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Cutting Frozen Wood

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by Jimxj2000, Feb 11, 2009.

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  1. Jimxj2000

    Jimxj2000 Member

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    I was out cutting some log pieces down to size over the weekend and it just wasn't cutting well. Lots of small dust for saw dust, not the normal shavings. I had to press on the saw to get it going. Once in a while it would seem to grab and go fine. But most of the time I had to force the saw. So I gave up pretty quickly. The wood all frozen solid - all 12 to 30 inch diameters stuff, mostly red oak, some hickory (I think).

    My two thoughts were either frozen wood doesn't cut well or the rackers are too high on the chain now that is has been sharpened several times. It is a "safety chain" so the depth gauge doesn't work for setting the pitch. Also, there is a lot of material to file off to trim the height.

    Chain is a Husky for Lowe's. Not sure of the size, but I am using the correct file with a guide for sharpening and the chain feels sharp to the touch.

    Any thoughts?

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  2. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    Frozen wood cuts a lot harder than non-frozen wood. Hard maple is the worst, but red oak and hickory aren't much better. It also sounds like your rakers need to come down a bit. If the saw hangs up while cutting, it's usually either a loose chain or rakers that aren't filed properly relative to the length of the cutters. If you haven't touched the rakers but you have cutters of different lengths (happens to all of us), that will cause the chain to hang, because some of the cutters are digging into the wood more aggressively than the ones with higher rakers (relative to the length of the cutter).

    The worst thing about frozen wood, IMO, is that any dirt on the bark turns into concrete once it freezes. Might as well cut the sidewalk. That will screw up a chain faster than just about anything.

    If you take your rakers down and try to keep them all consistent with the cutter length (use a raker gauge), then I think you'll find that your saw cuts better in frozen wood. If you still get fine dust instead of chips, take them down some more.
  3. ladihusky@yahoo.com

    ladihusky@yahoo.com New Member

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    Okay, Im a blonde and a woman to boot, but cutting frozen wood. Take no offense, i just thought, wow someone else beside me does crazi stuff too.

    This is almost as bad as my ex, who by the way forgot where the ash bucket was burried in the snow and decided to use a 5 gallon dry wall bucket which by the way he got bizi and sat on the wood deck....hahahahah lets just say, thank god none of the kids or he was home. Burned down.

    Your lucky that saw didn't bounce up and hit ya......be careful
  4. Duetech

    Duetech Minister of Fire

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    birdladiusa,
    Don't believe what they say about "blonde". A lot of brunette's (and other hair colors too) are dye-ing to be blonde so if it is so "bad" why are they trying to emulate it? Is it fashion? (LOL) And yes I am blonde too (where the baldness isn't showing through). Cutting wood in the winter means you might have to cut frozen wood. It just comes with the territory. In my area some ice fisherman will use chainsaws to cut holes in the ice and they claim the ice will dull the chain. As stated above cutting frozen wood is even harder on the chains. I prefer to fish from a boat but I do that in warmer weather. the boat will sometimes stick to the ice otherwise and that's rough on the trolling motor. :ahhh:
  5. fyrwoodguy

    fyrwoodguy Feeling the Heat

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    i have been able to cut 60 full cords of 16" dirt & ice free winter cut wood on one saw chain loop(and yes ice will dull your chain fast) and i have had the privilege of filing down a loop a day on dirty,ice covered wood frozen too
  6. mikeathens

    mikeathens New Member

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    I worked on a 48" red oak log this past weekend. Starting with a new chain, I dulled it after 3 tanks of fuel and about 8-10 rounds. There was ice in the middle of it and I had to cut from bith sides. Stihl 361 with 18" bar. I was amazed at how fast the chain got dull, probably due to ice now that I've read this thread. Then, for even more fun, I had to split it on site because the rounds were too heavy to move.

    It was supposed to be cut into lumber by a neighbor with a portable mill, but found out he's been beating his wife for the past few years (really bad around thanksgiving), so now the log's firewood. I just had no way to move it! Even the ford 3600 tractor couldn't have skidded it!
  7. ihookem

    ihookem Minister of Fire

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    I never noticed a difference at all if it's clean wood and not full of dirt.
  8. TreePapa

    TreePapa Minister of Fire

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    Not that I have a chainsaw, but even if I did, the only way I could get frozen wood to cut would be to stick it in the freezer! Even the local mountains don't get cold enough, long enough, for wood to freeze and stay froze. The Sierras, probably, but the local mtns, na.

    Peace,
    - Sequoia
  9. DiscoInferno

    DiscoInferno Minister of Fire

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    How do you cut 48" rounds with an 18" bar?
  10. kenny chaos

    kenny chaos Minister of Fire

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    I bet a chain would last long enough to cut through a frozen skull?
  11. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

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    I never really noticed any difference frozen or not as long as it's clean. Frozen mud on the other hand is like running into a rock.
  12. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    When I cut pulpwood for a living I sure noticed. You have to file your saw differently to get a better bite, and even then it's harder to get through the wood and you get more vibration. Not to mention that it's much harder to fell trees when the branches are frozen stiff and they hang up in the canopy. There are some advantages to logging in the winter. With small pines like I was cutting, you could get hung-up trees down by lifting the butt up slightly and setting it on a small snow shovel, then just yank on the handle and the butt slides forward and the tree comes right down. Just don't stand in front of it. You also have to be careful cutting ash because it will split and/or barber chair really easily when there's "frost in the stem."
  13. mikeathens

    mikeathens New Member

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    It took a LONG time. Luckily, the log was up about 3 ft off the ground, so I was able to hit it from all around. OK, so it wasn't 48" where I was cutting...but I still have a 48" butt log laying there 12' long. There's a lot of wood in there. Probably gonna have to get a longer bar for that one.
  14. savageactor7

    savageactor7 Minister of Fire

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    For a long time I've been doing select cutting of hardwoods in the winter and have never noticed a problem with frozen wood. What's to freeze in wood if the water's drained out? Just say'en... Unless I'm stumping I mostly cut at half throttle but I doubt that has anything to do with it.
  15. mikeathens

    mikeathens New Member

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    Call me weird, but I just can't bring myself to cut a standing tree. I typically get out after a day like today (50 MPH gusts) and cut downed stuff...like the "48 inch" red oak. This thing was saturated, which was surprising since it's been down two years. When I was splitting it with this maul, I was actually getting sprayed by water in sections that weren't frozen. I don't even want to guess how long it will take to dry...
  16. savageactor7

    savageactor7 Minister of Fire

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    ^Mike you should stay out of the woods when it's windy...good way to get impaled.
  17. hensonconst1

    hensonconst1 Member

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    I was cutting up downed limbs and trees down here after that big ice storm. The were all frozen for the first three days. I noticed my chain was dull afterwards, but not that bad. 3 strokes with a file all around and it was back to normal.
  18. mikeathens

    mikeathens New Member

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    I thought I said something stoopid again...but I did say I like to go out AFTER a day like today. If I was feeling suicidal, I might actully go out today...it's really blowing.
  19. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    Here's a big ash currently sitting in my front yard. It's 35" on the butt and 33" at the top of the log. 650 board feet, more or less. I'm going to hack it up with a Jonsereds Model 90 with a 24-inch bar. My chain is filed to perfection (has to be on a log this big), but I just know I'm going to hit some metal at some point on my way down the trunk. The tree is 105 years old and grew right alongside one of the main roads out of town. I figure the whole tree has about 3 full cords. Hope to finish it up this weekend.

    The power company was kind enough to cut it down at no charge, and left me the wood even though they also supply my gas--which I don't use.

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  20. mikeathens

    mikeathens New Member

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    I didn't estimate how much was in that big red oak that I've been working on...but I did count around 100 growth rings. It would have been cool to measure everything to get an estimate of how many cords are in there. Unfortunately, the main log (the big daddy) is laying across the creek, which is flowing pretty good right now, so sawing it would drop the rounds right in there...and I ain't gonna be able to move those without first splitting into at least halves, which would be pushing it. Since it's on a neighbors property, I don't feel it's a good idea to bilid a dam out of red oak rounds and divert the stream on his land.
  21. ladihusky@yahoo.com

    ladihusky@yahoo.com New Member

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    Wow I gotta ask, can I have that stuff u cut down. I really have begun to have a sick infatuation with wood, just gettin the good stuff.......lol
  22. mikeathens

    mikeathens New Member

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    Don't want to hijack the thread, but I totally know what you mean. I get strangely excited when we have a wind or ice storm, and then I'm out the next day scoping out my property and township roads for big fallen trees.
  23. Jimxj2000

    Jimxj2000 Member

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    I found out the answer to my question...I cut down the rakers and sharpened the saw today. Huge difference in cutting. No problem at all the with frozen wood. Some of the easiest cutting I have done.
  24. Tree farmer

    Tree farmer New Member

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    Like Eric previously mentioned about filing differently for frozen wood, depending on what type of chain you are running chisel tooth, semi chisel, safety etc. the change in tooth angle filing for frozen wood can make a big difference. For chisel tooth chain filing at 20-25 degree angle will make the cutting edge hold out a little longer, semi chisel and safety this is not so much an issue. They are not rakers (though we all call them that) they are depth gauges that is what that part of the chain controls - the amount of bite the tooth behind it can actually take. Glad to hear a little elbow exercise fixed your problem.
  25. wendell

    wendell Minister of Fire

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    Thanks, TF. I was assuming a raker was a depth gauge but had never heard that term. You learn so much on hearth.com
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