Hand Peeling with the Austrian Drawknife


I made a trip to Lee Valley the other day, and picked myself up the Austrian Drawknife. They had a Veritas and also a drool-worthy Gransfor peeler (but at almost three-hundred bucks, I figured to take a pass on it).

The Austrian Draw Knife cost me 44.00. 

I’m hoping to square just the top-sides of the logs that will make up the bridge. After topping and falling the Red Pine, I immediately began peeling. When peeling logs, it is best to start as soon as the log hits the ground. Spring or Early Summer, when the sap is running, is also considered the best time to peel.  However, given our exceptionally warm January, I was able to peel the log without any problem.  The entire log –  about thirty-five foot length –  took about an hour to peel.  So, with climbing, topping (the top 15 feet) and then falling the spar, required about 1.5 hours.

I had other work to do, and so I let the log sit a day.  The temperature dropped quite drastically, and as as result, I was squaring the log in pretty cold temperatures. For squaring, a ran two chalk lines down the length of the log to set the depth –  maintain the string lines at 2 inches apart, regardless of taper.  Then, I used a chainsaw (Stihl MS 290) to cut kerfs every six inches or so.  Furthermore, I cut a couple of triangualar wedges to hold the log in place. I rolled the log onto it’s side, and proceeded to hew it with my along the kerfs.

It went quite smoothly, actually. I would reckon the log was 16” DBH, and I simply used my hunting axe – Wetterlings Large Hunting Axe –  well sharpened, which made short work of the log.


A January Rain…


After a bit of a cold snap, the weather’s gone warm again. I’m in the Red Pine forest, and this lucky, very straight, clean Red Pine was felled for a log bridge that I’m building over the creek. It was in a good position because there was a tiny clearing beside it where an older tree’s crown has been knocked off, and I didn’t have to really struggle on ropes to bring it down.

This was a climber. I climbed and topped the top fifteen feet or so.  Cath was on the ropes, and it came down quite perfectly without damaging any of the neighbouring trees.  It’s pretty easy climb- though at my highest climbing point, the diameter of the tree was only about six inches, which, while perfectly strong enough to support a light climber, nonetheless can be a bit of a challenge to balance on spurs.

I abseiled down, and dropped the thirty five foot spar, of which I’ll use about thirty feet (two fifteen foot lengths) to frame the crossing. Tomorrow, I’ll go at it with the draw knife, while it’s still fresh.