Getting the best timber out of a forest tree

Producing timber

We have completed three days of timber production. When I say timber production, it seems like a huge and refined process done by a factory or production line but in my case here, it is just a small activity involving one or two trees in the bush. The same principles apply here where a raw resource is turned into something useful. In this case, a tree in the forest provides timber for a house.

The work

It took three days from when the tree was felled to having timber planks cut and ready to be nailed. The man with saw worked extremely well and his assistant provided the necessary help. One of the things I have seen is that the work can be physically demanding if there is one or two people. While one can saw the tree, it takes two people to clear debris, mark the parts of the tree, making sure the tree parts fall onto beds or platforms where it can be cut easily. The person with the chain saw cuts along the lines he has marked on the log. As he cuts, the timber in the form of planks are produced. He does this over and over again until he has utlised the log and there is no more useful timber to be produced.

The chainsaw operator is precise and careful in cutting through the log while another person clears the saw dust
A frame can be attached to the chainsaw to improve accuracy of the plank measurements
A chalkline is used to accurately mark the required plank sizes that will be cut

Storage and drying

Once the timber it produced, it has to be carried to a shelter such as under a house where it can be packed and stored until such time it can be used. Part of the sheltering process is that the timber can be left to dry out naturally. I carried some (two only planks) per trip from where the timber was cut to where it was to be stored. The other guys carried six each! We packed them to make sure they stay straight and now we have to wait a few days or weeks for timber to dry out. Once it is dried out then we can begin nailing them up. Carrying timber up a hill is challenging especially when it has rained a bit. It was too hard for me. My feet and shoulder hurt a bit. I am just not used to the heavy lifting and going up slopes of the mountain which are often wet and slippery.

After the timber is produced, it is stored for a few days to let the water from the wood dry out before the carpenter can use the timber for building.

Uses

Well we cut some of the flooring, walls and a bit of the step ladder too. The timber for the floors are thicker than the timber for the walls. There is still one room that needs flooring as well as the verandah. This tree that we have cut is a light wood, I would think. It is call ‘Nou’ in the local Kurti language. The tree is often best used to carve out canoes that would be used for fishing down at the coast. It is often used for canoe building as its major properties are that it is light as well and water resistant. Thus, I think it will be best suited as wall timbers. If I cant afford paint, then this wall timber is sufficient to keep out the weather.

That’s it. See yous.

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