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Effectiveness of Felling Wedges When Bucking

Post in 'The Gear' started by WarmGuy, Sep 9, 2007.

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  1. WarmGuy

    WarmGuy Feeling the Heat

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    Let's say I have a 14 inch log that's supported at two ends, and that I can't easily cut from underneath (using the top of the saw).

    If I cut part way through, and then hammer a felling wedge into the kerf, can I expect that I can finish my cut with out the saw getting pinched? Is that how felling wedges are used when bucking?

    Thanks,

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  2. nshif

    nshif New Member

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    Thats what I do, just make sure the saw doesnt jump up and hit it.
  3. computeruser

    computeruser Feeling the Heat

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    Yup, that's what they do! The smaller 5.5" ones are usually adequate for bucking up normal sized firewood up to 36", but every once in a while you will want a larger size for bigger logs that have a serious tendancy to bind...or, I suppose, for felling.
  4. KeithO

    KeithO Minister of Fire

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    For felling it is much safer applying tension from a ground anchor to the highest point one can get a sling up the tree in the direction of fall. I felled 2 dead oaks today (been dead for at least 3-5 years) and both of them were leaning eastward ( from prevailing westerlies). With the first one, I cut the V in the side in the direction of fall, put on the sling and applied tension using a ratchet strap (3000lb version). I then started the felling cut and part way through I put more tension on the strap to get the tree straighter. I was afraid that if I didn't get it straight enough, it could take a huge load to get the tree to topple in the right direction. This of course is not the case for a tree that has grown dead straight. When I got the felling cut done, it still would not fall, but just a gentle bit of tension on the tie off line got it going overcenter and crashing down. The "hinge" was about 2" thick.

    The second tree was a bit bigger than the first and not quite as bent. Same procedure as before, but this time, when I made the felling cut the tension from the strap had it toppling as soon as the hinge was thin enough (more than 2" thick still). The neighborhood kids who had gathered to watch (from a safe distance) thought it was pretty cool and I thought it was "textbook".
  5. computeruser

    computeruser Feeling the Heat

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    Ratchet straps?! I hope these trees were TINY. Did you still use wedges, in case the ratchet strap failed?
  6. Gibbonboy

    Gibbonboy New Member

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    I'll second that thought- straps, ropes, and cables are all dangerous because they can stretch under load, and reach crazy velocities when unloaded by breaking. A chain will just drop to the ground because of the linked design that won't allow it to "whip" back at you. Moving trees develop huge forces, many times what a normal strap would take. Hop on YouTube and look around, there are some good videos of vehicles being dragged by falling trees. I've had my '79 Power Wagon yanked almost sideways by a 14" locust tree, last time I tied off a tree to the truck! I now use the big come-a-long, making up the length difference with heavy duty chain. The only place I use webbing/strap in a heavy application like that is a 4" super-heavy-duty tow strap that I wrap around trees to anchor my portable winch or come-a-long so I don't cut into the tree.
  7. MrGriz

    MrGriz New Member

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    I'd be very careful. That "technique" doesn't sound too textbook to me. For one thing, a tree of any size will snap a 3000lb ratchet strap without hesitation.

    I'm not sure if I'm reading things correctly. Did you cut your wedge and then move in front of the tree to put tension on the strap and then do the same again after you had started your felling cut? If that's the case, I would not want to start my cuts to fell a tree and then stop mid-process and put myself in the path of the fall. Especially with a tree that had been standing dead for quite some time. I've always been taught that you should position yourself so you don't even have to switch sides of the tree between cutting the wedge and your back (felling) cut. If you use a ground anchor, I would think it should be tensioned before you start to cut, or you should have a helper (at a safe distance) apply tension as you make the cut.

    I'm not trying to pick on your technique, but just doesn't sound very safe to me and I don't want to see anyone get hurt. Hopefully someone with more experience than me will chime in on this one. I would be curious to know myself, I'm always trying to improve and saften my technique.
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