Building a Concrete Block House – part 4

chainsaw coconut treesBuilding a Concrete Block House in the Philippines – part 4

Making coco lumber! We are now in the process of lining up the materials to be used on the roof. Coconut lumber is going to be used for the roof trusses even though it is not the ideal building material due to it’s susceptibility to insect infestation.

coconut trees

I have been advised that it is important to use older mature trees because they seem to have less problems with termites because the wood is more dense. We plan to paint an insect preventative on the wood before putting it up also.

coconut gang

Part of the gang – we landed up with 17 lumber carriers of all ages, two chainsaw men, one multicab driver, and the old man – the owner of the chainsaw.

cutting coconut trees with Stihl chainsaw

The trees we plan to use are over a kilometer off the road, so hand carrying the timber has to be figured into the total cost of the project.

making coco lumber

In the dry season it was suggested that a vehicle could get in there but it’s not the dry season so we are going to have to hike out each piece on foot.

timber coconut tree fallsThese trees are heavy! Blocks are made to roll the logs off the ground so the blade doesn’t dull by getting grit in it.

preparing the cut

Preparing the cut.

preparing the cutMeasuring the tree into 18 ‘, 14 ‘, and 8’ lengths. Below a “chalk” line is snapped to use as a guide for the saw man.

making coconut wood lumber

The “chalk” line is actually a cord dipped in used motor oil.

snapping a line

One bonus about cutting our own trees is that we get to keep all the coconuts :)

eating coconuts for lunchThis was a long day for everyone.

break time

I missed a great picture of the whole gang holding banana leaves over their heads keeping off the rain like an umbrella. The chainsaw man’s son even held one over his head while he worked.

operating a chainsaw barefootOperating a chainsaw barefoot.

cutting coconut trees with a chainsaw

This guy was good – the lumber was straighter than the stuff I usually buy from the sawmill in Ormoc City.

wood from coconut treesA list of all the porters was kept and each piece of lumber logged and the price of carrying them was recorded. 2x3x8 were 10 pesos ea – the kids carried these.

hauling lumber

2x6x18’s were 40 pesos ea   2x6x14’s were 30 pesos ea   2x3x14 20 pesos ea

tree cutting gang

I did haul a few of the bigger pieces out of the woods 1.2 kilometers to the road with my motorcycle.

hauling lumber by motorcycleI tabulated everyone’s pay at the end of the day. One little guy earned 35 peso  and proudly remarked that he was going to give 20 pesos to his mother and keep 15 pesos for his school – stuff like that makes living in the Philippines so cool.

ripping coco lumber

It was a tough job but everyone did their part

Lucito was the lead manLucito was the top porter – earning 200 pesos for the day. He and Jinalyn carried some of the 18 footers.

Let me tell you what – those wet planks were heavy! The first 1.2 kilometers was all hand carry.

Once on the surfaced road the multi cab driver took over.

He agreed to haul the lumber the final .8 kilometers for 600 pesos.

We made 4 trips and got most of it but it was very challenging too.

There was a hairpin turn that we could not negotiate with the long timber.

The driver would go as far into the turn as possible and then back up the upper road until we would come to a place to turn around.

This picture is a classic!

ripping logs barefoot

We were all pretty well spent by the end of the day which was cut short because we ran out of gas.

Building a house in the Philippines – barefoot chainsaw operator

Oct 14, 2010

6 responses to “Building a Concrete Block House – part 4”

  1. DP,

    Cutting timber in barefeet with a chainsaw…crazy stuff mate…where’s your work safety policy…lol…that’s one hell of a large chainsaw he is using to cut the coconut tree with…..


  2. I am amazed just how straight the guy with the chainsaw got the wood. Looks like life is very tough for the people in the Philippines without modern machinery to work with. Safety does not seem to be a priority as the guys are cutting trees in bare feet using a chain saw.

  3. I’m interested in possibly building a house in the Kidapawan area in mindanao. Are you interested in being a site supervisor for the same type construction you have done previously? I am not looking for a mansion just a comfortable 2 – 3 bedroom block home. I believe that a budget of around 400 – 500 K peso should be enough?.
    Anyway any info would be appreciated.



  4. Hi DP,

    Just wondering, how much did it cost you to cut down trees and cut them into lumber sizes you want? My husband and I are planning to do the same in bohol.



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