Carving a Step From an Old Fallen Tree

Photo by A.J. Kilpatrick

The finished product: a step carved from an old windblown log that was well on its way to fulfilling its role in the circle of life.

Since we were giving the front entrance a bit of a refurb- new door and window, clapboard siding, lights, and GFI outlet, we decided to try to reclaim an old ceder log that had blown down 6 years ago.  Seeing the large Eastern White Ceder (large being a relative term as Eastern ceder is quite puny by Western standards) just lying on the ground waiting to complete the circle of life had long seemed wasteful.  First up was a little milling with a Granberg chainsaw mill to give us a flat top.  Because our Echo CS 590 Timber Wolf is only equipped with a 20 ” bar, we had to drop the front stabilizing arm off the mill to maximize the width of cut.  The old ceder was easy cutting, but the Echo sounded a little lean in the cut and had to be adjusted.

Granberg Chainsaw Mill and Echo CS 590 Timber Wolf working on a reclaimed ceder log. Photo by A.J. Kilpatrick

Using the Granberg Chainsaw Mill to mill our reclaimed ceder log into a step.

After milling the top and bottom of the log, we discovered that the first inch and a half of the log’s circumference had significant rot damage, so we had to carve/remove it with our trusty Stihl MS 193 C chainsaw.  After carving off the rotten shell, we began carving the bark texture back into the log.  Carving the bark texture was easily accomplished with Stihl’s 1/4″ PM3 chain and .043 gauge bar– this bar and chain combo is not stock on the Stihl MS 193 C, but it is well worth the conversion.  The PM3 bar and chain is great for carving and gives a noticible power boost to this small saw.

Photo by A.J. Kilpatrick

The Echo CS 590 Timber Wolf resting with its partner in crime: the Granberg Alaskan Chainsaw Mill.

After milling and carving the log, it was time for sanding, staining, and applying some spar urethane.  When it comes to sanding: it seems that you are never finished.  I always seem to give up on the process before I am quite where I would like to be.  Sanding, it seems, is truly a test of your resolve, discipline, and patience.  For this project, I decided to try Helmsman Spar Urethane.  It applies easily, and is quite user friendly.  Whether it is tough enough for the application will only be revealed in the fullness of time.

photo by A.J. Kilpatrick for the best chainsaw blog

Minwax Helmsman Spar Urethane applies easily and has a great finish.

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