Pretty simple and straightforward.
I’m not your dad, though, so if you came to learn how to chop down a tree with an axe, sorry. However, there is such a thing as the internet, and there are, on this internet, whole websites devoted to teaching people how to do things, and so within about thirty seconds I found an article on eHow.com about how to chop down a tree with an axe:
Additionally, I found this youtube clip of some ‘professional lumberjacks’ basically not succeeding:
Finally, I found this quiz about whether or not you could chop down a tree:
I got 60%.
That could be why I have this story to tell:
Last winter, I took a bunch of my buddies up to my father’s lake house for some skiing. Come Sunday, we’re cleaning up, and my friend Dave and I are headed out back to dump the ashes from the previous night’s fire. I tell Dave about how, back when I was a young pup, I’d help my dad cut down trees and such. And he tells me how he’s never swung an axe before. I, of course, in a fit of faux-manliness, bust out my dad’s axe and a handsaw. I take a few swings to, ‘show him how it’s done’, then Dave goes, and he takes a few whacks. This is a pretty small, very dead tree which is clearly not far from falling over. After these first few attempts, the rest of our friends come out to watch/partake. Next guy goes up, takes two swings, and the head falls off the axe.
We all stand there for a minute and have a good laugh. Then I say, ‘Ok, let’s just knock this thing out.’ So someone grabs the handsaw, takes two strokes at the base of this tree, and snaps the blade.
It was freezing cold, so there obviously wasn’t going to be much give to the blade until it warmed up via friction, and I guess we just didn’t give it enough time.
So I run back to the shed, and I grab a splitting maul and my dad’s smaller chainsaw. A splitting maul is not made for chopping down trees, it’s made to split wood, but I figure, ‘the tree is dead and small and we’re halfway through it, shouldn’t make a difference.’ We probably could have used a regular sledgehammer to just knock it over, but oh well. My buddy The Mez grabs up the maul, takes one giant swing at the base of this tree where we’ve started the notch, and Crack! The neck of the maul splinters. Three tools down.
Now I’m really thinking, ‘let’s fucking get this over with.’ So we pass the chainsaw over to my buddy Bones, who, by my estimation is a lot more outdoorsy than these other two jokers, and he fires the thing up, and finally, cuts down this poor, violated, dead tree.
He starts to cut it into logs, gets about three quarters of the way done, and with a grating metal sound, the chain falls off the chainsaw. Four tools down.
In the end, we put what was cut up in the house, next to the fire, and left the rest of it. We put the four broken tools in the shed, and headed home. We should have been hanging our heads in shame.
My father, of course, on his next visit, sees his shed of broken tools, and calls me up to give me a well deserved, mocking, tounge-lashing. The chainsaw ended up needing a new chain, the handsaw needed a new blade, he CUT A NEW HANDLE for the maul, and he re-wedged the head back onto the axe. That’s at least +2 man points for Dad, and I should probably take one away from each of us for our utter failure, but, I’d be so far in the negative on this list I would get discouraged from ever trying to do anything manly ever again.
The Step- Cut down a tree with an axe.
Have I done it yet- …no.
This author’s total man points- 0.