Autumn Ritual

The Cunningham Applied Wood Mauler

The Cunningham Applied Wood Mauler

how much wood would woodChuck crush...
how much wood would woodChuck crush…

The splitting of the logs.

A disease plaguing Marin’s trees (25% look affected by my eyeball-estimate ) hasn’t spared us.  One by one, we take down the sick and dying trees …before one of them smites us flat  as we sleep.  There is a ton of  special equipment for the project  (slings, harnesses, jumars, japanese saws, pole-saws, carabiners…climbing gear put to tree-trimming use. Charlie and his friend Scott Bowman were ace tree-climbers, and scaled the world’s tallest tree in the redwood groves of Mendocino 40  years ago…that’s another story).

Wood heat-in-winter is the pathetic pay-off (normally we raid dumpsters for clean construction waste, there is more than enough to heat all of Fairfax)…and it’s all done safely ,  thanks to an impressive electric wood-splitter CC made when I complained that that huge heavy maul was going to hack my foot in two one of these days (my aim is…imperfect, my swing is off-balance, and mostly he did the mauling).  Most wood splitters are loud gas-powered nuisances–not the Cunningham electric model!
He began with a 30-ton press frame, added a custom-built ram, slider thingie, uh…’other stuff”…and a week or two later, a poignant hum (about an E flat)  emanating from the front yard means that the splitting has begun. The apparatus is seven feet high, and there have been no rounds too large to split (so far).

Sometimes the wood creaks and pops as the splitter whines, but nothing happens fast…the ram glides down under hydraulic power and calmly cleaves the wood, which splits along the grain…my job:  grab the stove-sized bits after they clatter to the ground, carry them off and stack ‘em (nowhere near as well as the Swiss) in the little wood shed which is home to at least one woodrat that noisily re-arranges the kindling all winter long.

I’ll sleep great and wake up with a wood-chucker’s body ache.

~ by jacquiephelan on September 12, 2008.

5 Responses to “Autumn Ritual”

  1. I’ve been interested in burning construction waste – are you ever afraid of burning chemically treated wood in your house? Too bad about the trees, but at least you’ll have a nice, cozy winter!

  2. I like that his gear is tuned to E flat.. ala Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan.

  3. what an amazing house
    the colours are amazing
    i just love WP and tags!
    would never have discovered yr blog if i hadn’t clicked on the tree tag!
    are you in autumn now?
    we are in spring!
    yeaaaah
    had enough of the winter and rain and grey!
    very unusual weather this year
    all the best to you
    cape town south africa

  4. The neighbor’s oak just went bad, and it looks like it’s jumped into our yard :-( head’s up!

  5. Somehow I’m not surprised that CC would build a better log splitter. I’ve used the noisy kind and while they work well, they are DAMN noisy. Next time I visit I’ll have to bug Charlie for a demo… that thing sounds damn cool…

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