A few posts ago I told you about my new adventures in lumberjacking. (you can read it here if you missed it) Well, last night another opportunity to swing an axe (with bad form) popped up. I got a call asking if I wanted more wood (apparently we haven’t used the last of the trees in Washington yet) and if I could help chop some up for a single-lady in our church. I, of course, jumped at this. I peeled the boys away from their video game of choice and we grabbed our manly tools and hopped in the Civic. I was anxious to show off my recently-learned lumberjacking prowess.
When we arrived I quickly learned that my skills in splitting wood were about the same as my skills in building a working engine for the space shuttle out of tin foil and rubber cement. The guys who were there were a few years older than me, but had clearly been splitting wood since infancy. I was embarrassed as I tried to go all Paul Bunyon on them. My new instructors (probably through suppressed laughter) took me under their wings and gave me some badly-needed pointers. Here were a few of them:
- Not all types of wood are the same, some split easily, others don’t. Some have mangled knots designed by mother nature to turn my hands & arms into silly putty, other’s don’t. I started by splitting some of the harder kind.
- Real men don’t really use wedges to split the wood, they just swing an axe and the pieces explode apart. (I used a wedge on every piece of the wood I previously split)
- My “maul” (think of a cross between an axe & a sledge hammer) wasn’t heavy enough to split the wood well. A little embarrassing for a guy to learn his carefully-selected tool is too wimpy for the job.
After toiling away on several big rounds of wood that were audibly laughing at me, my patient teacher moved me over to the smaller rounds so I could “gain confidence.” I’ll admit that this totally worked – it was a ball. And being a guy around other guys, I really went at it. Despite my ineptitude we (and I’m mostly referring to the other guys there) were able to fill two entire trucks of with split wood and we unloaded one of them at my house. I now have enough wood to heat our home through the next ice age. Today I’m feeling the happy pain all over – it hurts to sit in this chair in my office if you can believe that.
But I’m now a bit closer to earning my first flannel shirt!