Today the kids & I went for a walk, and stumbled upon this scene. They turned to me and said it seemed like something out of a Bruegel painting:
In reality, it was the museum’s carpenters pitsawing a white oak. I haven’t done much of this sort of work in some years; but used to do a little bit of it frequently.
People often surmise that the sawyer underneath has the tougher job. My experience has always been that this position is easier than above. The top sawyer is walking backwards, lifting that heavy saw above his head, and standing on an increasingly unstable surface. And steering.
The bottom sawyer steers also; but he is standing on firm ground; has gravity to aid him in sawing, and has only to give the saw a boost on the upward stroke. It can be hard to see down there, on a day like this one, with a bright sky behind. The other common rap about the bottom sawyer is that he gets showered with sawdust.
But the sawdust only gets to you if the wind blows wrong. See the dust here; it falls ahead of the bottom sawyer, after all, the teeth of the saw are away from him. You can see in these shots that we keep the saw vertical in the cutting; I’m sure there’s other opinions, but this method has worked for our crew.
Thanks to Tom, Michael, Rick & Justin for the work. The other day, we took up the challenge of sawing a short section of beech for the planes I want to make. The stock was 5″ thick, by only about 2 feet long. The hard part was holding it down to the cross-timbers. (we ended up clamping it) Michael shot some video, here is the Youtube link.