random #10: Hooray for windy days in LA

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Blog entry by Gary Fixler posted 03-23-2009 07:16 AM 1453 reads 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 9: Just having one of those projects... Part 10 of random series Part 11: What a way to test out my new lumber rack! »

After a little get-together with friends last night around a backyard campfire in the ‘burbs of LA, and them hearing about how I’m collecting wood from wherever I can find it around here now, one of said friends left a message for me today. He was outside of an El Pollo Loco (Mexican fast food chicken place) that I frequent, and alerted me to ‘an entire tree’ that had fallen over in today’s crazy wind storms. I was over there in 10 minutes, new Irwin hand saw in tow. The city had conveniently already been by to cut it all up into pieces, so I loaded all the biggest stuff in my dying hatchback, and then set to work cutting up endless amounts of the tinier stuff. I filled my ‘00 Ford Focus hatchback cargo area from floor to ceiling, driving the remaining pieces into all cracks to make a rather impressive tree wall . Backing out of the parallel parking space was interesting :)

That’s the dirtiest I’ve been since before moving to LA in ‘03. I was covered in sap, and the sap was covered in dirt and leaf debris. I stuck to everything until I could dump Goop-Off on me later. I’m going to be sore tomorrow. I had to go back for the last piece – the 3’+ tall, ~18 diameter stump that was still half in the ground. I wrenched it out, and realized how heavy wet logs of that size are. Even lifting from the knees, I could only hover around an inch off the ground before all of my muscles would give out. It must be over 200lbs. I had to drag it across the street between bouts of traffic, and then fight like I haven’t fought in years to hoist it into the car. Back home I just pushed it out, and rolled it end over end (it’s Y shaped) around the back of the house. I have an awful lot of ‘tree’ now, especially with that fallen Eucalyptus I spirited away from a development last week.

Anyone know – can you paint Anchorseal/Rockler’s end grain sealer (both wax emulsions) right over cuts still oozing tremendous amounts of sap? I’ll have some pics up in my Wood IDs series later to see if anyone here knows what I found. Hooray for windy LA days!

The down-side – I forgot the saw after my first run, and it wasn’t there when I came back for the huge stump. There was a guy there dragging tons more of the tree out of his yard. I don’t know how I missed seeing it through his iron fence, but it more than doubled the pile. I grabbed many more sawn-up (maybe by him) pieces on that trip. I’m going to have to head back to Home Depot for another of the Irwins. I bought about 6 saws the other day, and gave them all a test on the Euc, and that one was the best – fastest and easiest to cut through wet lumber out ‘in the field.’ I’ll have to do a little review of it here.

-- Gary, Los Angeles, video game animator

4 comments so far

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27249 posts in 5156 days

#1 posted 03-23-2009 02:55 PM

Nice score, Gary. I always enjoy hearing stories about reclaiming wood.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View PurpLev's profile


8653 posts in 4982 days

#2 posted 03-23-2009 03:32 PM

haha, nice score! I had a maple tree fall on my place 2 years ago, unfortunately – at the time, I did not have the means to mill it, nor the place to store anything, and had to sit there and watch the city haul all those logs out to the dump… it still sadens me to thing of it, but I really had no choice.

now you made me wanna have some pollo loco… I miss those, they should open a franchise in the east coast (if only).

as far as sap goes – thats when I wear those “need to throw but still have some life in them” clothes – for the last time. (ooops, I was so excited I forgot to change my ‘just bought, brand new white clothes’... crap, oh, next time)

I’m curious about the erwin saws- will wait for your review.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


23277 posts in 5010 days

#3 posted 03-24-2009 10:11 AM

I’m getting interested in your enthusiam and adventures. guess I’ll have to put you on the buddy list to follow along.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Gary Fixler's profile

Gary Fixler

1001 posts in 4716 days

#4 posted 03-24-2009 10:58 AM

Thanks all! Lev, you’re story makes me cry. I feel that way just a little this week, knowing how much wood fell in the wind that I never even heard about. LA is very ‘groomed,’ so the moment something falls, a truck appears to scoop it away before it upsets anyone enough to drop their latte on their designer sandals ;)

Apparently a 50 year old Chinese elm fell down, and was pretty big. I don’t know where it was. Folks at work, upon hearing of this haul all had stories of trees they saw down somewhere. I need to get a cell phone finally and alert everyone to call me whenever they see something.

-- Gary, Los Angeles, video game animator

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