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A good day out... but how do you cope with dirty wood?

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by mesuno, Dec 12, 2012.

  1. mesuno

    mesuno Member

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2010
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    Loc:
    UK
    Dad and I had a good day out yesterday in the woods. We have started working a new area by the lower track and it was a dreadful tangle of old fallen trunks and leaning poles. Some of it was 25 year old oak blown down in the great storm - half buried, covered in moss and looking rubbish, but I've realised that the heart wood of these logs is usually perfect.

    We got around 4 hours done and cleared a reasonably large area. When we go back we'll have a clear run at felling some large chestnuts that look like they haven't been coppiced in 40 years.

    Anyway, I got a bit frustrated bucking up all these logs on the ground. It seemed like every four or five cuts I'd hit another patch of dirt and dull the chain. Is there anything I can do to avoid this? Or should I just keep the file in my pocket at all times?

    Usually when I'm felling and bucking fresh logs I'll only need to sharpen two or three times in an afternoon.

    Mike

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  2. StihlHead

    StihlHead Guest

    Definately use semi-chisel chain for cutting in those conditions. It will stay sharp longer as the curved shape of the cutters will help deflect a lot of the grit. I use Stihl RM non-safety chain for those conditions. You can also use a mini stone grinder on a 12 volt battery to touch them up faster in the woods. Or carry a spare set of loops and swap them out as you go.
  3. bogydave

    bogydave Minister of Fire

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    There are a few chains out there that dull less quickly but when running them into the ground, none last very long.
    What chain are yo running on the saw now?

    A semi chisel dulls a little slower in dirty wood. Got a cant hook to help roll them onto something?
    Have an old chain to cut thru to where you can get the log rolled, then put on a sharp chain to buck it up.

    I have a back up saw & use it for the logs on the ground that I need to cut to get a trail thru the woods. Usually the logs are rotten,
    1/2 buried & soft & would dull a sharp chisel pretty fast.

    If you get good a filing, only takes 5 min or so to touch it up to get thru the dirty & buried stuff,
    then put on a good chain for cutting when you can take care keep it out of the ground.
    It's a PITA but sometimes you just got to fight thru it.

    I think you answered your own question. Keep a file in your pocket :)

    Enjoy the fun times working with your dad ;)
  4. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

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    Nova Scotia
    Cut most of the way through, then roll the wood around so the unfinished part of the cut is off the ground. That will likely require sometimes first cutting the log/tree into longer sections, cutting through wherever it happens to be laying off the ground. There's usually a few places long the length where you could do that, with uneven ground & trees that aren't straight. Plus the top will have it up in the air at some point.
    Thistle and Backwoods Savage like this.
  5. MnDave

    MnDave Guest

    If there aren't too many dirty pieces, maybe a wire brush in the tool bag would help.

    MnDave
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  6. mesuno

    mesuno Member

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    Thanks guys... guess I need just to get quicker at filing! I've been getting quicker with more practice, but when I ditched the guide yesterday it went considerably faster again.

    MnDave - One I cut yesterday was nearly 2ft diameter at the base and buried 10 inches or so for it's full length (50ft). Probably been there for 20 years and still rock solid in the heart wood. Gotta love oak :D
  7. Butcher

    Butcher Minister of Fire

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    N. central Ia.
    If you can cut most of the way thru the logs and then roll them so the dirty side is up, finish the cuts by putting the bar into the first cut and use the top of the bar pulling up on the saw. This will throw the dirt and chips out the front and not pull them into the saw sprocket and continue to grind away at your chain. It aint perfect but it does help. Least wise it does for me.
    mywaynow likes this.
  8. basod

    basod Minister of Fire

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    Curious(more gear related than wood) has anyone run on of those oregon quicksharping chains?
    The gimmicky/homeowner setup I've seen it at Lowe's
  9. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Mike, that is a lot of sharpening for one afternooon!

    I've recently been cutting stuff like that and today was no exception. Many years ago this woods was logged and following that the tops were cut for firewood. Still, they left several big logs. They've been there for a long time and for sure most were sunk into the dirt. So the first thing I did was to use the cant hook to roll them up out of the dirt. Then after marking where the cuts would be, I used the axe to chop away the areas of dirt. Naturally this took some of the bark too which is fine. Then, of course, after cutting I had to roll the logs again to finish the cuts.

    There was some really heavy stuff there today and I even had to split a few in order to handle them by myself. Thanks to the sledge and wedges, that was easy work. Also our trailer is quite low so depending upon the size, some I rolled on using the cant hook. The smaller ones I used the log tongs. For unloading I used mostly the hookeroon.

    I got to thinking about this today and just how much hard work these tools saved me. In addition, if I had not had these tools it would have taken at least twice as long. Yes, there is a time and a place for these tools. They really do help you a lot.
  10. mesuno

    mesuno Member

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    Backwoods - I should say that one of those sharpenings happens the night before, at home. When we go out it is usually for a good few hours - a long afternoon can be 4 hours of chainsawing, so one touch up every hour and a half or so. Sharpening used to take me 20 minutes or so, but I'm glad to say that I'm getting a lot faster! When coppicing it usually doesn't go blunt at all - I tend to run into trouble when cutting the stumps down flush, as even a clean stump seems to often have patches of root and dirt deep inside. That's just the nature of these multistem chestnuts.

    Good tip about cleaning up with the axe though - I can see that would save me a lot of agro. I'll give it a whirl next time.

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