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Log Bench

November 1, 2021

We had a big pine tree cut down. I've kept the lower ten feet of the trunk and a crotch with the intention of making a log bench for the yard by the fire pit.

Here is the log. The tree company didn't put it here on the driveway on blocks. It's obviously too large for me to pick up and move. I can't even pick up one end of it. So it took some thought and leverage to get it done. I wish I had taken a photo of how I lifted the end up the block.
I moved the crotch into the garage where I have a relatively level and flat floor. I'm trying to figure out how to make the cuts I need to make so that bench ends are vertical and level.

So this is not just a brute force, get it done project. It requires thought and planning.
I've made the first cuts. I used the McCulloch PM605. It was really cutting great through this pine.

I think I got things level, and proportioned pretty good. I just need to cut the base down to size and then rip the slabs out of the trunk.

November 7, 2021

I got the bench plank cut out yesterday.

It took a lot of time to get the guide plank leveled out and screwed down so that it was flat and parellel with the center of the log. It took almost two hours. I used an axe. I probably could have done it with a chainsaw and saved some time, but I wouldn't have gotten the exercise. Plus I didn't realize when I started, how much I was going to be cutting down..

Next I had to get the saw set up. I found that the guide plate wasn't parallel with the saw's bar. So I had to shim it at the mounting point to get it parallel. Above you can see it before I made the adjustment.

I learned this trick fom Japanese engineers back when I worked in the plant at IBM. We bought machines from Panasonic and found some of the parts shimmed to the right height with chewing gum paper. It was a big joke to many at the time, but it actully works. I used a piece of cardboard box to do the shimming.
I shapened the saw before doing all of this. I was using my new to me, $30 ProMac 610. Now I'm ready to cut.

Here's the first cut in the garage. I'll let this dry a while and eventually cut it into usable pieces with a power hand saw and the table saw.

I had to cut a thin plank to get to the depth in the log that would yeild the maximum width.

Here's the plank I'm after. Just over 2 inches thick, 10 feet long and 18 inches wide. More than I can pick up. I had to pick up one end and have the other end on a furniture dolly to move it into the garage.

November 20, 2021

I finally got all the cutting done for the bench. It turned out OK. There were a few cuts that didn't go as well as I had hoped, but I don't think anyone will notice riding by on a horse. The base is at risk of splitting apart. Especially the right end. I can bolt the seat on so that it will help, but it might also help it split apart. I guess if it does, I'll epoxy the thing back together and add some reinforcing.

Now I need to bolt it together, do a little sanding, and cleaning, and then finish it. The finishing will have to wait until spring though.