Wednesday, August 1, 2018


Mother burns about four cords of wood a year to heat the house . This winter's wood is all cut and split , and has been drying for a couple years already . We still need to move it to the deck so it is within easy reach . We had about three cords of Maple and Ash from the trees we took down in June that need to be processed .
So I spent last week rebuilding and tuning my arsenal of assorted saws . 
 Hand-me-downs and castaways in various states of disrepair . Oldest is the second from the top , a  Stihl 031AV from circa 1974 . The 028WB is the third one down and dates from about 1980 . Both heavy but good saws in the 50 cc displacement range with sixteen inch bars.
A bit lighter than the old Stihls , the newest is a Dolmar PS5100 with the eighteen inch bar , a good saw when I can keep it running .  A high compression engine of about 50cc displacement , running at over 14K rpm , even has a compression relief button to facilitate starting . Trouble is , it is a newer saw , and it was built with greenie environmental concerns as a primary consideration thus runs very lean . You can't make the mixture on the carb any richer beyond the way it comes from the factory . If you use fuel with ethanol in it , which is all I can ever get around here , it will run even leaner and trouble is sure to follow. Yea so much for the tree huggers . Whenever I tried to get it started , the piston seemed to be binding on something along its stroke . Last time I tried to run it last fall , it ran for about two minutes and then shut down abruptly . Engine was seized up hard and would not turn over at all . Yes I was running a 50:1 oil gas mix . Pulled the muffler and saw the score marks on the aluminum piston skirt indicating it had run over temp and melted the piston skirt on the exhaust side . That is a clear indication of running overly lean . I was a bit discouraged after all the other events of last fall , so I stuffed it under the work bench and forgot about it until last week when I gathered up my courage and took it apart . The piston skirt had melted and smeared on to the cylinder wall . A a couple of hours of elbow grease with some two hundred grit , followed by some eight hundred grit sandpaper on the piston , ring groove , and cylinder wall got it looking like there might yet be some life left in it . Reassembled it , and the thing lit right up on the second pull and ran like a champ . It has never started so easy or run so well . Perhaps all my elbow grease with the sandpaper gave it a bit more clearance to run easier . If as a result it has a bit lower compression it really wont harm it any , tree-huggers be damned . In retrospect I am sure there was already something going afoul with it before it landed in my hands and binding piston was just an early warning of it having run too lean previously . Mixed some 40:1 fuel hoping that will keep it from melting again .
Monday was forecast to be the coolest day of the week . So I headed up to mom's to get busy cutting next year's firewood . Yea right . . .  turned to be about 85 degrees , and about 70% humidity so I proceeded as best I could .
I got some big pieces of ash well over 24 inches in diameter . That is the big Dolmar with the 18 inch bar sitting on one of the logs . Yea I definitely could use a bigger bar on the saw .
Plugging away at it , I swapped out soaking wet T-Shirs four times by the end of the day .
Did manage to put a dent in the pile .
Until I ran out of energy , chainsaw gas , and sharp chains .
After fiver hours of work I figure I cut up about a cord and a half . Do you think someone else will make an effort to get it split ? . . . .  Yea right  . . .  Don't set yourself up to be disappointed again .


  1. We used to sell firewood for part of our living. It's a lot of work.

    1. That's a hard way to make a living. I'm doing charity work here.

  2. You think you got enough chain saws there? I have a Stahl and a Ryobi but you make me feel chainsaw poor!

    1. Actually I might need to get a bigger saw . I got some big 28 diameter logs I want to turn in to usable timber with my Mini-Mill, a simplified version of an Alaskan mill. So I could use a saw with a 32 inch bar , but I am not sure any one of my saws can drive a big bar and chain like that especially in a long drawn out rip cut .