Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Chainsaw Massacre in the Midlands

Chainsaw Massacre in the Midlands
6th Jan 2010

I feel I have taken a serious step forward in the boating game.

I have been collecting canalside logs for several years, fuelling the on board woodburner and the open fire at home. However, this source of free timber is not without its price in the shape of sweat from by brow and blisters on my fingers as I hack away at thick logs with my trusty bow saw.

I have seen how 'real' boaters make light work of logging by using a chainsaw, which is a serious big boys toy, and decided to get one myself. A bit of research on the internet soon put me off the budget models you can pick up fo under £100 (JCB etc) and I started asking round for advice. These enquiries all ended up with the same answer - you get what you pay for. Invest in a good tool and you should get a lifetime's use out of it, but save a few quid  and all you get is indifferent preformance, breakdowns and frustration for a season or two.

The one name which came up time and again was Stihl, the Rolls Royce of chainsaws. The problem was that I never seemed to have the £200 needed to get one.

After several months of indecision I found myself faced with a big pile of logs which were too big for a bowsaw or a bandsaw, plus several railway sleepers which needed cutting for a garden landscaping project. This backlog of uncut timber was justification to blow some savings on my very first (and hopefully last) shiny orange chainsaw.

For weeks I had driven past Seddons on Walsall Road in Birmingham, casting a covertous eye on the saws displayed at the back, so I enetered one Friday morning in a state of considerable excitement. I explained what I wanted, a Stihl MS181 with a 14" bar, plus chain oil and protective gloves.

I am big enough and ugly enough to come clean about lack of experience, so I explained that I was  chainsaw virgin and would appreciate any advice they could offer. They were great. They explained all the safety features, the golden rules, how to wield the beastie and they even took me out the front and ran it up for me there and then. Absolutely excellent service and it all came with a discount equivalent to the VAT.

So now I am the proud owner of a chainsaw and don't my neighbours know it! I am quite an expert at reducing big logs to mounds of sawdust, which turned my lawn white long before the arrival of the winter snow. I had feared than my neighbouts would complain about the occasional drone of the saw, but instead they sidled up to me and said "Hmm, I hear you have a chainsaw? Can you chop up this tree for me please?" Far from annoying the neighbourhood I seem to have become a local utility, and getting heaps of free wood as well.

As far as I can see, what with the ton or so I scrounged from the Shropshire Union last October and all the neighbours trees, I have enough firewood to last me to the end of the winter. That means the chainsaw will have paid for itself in a single season, and its such fun.


Timbo said...

Dear Man,

I have spent a most amusing half hour reading your tales of boating in Honey - woke up in the middle of the night and happened upon your rather posh web site.

Just made me laugh and laugh and laugh......

Hee Hee

Much love to you all

Tim (Mr Primrose)

Captain Ahab said...

I knew you would find this one day!
On re reading the accounts of Honey I realise that I presented her a little harshly but hey, why let the truth stand in the way of a good story?
Glad it you made you laugh.
Honey was great and ended up being very influential in my life.
WB is still at Calf Heath, iced in at present, four slots to the south of Honey's old berth.