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Bucking up large logs

Post in 'The Gear' started by Jay H, Apr 12, 2007.

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  1. Jay H

    Jay H New Member

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    I have a bunch of maples and oaks in my driveway waiting to be bucked up into rounds so I'm now starting to do a lot of searches here on tips on bucking them up. I already know not to cut the logs lengthwise and very basic stuff like that, but what is general consensus of cutting up very large diameter logs? The maples I have are mostly 14-20" or so diameter but there are a couple of really wide oaks. Fortunately, I wont get to them til I get to cut the smaller logs, but looking at tips and suggestions on how to approach the larger ones? I checked the Wiki, found out some good info in my searches but still looking for more. I have a Husky 350 (nascar!) with an 18" bar. From what I know, once I get the rounds that are very very wide out, I can split them by hand to get them into smaller chunks for splitting with a gas splitter I can rent, right? Is there a hint on how to actually cut them also, cut through the log and rotate the log until you can clean the thing off? Would it be recommended to try to take wedges off of it with the chainsaw?

    Jay

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  2. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    First off, start with a new chain. If your chain is not in perfect condition, it will sweep either to the right or left on big logs, and you won't have much luck getting through the log. Be very careful not to hit the ground with the saw, as it will dull the chain and you will find yourself unable to make a straight cut. Cut about 3/4 of the way through the log, preferably doing that for each chunk you want to cut. Then roll the log over and complete the cuts from the other side by sticking the bar into the cut and pulling the saw up.

    If you do that, you should be able to keep the saw out of the dirt. Watch for embedded rocks, dirt and other obstacles on the bark. You don't want to hit them with the chain, either.

    As for splitting, you can rent a gas-powered splitter, or go down to Home Depot and buy yourself a $20 splitting maul, which should work just as well with a little practice.
  3. DiscoInferno

    DiscoInferno Minister of Fire

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    And if the log diameter is a lot bigger than your bar, then cut from both sides or rotate the log 90 degrees at a time. If the diameter is more than twice your bar, then you'll have to get creative. I've never needed more than my 16" bar though; all my really big stuff has already been cut.
  4. Jay H

    Jay H New Member

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    The chain is new and if you saw my thread on tree working tools, ordered 2 5' long peavys so I can rotate the logs with a friend if need be. I do plan on renting a gas splitter once I get these babies into splitting size and I do have a splitting maul and 2 wedges as well as a backup electric chain saw.

    Eric: So I can basically move on down the log, cutting 3/4 way through every say 16" until I get to the end and then roll the trunk over and do the undercut all at once, rather than say doing each round at a time. This would minimize the need to constantly rotate the big log. I do know about the nails, rocks and the ground of course. In fact, the tree guy who gave me these logs pointed out a clothesline hook that was imbedded and fairly well grown over that I couldn't take out. Got one end of the hook out but now I'm stuck cause I can't get the other end of the hook out. I've marked it for now.

    DiscoInferno: Most of the logs isn't more than twice my 18" bar except for I think the biggest oak there which might be 36" I didn't measure it. It would make an awesome table!!!

    Jay
  5. Corie

    Corie Minister of Fire

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    That's how I do it on the big ones. Go down the top cutting as far through as you're comfortable without dinking the saw off of the ground. Then roll the sucker and finish the cuts. I try to go as far through as possible just because it makes it that much easier to meet both sides of the cut on the other side and end up with a flat end, instead of having some goofy protrusion.
  6. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    Yes, do as many as you can at one time on each log, because sometimes it's hard to roll the log and you don't want to have to do it over and over again. Plus it makes it easier to measure correctly, since you're working one task at a time. For me, anyway.
  7. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    Wedges come in handy to split the big diameter stuff. I don't know if it's kosher, but I keep a plastic felling wedge in my back pocket and if I see the thing pinching for some unforeseen reason, can slip it in to stop it and finish the cut. At my home depot it costs about $105 a day to rent a splitter-less for part of a day. I cut down the stump of my dead ~30"+ hemlock with an electric saw. (I used those wedges on those big sections and they worked well). I am going to try to use the electric to cut up the big pile that was delivered the other day. For that hemlock, other than those wedges and some hand splitting, I split the rest with the $240 HF electric splitter (note: I'm not saying it's SUPER powerful.)
  8. computeruser

    computeruser Feeling the Heat

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    You should be fine working from both sides of the log. The fact that the logs are larger in diameter than your bar is long should not be a problem at all. The only problem that may arise (and this will largely depend on your skill and experience) would be the potential for your saw getting hung up in the cut. If you don't have another saw to cut it out, that could be a problem. The solution: grab a couple wedges (plastic, not metal!) that you tap into the cut to keep it from closing up on the saw, and actually use them!

    Attached is a picture of a tree I took down recently. It was about 40" at chest height and it swelled to 60"+ diameter at 7' up. The largest bar I brought with me that day was a 28" bar. I worked from both sides and from above, standing on the trunk. The tree was quickly and easily cut into large cookies, which were then cut into halves and quarters (ripped with the grain). Notice the bright orange wedge stuck in one of the cuts already made (it is partially covered in wood shavings, in the center of the picture) that I used to keep the cut from closing back up. These wedges make a world of difference in bigger wood where the inclination might be to bind up on the saw as the cut is being made.

    Keep your chains sharp and your oiler turned up to max, and you'll be just fine with bar-buried cutting of larger logs.

    Attached Files:

  9. 5555555

    5555555 Member

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    By the way, there's nothing wrong with using your say to cut logs lengthwise with your saw (ripping). It's a good way to split darge diameter rounds or rounds that are too difficult to split with you maul or rented splitter. I do it all the time.

    Jim
  10. Andre B.

    Andre B. New Member

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    Any time the end of the bar is buried in the log there is a higher chance there is of kickback. And the longer the bar the more leverage IT has over your control. So you want to try to visualize the path the tip of the bar is following and avoid ramming it into someplace were it could get some traction on the "wall" and climb up and come back at you.

    Attached Files:

  11. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    That's interesting, Andre. You're right about the kickback potential, I think.

    I usually start cutting way down low in the back, and then gradually bring the saw up over the top and down the other side. I wind up at roughly the opposite side of the log from where I started, and everything in between has been cut. That leaves the bottom 1/4 of the log intact, ready to be cut when you roll the log over. I don't know if I can come up with a good diagram or not.
  12. DiscoInferno

    DiscoInferno Minister of Fire

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    I get little kickbacks like you describe sometimes when I'm lazy and don't use Eric's method. Never enough to move much or come out of the log, but kickbacks nonetheless. The inertial brake even engaged once or twice, I was impressed how sensitive it was. It goes without saying you should stay out of the plane of the cut, in any case.
  13. johnsopi

    johnsopi Minister of Fire

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    The spiltter I rented form Ace Hardware could pivot so in the up and down postion you did not have to lift them. I splitt a lot of wood in a 24hr period. Mostly sweet gum.
  14. Jay H

    Jay H New Member

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    Thank you all for the information! I am going to start on the smaller pieces first but I've never used a chainsaw before and I keep reading, learning about the kickback and all the good stuff. Nice diagram, Andre B. My friend who I hike with mentioned never to cut wood when tired as obviously your arm strength would be diminished.

    johnsopi, thanks for the tip on Ace, there is one near me and my next wonder would be how would I split those large rounds when I doubt I could lift them when full... I'll have to go around and check on rental fees, if the fees are enough to warrent buying one... heck, I got about $7000 back from Uncle Sam and my State this year.... Part of it is going to home improvement and also replacing some logs in my log-sided ranch.... The rest is going into firewood and my hobbies.

    I bought chaps from Labonville (up in Gorham, NH) and I have ear plugs, safety glasses, and I am going to use my Petzl helmet I climb mountains with for headgear. No steel toed boots but I can wear my winter hiking boots that are fairly stiff all around. Once my peavys arrive, I'll be set to go play.

    Jay
  15. carpniels

    carpniels Minister of Fire

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    Hi Jay,

    First thing you need to do is changed your exemptions. YOu are giving the feds an interest free loan of $7000 for one year. You could have had a new chain saw with the interest you missed out on!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Then start cutting trees!!!

    Carpniels

    PS. Andre, if the kickback is of such concern to you, why not cut with the top of the bar and let it work its way up through the log? That way you will never have kickback and the cuttings can go into the cut you just made.
  16. Jay H

    Jay H New Member

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    carpneils, Actually normally I only get about $600 total from both but I just bought my house and the interest on my outrageous mortgage is tax deducatable, so that is where the difference is for last tax season... :) Yeah, I know about the exemptions but I don't claim much and I've never had to pay a cent my working career...

    How worried should I be about wet wood. These logs have bark but there is a noreaster headed my way sunday night and monday, which means next week the logs will be wet, would this be a problem, should I wait a week or so before starting?


    Jay
  17. computeruser

    computeruser Feeling the Heat

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    Nothing wrong with cutting wet wood, or cutting the rain for that matter. Heck, you can even successfully cut underwater if need be.
  18. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    I cut wood all summer long, usually a tank after work 3 days a week and splitting the rest of the time. Sometimes I'll take Friday afternoon off and cut 4 or 5 tanks, if I need to catch up. There have been many summers where if I was afraid to cut wood in the rain, I wouldn't have cut any wood. Or worried about bugs (Adirondack black flies, deer flies and mosquitos) or hot temps.

    My goal has always been to have the right gear to be able to work under almost any conditions. In my case, sticking to it is how the wood gets cut.
  19. Andre B.

    Andre B. New Member

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    Just how do you get that from what I wrote?

    Are you one of those alarmist types who interprets "higher chance" and "increased chance" as (you are going to die if you do it this way).

    Way to many people like that on the net.
  20. carpniels

    carpniels Minister of Fire

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    HI Andre,

    I deducted you were concerned about kickback from the picture and explanation you posted with regards to cutting large logs. You drew a picture where as you cut through a log larger in diameter than your blade, you would slowly retract the chain saw as you go down to limit the exposure of the top of the bar to the wood still connected. I had never seen this before, nor have I ever been worried about it, because when I cut logs that large, the saw is in so deep that any kickback is caught by both rounds on either side of the cut. The saw never jump out at you because it is 'held' by the log you are cutting. So I figured you had to be very concerned about kickback because of your large log cutting technique.

    I am the last to be alarmist. I am just a happy reader of chainsaw safety manuals. Since chainsaws are so dangerous, it pays to be careful.

    Carpniels
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