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Inexperienced Cutter Needs Advice

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by firecracker_77, Oct 11, 2012.

  1. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    I measure with the saw. After awhile, it becomes second nature.

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  2. Thistle

    Thistle Minister of Fire

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    Been using saws since I was 15,felling trees since I was 17.Over 30 yrs. Even now I feel the hair on my neck stand up when I start to drop a big one.You should never lose your respect for certain things or act in a careless manner no matter how much experience you might have.That's when accidents happen.I've had a couple close calls ( few hangups,a small barber chair or two & a pinched bar) but nothing that endangered me,others,any property/equipment. You learn from any mistakes & do what you can to prevent any in the future.

    Wedges are a must IMO,both in felling & bucking.Sawbucks are great for rounds/poles up to 8" - 10" diameter also.Much easier for me to carry out 3 to 9 ft poles,load trailer or pickup & cut them on sawbuck later then constantly be leaning over cutting 1 piece at a time then have to bend over AGAIN to pick up & carry 4-5 times as many pieces to the trailer or pickup.

    Attached Files:

  3. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Not a lot to add to the above as there has been some great advice. However, one thing I would like to correct. It was said that folks fear the saw. If that is the case, you should never have a saw in your hands. Fear can indeed cause accidents to happen. Sort of like, what you say is what you get. One should never fear it but one needs to always respect it. Fear and respect are two different things.

    Another, for rolling those logs that you cut on the ground a cant hook is one of the best things you can own. Also on cutting the log and where to start. I never know where I will start bucking until that tree is on the ground. Then many times you will see a section of the butt that is off the ground and that is a great place to start cutting. Then you end up with a log that might be anywhere from 6' to 12' or even longer. Again, you cut down from above but not so far that you pinch the saw and finish the cut from underneath. Also, think tension. Look at the log or tree and consider where tension will be when you start cutting. And as Eric mentioned, when the tree is falling, don't walk directly behind where the tree is falling nor walk at a 90 degree angle. Go back at an angle and don't dwaddle. This assumes you have made your escape path before you started cutting.
  4. Flatbedford

    Flatbedford Minister of Fire

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    Get this book and read it cover to cover a few times. To fell a tree.gif
    smokinj likes this.
  5. CT-Mike

    CT-Mike Minister of Fire

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    As I am usually cutting with a 20" bar on the MS361 I do this also, but prefer using the measured twig. I learned that from my father-in-law who had to quit school in the 10th grade and work for the local sawmill to help feed his family (oldest of 10 kids). He spent close to 50 years in the woods and I figure if it's good enough for him it's good enough for me.
  6. xman23

    xman23 Minister of Fire

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    Eric, I never tried starting at the bottom but I'll try it the next time. Here's what I do. Starting from the top I limb everthing not holding it off the ground. Working from the top down I buck anything hanging in the air. Being carefully to not let the main trunk land on the ground. I use a small floor jack to get under the trunk at the end to lift it as high as I can. Then block it up with logs as I buck toward the stump end. The goal is to have every cut be a hanging piece, as well removeing weight working toward the heaviest end.

    Tom
    AJS56 likes this.
  7. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    Firecracker, I know it's a long video but it's worth watching at least once. Covers saws and basic cutting from A-Z. Bucking logs is covered at about 0:50:00

  8. firecracker_77

    firecracker_77 Minister of Fire

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    Thanks. I watched part of this on Sunday. It's an excellent video. I will watch again.

    The most important part is the safety precautions including preventing kick back. For people who don't drop trees, that's the number 1 threat aside from understanding the chain brake, how to properly start the saw, and how to keep body parts away from that 60 mph chain.

    Alot to think about, but good habits early will prevent devastation later.
    NextEndeavor likes this.
  9. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    And PPE. Good habits prevent accidents, PPE prevents mistakes from becoming injuries/death. For strictly bucking up logs in the clear, protecting your hands, eyes and ears are a must (gloves, glasses, and plugs/muffs) in additon to chaps and safety footwear (preferably steel toe boots). A helmet system is nice and will keep you from performing a lobotomy on yourself in a kickback situation. It becomes a must if you graduate to felling your own trees.
  10. Adkjake

    Adkjake Member

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    All good tips, in addition anytime I'm out cutting, even if in the backyard, I always have an emergency whistle on a lanyard hanging around my neck. Figure it is a back up to the cell phone or for some reason can't reach cell phone pocket.
  11. firecracker_77

    firecracker_77 Minister of Fire

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    I am real tempted to go over to the dealer and pickup that helmet system, chaps, and Stihl brand gloves.

    Due to Master Mech mentioning it, I'm going to get on that today / tomorrow. $160 is a wise move if you kickback or screw-up.. Like I said, flesh protection is cheap on the front end.

    Another reason I didn't want to buy more saw than I needed. I need to leave room for those designer chaps. LOL! ;lol
  12. FireBones

    FireBones Member

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    Quality stuff here guys! This forum is top notch ;) and I would ;) recommend it to anybody looking to expand there knowledge with regard to cutting or burning wood! I really appreciate you guys taking the time to offer the advice!
  13. firecracker_77

    firecracker_77 Minister of Fire

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    Lots of good stuff on here for sure. Especially in the wood shed where this is much to gain.
  14. FireBones

    FireBones Member

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    firecracker_77 likes this.
  15. firecracker_77

    firecracker_77 Minister of Fire

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    I wasn't getting the helmet until the kickback issue was raised. It gives you all in one so really not too bad when you think about it for $60
  16. Wood Duck

    Wood Duck Minister of Fire

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    When I cut a whole tree I always start by cutting the branches first, and I start cutting each branch at the smallest part I plan to take for firewood, which is pretty small. Pick away at the easy to reach parts first. While the branches are still attached to the tree they are easy to cut, so I cut them to stove length right there and work my way down to the trunk. I keep going until the only branches remaining are the ones that are pinned under the tree or holding the tree up off the ground. This not only is a good way to cut branches, but it also lightens the load on the trunk so it is less likely to shift positions while I am trying to cut it, and makes it easier to get to the trunk and move around the trunk.
    AJS56 likes this.
  17. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    You can probably find one online for less than that.

    Here's what you should do when the tree starts to fall. As Backwoods Savage points out, you also need to clear an escape path. Some people carry an axe or hatchet with them to pound the wedges in with. I always wind up losing that stuff, so now I do what Soren Eriksson showed us back in the '90s when he was training manual loggers, which is to cut a short piece of wood from a sapling or branch and use it as a club to pound the wedge in with. Another really important thing to remember is that you should never cut through the hinge before the tree starts to fall, or you'll lose all control over it. And if you don't know what I'm talking about, you probably shouldn't be felling trees just yet.

    Anyway, I took this photo a few weeks ago on a logging job in northern New York near Newcomb.

    [​IMG]
    albert1029 and Backwoods Savage like this.
  18. FireBones

    FireBones Member

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    You guys living in the USA get goods and services for so much cheaper it makes me cringe.....It's just not fair :confused: I will report back the retail prices for Stihl PPE here in good old land of the fee aka Canada
  19. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    For me the helmet face shield is a must and high winds goggles to.
  20. TimJ

    TimJ Minister of Fire

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    One thing I know that I am doing wrong is working with too much saw. I am constantly using a 25" bar for almost everything. A long bar like that can get you in trouble faster. I am looking into getting some chaps. Half the time I am not wearing glasses and I never use ear muffs. I've gotten bit by the chain twice now and I don't want it to happen again. Seems like I crave to have that chainsaw in my hand every chance I get. If that's the case the odds are going up for another potential accident. Like Backwoods said there is a fine line between fear and respect and I am learning to respect the saw.
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  21. amateur cutter

    amateur cutter Minister of Fire

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    Well, not much to add here. My grand father was adamant about thinking ahead, what happens if? hows the tree gonna fall? what if it goes a different direction? etc. Taught me a lot of what to do before putting the saw to the wood. The old boy refused to wear a helmet though, & got killed by a widow maker @ 78 years old, go figure. As others have said, PPE always, Eric's tips are spot on for parking etc.

    Someone asked how long 1.8 gal of mix will last , for me about 3/4 to a full day depending on which saws are getting the most use. YMMV==c

    As far as bucking, If I've got a lot of smaller stuff to buck up, 2' & under, I'll put the 28" bar on a saw, & buck with the front 1/3 of the bar so I don't have to bend over. Cut 2/3 to 3/4 through all the way down the log, roll with cant hook & repeat. Just stay out of the plane of the chain, & don't "monkey paw" the front grip. A C
  22. firecracker_77

    firecracker_77 Minister of Fire

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    Thanks guys. I read your words and take them to heart. I need to get my safety gear ASAP before operating that saw again.

    I won't be felling trees. I'm not ready. Done. Before I ever do that, I'll get with someone who knows and can teach me.

    As far as bucking, I did a few yesterdday on the ground, doing all my cuts, then rolling the log and finishing the cut. That method works. Thanks again!
  23. firecracker_77

    firecracker_77 Minister of Fire

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    Can you share what you meant by bit by the chain twice? Did it fall off the bar and graze you or did you accidentally make contact with your skin?
  24. TimJ

    TimJ Minister of Fire

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    Firecracker, I have always been very goal oriented and want results. You can't be like that with a saw in your hand. You always need to be thinking. Believe me I think alot but probably push too hard to get things done. Take your time above all else and don't get ahead of yourself. Bit by the chain twice means I was cut and believe me a man is nothing but butter when put next to a chainsaw. Everyone said it one way or another..................... respect the saw at all times and put safety number one.
  25. firecracker_77

    firecracker_77 Minister of Fire

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    Wow....hopefully nothing too serious

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