Moving 15 tons of slabs out of my backyard

Welcome to my backyard, and welcome to another episode of Matt Moves. Episode number… way too many, but hopefully this is the last one. Today I will be moving the rest of the slab yard; I’m almost down to the last of the slabs. The house is just about ready to go on the market, and as soon as I get these out of her, then I can stop thinking about this. Plus, it’s going to rain the rest of the week, so this is the last day I can get out here and do this. 

I have my forklift here from last time, and my buddy Sam borrowed three ground protection mats from one of his friends. I called around to a few of the rental places this morning and no one actually rents these, which is surprising to me because they rent skid-steers and mini excavators, which are things that people would drive on their lawns. But I have a bunch of plywood from the barn at the new house, and I have no other use for it other than to destroy it. So we’re going to lay some of that down too and get stuff moved out of here. 

Over the weekend, I moved this pecan log out of here. My buddy Phil brought me that when he came up here two and a half years ago. We cut up one of his logs that day, and he left me this pecan and a piece of live oak, which I’ve also already moved. 


I also already moved the log that was the second of the big logs that I first cut on my band saw. That was a log that was sitting next to the sawmill the whole time I was building it and served as a nice workbench area to store things. Nice little fun crotchy thing. 

This morning I’m going to start with the easier pick first, which is going to be the bigger ash log, another one of those first fives that I cut with a sawmill. This is going to be easier because there are two slabs in here which are already sold. So I can split this stack into two portions, and pull out the sold slabs and get them to the buyer. 

I’m going to grab a bunch of the plywood, make a path with the three ground protection mats, and get the forklift out here. It’s tedious work if you are doing it alone: you’re constantly getting on and off the forklift, setting down the mats. Sam was here other other day, and he was moving mats around while I was driving, which made it much easier. Today, if nothing else, I’m going to get a lot of exercise, hopping on and off the forklift, and moving ground matting around. Thankfully, it’s supposed to be up to mid-70s today, and it’s the warmest day so far this year. It should be a beautiful day to be outside, regardless of how long this actually takes me. 

From my experience so far, I know this laneway is pretty good, because this is where I used to drive by a skid-steer, so it’s pretty well compacted. As long as I don’t stop moving, I will be fine. If I stop moving, I’ll probably sink. 

It is kind of crazy to think that this has been sitting here four years already. I don’t know how the time goes by so quickly. I have to band it and then we’ll get it moved, using the end-pick method. 

The next one on the list is this big old white oak – that is slabbing almost 8,000 pounds of white oak.  It was one of the more vigorous logs I’ve ever had up on the saw. That was cut when I was prototyping the rotisserie stands for rotating slabs, which worked out really nicely. I had to make a few tweaks to those, but conceptually, it works really well to rotate and flip the slab around so you don’t have to do it crazy and violently. 

I also have a video on picking this up, because that was the very first pickup with my new urban logging trailer. This tree was removed because it was a hazard tree: had a lot of die back, kept dropping limbs, and the church this was growing at was worried about a breeze potentially blowing some limbs down and hurting or injuring someone under the tree. 

My forklift, in theory, could pick this up, but the problem is that even though I could pick it up, I don’t think the ground would be too happy about that, so I’m going to split this one again, at least until we get it out into the driveway. The picks will be a lot easier because we’re coming in perpendicular and not end picking this one. It should be somewhat more streamlined, in theory. 

Things are starting to clear out a bit, and it’s looking kind of weird back here. 

Next up is going to be this rotted out white oak, which was a fun exploration of what you can expect to yield from a hollow log that has rotted out in the middle. This is going to be an interesting pick because I’m going to try and come in almost perpendicular. 

Looks like we’re going to be attempting an airlift on this one. I can’t get turned in here because this is uphill and I’m getting stuck. So, we’re going to try to lift it up out instead. This one’s not too heavy, it’s just hard to manipulate.

Next one on the list is this big red oak. I sawed this one with my dad over Thanksgiving, and I think it’s the longest thing I’ve ever cut on the saw. It’s over 12 feet long, and it spliced to just over four feet wide at the crotch. Really cool, interesting slabs. Based on what I know from this last experience, my plan of attack is to lift it up and get the blocks and levelers out from underneath it one side at a time. There’s not enough room in here to spin the forklift around, and I keep getting hung up on just the terrain. I’m pretty sure I’m about to make a mess, but I’m to that point where I just don’t care anymore, and all this stuff has to get out of here anyway. What’s the worst going to happen? I take them all out of here one by one? That’s how I put them in here. 

Last one left is a giant maple log with an integrated bird feeder. This was a really fun one — a really ridiculously large log, a lot of great figure and color and weird shapes going on. I believe this is the log I stacked back here most recently.

All right, I had to go up to the trailer to load the blocks and levelers, so I’m going to load up this log now, since it’s big. 

Back at the maple log now, and I’m going to split this into two sections as well to make it easier. I should be able to split this with a skid-steer, then I can grab the top section with the forklift and come back and grab the bottom section. I think I might be able to sneak this out of here with the skid steer. It feels like I might be able to pick it up, and save my forklift from getting stuck. 

Oh yeah! We’re going to get this thing. But I have to figure out how we can get out of here. It’s going to be a 300 point turn. 

Next I’m going to clean up some of the blocks, and then I’ll pick this red oak that I cut by chainsaw mill about six or seven years ago. 

I used this in the beginning of sawing logs to achieve different grain patterns, and amazingly, I got some walnut that is sawing thick stock for leg blanks. 

Now I have to unload the trailer at the new house so I can go back to the old house and load it up again. So much wood. 

Back to the old house for another load. 

And we’re back to the new house. I’ve got about four logs to unload.

Unloading is pretty darn quick with this, so I’m going to get these things unloaded real quick. 

Last one to move, all ready to go on to the trailer. Just like with the others, I will pick it from the top and then set it over the fenders onto the trailer. 

And almost just like that, a slab yard has turned back into a backyard; and a sawmill site is now a driveway once again. 

And a shop is now a garage. This marks the official end of the move. Everything is completely out of here and at the new house. Even though I am fully moved, I am still nowhere near being fully set up and organized at the new house. So right now, as of tomorrow I will no longer own this home, which is a kind of a weird feeling. I bought this place when I was 23. I used my life savings at the time to buy this house, and it became the house that Lindsay and I shared our lives together. This is where all of our kids came home on the day they were born, this is where I started my business, and this is where I stood so many times and welcomed you to my shop.

It’s going to be weird not having this space anymore, but there is definitely a lot to come at the new property, and I’m looking forward to everything coming in the future. I want to say a big thank you to everyone for following along with this. It’s been a very long process to get to this point. We can go quite a bit bigger now, which is very cool. 

So, for the last time in this shop, thank you, as always, for your support. I greatly appreciate it, if you have any questions or comments on the move, anything back at the new shop, please feel free to leave me a comment.

Home Addition & Renovation

Upper Cabinets and Range Hood Surround

Welcome back to our home renovation.  Today I am going to be working on this wall. It needs some upper cabinets and the surround for

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