Is it Spring Yet?

What a week for weather!  Highs in the 70s followed by 50s and freezing overnight.  Fresh snow on Pikes Peak and all of the snow in the yard is melted.  None the less, we’ll likely have some cold nights ahead of us and I did fix the chainsaw last week…

After verifying my repair work by slicing up a dozen logs earlier this week, it was time to do some splitting.  When I first started splitting my own firewood a few years back, I started with a maul, a sledgehammer, and a couple of wedges.  These are great choices for logs around a foot across, but I’ve been splitting logs under six inches and there are better tools for the job.  Now, it’s easy to go overboard when looking for an axe.  I discovered this while hanging out on a knife and bushcraft forum.  Some people there rave about their Granfors Bruks axes and which go back and forth over which size is the perfect axe.  Now, I have nothing against them, but the cost can be mind-boggling.  I needed something to work around the house and maybe take backpacking.  I found the Fiskars X15 to be a nice compromise for those two uses and enjoy using it very much.

Splitting Wood

A few of the bigger pieces needed the maul to get started, but that pile is primarily the product of the X15.  After this, the maul and the axe needed a little touching up to ensure they’d work this well next time.  You might think sharpening an axe is something esoteric and difficult to do, but it’s really quite simple and it takes many of the same tools you might use to sharpen a knife.

Axe Sharpening

Start with a small bastard file and try to match the angle of the axe blade by placing the file as close as possible to the side of the axe blade.  Slowly file the edge with slight pressure to avoid removing too much metal too quickly.  After the major nicks are out, I switch to the a diamond knife sharpener.  Running the sharpener, coarse side first, towards the blade, I try to match the existing blade angle.  After touching up the blade edge with the coarse and fine sides of the diamond hone, I like to use a leather strop to the put that little bit of polish on the edge like I do with my knives.

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You can still see a very small nick in the edge on the right edge of this photo, but the blade will now shave hair off my arm just like it did when it was new.  The Frog Lube puts a layer of oil on things to prevent rust and has a great minty smell.  I love the stuff!

Garden update time!  I now have twelve celery seedling and the onions I started last week are already starting to come up.

Seedlings March 17th

I was not very happy with the stand I built to hold the lighting rig I built.  Half-inch PVC is just not rigid enough to support the weight.  I have since upgraded to 3/4 inch PVC pipe and the result is much better.  You might also notice, I swapped the bungee cord arrangement for chain attached to two eyelet bolts in the top bar.  Total cost was $15.

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Well, that’s all for this week.  Next week, I’ll be starting a bunch of seeds and looking for a different tray arrangement.  Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

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