"Slabbin' at Wood" #1: "Work Smart, Work Safe and Live to Work The Wood" --by RusticWoodArt

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Blog entry by frank posted 09-21-2007 07:06 PM 2145 reads 1 time favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of "Slabbin' at Wood" series Part 2: "McCulloch Super 33" --by RusticWoodArt »

Work Smart, Work Safe, and Live to Work The Wood where does it all begin, this thing I call slabbin’ at wood?

What must one do? I’m sure we all know the how-when-where-why questions, and so after coming to terms with questions and answers such as these….one then goes out and sharpens their ability on the learning curve of belief. Now one may ask about the word ‘belief’, and rest assured we all believe in some-thing and in this case our belief of believing centers around wood. Woodworkers are ‘workers of wood’, and whether you are practicing your belief of wood, much or less….you are still testifying to your belief in wood.

I have been thinking about this story for some time now and have realized that it’s time to jot down some remunerations of wood thoughts according to the how-when-where-why of chainsawing wood. First of all let me state, that this is how I chainsaw wood into slabs. This is my way and therefore, you may choose to do this process by an-other way and that is fine with me, but for me….I have tried and tested what I am presenting here and it works for me….and yes, I still have all my body parts.

Next let me add that chainsawing is inherently dangerous, lethal and will kill you in a half of a second. I work alone and folks will tell me that this is bad, but then I will also add that in my experience working around other folks is more un-safe and therefore….!

I have known the ones who make a mistake and therefore they have no-story to tell….I can however tell their story, while feeling sorry for their loved ones they have left behind. Chainsaws and trees working to-gether, with one who knows what they are doing can create beauti-full works of ‘wood art’. In the hands of one ignorant of all that is going on….these same trees and chainsaws are called widow makers. I will call no-man a fool, but I will add that there are a lot of folks using chainsaws that are ignorant to all the goings on and this is why I choose to work alone much of the time. I will add that when my wife can get a chance to work in the woods with me, we work together in perfect harmony doing what I call the ‘wood dance’. She can handle a chainsaw better then some men I have known and we have worked together for ages now in the woods, so we both know where each other is at all times and yes, she also still has all her body parts.

If any would think that I’m trying to scare with my words, well I seek to scare no-one….just get wise and get wisdom before you attempt to use that chainsaw.

In the coming story or stories I will be talking about ‘kickback’ and the dangers of having a ‘stall out’, plus any others that come to my mind. You will maybe hear or read me talking about some-things that even the experts will disagree about, so you will have to make your own decisions as to the path you will choose. One point I will mention, is that if you are not taking kickback on your table saw as serious, then please do not even pick up a chainsaw! One other point I will mention here, is that mistakes such as kickback with power tools and chainsaws, are so serious in my estimation, that I live by what I call the ‘one strike’ rule. One strike and you are out! That means if you are working for me or around me….see you later. Kickback can be life ending….and one who survives a kickback on a small horsepower chainsaw, will not understand that on the big ones, you are not going to stop that chain from connecting at some point of body entry. Do folks survive kickback on large horsepower chainsaws, yes they do and this is due to the excellent braking systems designed on these saws….do I want to work around that individual after that….no. Hard schools of thought here, harder knocks to live and work around….and you thought I was going to be talking about cutting and slabbing wood.

I will discuss in the coming story, brands of chainsaws I have used and what works for me. Again I’m not judging what you may have or what you have heard is the best….but then again, in my opinion I use what I believe to be the best!

I do ‘freehand’ cutting of the wood and since I am making slabs most of the time, this method works great for me. If I where wanting more along the lines of strictly lumber from the wood, I might also be using some other technique or mill form to go along with the ‘freehand’ method. No one ever taught me this method I use of ‘freehand’....but from the day I started slabbin’ some wood, this is what came forth, although I have refined this approach over the years. I have often stated that I learned ‘wood joinery’ from watching and listening to the trees, well I learned ‘freehand’ chainsawing from watching and listening to wood.

I will write and talk about sawing with hardwood and softwood, and the different degrees of cut that I file in the chains….and no, you will not find a ripping chain at Home Depot or Lowes. There I said it, ‘ripping’ chain as opposed to what you get, when you buy your chainsaw that comes equipped with a ‘crosscut’ chain….plus ‘rakers’ and ‘skips’.

Well there we have it, enough to digest for one day and maybe more if one wants to follow along with me, you and any are most welcome to comment, add to and ask questions. In the end these are my opinions, but by these opinions I have chosen to live and since I’m still living, that makes me able to bear witness to and testify of and about my opinions….as I believe they are ‘very good’. What I preach, I also practice, but I also take no-responsibility for what you read into what I write….work smart, work safe, and live to work the wood!

Now lets get on with some pictures of what I love best…..wood….

....some maple here and one Husqavarna 395XP….

....first cut by ‘freehand’ in the pivoting vertical position….

....some slab cuts, also the one laying down and stickered there is next off the slab cut above….and also I might mention that this is where imagination kicks in….

....colors of red….

....more red….

....and then some might ask as to how-when-where-why did all this begin? Well that’s the easy question, out here where imagination reigns….’out in the woods’....

Thank you.

[email protected]

” smart, work safe, and live, to work the wood….”

-- --frank, NH,

8 comments so far

View TreeBones's profile


1828 posts in 4939 days

#1 posted 09-21-2007 07:58 PM

Great topic Frank. Safety first! I will always stand behind anyone who promotes safety. I have been a firefighter and ambulance driver for several years and can attest to the dangers to using a chain saw and “kick back”. Thanks for your time on this subject.

-- Ron, Twain Harte, Ca. Portable on site Sawmill Service

View RobS's profile


1334 posts in 5222 days

#2 posted 09-22-2007 12:11 AM

Ditto what Ron said and let’s hope that the only red you see is in your surroundings and not on you.

-- Rob (A) Waxahachie,TX

View 's profile

593 posts in 4887 days

#3 posted 09-22-2007 02:37 AM

Great one and great philosophy behind, Frank.

You are spot on when you say that there are some things in life that are unforgiving and shall be approached with the utmost caution. Those beasts are far more powerful and strong than any man’s arm. When they are thrown back at you after encountering a hard knot, you are not going to stop them. Other activities in life, like aviation, have taught me to be humble and very cautious. Paraphrasing the old pilot’s saying: there’re old lumberjacks and bold lumberjacks but there are no old’n’bold lumberjacks.

This is definitely a keeper and I’m looking forward to read the continuing tales on this series.

I know you do but, please take, care and enlighten us with your always welcome words of wisdom.

As someone use to say, GODSPEED.

View frank's profile


1492 posts in 5121 days

#4 posted 09-22-2007 05:09 PM

Thanks for all your comments here;

—-hi Ron; thanks for your comment. Yes, ‘safety first’ and I might add that he//she who holds to safety first, will also reap the benefits of safety at the end of the day….or as other’s have said; “what you sow, so will you reap….

—-hi Ron; I am starting to really enjoy the comments of what you see in the words and photos I write and post!
Now I must confess that you have saw more there, in those photos then I even saw. You have an amazing ability to see in and beyond and then come forth with a great comment. When I posted the photos of the ‘red’ in the vegetation, I totally missed seeing or connecting with what you saw. Great comment there and please keep on editing my writing, with your comments….

—-hi Jojo; I like that; ”some things in life that are unforgiving and shall be approached with the utmost caution.”....thanks for your comment.
Also by the way, so your a pilot I gather from what your saying? I have an AP license for wrenching those birds you fly, airframe//powerplant. No big deal to me anymore, sice I have failed to keep it current. At one time in the past I thought of building the kit planes out of sitka spruce….that was back in the days, when I was locked into the rules of governing bodies. Never have really used that license on planes, but I learned a lot of wisdom and knowledge. Actually one of the most important lessons I learned back then, from that school of study, was that I could do anything I wanted to do, or that my mind had the wisdom and my hands held the ability….

Thank you.

-- --frank, NH,

View RobS's profile


1334 posts in 5222 days

#5 posted 09-22-2007 05:42 PM

Ha! Frank, just “starting” to enjoy my comments?!! Hmm, glad you are warming up to my sense of humor and observation. I’m sorry it has taken this long. :) Just jesting!

Not so sure I need to be the one editing, commenting sure, but if I start editing, your messages will never be the same. Have a great day and thanks for all you post and do.

-- Rob (A) Waxahachie,TX

View frank's profile


1492 posts in 5121 days

#6 posted 09-22-2007 06:21 PM

Hi Rob;
—-well maybe I said that wrong. It’s not that I’m just ‘starting’ to enjoy, but that by revealing more of that ‘sense’ of humor that you have, I am also getting to know something more of the person behind the name of Rob. Sometimes it takes awhile for us to get to know each other and then we can break out of our molds by being our-selves. It’s that re-vealing of our-selves that speaks loudest….and as to; “if I start editing, your messages will never be the same”, well….that is a deep subject….LOL. I really like what Tom is saying here, ”—You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.” (Plato)

Anyways my subject, is never just my subject and that’s why blogging can be so much good, I never worry about my subject getting hijacked or going off on it’s own dialogue of thought. Never had much use for the ‘control doctors’ who value their opinion as the rule….my opinion may be my rule, but I encourage other’s to go and get their own opinions, which in turn leads to free thought….

As far as enjoying my day….well I’m getting ready to go kayaking, ( how does one get ready? and maybe I should just do!) so once again,

Thank you.

-- --frank, NH,

View 's profile

593 posts in 4887 days

#7 posted 09-23-2007 04:16 PM

Frank said:
“so your a pilot I gather from what your saying?
I have an AP license for wrenching those birds you fly,

Indeed I am. Private pilot, since the turn of the century, even if I’m not current anymore. Let’s say that Japan is not the most aviation-friendly country a pilot can live in. Few and far between airports added to the language difficulties and copious amounts of red tape doesn’t make it easy. Well, actually that, and prices that are at least three times of those in the USA, I should say. I plan to regain my currency once stateside, because the only thing I can think of that is more beautiful than a blank of wood waiting to be turned into art, is flying over those very woods that produced that slab.

…and also:
“At one time in the past I thought of building
the kit planes out of sitka spruce….”

I remember when, back in the summer of ‘04, I visited that museum in western Oregon I now can’t recall the name of, and saw in amazement the Howard Hughes Spruce Goose. That’s the biggest wood project I’ve ever seen! Think something slightly bigger that a B747 entirely made in wood… and of course without any dividers, beams or posts inside. A perfect engineering piece.

…and last, but by no means, least:
“Actually one of the most important lessons I learned
back then, from that school of study, was that I could
do anything I wanted to do, or that my mind had the
wisdom and my hands held the ability….”

I do love that quote of yours, I really do.

View Don's profile


2603 posts in 5092 days

#8 posted 10-03-2007 10:24 AM

Enjoyable reading, Frank. I just came across this blog series a few minutes ago, and at first thought I would pass it by as I have not intention of slabbing wood.

But then, it’s about wood I thought, so why not expand one’s understanding of the process, even though it will be at best a vicarious understanding.

Thanks, Mate.

-- CanuckDon "I just love small wooden boxes!"

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