new firewood-hauling backpack
Wednesday, November 2 2022
My customized and many-times-repaired firewood-hauling backpack is up at the cabin the Adirondacks, and to replace it I have a new backpack I bought about a year ago. One of the reasons I didn't gather firewood yesterday evenig was that the new backpack needed modifications before it would be suitable for hauling firewood. My old backpack originally had a shelf at the bottom (it was designed for hunters needing to transport dead deer), and that worked okay while it lasted. But when the connections between the shelf and the backpack eventually failed so badly they couldn't be repaired, I realized that the small frame from a kids' backpack would work as something even better than a shelf. It would be a whole "jaw" that could bite down on the wood from below, trapping it between the two frames. This would mean I could use fewer bungee cords and spend less time securing the load before getting it up on my back. The new backpack has no shelf, so the plan was to modify it by adding another Boy Scout frame as a "jaw." I'd bought two Boy Scout frame backpacks many years ago on eBay, probably intending to use them to help me get bluestone out of the forest. I didn't really find a good use for those little frames until I needed to fix that first firewood-hauling backpack, though I did use the other Boy Scout backpack as part of a costume for Halloween in 2008, when I dressed up as Trig Palin's extra chromosome. I'd needed something to support the arms of the chromosome, which were those cozies you put around water pipes to insulate them. I'm something of a packrat, and that backpack (still with the wire loops that had been at the core of the chromosomal arms) has been hanging on a hook in the garage ever since my one use of that costume. Today at lunch, I fetched that backpack (which required me to first remove eight or nine glass doors salvaged from the Red Hook office that had been leaning against it) and removed the wire. I then assembled a very nice wirewood-salvaging backpack.
Later, after work, I took the new backpack out for its maiden mission. I only went a couple hundred feet behind the woodshed, down the mountain goat path to where it joins up with the Stick Trail, and there was a fallen mid-sized white ash (killed long ago by emerald ash borers) ready to be cut. My chainsaw's battery didn't have much of a charge in it, but it was enough to cut what I measured to be a 67 pound load of ready-to-burn wood, a good first load for the season, given the state of my back muscles. I brought directly into the house and put on the indoor firewood rack in the living room.
Back at noon, when I'd been removing the wire from the Boy Scout backpack, FedEx van arrived with a package I'd ordered only about a week ago from India. It was a replica vintage sextant, and for whatever reason, it's mostly India that produces them. Since sextants have been largely supplanted by GPS, I think they're mostly used for decorations, but I actually wanted one for use in making angle measurements of things I can see from the lookout rock at the Adirondack cabin so I can determine where they are on the map. It was made of real brass, contained real lenses, and included a nice wooden box, so I thought $47.67 price was reasonable. In trying to use it, though, I had the feeling that it had never actually been tested. Perhaps it had been based on a real working sextant, but the index mirror seemed to be too small to actually cast an image of the second object to the split mirror to be seen beside the first object. That said, the sextant comes with three tiny brass telescopes that are of surprisingly high quality, and the micrometer angle gauge seems solid. If I make the index mirror slightly larger, the sextant might even be useable.
About a half hour after I wrote that:
There are lots of adjustment screws on even this decorative sextant, and I found it was possible to change the alignment of the index mirror and the horizon mirror to get it so that when the index arm is at zero degrees, the same object is seen in both the index mirror and in the unmirrored half of the horizon mirror. This will allow me to actually use the sextant. It's possible the gradations on the scale are inaccurate, but that should be testable.
My new firewood-hauling backpack.
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