1969 Chris Craft Roamer 46 Refit: Taking A Break…sort of

My painter and I are still having problems matching our schedules, so the V-berth wall panels are still awaiting ICA base coat clear. But something else came up (or down, depending on how you look at it) that suddenly became the priority: old trees.

There’s an old maple with a 4-foot trunk that’s about 15 feet or so away from my house, and another one with a 3-foot trunk a bit further away that have been slowly dying since we bought the place. Most of the limbs don’t produce leaves anymore, and when wind storms come through, increasingly large branches are coming down. A tornado passed through the area not long ago, and the windstorm surrounding it brought a 6″ diameter limb down very close to the missus’ car. She was pretty rattled by that, so we decided to have the trees taken down. I’m not so dumb as to think I could drop huge trees in the right direction, so I left the falling part to the pros. $1,150 later, I had two large trees in the yard that needed to be cut up. I could have paid the tree crew to cut them up for me, too, but I seem to have a preference for DIY for less risky work. We’ve got a wood-burning stove that we use all winter long and a Poulan Pro chainsaw with a 20″ bar, so I got busy.

Turns out the Poulan Pro is more of a toy than a tool, especially when it comes to chewing through timber like this. It worked fine on 18″ logs I’ve cut up before, and it was very useful for rapid dismantling of the old aft deck enclosure on the Roamer. But when running it for hours, the bar regularly loosens up, the air filter lets dust pass into the engine, and the muffler comes loose every 15 minutes or so. I was spending more time fixing the Poulan than I was cutting, so I went to a local pawn shop and bought a real saw: a used Stihl MS362 commercial grade unit that starts on the first pull and goes through big timber like a hot knife through butter. All told, it took two weekends to get the trees cut up and stacked. I still have some 4′ rounds to cut up, but at least we don’t have to worry about the trees coming through the roof one day.

Making firewood

I also learned the value of a super sharp saw chain. I had a manual sharpener that I’d used for years, but then I found a cool tool that does a much, much better job–the Timberline sharpener.

A very slick saw chain sharpener (Timberline stock photo)

I sharpened the chain every 3rd time I gassed up. What a difference that made. But man, was I sore at the end of each weekend. I don’t know how many tons worth of maple I moved, but it was a great workout. With that out of the way, I hope to get out to the boatyard this weekend and make some progress on the boat. It’s looking less and less likely that I’ll be splashing this year. I haven’t given up yet, but…

Next up in our 1969 Chris Craft Roamer 46 Refit: The Laundry Closet Back Wall


4 comments on “1969 Chris Craft Roamer 46 Refit: Taking A Break…sort of

  1. robert renes says:

    When I started reading your last blog and you started talking about the trees in the yard, my first thought, well there he goes again with another project! He is buying some type of saw mill, is going to cut up these trees and use the lumber to finish the interior of the boat. I thought you might have gotten tired of working with the mahogany lumber.
    Keep up writing about your projects it’s like reading a weekly article and can’t wait for the next one.

  2. You are spot on about those Pulans. I inherited one from my dad 25 years ago. two years after that I bought an acre of land that needed a few large trees removed, and lots of others requiring trimming. Like you I got tired of working on it for an hour for every 15 minutes of use. I went into town, bought a Stilh 025 and WOW what a difference. 20 years later it’s still going strong. I just make sure to dump out any remaining gas, and run the carb dry before putting it up for long term storage.I pulled it out last month after being in hibernation for 3yrs. mixed up fresh gas/oil, and it fired up on the 4th pull.

    • 1969roamer46 says:

      It sounds like we had identical experiences with both of our saws. I’m amazed at how that Stihl goes through timber. And that Timberline sharpener, while expensive, is worth it. Great design and it really performs nicely.

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