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Cutting Osage orange / Hedge in the summer

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by Big Donnie Brasco, Apr 29, 2013.

  1. Big Donnie Brasco

    Big Donnie Brasco Feeling the Heat

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    I will get my new (to me) Stihl 036 in 3-4 weeks, and I was just asked if I wanted ALL the osage orange (hedge) I could cut from a friends land. He has HUNDREDS!!!

    Can I cut this in the summer? I have read a few things online that lead me to think that in the summer the sap could gum up my chain?

    anyone here have any experience with this?

    Thanks a LOT!

    Don

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  2. bogydave

    bogydave Minister of Fire

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    Sooner it's cut/split /stacked (CSS) the sooner it's gonna be ready to burn.

    Might want to cut some dead standing & get it seasoning ASAP.

    What other wood types do you have access to ?

    Any wood cut in the summer is heavy & wet. But after it's split & stacked it'll be
    drier than if you wait to cut in the fall. Has all summer to season.
    Hot dry Kansa area, wood should season faster than places up north.

    I don't have any experience at all with hedge. But it will be drier if CSS now & seasoned thru summer
    than if you wait.
    Stack it off the ground, in single rows, in the sun & wind for the fastest & best drying. ;)

    Hurry; you might need some burnable wood in 6 or 7 months ::P
  3. tigeroak

    tigeroak Burning Hunk

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    BIG Don
    Get all you can of it will take at least 2 years to dry, if green. It will have a whitish sap that will stick to you like glue and watch out for the small thorns on the limbs. But is well worth the limbs poking you in the arms , face and all the sap. IF it is dead 1 year and have another chain ready. IF it is dry have 2 chains ready, like cutting rocks[ cut a piece after dark and watch sparks fly] . We use hedge around here for fence posts as hedge wears out 2 holes. Burnt and have cut about 10 cord of it in the last 5 years, top of the line if dried right. Also don't poke it while it is burning , sparks like the 4th of July.
    Ralphie Boy likes this.
  4. Ralphie Boy

    Ralphie Boy Minister of Fire

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    I second what tigeroak posted. And I'll add: you gonna love it! But don't cram your stove full of it cause it gets hotter than hot. And be careful about moving coals around cause hedge will throw burnin' chunks further than Cousin Woodrow can spit watermelon seed!
  5. BobUrban

    BobUrban Minister of Fire

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    Awesome score. I have cut some and it was not too bad but nothing on the volume you are talking. Another possible option is to drop a bunch of it and let it lay for a year or two before you buck it up. If the friend will allow this it will limit the gunk on the saw(s). Osage is unbelievably hard, heavy and rot resistant. Do not be afraid to take anything that is down and has been dead for years. Even if the outside looks rotted just beyond the grey is bright gold or yellow firewood - I have some bow staves that have been outside for 15+ years laying in the dirt and once you cut into them it is pristine.
    Ralphie Boy likes this.
  6. lukem

    lukem Minister of Fire

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    Good stuff. I cut a LOT of hedge.

    If this guy will allow it, and I don't see why he wouldn't, go through and girdle all the trees he wants out ASAP. Best to get them dead to cut down on the SAP, leaves, ect. Hedge sap is sticky, but its really not all the bad. A little kerosene or WD40 cleans it right up.

    The worst part about hedge is the branches. They are twisted, sharp, and really, really strong. If you were to drop them all now and fell them one on top of another you'd have a mess of brush that would be a huge PITA to clean up.

    I think you're already past the point of getting anything cut green ready to burn for next season. I'd try to get a couple cord of something standing dead cut/stacked/split first (and give those hedge trees a chance to die), then start in on the hedge. If you cut it over the summer it will be ready to burn in the fall of '14.
  7. BobUrban

    BobUrban Minister of Fire

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    x2 on Lukems comment, I didn't think of that option but find it much better than my option when considering the mess for both you and your friend.
  8. Big Donnie Brasco

    Big Donnie Brasco Feeling the Heat

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    Thanks for all the ideas!!
    So here is my plan so far, after reading your input.

    1. Go girdle several of them ASAP. I'm still looking at 4 weeks from now before I will have my saw.
    2. As time permits over the summer drop, and limb them.... should I buck, and split them no as well so they can start drying?

    In the meantime I have a few other properties that I know have lots of dead standing, that I can harvest for this coming winter.

    Thanks again for the advice!!

    * sounds like I will need to take a spare chain with me for the hedge!
    zap likes this.
  9. thewoodlands

    thewoodlands Minister of Fire

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    BDB, before long you'll be one sick (wood gathering) MF!

    I started out with a Homelite saw ( gave away) I had, then I bought my favorite saw (the 310) I've been cutting since, added a few saws & cords of wood since then.
  10. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    Best thing to do is get very good at sharpening chains. Hedge will show up any weakness in your skills in a hurry. :eek:
  11. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    Yes, buck and split a.s.a.p. And yes, take a spare chain.;)
  12. Big Donnie Brasco

    Big Donnie Brasco Feeling the Heat

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    I haven't even gotten my FIRST saw yet and I am already lurking on CL for a "junker" to rebuild!

    I think I caught the bug!!!
  13. brian89gp

    brian89gp Feeling the Heat

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    Make sure you have enough saw for the length of bar you are going to use, or go at it with a light touch.
  14. Big Donnie Brasco

    Big Donnie Brasco Feeling the Heat

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    Hey Brian, you're just down the road from me... why don't you come teach me how it's done! LOL

    My saw will be just over 60cc, with an 18"bar, and I am open to recommendations for chain type.
    Everything that I think I know, I have learned on here or youtube. I plan on "letting the chain do the work" :)

    BDB
  15. lukem

    lukem Minister of Fire

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    It would probably be worth your while to get a loop of semi-chisel chain for hedge. They seem to hold their edge a bit longer in dirty wood. Cutting hedge is like cutting dirty wood.
  16. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    Donnie - don't worry about that saw. It is more than enough engine to pull an 18" bar in any wood. I use full chisel chain, but if I had a pile of osage to deal with, I might consider semi-chisel.
  17. brian89gp

    brian89gp Feeling the Heat

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    60cc/18" should be fine. I was trying 62cc/24" (huge tree) and the Husky 262xp was not liking it much. Got her cut up but had more then a few times the chain got caught up and smoked the clutch some. The Stihl RS chain I was using seemed to stay sharp long enough. Was really regretting selling the Stihl 044 at that point in time.

    Where you at? Not to sound stingy because I am a pretty generous person, but I will work for hedge...


    One last note, make sure you have some other easier starting type of wood in your wood pile. Hedge is pretty difficult to get burning unless you have a good bed of coals already.
  18. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    ^^^^^ THIS.
    Starting hedge in a cold stove ain't fun.
  19. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    Full chisel and couple good swipes with a good file between pit-stops. On 3,2,1 Break!:)
    Thistle and Big Donnie Brasco like this.
  20. bogydave

    bogydave Minister of Fire

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    You can girdle NOW with an axe, machete, hatchet etc. ;)
    CSS - ASAP. (wood starts to season when it's split & stacked.)

    1st cutting should be the dead stuff you refereed to.
    Get it CSS & (if not oak) it might/should be good enough wood for this coming burn season.

    You may have to go to HD & rent a saw for a weekend to get this show on the road :) LOL :cool:
    All this talk is gonna stress you & us out. Wood cutting is a good stress reliever ;)
    Nixon and Big Donnie Brasco like this.
  21. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    Hedge can cause more stress....The truck will be about 20 percent full and its afternoon! !!!
    Big Donnie Brasco likes this.
  22. lukem

    lukem Minister of Fire

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    Not when they look like this:
    Big Hedge.jpg

    BDB,

    My 361 cut through this wearing a 20" bar, with a certain amount of authority. You'll be just fine with that 036.
  23. bogydave

    bogydave Minister of Fire

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    Would love to have the problems you guys have with the super hard & high BTU wood types.
    Sometimes I think you guys make it up. Wood so hard , even clean,
    it cuts real slow (knock the rakers down a bit ? ) &
    dulls a hardened steel chain (get a carbide chain).

    Need some wine & cheese ?
    LOL ;lol

    carbide impregnated chain:
    Laser chain.jpg
  24. Big Donnie Brasco

    Big Donnie Brasco Feeling the Heat

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    HELL YEA !!!

    I wish I had a stump like that in my yard to split on!! :) Could pass it down to my kids! :0
  25. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    That is a nice one there! :eek:

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