|Chris explaining saw anatomy|
|It's hard to see, but the left|
side is all crosscut saws; the
right side, all axes; plus radios
On Thursday morning, you should have seen the long (four- and five-foot) saws heaped in the back of ranger Chris Engelhardt's Forest Service pickup, every one of them vintage (more than 30 years old, some as many as 100 years old). Any sawyer worth his or her salt uses vintage saws, highly finessed, with teeth set at slight angles and individually sharpened, compared to modern saws, which are simply stamped out of sheet metal.
I met up with my two instructors, long-time saw partners Tim, from Sierra NF, and Weston, from Sequoia NF, and my four fellow students, Ken and Bryce from my unit (Los Padres NF) and Renee and Artie from Inyo NF.
|Weston and Tim cutting an offset|
|Our "problem tree"—which turned|
out to be not too much of a problem
|"Problem tree" closer up|
For my unit's purposes, the Objective tends to involve "bucking" a tree out of the trail (that is, cutting a down tree—vs. "felling," which is the old tiiiiiiimmmmmbbbbbeeeerrrrr business of toppling a standing tree). This usually involves making two cuts and rolling the cut part down a slope or somehow out of the way, to free up the trail again.
|And closer still: cutting one of the|
The L in OHLEC refers to Lean/bind. Bind applies in bucking; lean in felling. Bind refers to the tensions and compressions the tree undergoes when it falls and lands on the ground. There are four basic kinds of bind: top, bottom, end, and side. These result from the final position of the log: resting suspended but with two solid points of contact (top bind); resting with one end in the air (bottom bind ➘); laced between two solid points of contact, such as trees or boulders (side bind); and lying on a steep slope (end bind: the weight of the log causes compression throughout). Compression wants to grab the saw and never let go. The objective is to keep the kerf open so the saw can keep working. This is done using tools such as wedges and various cutting techniques.
And the Cut plan identifies the number of cuts needed, the location of the cuts, what needs swamping (cutting off any stray branches), and any additional tools, such as cribbing logs or hanging wedges.
I am reviewing this partly for my own purposes: trying to get OHLEC firmly embedded in my brain.
|A bottom bind problem (that also|
ended up not being a problem)
|Tim and Weston's perfect|
offset cut (it protects the saw)
All in all, it was very stimulating—so much so that I barely even noticed that it kept raining! And my feet were cold! But fortunately, my head was nice and dry thanks to the hard hat, and my hands—well, wet deerskin isn't exactly warm, but it's probably better than bare hands.
|Final roundup, at the first USFS cabin|
in the Tahoe district