water in it and without wasting a lot of electricity heating the crawl space. I bought an Inkbird IBS-TH1 with external probe Temperature Monitor. (Canada Link)(USA link)
It came with an external probe which plugs into the 2 inch diameter puck (takes a AAA battery, not supplied). The unit connects to your smartphone over bluetooth and claims a hundred foot range if unobstructed. I have found it works for me at about ten feet through a couple of walls. Beyond that I have no connection. You can see on the app the relative humidity at the puck and the temperature at the puck.
If the probe is connected you read the RH at the puck and the temperature at the probe only, NOT the temperature at the puck. The probe cable is about 3 feet long if I recall correctly. I'm not crawling under the house to measure it.
The specs on the sales page say the probe is accurate to plus or minus one degree Celsius. Mine was almost the full degree off. You have the capability in the app to bias the reading so it shows the temperature very accurately. I did that using an ice bath. How instrument technician is that?
Keep in mind this is strictly bluetooth that directly connects to your phone while the phone and the puck are in range. While in that range you can see the RH, the battery % level, and the temperature in real time as well as the temperature trend over time.
Apparently you can connect multiple pucks to the app. There are options to buy a remote monitor so you don't need a smart phone to know the temperature and humidity. You may be able to buy a hub that coonects the bluetooth device to wi-fi. There are devices that will allow you to monitor a temperature from anywhere in the world. I have no experience or firsthand knowledge with any of that. Do your research carefully if that's what you are looking for. There are reviews by disappointed people who didn't and bought things that couldn't do the job they wanted done. I got what I expected and it does the job I want it to.
One thing that does not work the way I expected is that the configuration I bought does not give real time alarming. It only alarms once you open up the app. Apparently to get real time alarming you need to buy additional hardware. That hardware may also give you remote reading depending on your home network and my understanding. Check it out for yourself if that's what you need.