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Cutting up a fallen tree

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Squatch, Jul 27, 2006.

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  1. Squatch

    Squatch New Member

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    A Maple came down in a storm a few months ago.
    It's not that large maybe 12- 14" in diameter.

    It's wedged up against another tree at about a 30 deg. angle.
    I'm not sure how to safely go about cutting it up for firewood.

    Looks like an accident waiting to happen.

    Any ideas?

    Thanks

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  2. suematteva

    suematteva New Member

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    Hello Squatch,

    Some reason first post did not go through.

    Did the whole tree blow over stump and all or did it break somewhere? Is it hung up by another tree at the end or the middle? does it look like it wants to roll one way or the other? A picture would be great.
  3. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    The safest way would be to pull it down with a chain or cable hooked to a vehicle or by using a come-along. You might be able to use a big lever or a cant hook to pry it loose or roll it free.

    If those things aren't possible, start cutting blocks from the butt and work your way up until the tree falls or it gets light enough to push down. You want to start your cuts on the side of the trunk facing the ground (from below). Just be very careful and wear safety gear. Keep all people and pets a safe distance away. Keep your feet away from the dropping trunk.
  4. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    I would hook the cable or chain up as close to the stump as possible and pull the tree down that way. I don't see how attaching it higher up on the stem does anything other than create a safety hazard.

    Gideon is technically right about not using a saw on a hung-up tree, but I don't think it's inherently dangerous if you pay attention to what you're doing. If you cut off one or two blocks at a time, I don't see a problem. It's definitely safer than felling a tree from scratch. Of course, don't do anything with a saw that you're not comfortable with. And yes, felling the tree it's hanging up on is an absolute no-no.

    But a pic would be nice. I think Gideon and I are envisioning completely different situations. It's hard to give advice when you don't know what the problem looks like.
  5. KP Matt

    KP Matt New Member

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    Is it still rooted at its base?

    If I'm reading the disagreements correctly, if it hasn't snapped or uprooted itself you're going to want to attach a line as high up as you can. If it has snapped or uprooted itself at the base, then attach your line as low as you can. Basically, where is your fulcrum going to be?
  6. saichele

    saichele Minister of Fire

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    The cutting fromthe stump approach works, even for those of us less gifted in the felling arts. Works better the further apart the stumps are. But make sure you have a clear path to get the hell out of the way if it does something unpredictable.

    Latching a tow chain on and pulling clear (I pull from the bottom, pulling from the top seems to make it more likely you'll pull it over on yourself or your truck) is definitely the safer technique.

    Steve
  7. Squatch

    Squatch New Member

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    Thanks for the fast replies.

    I need to get a better look myself now.

    I'll get some pictures.

    Tractor is not an option.

    I like cutting from the stump idea so far.

    Squatch
  8. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    I have dropped "hangers" three ways. And yes, I did drop one with another hung in the top but it had to be done that way for the hanger to be pulled by the cut tree and keep it from crushing a building. Phew. Glad it worked and wouldn't advise anybody trying it.

    Mostly I used to cut from the bottom cutting like Eric suggests. Taking out a chunk at a time. But for the last few of years I have been making a vertical cut halfway or so through the truck about head high. Then attaching a long sturdy cable, sometimes a chain, to the trunk above the cut and my truck. Then pulling from the opposite side of the cut I yank the tree in two sideways and most of the time the whole thing drops.

    Any way you do it leaners are scary business.
  9. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    I should have said "inherently more dangerous" than doing anything else with a chain saw. You are correct, using a chain saw is inherently dangerous.

    I'm well aware of the rules of engagement when it comes to using a chain saw. A un-cut tree has the potential to do many unpredictible things, including barberchairing, coming back at the feller when it hits the ground, hitting somebody else, dislodging a widowmaker on its way down, etc.

    A hung tree with its butt on the ground, on the other hand, comes down 16 inches at a time in a fairly predictible fashion. The butt falls straight down, two feet or more away from your feet. The most dramatic thing that can happen is that the tree becomes dislodged, at which point it falls down, away from where you're standing. No more hazardous than felling a tree.

    Now, trying to do the same thing with 6- or 8-foot sections--that's dangerous.
  10. Harley

    Harley Minister of Fire

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    Most of the cutting I do is thinning some of the trees in my lot. I would say a good 30% of them are "hangers". That's only because, like I said, I'm thinning the lot, not clearing it. Like everything that has to do with a chain saw, or cutting in general, it's what you are comfortable with, and paying attention and thinking the cut through. If it is cut off completely at the base, its usually an easy matter of throwing a chain around the bottom and dragging it back with the truck. If its not completely cut through, I will usually do 1 of 2 things, depending on the how its laid out:

    1: Move up maybe 6-7', start a cut from the top, and as the weight of the tree begins to bow it down, under cut it, and complete the cut, and then drag out the rest of the tree.

    2: If I can get rope/chain to the side.... just cut about 1/2 was through - 6-7' as above... put the chain pretty much around the tree where the cut is, and pull with the truck from the side. There's usually enough "give" to get the tree down safely.

    Not all situations are the same. If you look over the situation, you should be able to see where the tension is, and in which direction it is likely to go, and go safely.


    Oh... I forgot about a 3rd option (I've done this with sucess as well). If the wind really starts to pick up, and it starts raining.... Go inside, grab a beer or 2 and watch from the window. A good wind will sometimes bring them safely to the ground.
  11. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    this is for the timid inexperienced tree cutter. without a backhoe or tractor that wants to avoid serious injury. A couple of things to avoid is the tree kicking and chainsaw binding. Most of all safety. Personally It would already be cut. But that's crazy me
    Ok dot any planks 2/4 2/8 2/6? I would spike in the 2/6 each side of the tree each side of where I would be making the initial cut mabe as much as 6 -8' apart Thye 2.6 legs do a couple of things it helps prevent binding of the saw and control side ways kick the weight of the tree is transfered to them adding an extra margine of safety. so make your first cut from the top as precvious suggested till the point of almost binding remove the saw and finnish cutting from the bottom. the 2/6 legs add a real margin of safety for the cutter After the original cut is made cut log length inbetween the legs. At the stump side remove the supports and add them above the others then remove the others witha sledge hammer and see what happens
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