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Borecutting and dropping big trees

Post in 'The Gear' started by babalu87, Mar 14, 2006.

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  1. babalu87

    babalu87 New Member

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    I have been "playing" (not exactly the proper term for cutting down trees) with borecutting and felt I was proficient enough at it to drop a big Red Oak I have been aiming to cut down.

    I have to say it is a great way to cut down any tree but especially if it is larger than the bar of the saw
    Advantage is you dont have to race to set up the hinge.
    Start by making the hinge cut and then bore on each side and cut toward the back just above the hinge cut
    When you only have a little left to cut you go to the back edge and cut as normal.

    I will be borecutting all larger trees from now on

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  2. ourhouse

    ourhouse Minister of Fire

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    Borecutting can be helpfull on big trees or trees with a heavy lean so they dont barberchair. Butyou have to good with a saw or a lot can go wrong. The chances of kickback are very high when boring. You also have to be carefull not to blow through you'r hinge wood.I borecut a lot of the trees I cut.But I have been doing it for a long time. I takes a lot of pratice
  3. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Old dog sees a new trick here. Could somebody provide a little detail about bore cutting?
  4. wg_bent

    wg_bent Minister of Fire

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  5. ourhouse

    ourhouse Minister of Fire

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    Warren beat me to it. That covers it pretty good. Just rember when cutting with the bar tip the KICKBACK factor is VERY HIGH!
  6. MALogger

    MALogger New Member

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    Greetings.

    http://www.forestapps.com/tips/tips.htm

    This is a good series to read that explains how to properly fell a tree but the best thing to do is have someone with experience help you. It is far safer to have someone show you then watch you practice.

    You need to remember when begining your borecut to begin with the attack corner not the kickback corner.
    the attack corner is the portion of the tip from the center down to the bottom you start the bore cut with this part, never start in the kickback zone (center of tip to top of bar). Your back cut should be even with your notch, not above it. That was the old way the theory was it would stop the tree from coming back off the stump but the problem is it weakens the hinge having the cut above instead of even. If the hinge is cut properly it won't sever till the tree hits the ground (open face notch). The best thing about bore cutting is your hinge is completely setup before the tree goes anywhere then you can leave a strap of wood at the back and the tree will just stay right there allowing you to make a final assessment or to tap a wedge in if the tree will need it. Also by setting the hinge thickness before the tree falls you don't get fiber pull which is a no-no when cutting valuable sawlogs. But most importantly it is the safest way to fall a tree and you tell the tree when to fall not vice-versa.

    Hope all that helps

    Craig
  7. wg_bent

    wg_bent Minister of Fire

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    Folks, that site is REALLY good...read it.
  8. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    I would second what MAlogger and earthharvester said about the potential hazards of bore cutting. That's a fairly advanced felling technique and probably best left to those with A LOT of experience. Best to stick to the basics, IMO, unless you've had formal training and a good deal of experience. You always have to ask yourself, "if things don't go the way I expect them to, then what do I do?" If you don't have a good answer to that question, then don't put yourself into that position.

    Not to belabor the point, but some of the more advanced techniques and strategies for tree felling, like bore cutting, can be very useful to people who cut trees for a living and know what they're doing, but they can be a recipe for disaster for someone who doesn't. It's not uncommon for skilled professionals to get killed or maimed when felling trees. What do you think the odds are for someone with only a casual knowledge and very little experience? You compound the (already high) risk when you get into unfamiliar territory.
  9. babalu87

    babalu87 New Member

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    Understood that ALL cutting of trees is inherently dangerous but is the bore cutting method more dangerous than the standard method? (aside of the issue with kickback)
  10. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    It is when you consider that there's more chance of kickback when you're sticking the end of the bar directly into the wood. You can minimize that possibility somewhat by starting the cut with the lower half of the tip, and then straightening the saw back up once you get into the cut and plunging ahead. Once the bar is in there, any kick strong enough to knock the bar out of the cut is probably strong enough to trip the inertial chain brake.

    In a broader sense, my point was simply that you can get yourself into situations that are difficult to get out of when you attempt techniques beyond your training or experience. The theories behind bore cutting are sound, but they involve a thorough understanding of what you're trying to accomplish--and precisely how--in addition to knowing what can go wrong, and what to do if they do.

    For example, I read a brief article in a landowner magazine recently about using bore cutting to create a "back-hinge" when felling a tree. As the name suggests, you leave a hinge at the back of the stump, right where you would normally start your back-cut. Loggers do this with valuable trees they want to avoid splitting. In fact, that's what the guy in my avatar did to get that $7,000 black cherry veneer tree on the ground in one piece. Basically you just bore out your felling cut in advance. When you sever the remaining wood at the back of the stump, the tree falls without splitting.

    First off, landowners shouldn't be cutting trees that are that valuable unless they have been trained, which makes a one-page basic primer rather pointless at best. Secondly, it's really dangerous to cut away your traditional hinge before the tree is on the ground. It kind of goes under the category of "kids, don't try this at home."

    I don't want to discourage anyone who's serious about learning to fell trees from learning new techniques, as long as you do your homework. For everyone else, (which is to say most wood burners) more conventional methods are fine, and less likely to get you into trouble. Simple is beautiful, and in this case, safer.
  11. babalu87

    babalu87 New Member

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    Thanks Eric, all I know is that I was as comfortable (read not anxious, I think if your 100% comfortable that is when you can get complacent and then get into trouble) as I have been while in the process of felling a fairly large tree.

    The idea that I knew exactly when it was going to start falling as opposed to it could start at any time just feels better.

    On the value end of it I was considering calling around to see what that tree was worth but figured the wood I get out of it for the stove has about the same value as it has if I sold the trunk.

    I though the sucker was dying and figured for sure it would be hollow, it was perfect right up to the first Y

    Safety should always be priority 1, 2 and 3 when dealing trees and chainsaws
  12. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    The rule on sawlogs is that if you don't have a load (i.e., 7 cords), you don't have much. Sad but true. Current firewood prices considered, you're probably ahead to cut it up for firewood, though I know how hard that can be. If you want the lumber and you know someone with a small sawmill, you could take it over and have it cut up, but they would be doing you a favor.

    Enjoy the heat!
  13. babalu87

    babalu87 New Member

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    I've already nailed all the hardwood flooring we plan on having our house so I'll be happy with having about half of a seasons worth on the ground

    I dont know if it will be ready for 2006-2007 season but when its ready I know what it can do ;-)
    I do have great conditions on my property for drying wood
    75% sun and exposure to drying winds as well
  14. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    I have over a hundred trees, up to 90' under my belt over the years and every one of them scared the crap out of me. I hope they always do.

    I think I will stick to the traditional hinge style and keep on keeping on. Only one tree has gone where it wasn't supposed to and it looked kinda interesting filling up that whole stock pond. Man what a geyser that was. Dead center hit. Still gives the neighbors something to raz me about over a few beers in the woods.

    You are right as usual, stick with simple and what ya know. Now if I do happen to make it down to Richmond a little diagram drawing and education on bore cutting over a beer would be good. Remind me to tell the story of the uprooted oak, leaning on the pine tree and both leaning over the top of my woodshed story. The final line of the story involves me standing on top of them doing a Tarzan yell.
  15. MALogger

    MALogger New Member

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    Greetings,

    Most importantly whether you choose bore cutting or not is common sense and planning.
    Plan your escape route, clear brush around the tree and along your escape route so you don't trip while retreating form the falling tree. Look for potential hazards up in the tree, on the ground where the tree will land and the tree you will be cutting. If there is significant rot in the but of a tree it isdifficult to directionally fell that tree.

    When looking for hazards you need to look up in the canopy the number 1 killer of professional tree fallers is things falling on them from above (widow makers) not losing control of the tree they are cutting. You need to identify hazards in the tree such as dead limbs that could break and fall on you when the tree starts falling or when wedging a tree that can dislodge a dead branch and another very dangerous thing is vines if they are connected to another tree, like behind the tree you are cutting they can break the top off that tree towards you or act as a bungee and spring the tree back towards you.

    A friend of mine up in NH probably one of the best choppers and all around saw operators I have ever met (myself excluded of course :) ) was falling a large hemlock and when that tree went over it created suction behind as do most larger trees and it actually broke a dead snag tree behind him and he never saw it. He said all he could remember was it felt like someone was forcing him to the ground then lights out. He lived to tell the tale and still works in the woods. Most fatalities and serious injuries occur within 12 feet of the tree you are cutting that is why you should retreat along your escape path a minimum of 15' or more depending on conditions. It is dangerous work but I wouldn't trade it for anything.

    If anyone is serious about learning how to safely and efficiently fall trees they should look into the game of logging training.
    They offer courses for both land owners and professional loggers. I attended the logger training a few years back and it was veryvaluable.

    Be safe out there and for everyone's sake wear all of your personal protective equipment.

    Craig
  16. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Amen brother. In the oak hung on the pine story I hesitated on the escape route and started to look back to see where the pine was falling. I said the hell with it and continued on the escape route. After the crash a thousand pounds of oak tree was laying right where I had started to stop and look back.

    The Tarzan yell was followed by a quick trip to the bathroom.
  17. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    Craig pretty well nailed it. In addition to the Game of Logging (which ain't cheap but is worth every penny and then some), there's Logger Rescue, which teaches you what to do in the event that someone you are working with is injured. That will open your eyes to some of the dangers.
  18. MALogger

    MALogger New Member

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    Well BrotherBart I am glad you had an escape route and used it.
  19. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    I know. It was the most insane thing I have ever done in my life. I had to hope that the oak would follow the pine down or both were going to land right in the middle of my 12 X 24 woodshed, since the oak was suspended right over the middle of it. Fortunately they went right where I wanted them to. That was eight years ago and I still don't believe it worked.

    And would never try it again.
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