It has been quite a weekend for us here in Cairns. Jim and I drove about 5 hours North of here to get some of our logs out of the bush before the wet season kicks in. We have a few orders for full kits and getting the 22" logs to turn 20" bass drums is a challenge at times. The remoteness of their location and rareness of the timber at that size makes them a precious thing. We have heaps of timber for the snares but the bass drum logs are a rarer diamond. We have had an early start to the wet season and have a heap of logs that are waiting to be collected after being felled last year.
We were really concerned that we would not be able to get them out till after the wet (march 2000)so we arranged to meet the timber cutters on the road at the edge of the cattle station we were getting our logs from.
To get to the logs we had to cross a river twice, at one point water was above the front wheels but luckily the bottom of the creek was still firm. Sections of the track had been washed out as they had had 30" of rain last week and we were still concerned about getting the logs out.After about an hour on the track we were able to get our mud splattered ute (pick up truck) to the logs. They had been cut the year before and they were in awesome condition. As we make solid shell drums by hollowing out the timber
and lathing them the logs have to be in perfect condition not even the slighest cracks will pass.
It was really good to meet the timber cutters face to face and to see how responsible their logging operations are . They selectively log each area and only take a a dozen trees per sq mile .The area they operate is over 160 000sq kms (as big as texas). These guys are third generation cutters and work an area that is one of the remotest in the world. Where we got these logs from is 100 miles from any town (Lakeland pop population 50) .They are certainly real bush characters. Rodney or Paul would not be out of place in a Crodile Dundee film.
Their ability to drink beers in the 95deg farenheit heat while operating a chainsaw really impressed me. I did notice Paul was missing a finger and Rodney had a really nasty leg scar. Occupational hazards are in every job.
We manged to cut the logs into manageable sections to load the ute. At 1220kg/m3 (895 pounds per square foot) is one of the heaviest and densest timbers in the world. It took all four of us to roll eack 24 inch long section up the ramp to the back of the ute. It was hard work in the sun and we were all pissing with sweat and buggered and we still had to get out. We could see the clouds building up and being stranded would not be much fun .With all the weight in the back of the truck we certainly had alot of traction for the muddy patches but the river crossing was going to test us. We got out of trhe truck to scout the best
line through the river and Jim just floored
it and we sailed through.We made it to the highway safely and the rain started.
For The five hour drive home with our precious logs we thanked the gods for blessing us.It was a good journey home with our precious cargo..