The kinky production crew of Ax Men horsing around with Safety Sam after stripping him of his clothes and whatever was left of his dignity. To see what happened to Safety a bit earlier, watch this outtake from Ax Men on HISTORY. It's hard to believe Mike and Robert got through the safety lesson with straight faces. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sXSed7ouqwg
Lemare Lake Logging
It's been so long since the last episode of Ax Men that the fans are getting testy, and even those who haven't given up could probably use a short refresher. So here's what you missed on the last few episodes (Feb. 3, Feb. 10, and Feb. 17):
Shelby went on a buying spree. He got himself a 30-ton paddle barge and a monster track hoe and proceeded to maneuver the track hoe onto the barge to create the world's weirdest river logging machine. Personally, I couldn't help being reminded of the Lyle Lovett song in which Lovett fantasizes about having a boat and a pony and going out on the ocean, "me upon my pony on my boat." Dubbed "Rassputring" (Shelby never did learn to spell), it seemed to work just fine. Shelby raised more than a dozen sunken logs on his first day out, but he had to pull a pistol on his crazy cousin Richard to prevent Richard from raiding his catch.
In Alaska, Papac laid off Joe and Coatsy, who went to Montana, where they are trying to clear 10 acres of dead trees with a crosscut hand saw. Wish them luck.
In Florida, Jimmy Smith of S&S Aqua Logging gave up tragically and went home to Washington to die. His son James went with him. leaving Brad and Swilley to co-captain their operation. With the Dreadknots holding a 9-0 lead over S&S in their logoff, Brad and Swilley found their first log but nearly set their boat on fire trying unsuccessfully to raise it.
In Washington, Craig Rygaard neatly cut a bologna sandwich in half with a chain saw mounted on the end of his yarder, showing the suck-up D.J. what he thought of his peace offering. But then Craig let a tree drop off the landing, persuading the crew he was over the hill. In case his son Gabe thought the younger generation could do better, Gabe managed to lose dozens of logs and nearly killed their riggers. In the last episode, seven weeks ago, the Rygaard crew was down three men: Craig had walked off, D.J. failed to show up, and Gabe fired the loader operator for tossing a 4-ton trailer down the mountain in a fit of pique.
Lemare Lake Logging may be about ready to pack it all in. In the last episode, the worn-out crew showed up late to get a half-hearted pep talk from the site boss. Instead of shaping up, the frazzled yarder operator forgot to do his walk-around. The result? The yarder blew all its hoses, sending a torrent of water and antifreeze spilling down the mountain.
As for Wisconsin Woodchuck, things don't appear to be going too well there either. On Feb. 3, Mike rode a section of the top house to the ground on the end of the crane ball to get a rise out of me (it worked). On Feb. 10, Robert climbed down off the roof to look for a dropped hammer just before a 6,000-pound wall collapsed, scaring the stuffing out of Mike and the rest of the crew. And in the last episode, Mike quit (or was fired, depending on whom you believe) after I yelled at him once again for another close call. You'd think after all these years my little brother wouldn't be so sensitive.
Can't wait for tonight's new episode!
Woodchuck's resident hunk, Chad Hardie.
On January 27, 2013, a new crew joined the cast of Ax Men on the History channel - the "urban loggers" of Wisconsin Woodchuck. Their "forest" is the 1887 Globe Elevator on the edge of Lake Superior, which still contains some 5 million board feet of old-growth Eastern White Pine - the equivalent of more than 20,000 trees, or 550 acres of timberland. Environmentalists praised the addition of Wisconsin Woodchuck to the prime-time show. But the reaction of Ax Men's traditional fans was less welcoming. Here's a random selection of comments from the show's Facebook page: "Get rid of the new building salvage people boring!"
"Thought it was called 'ax men' not 'construction men.' "
"Why the hell is 'woodchucks' allowed on here just cause they use a chainsaw doesn't mean they are loggers."
And simply, "No more woodchucks!!!!"
One fan singled out owner Judy Peres for special abuse: "I don't like the one blabby woman from the wisconsin woodchuck. let the narrator do the work lady." Ooh, that one stings.
If you like what the Woodchucks are doing, click HERE
The Globe Elevator was the biggest grain storage facility in the world when it was completed in 1887. It contained an estimated 6 million board feet of old-growth Eastern White Pine from the magnificent virgin forests of northeastern Minnesota and northwestern Wisconsin. Wisconsin Woodchuck started deconstructing the Globe in 2006 to reclaim its lumber for re-use. So far, about 1 million board feet have been taken down - but 5 million more remain. That amount of lumber is the equivalent of more than 550 acres of present-day white pine timberland.* You can learn more about reclaimed wood and how you can help save some really spectacular stuff by clicking here.
*Estimate provided by James Smith of the U.S. Forest Service, based on the 2011 forest inventory for Wisconsin.
The 1887 Globe Elevator contained about 6 million board feet of old-growth Eastern White Pine. That is roughly equivalent to the amount of lumber needed to build 300 average single-family homes.* Tens of thousands of trees would have to be cut down to provide that much new lumber - trees that are currently doing a bang-up job sucking carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and storing it. That process is critical to reducing greenhouse gases, which can cause climate change. So re-using existing lumber is a win-win proposition.
You can learn more about reclaimed wood and how you can help save some really spectacular stuff by clicking here.
*Source: http://www.fpl.fs.fed.us/documnts/pdf1994/mckee94a.pdf and Dovetail Partners Inc., an environmental think tank based in Minneapolis.
Jerry and Maureen P shared this photo of their recently completed cabin in Gun Flint Trail, Minnesota. The second-floor landing of their dream hideaway near the Boundary Waters is lined with grain-eroded wall sections from the 1887 Globe Elevator. This unique paneling was created by 100 years of winter wheat and other grains flowing over the inside of the stacked-lumber bin walls. Thanks, Jerry and Maureen, for giving this reclaimed material such a beautiful new home! Check out other uses of grain-worn bin walls at http://www.oldglobewood.com/grain-polished-reclaimed-wood.html
Scott Roush of Big Rock Forge in Washburn, Wisconsin, sent us this image of a hatchet he made using Real Wrought Iron salvaged from the historic Globe Elevator. Real Wrought Iron has very little carbon, which makes it malleable, and a lot of slag, which gives it character. To make the blade harder and allow it to maintain a sharp edge, Scott explained, "Your iron is laminated to a high-carbon core." Check out Scott's blog to learn how he makes this stuff: http://www.bigrockforge.com/blog/?cat=17
Donna Stanga: "Just another day in paradise."
Shelby Stanga has officially won my heart. He takes two days off from logging the Louisiana swamps to try to catch some crawfish for his bride, Donna. He explains to Cousin Belinda that the next day is their 14th anniversary and Donna really loves crawfish. So the two bait some traps with six-month-old rotten fish that you can smell right through the television set and they set off through the darkest, deepest part of the swamp. They find ferocious alligators and spiders the size of dinner plates, but not a single crawfish. Undaunted, Shelby picks 14 mysterious swamp flowers and proceeds to lay a table on top of his old barge with a naked lamp, cheese-and-ham sandwiches (Donna doesn't eat bread), and a few of the flowers in an old bottle. Oh, and he lifts Donna up onto the barge on the forks of his tractor. How sweet is that? The flowers turn out to be poisonous, and Donna is warned not to touch her food with the hand that touched a flower. But she is completely besotted. The best part? Donna reveals that it's not their anniversary at all - "just another day in paradise." Gotta love those two!
Dave "Kraken" Stone
Jimmy Smith is looking wasted and frail, leaving his wimpy son James more depressed than usual and the rival Dreadknots poised to increase their lead in the local river-logging competition. But the Dreadknots' Dave "Kraken" Stone, free-dives for a monster log that's half-buried in the mud. As the rest of us watched in horror, the winch snapped, the cable holding one end of the log played out, and the Kraken got trapped under the massive tree trunk on the bottom of the river. It was a seriously close call, but Capt. Clint Roberts managed to get him an oxygen tank before he expired; so the show can go on.
In the Pacific Northwest, meanwhile, Joe Linderborg, Papac's ADHD yarder operator, provides an infusion of adrenaline by climbing a tall, slippery pine in the rain and sawing off a limb to free a 7,000-pound cable that had become dangerously snagged. The pumped-up Joey pronounces it "like having sex with a supermodel," which might have been the worst eye-rolling moment of the episode. But it was topped by the riggers at Rygaard relieving themselves on some chokers as a way of provoking D.J. Jeremiah, which the rest of the crew thought was hilarious. Some guys just never grow up.
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Most of the posts to this blog are written by Judy Peres, CEO of Old Globe Reclaimed Wood Company and a former editor and reporter for the Chicago Tribune. Who says there's no life after journalism?
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