Jay and I spent 3 days working on the tree at the dragstrip. First 'we' (using the Royal 'We' here, as I didn't have to reach anything, other than gas/oil/prybar) had to be able to reach the top of the 18ft trunk. We'd figured out a notched platform setup, to work our way up, and then back down. Around the time Jay was finishing the 1st notch, his sister called, saying his brother, Gary, would arrive within a few hours, with some 'real' scaffolding. So we went to work on cutting and clearing some of the topped tree trunk and limbs that were on the ground by the tree. Once Gary arrived, he, Jay and Cody made quick work of getting 2 sections set up. Jay worked for 2 days, getting the tree reduced to about 13 feet. He hit metal a couple of times, which really slowed things down, as the saw has a 25" blade on it. That's alot of teeth to re-file. Also, the chain is not configured to cut through endgrain efficiently, so the cutting itself was rather slow.
To determine the proper height, I measured the diameter of the tree, and ran a rough calculation ('Math According to Terry') using my sketch and carved model, to determine how tall the actual carving would be. Then we stood back to see where that would look best, proportionally, from the ground.
Proper height achieved, I climbed up and drew some guidelines for Jay to be able to set the sides, front and back of the car. The rest of the carving tucks under that dimension. While he was ripping the sides down 30", I was drawing out a template to use to draw the carving lines. When he had those cuts done, I was able to give him a line to cut the angle of the car roof. He hit those lines perfectly, setting it up for an easy layout.
Once I had the layout marked on both sides, I was finally able to get started on carving. That happened on the afternoon of the 3rd day. While I wasn't able to get alot of actual carving done, I do feel like I was able to get a good start. Being Red Oak, the carving is rather slow going. And judging from the staining in the wood, I wouldn't be surprised if I don't hit some more metal before this project is over.
It took ALOT of work by Jay to get to this point. And the assistance of Cody and Gary was, as the commercial says, priceless!