Life and times….Nov. 16, 2014

I am always looking for a good topic for the blog…….

This past weekend, I took advantage of the nice weather and the seasonable  temperatures do do something I never like to do, and that is cutting down a tree close to my house.  I like to have trees, especially deciduous trees (we discussed this in class last week) on the south side of the house as they provide shade in the summer (for cooling purposes) and in the winter when the leaves fall, the tree will allow the sun to get through to the house to take advantage of solar rays for heat and light.

Orientation of the house should always be considered before construction or renovation so as to take advantage of the natural situation and also to mitigate unfavourable conditions.

In this case the tree I was cutting down was an ancient White Ash.  This tree was really too close to my house and shop and I have been pruning it over the years to prevent damages to the buildings either from roots or from falling branches.  I had planted a Maple close to the base of the Ash as a future replacement and it has been doing well.  This was the year to remove the old tree to allow for the Maple to grow and to prevent damage to the young tree when the inevitable removal operation happened. On top of that, the Emerald Ash borer has sounded the death knell on Ashes in general, so I decided now’s the time!

I was asked how I was going to tie this blog post into the program of study, and it occurred to me that as I just finished writing about furniture construction using White Ash, so I could show another side of the usefulness of this wood.


My old partner is really amazing at tree felling so I asked for his help.  We rented a boom lift and got to work.


He worked in the lift and I got to do the grunt work! (and the photojournalism too!). Slowly, piece by piece, the tree was removed.


Eventually, all that was left was a pile of branches and logs on the ground which I turned into firewood over the rest of the weekend.


You can see the blond colour of the wood, just like in the table of the last blog series.


In the background is what is left of the branches, even down to the small (1″ in diameter) ones.

Ash is a great wood for furniture, but is also wonderful for firewood too.  It is hard, so has a decent amount of BTU’s for heat, but is relatively easy to split (I did all the splitting by hand with a maul – not bad for an old dude, huh?).

I will miss the old tree, but more than that, I am going to be really sorry to see the end of this species as a result of human behaviour (invasive species introduced by humans) and lack of thoughtfulness.  In the meantime, I get to enjoy the old tree next year as I turn it into heat for my home.

See you tomorrow,


About jhcarpentry

I am a teacher in the Construction Carpentry Program at the Chateauguay Valley Career Education Centre (CVCEC) for the New Frontiers School board. This blog is a way for me to connect with my students.
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