Saturday, May 09, 2009

Mill Manhandling

The sawdust production capability aboard Eegeebeegee, capital of the Tallahatchie Free State--a government in opposition, established as much hand on wallet as tongue in cheek--increased exponentially this week. A Wood-Mizer LT15 sawmill has joined the Colonel's collection of retirement enriching man toys and provides the heretofore missing link in the timber to fine sawdust production system here at the northern end of southern nowhere.

The Wood-Mizer LT15 is advertised as "portable," a description with which the Colonel's infantry-abused back takes no small amount of umbrage. The entire sawmill package was shipped from the Wood-Mizer plant in Indiana on one "pallet." I've had more than a modicum of experience with pallets over the years and if the edifice-in-it's-own-right shipping foundation on which my sawmill came is a "pallet," it is the Mother of All Pallets. FedEx was even intimidated by this monster and sub-contracted a heavier-haul freight company to deliver it. When the freight driver contacted me and told me he was headed my way with an eighteen wheeler, I waved him off and vectored him to downtown Abbeville--the road infrastructure aboard Eegeebeegee, despite my best efforts moving gravel with Semper Field and a box blade, was not up to that sort of traffic.

Downtown Abbeville on a Friday afternoon is a hopping place. While the comely and kind-hearted Miss Brenda and I sat at the side of the road, city center, waiting for the freight truck to arrive, we observed a veritable parade of traffic--"parade" defined, for the purpose of this post, as five pick-up trucks and two four-wheelers passing by in the space of 15 minutes. When the trucker arrived, he parked on the side of "Main Street," took a quick look at my Toyota Tacoma (aka: Semper Fillit) and utility trailer, cocked his head to the side to clear Marlboro smoke from his good eye, and asked, "Where's yore forklift?"

"Forklift" has now been added to the lengthening list of "gotta get me one of those."

"I was told you were bring a lift-gate truck," I countered.

"Yessir, ah did. But this pallet weighs near a ton. We ain't gonna move it by hand. The bad news is it's eight feet long and ah ain't sure it'll fit on the lift gate."

An hour and a half, and a trip to a friend's for a "come along" (another item added to the "gotta get me one of the those" list) later, we managed to coax the behemoth off the truck and onto my utility trailer. At a timid ten miles per hour, all the while expecting the tiny tires on my trailer to give up the ghost, it took us nearly another hour to drive from Abbeville back to Eegeebeegee. The long trip gave the Colonel ample time to consider and discard several courses of action regarding the unloading phase of Operation Sawmill. In the end, getting the mill pallet off of the trailer was infinitely easier than loading it had been. I backed the beast-burdened trailer up to a sturdy pine tree in the vicinity of my planned mill location, chained the pallet to the tree, and pulled the abused trailer out from under the pallet.

It took the Colonel the better part of this past week to break down the pallet and assemble the new sawmill. Yesterday, three pine logs surrendered a treasure trove of lumber--the whine of blade through timber declaring my independence from local lumber yards at which Eegeebeegee building projects have heretofore been materially supported at considerable expense.

As the sun beat down on the Colonel at the helm of the mill, a new edifice's concept took shape in the flimsy cognitive connections in the paltry collection of grey matter cells in my heat-addled noggin and rapidly ascended to prominence on the Eegeebeegee building project list--my new mill needs a sun and rain shielding roof. The Colonel's near-term lumber needs are growing faster than the Google campus bandwith requirement. Lucky for me, there's plenty of large, mature pine trees ripe for harvest on the property.

I think I need a bigger chainsaw...
Post a Comment