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36" trees with 18" bar

Post in 'The Gear' started by WarmGuy, Apr 19, 2007.

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  1. WarmGuy

    WarmGuy Feeling the Heat

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    On the box my Craftsman saw came in, it says:

    18" Bar -- Up to 36" diameter cuts

    But of course that would involve cutting with the tip inside the tree, with a high risk of kickback. The manual says "Never let the moving chain contact any object at the tip of the guide bar."

    So, was the marketing department just getting carried away?

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  2. babalu87

    babalu87 New Member

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    Cot one side
    Cut the other side
    18 + 18 = 36

    Bore cuts can be dangerous but anytime you pull the rope on a chainsaw its dangerous, you just have to think safety first and be aware that a saw can kick-back at any time and know where the spinning part goes if it happens.

    I am sure Eric can chime in with stories of his father cutting 36" trees with a 13 inch bar.

    The Good Woodcutters Guide, I highly recommend this book
  3. carpniels

    carpniels Minister of Fire

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    HI Baba,

    I recently read that book too and it is indeed very useful.

    I have seen diagrams/drawings of felling trees larger than 2 times the bar length. It is doable but requires special techniques.

    But I have no idea how to buck logs larger than twice the bar length.

    Carpniels
  4. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    There are relatively safe ways to bore cut and it's a legitimate technique for skilled saw operators. And yes, you can cut more than twice the bar length if you know what you're doing.

    For most people, however, it's probably best to stick to the basics and not try to get beyond your skill or comfort levels. I would say that a bar is right for you if it's longer than the average size trees you cut. If most of your wood is 16 inches in diameter, with occasional pieces up to 24 inches, then an 18-inch bar would be about right. Knock a couple of inches off those numbers, and you'd be better off with a 16-inch bar. etc.

    As always, babs, thanks for the plug.
  5. DiscoInferno

    DiscoInferno Minister of Fire

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    If you have dogs (spikes) at the base of the bar, that 18" will be more like 16" as well.

    We had a thread recently about the potential for kickback in this case, it can happen but there's almost no way for the bar to actually jump out of a deep cut without snagging on the sides.
  6. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    Eric put it best

    If you are asking these questions here it is beyond your skill level.. This when you have no experience and should not be attempting what you are doing

    My advice is to stick with the thickness of your bar AND LET PROS DO CUTS BEYOND THAT
  7. johnsopi

    johnsopi Minister of Fire

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    I allways take the dogs/spikes off, so I have more bar. Don't know if this is good idea or not.
  8. MustBurn

    MustBurn New Member

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    I was cutting 36" logs with an 18" bar all day today. Equipment can be a factor. I have an 18" Craftsman that I don't trust to cut a 6" log, while I have no problem plunging my 18" Stihl into a trunk, tip to cleat inorder to cut trunks apart. Cutting standing trees will be different mind you, given the lengths mentioned, but the physics are very similar, except for that whole, this tree can crush my house thing.....

    MB
  9. WarmGuy

    WarmGuy Feeling the Heat

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    Thanks for the book recommendation -- I've got it on hold at the library.
  10. ourhouse

    ourhouse Minister of Fire

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    I agree with what Eric said. I run a 372 at work with a 16" bar and cut 20"+ size trees all the time with it.
  11. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    I only have a 16" bar on my little homeowner grade Poulan, but I have cut some big stuff with it on occasion, but it did NOT like doing it... I would love to get a better saw, but the money isn't there at the moment - once I sell off the old snowblower, and some other stuff I may go looking for one of those used HD Makita rental saws, as that sounds like one of the best sources for a good saw at short money... All the big stuff I've cut has been on the ground though. I think the biggest tree I've actually dropped myself has been about a foot diameter. May change next year as I've been looking at some of our swamp maples that are looking pretty ratty. However I'm getting past my "window" each season when I drop stuff - I won't do it when the undergrowth starts getting thick enough to be a problem.

    However I'm reall happy with the trees that I had dropped professionally last year, as it looks to me like I did a pretty good job of picking them - I got rid of all the serious "Danger Trees" The ones that are left I think have safe drop zones and won't be hard to make fall where I want them to.

    However I also find that a great deal of what I do with the saw when I'm dropping trees is limbing and cutting fairly small diameter wood, and for that I use the tip FAR more than I use the body of the blade near the saw. I just make sure I always have a good grip on the saw, and that I know where the tip is at all times so that I know what I'm going to be touching with it. I may just have been lucky, but I cant really say I've EVER had a bad kickback with that saw - it does use a narrow bar and low kickback chain, apparently that works. At any rate my bottom line is that I probably do 80% of my cutting with the last 3" of my bar, top or bottom. I try to avoid using the top 1/4 of the tip, but not very hard...

    Even when I'm cutting log size wood, I'll cut with the center of the blade, usually not using the body of the saw to brace against the log, it just seems to work better for me that way. I'll cut as far through as I dare go, making cuts all the way down the log, then roll it and come back with the tip to finish the cut.

    Gooserider
  12. computeruser

    computeruser Feeling the Heat

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    Like everyone else said - bars do not need to be larger than the material being cut in order to get the job done. Now whether the Craftsman saw at issue has the power to accomplish that task and a strong enough oiler to keep everything lubed up, well, that's another matter.

    One of the things to keep in mind, especially when felling with bars that are shorter than the diameter of the tree, is that technique AND cutting speed become critical for safety. An underpowered saw with a 20" bar is NOT going be nearly as safe as a powerful saw with the same 20" bar. Around here in Michigan most of the loggers are running 20" bars as their everyday bars, with a 28" or 32" in the truck for the occasional tree that requires it. Since we're in Stihl country around here, these guys are running the 20" bars on Stihl 460 and 660 (75 and 92cc). Suffice it to say the cutting experience with this setup is much different than a similar bar length on a Craftsman that would be struggling with that length of bar.
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