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How much work is it to cut down a tree?

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by bboulier, Feb 6, 2013.

  1. bboulier

    bboulier Feeling the Heat

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    Roderick Floud, et al., "The Changing Body: Health, Nutrition, and Human Development in the Western World since 1700" have a table (p. 45) that shows the relative energy requirements for men for various activities. Here are some numbers:

    Sleeping 1.0
    Milking cows by hand 2.9
    Walking at a normal pace 3.2
    Carpentry 3.5
    Collecting and spreading manure 6.4
    and the highest rated activity....
    Felling trees 7.5.

    These figures reflect older technology. Thank goodness for chainsaws and Fiskars! But, even with modern tools, felling trees and processing firewood is an intense activity.

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  2. muncybob

    muncybob Minister of Fire

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    It requires a fair amount of effort from this office worker but I always feel good after...both mentally and physically.
  3. jdp1152

    jdp1152 Minister of Fire

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    Not sure what kinda trees they're cutting, but I definitely think it's more than 7.5x harder than sleeping and 2.3x hard than walking. I've never collected manure and spread it unless you count stepping in without knowing and inadvertently tracking it elsewhere.
    milleo likes this.
  4. lukem

    lukem Minister of Fire

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    If nothing else it sure does get the blood pumping when you are dropping a monster tree. Some exertion and a lot of adrenaline.

    Shoveling chit varies pretty widely too. If you are scraping a cow lot with a Bobcat and loading to a spreader wagon that's pretty easy. If you have a scoop shovel and a wheelbarrow not so much. I've done a lot of both.

    Rough carpentry (framing walls, setting trusses, building concrete forms, etc) is WAY harder than walking. Building small items on a workbench doesn't take a lot of physical effort.

    These ratings need to be more specific.
  5. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    JDP - I think this is ranked in actual energy used (calories). How "hard" a job is, is a relative term. Just pointing it out.
  6. Jack Straw

    Jack Straw Minister of Fire

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    Does that include getting the tree hung up and having to use a come-along to get the tree out of the mess?
  7. DanCorcoran

    DanCorcoran Minister of Fire

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    My guess is that all those activities are done without any power tools. Felling trees would be with a one-person saw or an axe. Same with with spreading manure...perhaps a horse-drawn wagon and a pitchfork.
    Thistle and Backwoods Savage like this.
  8. Flatbedford

    Flatbedford Minister of Fire

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    Cutting down the tree is the easy part. Cutting it up and cleaning it up is the hard work.
    ScotO, Thistle and Backwoods Savage like this.
  9. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    I can truthfully say that I've done each of these activities. I don't fully agree except to say that some can be very hard work. On the hand milking, I never did much of it simply because I could not because of the way polio left my hands. So when we had to do that, I might milk one or two cows but most times would be carrying milk to the milkhouse then going back to milking my cow when caught up. Now the manure problem that is another story....
  10. gerry100

    gerry100 Feeling the Heat

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    I've cut down and bucked trees in 10 minutes.

    On the other hand , last spring I had a big one that got hung up twice and buried the butt 8inches into the ground. That one took about 8 hours over two days and I needed the next day off. Probably the day the Lyme tick got me.

    So I guess it varies a little
  11. DanCorcoran

    DanCorcoran Minister of Fire

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    You cut down the tree and bucked it with an axe in 10 minutes? Amazing!
  12. Thistle

    Thistle Minister of Fire

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    Building furniture and/or cabinets at a bench normally isnt very strenuous when using power tools.But when you hand plane most everything,use hand saws,brace/bits,cabinet scrapers instead of abrasives that takes as much energy as any rough framing,concrete forms,heavy/highway or hewing/shaping beams & timbers or splitting fence rails I've ever done.
    ScotO and bboulier like this.
  13. Thistle

    Thistle Minister of Fire

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    RE: Spreading manure. You'd think the politicians in DC would be in great shape then,huh? Probably not though,since they use high pressure hoses instead of a turd hearse & pitchfork.
  14. bboulier

    bboulier Feeling the Heat

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    Having grown up in rural Nebraska, I have engaged in all these activities (milking cows, hauling manure, etc.) --- well, except felling trees. We didn't have trees. Buffalo and cow chips were firewood substitutes. However, when I eventually moved to Virginia some years back and got a fireplace, we didn't have much money and I took down a couple of 24-30 inch maple trees with only an axe. That was really hard work, especially if one kept at it for very long. And that was with a modern axe. I expect that folks in the 18th and early 19th centuries did not have nearly the quality of axes we have now. Gives one renewed appreciation for Abe Lincoln's abilities.
  15. jdp1152

    jdp1152 Minister of Fire

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    They clearly didn't do this study in August!
  16. jdp1152

    jdp1152 Minister of Fire

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    I realize that dried cow patties don't have an odor, but I'm curious if they stunk when burned. Imagine there was frequently loading.
  17. gerry100

    gerry100 Feeling the Heat

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    All work done with a chainsaw, wiseguy.
  18. ScotO

    ScotO Guest

    I'm a firm believer that cutting trees (and the clean-up afterward) is very, very hard work. I do it as a side job and I know first hand. Wanna make it really hard and miserable? Do it during a heavy rain......yep, done that before several times, because of tight schedules....
    But I'd rank stone masonry and concrete work right up there with that in terms of hard work. Baling hay also....
    I've tortured myself doing the stonework (from gathering it up in the woods to installing and building with it), and it'll make you sleep sound at night......
    Thistle likes this.
  19. bboulier

    bboulier Feeling the Heat

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    We only ever burned them outside for a campfire cookout. I don't recall that they had an odor when burning.
  20. Thistle

    Thistle Minister of Fire

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    I sleep like a baby most nights,except for the rare bouts of muscle aches or lower back pain.That's when a couple Naproxen works wonders.....
    ScotO likes this.
  21. Ralphie Boy

    Ralphie Boy Minister of Fire

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    Puts me in mind of a story:

    A grizzly, weather beaten old woodsman comes into town, first time this year, where he hears about a new kind of saw. Hears it can cut 10 trees in the time it takes him to cut one. He goes to the hardware store and buys the new saw with a "chain" rather than a blade.

    A few day later he's back at the store so mad the store keep sends for the law. The lawman shows up and says "Jake, settle down now and tell me what's the problem. Fred's here is an honest man and an honest storekeep, I'm sure if they's a problem he'll fix it for ya."

    Woodsman says: "Storekeep, you done said this saw would cut 10 trees in the time it took me to cut one and I could only get it to cut 2 all day. By gawd I wants my money back!

    Storekeep says: "Gimme that dang saw and lets see what's the problem. Store keep takes the saw and starts it with one pull. The old woodsman jumps back shocked and in utter terror screaming out "What the hell is that?!?":p
  22. gerry100

    gerry100 Feeling the Heat

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    Some how I don't think you see many loggers at Planet Fitness
  23. amateur cutter

    amateur cutter Minister of Fire

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    I'd wager that those old axes we're better than all but the absolute best modern axes money can buy. Get your hands on an antique double bit axe, & compare the strike to a box store double bit. You wouldn't believe the difference. If the axe makes a "tink" sound when it hits it's junk. A C
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  24. Thistle

    Thistle Minister of Fire

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    Even with 'modern' alloys,there is no comparison to the older (pre-WW II) high carbon cast steel used in vintage edge tools such as axes/hatchets,drawknives,handsaws,chisels & gouges.

    The older stuff takes a bit longer to sharpen or hone than newer,but holds an edge much longer.One reason I have almost no hair on lower forearms even when wearing short sleeve shirts in summer - I test a honed edge on chisels & knives on my arm,when it shaves dry,its ready for work.
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  25. Flatbedford

    Flatbedford Minister of Fire

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    You're talking about the ones that survived a couple hundred years. Those were the good ones. I'm sure there was lots of poor quality stuff made simply due to the technical limitations of the time.

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