Saturday, 2 January 2010

Never again! (part 3 and last)

Summary : this is part 3 about cutting down trees in a forest.
After a long, hot summer we were supposed to pick up the wood in August, with our Citroën Picasso and trailer. Fortunately we do not live far away from ‘our’ piece of the forest, and we noticed in time that the path along the affouage plot was quickly overgrowing with shrubs. It appeared that we did not have much time to loose. We got our ass in gear pretty soon, and started to go into the forest, upload wood, and carry it to the field behind our house.
Unfortunately the path was sheltering a hidden tree trunk, which made a nice dent in the chassis of the car, under the right hand side door. Result : we could neither open nor close the door anymore. Fortunately we had an ex-car mechanic on the camp site, who was friendly enough to hammer the chassis in such a way that we could use the door again. The wood had become a lot dryer thanks to the hot weather and was quite a bit lighter than in winter.
Finally we had managed to collect approx. 18 stère, which means if one neglects labour cost approx. € 2 per stère. Considering that we normally pay € 50 per stère, this sounds like a bargain. However, when ordering from a wood merchant, one gets ready to use logs in lengths of 30 cm. The main question is, how much savings one really achieves. That is of course heavily dependant on the craftsmanship and competence of the affouageurs. I will make a rough estimate:
Affuage = € 35. Chopping trees and stacking - 32 hours with 4 people à € 10 (on the black!) = € 1280. Transport from the forest and stacking - 15 hours with 2 people à € 10 = € 300. Cutting to size and stacking - 10 hours with 2 people à € 10 = € 200. Forget petrol, chains and damage to the car. Total : € 1780.
Buying 18 stère à € 50 = € 900. Considering the accuracy of the hours spent, and the fact that nobody works for € 10 per hour anymore, the wood would be quite expensive even at an hourly rate of € 5. And who would dare to offer somebody an hourly rate of € 5? Given the fact that I still have pain in my right shoulder caused by shifting the wood, the question remains whether affouage, done by a bunch of good willing amateurs is worth it. My answer to this question is a wholeheartedly : Never again!

De website van La Tuilerie de Chazelle

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