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Volunteer Trail Clearing at Gorman Nature Center

I volunteered to help with trail clearing at Gorman Nature Center. This involves two acitivities; 1) Walking the trails and identifying any limbs or trees that are down across the trails, snd 2) Clearing the trail, which can be just moving the wood, or may require cutting the wood.

This has all kinds of benefits for me.

  1. I enjoy walking in the woods and its very healthy to do both physically and emotionally.
  2. If I get the chance to cut the wood, it's good exercise.
  3. It's fun to cut wood.
  4. It's a new challenge, because I can't use a chainsaw in the woods. So I'm trying to figure out the best way to cut the wood. There are multiple challenges involved in that.

My first activity was in March, 2021.

On October 6th, I walked this course and found a couple of trees across the trail.

I went there at 8:30 AM on the 7th to start work on the first tree. It took about 8 minutes to walk back to the tree. All I took was a crosscut hand saw - a family heirloom I got from my dad. It was Uncle Cary's and his uncle's C.C. Wasser.

Some things that I'm working on:

  1. I think cutting with an axe will be better than a saw. The trees are often on the ground but in a bind which makes cutting with a saw really tough. On the tree above, I used at least half of my time and energy getting the tree out of a bind so that I could cut it from the top. You can't get a hand saw under the log. With a chainsaw you could use a plunge cut at the bottom and get the job done.
  2. What all do I need to take into the woods. A first aid kit would be wise. Maybe water, but if I'm only there an hour, I don't need water. An axe and saw? Or just one? If I take photos of the work, I can have a better idea of what I need to get the job done.
  3. How to sharpen hand saws. If I'm going to use a saw, I've got to keep them sharp. My dad had a saw sharpening vise. I don't remember what happened to it. It may have been scrapped which would be a shame.
  4. What's the best saw? Woodworking hand saw? Bow saw? Log saw? Crosscut bucking saw?
  5. If I use a saw, what do I take to help move wood and jack it up? It needs to be strong but as light as possible.
  6. I have an axe with a plastic handle and 3 1/2 pound head. I'd like a wood handle. Harbour Freight has a 4 pounder with hickory handle. Will that work better?

October 10, 2021 - I visited Gorman and finished the first tree, and got a good start on the next one.

Then started on the tree on the yellow trail.

My wife and grandkids went with me. The wife made me quit because she thought I was too tired and the grandkids were getting bored. Otherwise I would have finished it. I was tired, but if I'd taken 15 minute break, I could have made the final saw cut and been done. I used both the saw and an axe.

Monday, Oct 11, 2021 - Finished the cut above.

October 13, 2021

I bought an old crosscut saw for $30. It needs some resotration. I've been using an antique Diston hand saw for cutting. It's a family heirloom.

October 14, 2021 - Surveyed the trails

October 15, 2021 - Cleared some trails

October 19, 2021 - I have decided to stop posting this stuff. It's a waste of time. I will make one final post regarding the new to me crosscut saw when I have it far enough along to take into the woods. That will be the last post in this series.

October 27, 2021 - I changed my mind. I'm going to continue to post my activities here, just for my own recollection. A journal so to speak of my activity. So here's today's survey

December 12, 2021 - Christian helping me survey and clear after a big blow on the 11th.