Sunday, August 05, 2007

Sharpening the Saw

When I worked for the school district, we talked about "sharpening the saw" in a metaphysical sense. It came from reading and putting into practice the seven habits of highly effective people advocated by Stephen Covey. It was about renewing the four dimensions of our lives, the physical, spiritual, mental and social/emotional states. Moving to our float cabin on Powell Lake took care of all of those for Wayne and me in one fell swoop.

Now, sharpening the saw has taken on a whole new meaning. One of our tests in becoming self sufficient was gathering and preparing all of our own wood for winter. The first step was learning about chainsaws. John helped Wayne pick one that would fit our needs, a Stihl, and taught him how to use it. And use it he does. We gather lots of floating wood in the summer and fall. All of that wood has to be cut to size to fit into our Kozi woodburning stove. We prefer pieces that don't require splitting, but sometimes larger logs float up to our cabin and beg to be taken.

Wayne does all of the chainsaw cutting, but I help with the splitting. We have a stump on our wood storage float. I position the cut logs and hold the axe in place. Wayne uses the sledge hammer to put the force into the split. It works really well unless we get a piece of wood with lots of knots. Then the force vibrates right up the axe handle and hurts my hands, not to mention the energy it takes Wayne to make extra strokes. We have been known to abandon some really knotty pieces. With so much wood to choose from, we can afford to be a little picky.

Finally comes the task I like best, shapening the saw. John taught me how to do it. Each tooth on the chain has to get uniform attention. I know it is right when I can feel the edge just catch the skin of my finger after several strokes with the file. A felt pen mark ensures that I go around the chain one time before reversing the saw and filing the teeth that face in the opposite direction. If I do my job well, the saw cuts through the wood like butter. That's one good thing about Wayne and me. We each like different parts of the same task. When we work together as a team, the result is better than if either of us did it alone.

It may not be what Covey had in mind, but our saw is both physically and metaphysically sharp. How about yours? -- Margy

1 comment:

  1. Margy, Hi! me here.. Hey, how's the fishin?
    Gotta eat fish, right?