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Friday, July 30, 2004

Except for plywood, Vertebrae Lodge was built entirely of green spruce selectively logged near the building site. Trees were felled and limbed in the bush and the logs were dragged to the site. The trees were cut before the sap rises from the roots, which results in less shrinkage as the wood cures.

This photo journal recalls the process of the logging, the moving of logs to the site and the peeling of the logs for the construction of Vertebrae Lodge. Over 100 peeled logs would be needed for the structural log walls and over 200 logs would be required for milling dimensioned lumber. The logs for the walls were all peeled by hand. Scroll down to view the process.

Dale, picking up a load. The crew were happy to get the logging done long before the mosquitoes, black flies and heat of the summer.

Another log arrives at the log dump. Initially, over 300 logs would be harvested. Many of the roads used for skidding logs were winter snow-roads, which would disappear as the snow melted.

Heading back to the bush for more logs. Logging in the early spring allowed the use of available equipment. The snowcats worked well skidding logs, although they had limited hauling capacity.

Trimming knots and broken limbs was important to make peeling go faster and to allow logs to lie flat on the sawmill bed. Working on the frozen snow kept the logs clean and free of dirt that would dull the saw blade.

Loggers Dale and Isabelle are back in the bush for more logs.

It was difficult to estimate the number of logs necessary to supply all of the dimensioned lumber. Think of estimating for a house construction project, when 2x6's can at least be counted. How many 2x6's would come from a mixture of logs? There had been no experience with the new sawmill and none of the partners were experienced log scalers. The initial estimates were close, but before the project was over, another trip to the bush was made for more logs.

With the winter cat roads gone, logging was restricted to the proximity of the few permanent roads. However, only a small number of additional logs were required and an ample supply of accessible trees were found.

A skidder had to be leased from a logging company working further up the lake. This expense was not in the budget. Also, valuable time was lost finding the machine, arranging for the lease and getting it to the site.
The logs had to be washed to try to remove dirt driven into the bark during the skidding.

The logging crew harvests some big logs. On the left, Dan shows off a 42 inch butt. (the log, that is). On the right, Scott and Dan survey the building site from atop one of the log dumps. The last vestage of winter snow can be seen in the foreground.

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Logs in the process of being peeled. On the left, Dan uses a home-made drawbar. Peeling spuds, broad chisel-like heads on a long handle, were also used but the large drawknives were preferred. It was back-breaking work.

Vertebrae Lodge would require about 7 logs per floor and there were to be seven log walls, one being an interior wall common to the two wings. With final plates for the roof, the building would require just over 100 long peeled logs. The 40 ft. walls would require lots at least 26 ft. long and the 50 ft. walls would require 56 ft. logs.
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