Thursday, September 08, 2011

Chainsaw Bought....Still Have Ten Fingers!

In late July, I was awoken by a booming cracking sound right outside my window. It very well scared the scat out of me.

Curiously, there wasn't even any wind or rain at the time. And thankfully it fell in the middle of the yard rather than on the house or on those wires right behind it.

So what was I going to do with this tree.

I called a couple tree places (after emailing them a picture) and they wanted around $500 to remove it.

Recall that last summer I had another down tree (branch) and I circumvented this jam-job by hiring a guy off Craigslist to cut it up for $100. I had to help him and dispose of it myself.

One of the tree guys I called told me he'd come down himself to check it out because he was on his way to the *club* near my house anyway. Which club, I asked. Oh, the VERY EXPENSIVE one. Great, his estimate wasn't going to be cheap...

After talking to him about golf for 20 minutes and definitely having charmed him....he came in at $400 for the job. There's no doubt in my mind that if I was someone else, perhaps some 'old bag' dowager or yuppie type the price would have been $700 or even $1,000.

I hired him but the next day thought better of it.

I went to Home Depot and bought a $330 18 inch chainsaw. I figured this way I would no longer be held hostage by these tree predators. Here on wealthy Long Island with all these huge old trees and frequent thunderstorms....these guys are millionaires. Seriously.

Make no mistake I was scared to death of using a chainsaw. Google told me there were *40,000 chainsaw related injuries in America each year*!

In fact at the store I called my first wife, informed her of my DIY plans, and she screamed at me, "If you cut your arm off....there's no (deleted) way I'm coming to the hospital!"

Of course I saw another local *mom* at Home Depot and after chatting a bit she remarked about my chainsaw purchase, "Your wife is SO LUCKY to have a husband...that can do things around the house like that." Take that Mrs. C-Nut?!

I read the instructions and safety manual 6 times, cover to cover. I read chainsaw forums and watched YouTube chainsaw videos. All told it took me several hours of preparation - maybe even more than 10. And that was before even cutting it up. Tim Ferriss would clamor that this most certainly was not a good ROI of my time. Whatever. I hate to get ripped off and be at the mercy of sodomizing contractors, et al.

I tried to get a couple guys I know to come over and just help me get started but everyone was busy.

So eventually I mustered the courage to fire the saw up by myself. It started smoking and the chain started moving even though I had the brake on. The manual said this should NEVER happen. WTHeck! I turned white.

Customer service guy on the phone told me I had to pull the trigger/throttle right away - that was my problem. Then I had trouble restarting it. Damn. Did I break this thing right off the bat. What was my *supportive* wife going to say (if I ever told her)?

But it wasn't broken and I soon got to work on the tree (had to pull the cord 12 times even though the manual said to NEVER do more than 4-5). Well I got to work on the smaller limbs anyway. The manual, with all its breathless warnings, really does scare the $hit out paranoid noobs like me. It talks about *kickback* constantly. That's when the tip of the saw hits something and the whole thing bounces back right toward your face. Yeah, really. Although my saw had a kickback guard on it - assuming I installed it correctly.

It was a bigger job than that pic might suggest - being pretty thick at the base. Also, the tree limb was still attached high up on the trunk. And the manual warned to NEVER cut anything like that, over your head.

Actually I was able to break the branch down using only my brute strength. Yeah I'm indeed strong as $hit. (or the limb was dangling...)

Now it did take me a long time to delimb the tree. I wasn't exactly confident in what I was doing on this first job of mine. And again, I was scared of severing something and ending my golf career before I hit my peak.

Then once I was done with the smaller stuff I had to figure out how to cut the trunk. I didn't want my saw to touch the ground, having heard that dirt will destroy the saw in an instant. Eventually I figured out that I needed to keep propping up the end of the log in order to prevent *binding* - when the wood pinches the saw. The log was freakin' heavy and not exactly easy to prop up for the first several cuts.

Many Hours later here's the burnable wood anyway:

I put it on Craigslist as *free firewood*. Some guy in a $60,000 Land Rover came by and loaded it into his car. Saving $20-$30 on firewood ought to help him pay for the luxury vehicle, no?

I'm sure some of my more handy readers are laughing at my real world, incompetence. Yeah, I can't spackle or change a flat tire either without a cordless cellphone. Whatever.

Many of y'all can't buy stock options mid-market or prove Stewart's Theorem!

Of course Category Zero Hurricane Irene landed here last week and not a single tree fell in my yard now that I'm armed with my own chainsaw...

Check out this *chainsaw accident* video:

Looked real to me!

See also - Chainsaw ROI.


Anonymous said...

funny you read altucher He is known to have a way with his blog article titles to drive more readership (funny and/or controversial!) ;)

he is another guy kind of like ferris, but in real/practical life, career, entrepreneur matters.

some pretty good blog posts from him on his site

Kevin said...,42407,33240&ap=1

Kevin said...

Anonymous said...

Go to

There is a specific chainsaw forum where you can learn more than you ever wanted to know about chainsaws.

CaptiousNut said...


Never read that guy. He sounds familiar.

However my headlines are *losers*. While witty and thoughtful....they suck for SEO (Search Engine Optimization*. To game Google you have write *7 Ways to...* and *How to...* posts. I refuse to indulge in such manipulations. I'm an artist after all!


Yeah I knew about Chaps. Went with gloves and safety glasses. Wore shorts towards the end like a daredevil. I have a bow! Need a new axe and hatchet though. I feel like chopping wood would be quite the ab workout. All technique, right?


I went to so many of those forums, believe me. Now I watch the Mexican contractors when they have the chainsaws out. They don't follow ANY of the guidelines - neither do the documented dudes.

CaptiousNut said...

What did y'all think about the YouTube video?