Saturday, April 04, 2015

Chainsaws Old and New

It was cool but sunny, and quiet except for the occasional call of a sandhill crane in the distance.  My son, Steve and I were off to the woodlot north of the cabin with chainsaws and ax—it was a day for making wood.  We had planned doing it last fall, but one thing and another happened, and making wood was put aside.

I was anxious to try out my new, modern, battery-operated chainsaw.  This one I knew would start; the gas operated one was always a challenge.  Arriving at the oak tree that a storm last summer had conveniently toppled for us, Steve began the unhappy chainsaw starting adventure.  It reminded me of when my dad tried to start the gas engine on our washing machine the days before we got electricity on the farm.  The first two or three pulls–nothing.  The next dozen pulls—still nothing.  The next pull a single “pop.”   More pulls and more pops—and then it was running, but just before he began cutting wood it stopped—and stayed stopped.

I suggested Steve try the battery saw.  It started and it cut wood, and it was not nearly as noisy as the gas saw.  After a bit I asked Steve how he liked the battery saw.  “Well,” he said, “It’s better than cutting with a hand saw."  Faint praise for my new modern saw. 

Soon, he went back to the gas saw, which started on the second pull. It cut wood and cut it well.  Soon we had a pile of oak blocks ready for splitting and tucking away in the woodshed where they would cure over the summer.

So what’s the moral of this story?  Old fashioned may require a little more time and patience than modern—but it gets the job done.  I suspect if we really wanted to be “old fashioned” we’d have used a two-man crosscut saw—but that’s for another story.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: Old fashioned or modern?  The answer isn’t always obvious.


Tuesday, April 7, 6:30.  Heritage Hill Museum, Green Bay.  Garden Wisdom

Tuesday, April 14, 7:00 p.m.  Friends of Eau Claire Library. Eau Claire, WI. Stories from the land.

Sunday, April 19, 7:00 p.m.  Lebanon Historical Society, Lebanon Community center.  Stories from the land.

 Monday, April 20, Noon. Fox Valley Book Festival, UW-Fox Valley. Whispers and Shadows

Wednesday, April 22, 6:30 Patterson Memorial Library, Wild Rose. Mid-Wisconsin Launch of Whispers and Shadows. Fundraiser for the library.

Friday, April 24, 8:00 p.m. Ice Age Trail Org. Wis. Dells, Winter Green Resort.  Old Farm

Tuesday, April 28, 11:00 a.m. Wisconsin Public Radio, Larry Meiller Show.

Tuesday, April 28, 6:30 p.m. Black River Falls Library, Sky Line Golf Course. Stories from the land

Sunday, May 3, 1:00 p.m. Readers’ Realm Bookstore,  147 E. Montello Street, Montello, WI

Tuesday, May 5, 10:30. Chilton Library, Chilton, WI

Purchase Jerry’s DVDS and his Books from the Patterson Memorial Library in Wild Rose, Wisconsin (a fund raiser for them):

The library now has available signed copies of Jerry’s DVDs, Emmy Winner, A Farm Winter with Jerry Apps and Jerry Apps A Farm Story.

Also available are several of Jerry’s signed books including The Quiet Season (on which the DVD A Farm Winter is based), as well as Rural Wit and Wisdom and Old Farm, (which are related to the DVD Jerry Apps a Farm Story). Also available is Jerry’s new novel, The Great Sand Fracas of Ames County.

Contact the library for prices and special package deals.
Patterson Memorial Library
500 Division Street

Wild Rose, WI 54984


Bill said...

Nice visit to your woods and a chance to listen to you two compare chainsaws and batteries v. gasoline.

Don said...


Just read in the local paper archives of the switch from axes to saws in the 1880's. Lumberjacks were amazed at the increased production that saws enabled. I would guess the advent of chain saws increased productivity many-fold as well. Still is a dangerous occupation. Don R