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  #1  
Old 03-23-2009, 10:01 AM
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Default Questions on carving large sap filled pine trunk

Okay guys, Iíd like to pick some brains if I may. (Guys also means girls, Iím from the mid-west). Is there a limit on thread space here because Iím probably about to max it. Does anyone have experience carving large white pine tree trunks still in the ground? I got a commission to carve one of my faces in a white pine tree trunk on-site. It was a healthy tree that was cut approx. 1.5 years ago because it was looming over a house. The trunk is 7 feet tall and 26 inches in diameter. The bark is still very intact. In fact it looks like it was cut yesterday. The top/flat has a layer of sap about 1/8 to ľ inch thick and is still very sticky. I took a chisel to a small section on the side and not only is the tree still green but the sap content is still very high.

I will be roughing out the face with my newly acquired Redmax G3200EZ and I can picture my new saw so gummed up with sap that it will be impossible to clean. It will be found 100,000 years from now in amber and in mint condition like a prized bug fossil specimen.

Now to the questions.
1. Should I debark the tree (or at least the area I will be carving)? I already know I wonít be debarking with any of my chainsaws. Even with the pulling clean wood into the cut technique, I think I would be better off using a more manual way (hatchet, large chisel or draw knife).

2. Should I begin carving immediately after debarking or wait for the trunk to ooze awhile and risk checking. If waiting is best, how long should I waitÖ a month, a year, until the sap stops, till the cows come home, till the fat lady sings. SorryÖ getting off track. At this rate it looks like I could start carving on it at about the time Iím shipped off to the old folks home.

3. How do you clean a sap soaked saw anyway? Or do you just not carve a sap soaked tree? I have read that ammonia and water will do the trick for the chain.

4. As far as the finish, there is no way on earth a sap filled tree trunk will absorb any spar urethane. I meanÖ this thing was cut a year and a half ago and itís still gushing. Iím thinking Iíll have to wait a long time to apply any finish.

Hereís the breakdown. I always want to do the best job possible for my clients and I donít want to trash my new saw. OrÖ should I quit being such a baby and just carve the dang thing?

I have carved much ďfound woodĒ and have a basic knowledge of how to handle various species in various conditions and states of greenness, rot, etc. However, I have not been in this situation until now (using a chainsaw on a big sap filled pine trunk). I have already told the client that I canít start carving on it for another month or so and he is fine with that. I am fortunate enough to be backed up that far on other orders so it buys me a little time to research. YepÖ you guys are the research.

Once again, I canít thank you enough for your generosity and willingness to help a whining wuss like myself. Thatís what you guys get for figuring this stuff out first. Iíll pay it forward every chance I get.
Thanks, Lundy
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Old 03-23-2009, 03:07 PM
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Default Re: Questions on carving large sap filled pine trunk

Hi Lundy

First off get that moustach covered up as well as your hairy arms! When I was felling soft woods for a living, many a time I had the sticky stuff upto me armpits!

Hot water and plenty of soap shifts it.

Just get stuck in and put one of your spirit dude faces into it, dont fanny around, get er' done!

Dick
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  #3  
Old 03-24-2009, 04:42 PM
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Default Re: Questions on carving large sap filled pine trunk

Good-day Timberface

Like Dick, I have also cut a lot of white pine up here in Coldwater Canada and done some carvings in them as well. Matter of fact just this fall I took down seven large white pine from around the house. The pine sap will gum up your fingers more than the saw and if the tree has been down for over a year when you start to carve it, it won't weep as much as you may think. There is a hand cleaner product up here called "Purell" it has a plunger, is a liguid and contains alchohol....great for the hands and I also use it on my truck windshield where the pine gum has dropped from the cones..also have wiped my chain bar down with it on ocassion....anyway like Dick says...."Git er done".....no fear..!! Let us know how it turns out...S.T.
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Old 03-25-2009, 12:03 AM
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Default Re: Questions on carving large sap filled pine trunk

Howdy Timberface,

Dry gas is an alcohol-based additive used in automobiles to prevent any water in the fuel from freezing and it works great on pine sap. Another alternative is anti bacterial hand cleaner.
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Old 03-25-2009, 05:02 AM
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Default Re: Questions on carving large sap filled pine trunk

Hi lundy, Would like to help you out here also but not too much experience besided Ridgway for carving sappy Pine & it was mostly frozen there. Just a note, make sure you dress the bar you got from Jamie before carving with it also. All bars wether sprocket tip or a carving bar should be dressed before being used for the first time. I have seen some pretty pooor quality that will cause premature failure of the bar if this is not done to give it it's best chance at survival!
Thanks, Robbin
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Old 03-27-2009, 04:30 PM
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Default Re: Questions on carving large sap filled pine trunk

Thanks guys. Hey Robbin, I didn't know a new bar should be dressed. I assume it should be done as you describe on your website?
Thanks again, Lundy
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Old 04-01-2009, 11:11 AM
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Thumbs up Re: Questions on carving large sap filled pine trunk

Honestly you have the best hand cleaner in your Kitcken !! Doing cabins stripping bark i used to get covered in that gum. Honest Crunching Peanut Butter spoon full with dish soap The oil in the P B breaks down the gum and the crunchy pieces scrap it off . You ll be amazed. Smooth works Too but more rubbing. AND your hands smell great. Harry But
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Old 04-01-2009, 03:45 PM
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Default Re: Questions on carving large sap filled pine trunk

Hi Lundy, Yes as described there just keep in mind to keep the rails square or perpendicular & also bevel or radius all the inside & outside edges slightly also. Least path of resistance for the chain the better!
Thanks, Robbin
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Old 04-01-2009, 05:00 PM
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Default Re: Questions on carving large sap filled pine trunk

Thanks Robbin.
Those are great tips on your website.
Lundy
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Old 04-01-2009, 10:40 PM
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Default Re: Questions on carving large sap filled pine trunk

Lundy I guess I will find out just got a big commission in two pine tree's cut off in the fall. Never carved a pine before other than Ridgway but as Robbin says they are frozen there no sap running. I think it depends on the species of pine I do know that Jack Pine is really bad to carve the sap runs out of it terribly. I will be starting this one with in a couple of weeks so I will let you know. It didnt hurt my Redmax in Ridgway didnt get gummed up at all.
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