Ah, the adventure that is playing with chainsaws. Some days you just want to hear the shrill whine of a chainsaw and watch the chips fly. Oh, how I love the smell of two stroke exhaust in the morning! One day, while walking around the property, I spied some poplar logs lying around that needed to vamoose. But what to do with them? I have more wood awaiting the fire-pit than I’ll ever burn, so what else could I do with them?
They weren’t terribly large, and I had milled a couple of the larger ones to see if I could get any usable lumber out of them, but the jury will be out on that experiment while I wait for the milled wood to dry. I decided to try out my new Stihl MS 193 C that I had just purchased to use as a detail carving saw. Cutting a few small notches might help to break in the new saw, and it would give me some valuable cutting practice, as well as let me decide whether I made the right choice in saws for giving the carving thing a try. After cutting a couple of notches, I decided to try making a rough three piece bench from a downed poplar. I had recently milled a small log and the slab waste had a nice grain to it. I thought it might make an interesting seat to a bench. A few cuts later, a little notching here, a little shaving there, and I had a pretty rustic bench fitted together.
Although the bench looked alright, it was a little wobbly due to the smaller diameter of the scrap logs that had been used for the bench “legs”. There was a large knot protruding out the back of the seat piece pretty close to the center line, so I thought, “Why not use up another chunk of log that is in the way. A third support should increase the stability.” And I was correct. Not only was the third log a good support, but it had me thinking about a back rest.
Benches without back rests just don’t feel right. But how to attach a backrest? This little experiment was growing in scope. Of course, I would have done things differently had I planned on building a bench, but this thing started as a practice session to break in a new saw. Oh well, next I decided to add two smaller logs to anchor the backrest. The idea was to try to suggest a bench growing out of a clump of poplar. I don’t know how well I succeeded, but it is what it is (and what it is, is a big, ugly chainsawed bench).
I am now the proud (or not quite so proud) owner of a 300 pound-ish bench that is kind of comfortable to sit on. I do like the grain in the wood, and it is a pretty sturdy bench. The seat could be wider, and had I thought it through, I would have switched the seat for the backrest, but you live and you learn.
Speaking of learning: I also learned that when it comes to carving notches and backrest supports, bigger saws with bigger chains are a lot less frustrating than smaller detail saws. It was much easier to get a smooth and straight cut out of the 60 cc saw over the 30 cc saw, which isn’t too surprising, but I did think that the lighter weight saw would give me better control, but the light weight saw was a little “grabby” at the start of the cuts.
I don’t know what I am going to do with this bench, or even if I really like it, but I did learn quite a bit from building it. I guess that is the point.