Heavy Duty Wood
Slow but steady work continues on repairing the sill underneath the front door threshold. Cutting away the rotted sill was more work than I expected. The hemlock beams are very dense and cutting through them is a bit like cutting oak. After watching my reciprocating saw heat up a few times, I decided it was time for the big gun.
It requires a certain amount of courage (or foolhardiness?) to take a chainsaw to your house. The tell-tale deafening noise, the smell of two-cycle fuel burning, and the sight of wood chips flying off of your house is not for the feint of heart. But it certainly sped up the job. I was also happy to realize how accurate I could be in making the cuts. I'm not ready to start making bear sculptures for the front lawn, but a chainsaw really does make for a fun carving tool.
A word about old tools: It's in my nature to try to get the most out of everything before sending it off to the scrap heap. I'm also inclined to see value in things that others are ready to cast off. The other side of the same coin, you might say. The chain saw I have is one that I picked up at an auction for $25. It's an old McCulloch Power Mac 320. This saw gets the job done, but not without a little TLC each time it comes out of the case. I'm always having to tinker a bit with it half-way through whatever task I've started on, I guess kind of like an old man who needs to take a nap half-way through raking the leaves.
That's all fine if you've got the time. If I was being paid to do this work, I certainly couldn't charge for the time it took me to stop and fix my equipment each time it broke down. And at some point I have to decide whether fighting with the old things for largely aesthetic reasons is worth the trouble. I'm not ready to invest in a new chainsaw yet. I don't use it enough to justify the cost, but the "old broken down machine" issue is one that the frugal DIYer can't ignore.
A neighbor had recently torn down an old shed and told me that there were some old 8x8 timbers that I could have if I wanted. Well, being in the middle of a project that requires just that kind of replacement material, I couldn't pass up on the offer, so I went over with the truck to check them out.
Most of the beams were 10-12 feet long, so there was no way I could carry them with my pickup, but the shorter ones, I thought, I'll just throw these in the back and be off. What I ended up doing was throwing my back out and being off the project for several days. This is when DIY stands for Dumb Idea Yeoman.
The beams will serve me well no doubt, but my own foolishness turned a good deal into a costly one.