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Advice on cutting large log

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by Slow1, Sep 30, 2009.

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  1. Slow1

    Slow1 Minister of Fire

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    Ok - you may recall the load of wood that I bought last week. Well, I've been working it a bit each day and I have most of the small wood bucked - which I'm rather proud of my progress really. Anyway, I'm now down to the big ones. Now I'm thinking a bit of advice may be in order.

    If you take a look at this picture (original one from when load was delivered) and note the three large logs on the left that make a triangle. Each of these are about 16' long and 2' diameter. Nice wood. However, the challenge for me is that the top one is resting basically on the ends such that if/when I go to cut anywhere in the middle it is going to squeeze and pinch the bar. Second concern is that even if I do an undercut to finish any cut, Once I get through the log it could shift on me and I'm not entirely sure which way it will go... not sure I want that big guy falling on me! I can only guess how much it weighs.

    So - any suggestions on approach? I don't know that I have a way to roll it off even really. I did get a slice off the end safely and might get one off the far end as well, but then I'm looking at the center cuts.

    Should I do partial cuts all the way down the length "just until it starts to shift" then go ahead and finish one and be prepared to jump if it shifts? other suggestions?

    I'm sure there are many good ways to do this and likely even more bad ways... I'd rather avoid the bad ones.

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  2. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    its real hard to say with out being there! that being said I would start with the smallest frist(thats on top) working my way to the bigger stuff and less chance of roll when dealing with the pile. two on the right gravy
  3. Slow1

    Slow1 Minister of Fire

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    I need to take another picture - all that small stuff has been cut and cleared out of the way so I'm faced with the large ones (there are 6 of them). The three that make up the triangle on the left of the picture, the one that you can clearly see on the right (the farthest right is basically a piece of stump only about 2' long), then there is the one peeking out there from the pile. The 6th large on is obscured in this photo. 5 of the large pieces are on the ground so basically it will be a matter of cutting as far as I can and then finding a way to roll them to finish off the cuts. It is just that one giant one sitting on top of the others that bothers me. If it were not suspended by the ends it would be the easiest one to cut as I wouldn't have to worry about grounding my saw in dirt.
  4. SolarAndWood

    SolarAndWood Minister of Fire

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    Have you tried rolling it with a peavey or using a 6' steel bar as a lever?
  5. Bigcube

    Bigcube Member

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    With a big pile I use a chain and my jeep to yank them off the pile. For long lengths I would pull them out 4' or 5' at a time and and buck off the rounds. When there 10' or so left I would pull it off the pile.
    [​IMG]
  6. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    post a new pick you already eat the gravy! lol
  7. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    yep there a good plan! Iam pretty sure he doesnt have a "peavy" or he wont be asking,but the timber jack or peavy would be best.
  8. Hurricane

    Hurricane Minister of Fire

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    Why cut in the middle ? cut a round off the top one to the length your stove can handle, they would be more manageable than half of the log. If you are worried about it pinching the bar after getting about 1/2 way in smack a wooden or plastic wedge in the cut and the log will not pinch the bar.
    Now without being there to see how teeter totter the logs are this is only one opinion and you should use your own judgment. I like cutting when the logs are up like that because it means less bending over, easier on the back.
    I keep two wooden wedges with me when I am cutting.
  9. fyrwoodguy

    fyrwoodguy Feeling the Heat

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    what length guide bar ?
    what condition of guide bar?

    good place to start, when going after the big logs your asking about
  10. SolarAndWood

    SolarAndWood Minister of Fire

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    It would seem the peavey has many spellings depending on where you are from...Bailey's sells both a peavy and a peavey. Although, the timber jack probably is the best tool for both rolling logs and keeping the chain out of the dirt.
  11. boostnut

    boostnut Member

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    Hurricane nailed it, get a plastic felling wedge. Your local stihl or husky dealor should sell them for a few bucks a piece. Cut about half way thru and smack the wedge in the top of the cut. That'll stop any potential pinch. If it were me I would get them all on the ground before I went crazy with the saw. There is a lot of potential energy in that top log. Enough to hurt you and your equipment. Be safe!
  12. rdust

    rdust Minister of Fire

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    This is probably what I would do if you can't use a wedge.
  13. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    Get them on the ground (pull, push, roll). Cut 4/5ths of the way through (using a wedge if needed to keep the bar from getting pinched). Roll the log and finish the cut. I work up some pretty big white oak trunks that way.
  14. freeburn

    freeburn Feeling the Heat

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    I did just this thing this summer. Had a skidsteer to help move the large logs, but I think the idea of the chain to a truck would work. GET THEM ALL FLAT before doing anything! You'll get pinched or cut in half without having any control over what's going on. Especially if they are 16' ft long.
  15. billb3

    billb3 Minister of Fire

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    Better to work on the ground, IMO.
    You don't want to fall on a saw even if it isn't running.

    I'd rather pinch a saw bar on the ground than in the air.
    (I've done both)
  16. Slow1

    Slow1 Minister of Fire

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    Trying to respond to a bunch of posts at once - thanks to all who have offered advice here.

    No, I don't own a cant hook or other such related tool (yet!). Thought about it the first (and only other) time I got a load of logs but didn't do it... Didn't expect to need it again and here I am. Hmm, moral to that story somewhere eh? I have been using a nice long (approx 7') 2x6 as a lever to move the logs about, but it doesn't help me budge this guy.

    As to dragging it down. Well... there is as pointed out lots of potential energy there (or potential disaster?). It is laying in a direction that i can't exactly hitch it to my truck and pull it (even if I had the right chain/straps for the job which I don't - I don't even know how strong a tow chain I'd need). So, I'm left with trying to lever it down. I'd have to roll it to the right in the picture (away from the deck!) and it is on a hill too... Love my back yard. I was rather hoping to reduce the size before rolling it off you see - less mass, less energy?

    One idea a friend at work came up with was to get a winch and try winching it down by pulling it toward the other big logs to the right there - only problem with that of course is there is going to be someone operating the winch between big logs, downhill from a log that is headed off a pile. Sounds more like a youtube video or a setup for darwin awards.

    Wedges to keep cut from closing - great thought! Anyone ever use wedge shaped pieces created from cut-offs for this purpose? Seems that would be worth trying and I'm considering this. I have been cutting some of the limb bits off as they were simply in the way and I know when I go to split they will be a pain and just get in the way of stacking. Easier to cut off when on the full log... Anyway - I could wedge these in the top with a sledge pretty easy I bet. Now to technique - if I make a cut in there (say 1/2 way) then pause to pound a wedge in, I now have to put the bar back in before cutting more of course. The Stihl manual (yeah, I read it front to back a couple times, call me an anal geek) says to always enter a cut at full throttle - would you do this in this case or put the bar in and then throttle it up? Seems more risky to go sticking the bar in tip first with it running full speed. Perhaps I am forgetting a detail (go back for another read?... nah, I'll ask you guys instead).

    I'm thinking the wedges are going to be the key here - I'll try and work it from the ends and get as many rounds off as I can. Once I can get it to settle down more evenly onto the bottom two logs it should be easy cutting. I will have to look close though to be sure it won't roll as it settles. If it went the wrong way (i.e. toward the deck and perhaps more importantly toward whatever side I"m on at the time!) that could be a bit of a disaster.
  17. Danno77

    Danno77 Minister of Fire

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    I didn't know there were options, when this is the case I almost always just cut in from the top and use some wedges.
  18. billb3

    billb3 Minister of Fire

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    A couple of 2x4s make for inexpensive levers, you'll snap a couple but they can be repurposed as kindling and wedges and chock blocks to stop logs from rolling (downhill).

    Might even make a swahorse out of some of them .
  19. boostnut

    boostnut Member

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    You're on the right track, make your wedges. As far as entering a cut at full throttle, yeah, you're being a little too anal. Leave the saw in the cut, nobody says you have to take it out to smack in a wedge or 2. Once again, be careful and take your time.
  20. Hurricane

    Hurricane Minister of Fire

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    I just stop the saw with the chain brake and leave it right there, reach for my wedge, smack it in and keep cutting. My wedges are made from lumber wood but I have used wedges from firewood. Wood is wood and a wedge is a wedge. You do not have to beat it in far just a easy smack to stop the log from closing.
  21. m0jumb0

    m0jumb0 New Member

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    i'm sure it was obvious to some, but I never though of using felling wedges this way... I may have to start bringing wedges and a sledge with me when i'm bucking. pinching your saw sucks! especially in a big heavy log...
  22. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Pardon me for being the oddball but I just don't see anything there that would cause me a problem. I'd simply start cutting into firewood lengths, probably from the butt end. Watch the cut and if it shows that it is going to close, pull the saw straight out fast. Then start cutting the next length. I've cut many like this with no problem.
  23. Bricks

    Bricks Member

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    I have to agree I don`t see a big problem!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Come on over, we had a bad storm with high winds a few years back. Finaly cuttiing up those trees lieing every which way acrossed each other. Some are pretty ugly messes 8-10 feet off the ground.
  24. Tony H

    Tony H New Member

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    I have a tree service that drops off stuff like this at my house all the time (on a side hill) and while I understand using caution it seems you are over thinking the situation .

    Just look at the way the wood wants to fall and start cutting off sections it doesn't have to be the top log either plenty of times I get a couple of 3/4 cuts in the lower logs and this does not cause the logs to shift. I can't remember the last time I used a 4wheeler or truck to pull on the logs or even a wedge I just cut off the sections available and when upper log starts to unbind I use a lever to help it along (6' pipe and 3' wrecking bar). If your 7' 2x4 is holding up as a lever you must have alot stronger 2x4s there. The idea is to cut so you are on the upside of the direction the log would roll most of the time and don't stick anything you don't want to lose in between the logs. I don't back cut anything over about 6" or 8" just roll and finish the cut.
    I realize this comes with experience but you don't get it unless you jump in and do it.
  25. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    As though that was ever a question :lol: :lol:

    I caution the OP to just "jump in". You have to understand that there is a lot of experienced cutters on this board (like Dennis or even myself), but it is only through time on the trigger that you will get the "feel" for a situation just by looking. And even then - sometimes you will get surprised.

    If you are posting this question to begin with - it lends me to believe that you are at least "mildly uncomfortable" with it. In that case, get it on the ground. It is a much more stable and safe position to sink your teeth into it. Safety first. After you finish the first half dozen drums of saw gas, you will know when to take the swing or not.
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