I broke out my well-used, ancient Poulan chain saw for some needed tree pruning last week. The neighbor’s sycamores and camphors had overgrown my backyard to the point of distraction. Most disturbing, my summer supply of canned tomatoes, beans and dill pickles was noticeably affected this year. No one interferes with my bean and pickle jones and goes unpunished. I needs my yearly infusion of canned victuals, so out came the saw.
The trees had grown unchecked for some years so there was real sawing to do; nice big meaty limbs on the sycamore and even larger ones in the 4 to 6 inch diameter range on the camphors, all with a bit of high climbing involved. There’s not a big call for that degree of sawing in my urban back yard very often, nor do you hear the tortured wail of a small displacement two-stroke here in my little slice of heaven. (Take away the nights I might get a little high on the Pacifico, fire it up, and rev it out in the garage long after decent folks are enjoying the quiet of the night just to keep the little cylinder limbered up.)
My greasy green 14 inch Poulan, made when Poulan was not a Wal-Mart, Home Depot, or Lowes brand; when Poulan was still considered valid power equipment of the wood shredding variety. I’ve been through countless chains and even a piston kit on this little unit. But, as much as I love it, it’s just a minor league log cutter, dwarfed by its cousins,the real working saws in active lumber cuts across the country.
In order to complete my task, I had to venture down to the local saw shop to pick up a jug of chain and bar oil. The bar oil is kept on a shelf right on the front of the counter directly perpendicular with the aisle you traverse crossing the open front door. It’s a straight shot to the bar oil when you enter the store. I veered left.
As I was perusing the three vertical rows of shelving full of saws; real saws from Stihl and Husqvarna, it struck me what a miraculous piece of equipment the chain saw really is. It’s truly the most manly of manly experiences to put hundreds of razor-sharp teeth riveted to a chain rotating at several thousand times a minute powered by a screaming engine and make sawdust fly. A log – say 15 to 20 inches in diameter – that would take stroke upon stroke upon stroke to fell with an ax, succumbs to the power chain saw in a matter of mere seconds amidst a cloud of blue two-stroke exhaust and the downy mote of its own soft, moist, fluffy guts. Power lust slaked, my friends. Plain and simple
So I was standing there, admiring a big ass Stihl MS 880 Magnum with a 24 inch bar on it. I was looking at the spikes up close to the face of the engine case. They seem to have been removed from the wheels of a Roman chariot. These spikes help you grip the log with the saw and apply pressure to the bottom of the chain bar. Look up vicious in the dictionary. There‘ll be an inset picture of these spikes.
Destroying living things with mechanical tool advantage takes us back to the core strands of DNA that allowed us to survive sticking a spear in the wooly Mammoth’s ass. It highlights the rise of technology that brought man to the evolutionary forefront and fingers what will ultimately be the root of our demise as a species.
That is precisely why I rule my 1/8 acre of culture by chain saw.