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Newb felling question

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by Danno77, Nov 18, 2008.

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  1. Danno77

    Danno77 Minister of Fire

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    I may have cut down 50+ trees in my entire life, so I'm still new to this, i imagine. Especially compared to some of you guys. Went out to the timber over the weekend to cut down some dead trees and cut up some that had fallen. Ran across a tree leaning on another. I've been meaning to take it down for some time now, just never got around to it. On our timber we have a marked campsite and some hiking trails, this tree leans right over the trail, so i really wanted to get it down. My plan of attack was to cut it as high as I could and when it fell to repeat until I could get the crotches to separate. There was talk about cutting it low and chaining up to the bottom and driving off (my brother-in-law was with me)

    I cut about 80% through the thing just over my head and started feeling uneasy about standing anywhere near the thing because I just wasn't sure how it'd fall and I was getting pissed that it was still standing strong. Last thing I wanted was for it to clamp down on my chainsaw and have to run away like a little girl while it crunched my running Stihl to pieces.

    So, I did something I rarely do. I stopped and stepped back and thought about safety. I generally look at a tree and know how to make it go where I want it to and step in and cut for a minute, then step back and watch it go down. I was really feeling like an amateur when I was standing there right underneath a leaning dead tree and cutting over my head. I'd have cussed anyone else out for being a nincompoop if I saw them trying that. anyway, don't tell my wife or mom, and tell me how to do it right.

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  2. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

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    Did you also want to fell the brown tree or just the grey one? Depending on the size of the grey one, I would normally just separate it from its stump and if I can push the trunk, just run with it in circle. If too heavy for that, I'll winch it.

    If the brown tree is destined for firewood, I'd fell it. The grey tree would pretty much determine its fall direction. In your case however,cutting it up high, it is now a hazard to be around. I'd be tempted to find a third tree that I could drop onto the grey tree to knock it loose.

    I worked with a woodcutter once that would built huge teepees that way and I'd have to take a skidder of grapple loader to try and knock the whole mess down.
  3. Dill

    Dill Feeling the Heat

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    What do you have to pull it with? If you have big enough tractor and enough chain that the butt can't catch up with you. I'd do the cut low and yank routine. And I'd pull the butt away at an angle not that same that it's leaning if possible.
  4. caber

    caber New Member

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    Well, my advice would have been to drop the brown one and let the gray come down with it. I think that would have been the safest way. The leaner already being mostly cut creates some potential problems. Such as it might not be safe to cut it again lower. I'd be concerned that if you tried to pull it away from the brown, something in the crotches will snag and great a real problem for the driver of the tractor. Or the trunk separates and the gray ends up hanging from the brown.

    hmmmmmm. I'd advise dropping the brown one. But put a rope up in the brown one just in case you need to pull. Then, assuming there is no big lean to the brown tree, cut it to drop in the direction the gray is pushing. You'll want to be able to get out of there fast, so you might want to consider doing most of the backcut with the saw, then using a wedge to force it over. Easier to listen and run with an axe than with a saw.
  5. stop drop & roll

    stop drop & roll New Member

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    I had the same situation last month. I decided to follow thru with the same plan you had. I reached up, cut a notch on the top side as high as I could, then back cut it and ran. The tree swung way past the standing tree, dropped, then fell 180 degrees the opposite direction I planned for it to land, just missing my fence and shed. I would now deffinetly not recommend doing that! Take the brown tree down. Just my 2 cents. Good luck.
  6. savageactor7

    savageactor7 Minister of Fire

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    Yeah I hate trees like that too...they're all a little different. It good that you're worried about them, I think you'll do fine.
  7. fugazi42

    fugazi42 New Member

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    I'm a novice tree cutter as well. This happened a few times to me when I was cutting over the summer. I tried the first approach you mentioned- cutting off the hung-up tree at the base. This doens't work well and, as SD&R;mentioned, isn't safe. I also tried to drop the tree it was hung up in. I wound up with two trees hung up in a third tree :) . Needless to say this isn't safe either. The only "safe" method is to pull the hung-up tree out using a tractor, winch, or a come-along. I invested in a 2-ton strap puller and a few tow straps. I used them a few times to pull hung up trees out with good success. Whatever you do, be safe.

    Josh
  8. valleyflyfisher

    valleyflyfisher New Member

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    Never try to hit the hung up mess with another tree, it usually will end up being a very dangerous mess, a worse one than you had originally. Falling the "brown" tree is an option, but again, a very dangerous one and great care must be taken to be very certain that the load of the "gray" tree laying in it has not "loaded" the brown tree. If the weight of the gray tree has loaded the brown one, the second you touch your saw to make your backcut, it could very well explode and barber chair (split the brown tree upwards) whcih then will allow the tree(s) to fall in any direction, even onto yourself. A barber chair is one of the great dangers a faller faces and must try to avoid at all costs.

    The safest way to get the gray tree down would be to "fence post" it down. I will try to explain....take your saw at a comfortable level and cut from top to bottom until the pressure begins to bind your bar/chain, then remove your saw and then using the back of your bar, cut upwards to meet your previous cut. When the cuts come close to meeting, the tree will fall forward (towards the brown tree) driving itself into the ground. Then you can continue this method creating fence posts if you will, until you get close enough for the gray tree to fall back out of the brown tree. This method will work in most every "hanger" situation, but care must be taken as to where the gray tree will fall when it finally falls back out of the brown tree. As well, make sure your footing is always solid when practicing this method, as the tree you are fence posting will often shoot downward fast and sometimes to either side. Always be aware of limbs and other debris that could fall from either tree while you are working on them.

    Common sense and always knowing where the pressure points are, are two very important things to be aware of. Good luck and if you are unsure at all...get a machine and pull it out and if this is the route you take, make sure that the brown tree is still standing solidly and that there are no "widow makers" (hanging limbs) in the brown tree that could fall and hurt someone down the road.
  9. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

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    I've often chopped away at the leaner but cutting firewood length rounds off of it. Every round you take, the leaner has less lean as it uprights itself but the great danger is something falling out of the top.

    You are right that you must determine what forces are present on the brown tree before felling it. In such a situation I might notch the brown tree but leave enough to not put myself in danger and then fell a third tree against the two. I've yet to build a teepee.
  10. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

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    We often would grab the butt end of a tree just as it starts to fall and run with it to gather the butts so that you can get more trees on every choker of the skidder. There is a bit of "hang time" when the weight of the top counters the weight of the butt allowing what looks like an incredible feat of strength.

    That was back in my younger days. I'm guessing such a practice would really be frowned upon these days. There are old woodcutters and there are bold woodcutters but there are no old bold woodcutters.
  11. JustWood

    JustWood Minister of Fire

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    I can tell you now that the ONLY safe way to get this tree on the ground is by pulling it down by truck or tractor. If the grey tree has excessive top weight and you cut it high there is a good possibility it could give you a kiss and take your head off. Take my advice and save yourself a trip to the ER or mortician.
  12. DeePee

    DeePee Member

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    First of all thanks very much for this thread! I have learned quite a bit by researching what you all are talking about. I've been reading various wood cutting safety manuals and checking out some videos but from the perspective of a small scale ( novice ) cutter what should be done when the cut doesn't go as planned ( or perhaps the plan was bad ) and the tree is still standing? For example if part of a face cut passes the apex. The logging manuals recommend removing it with a heavy machinery implement, but if that is not available what are the alternatives?

    Thanks,
    DP
  13. Dill

    Dill Feeling the Heat

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    The come-along strapped to another tree is an option. But I'm not a big fan of pulling it towards you.
  14. sl7vk

    sl7vk New Member

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    Get yourself a 3" boring drill, drill a hole half way up the tree, or wherever for that matter..... Stick a piece of dynamite in the trunk, light, run....

    Problem solved.
  15. struggle

    struggle Minister of Fire

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    IF he does this I hope there will be a video to follow in this thread. Hey ya all watch this.
  16. fugazi42

    fugazi42 New Member

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    DP-

    To restate- I'm not an expert by any means. Take what I say with a grain of salt.

    I use an open face notch when falling. The process is described here:

    http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/etools/logging/manual/felling/cuts/open_faced_bottom_cuts.html

    What I like about the open face notch is it gives you some leeway. The notch can be anywhere between 70-90 degrees. This helps if you extend the face cut too far and wind up with a dutchman. You can then go back and make a steeper bottom cut and make sure the two meet evenly. This page shows how to correct a dutchman using the process I described:

    http://www.coloradofirecamp.com/s-212-chainsaws/glossary_D-F.htm

    Hope this helps. Be safe.

    Josh
  17. crazy_dan

    crazy_dan New Member

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    I would start a cut on the brown tree like 3/4 or more threw then I would drop a 3rd tree on the whole mess and let that 3rd tree take down both the grey and brown trees.
  18. HittinSteel

    HittinSteel Minister of Fire

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    Did anyone catch Extreme Loggers last night on Discovery? Perfect example of the "mess" that happens when trying to hit the hung up tree with another. The camera man was nearly killed .
  19. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    Agree 100 percent
  20. Danno77

    Danno77 Minister of Fire

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    No tractors out here, so the Jeep will have to do. I don't think it should be a problem I just will have to make sure I have an extra long chain or strap. If I crunched my jeep i'd never hear the end of it.

    I still like the stick of dynamite suggestion, but I think I'm all out. I'll have to look around. If I do it, you can bet there'd be video as well.

    thanks for the suggestions, everyone. For now the tree is gonna sit like that all winter and maybe mother nature will take care of it for me (unlikely).
  21. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    i would rather use a strap and have broken a few but no one gets hurt!
  22. deadon

    deadon New Member

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    I normally winch them straight back. but since you have it cut probably enough that it is going to break at that point attach the winch line above the cut and pull from the side. It should swing around and drop between the brown tree and it's stump. But you can never predict a hanger due to the force being placed on it by the fork it is resting in. I used to work for a logging crew after high school and they ALWAYS winched a hanger with the skidder. This is known as a widow maker for obvious reasons. Just be very careful but whatever you decide get help and do not leave it in is current dangerous position.
  23. JustWood

    JustWood Minister of Fire

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    You guys should look up a "Game of Logging" course and sign up. So much valuable info it will blow your mind. I completed all the levels as part of my forestry schooling and some of the applied info probably saved my life working in the woods all these years. I grew up in a logging/sawmill family and was felling trees during summer vacation from high school (at age 15) and was experienced at the time I took the courses and still learned a ton of valuable info. Some of the things covered are sharpening,basic saw maintenance,PPE,and ALL aspects of felling. When I say ALL i mean that they cover every possible felling scenario you could possibly encounter in the woods.It's a hands on course so take your PPE , saw, file ,wrench and gas/oil.
  24. gerry100

    gerry100 Minister of Fire

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    My method for dealing with that mess is probaly similer to some already mentioned - but here goes-

    - Cut a notch(45-60 deg) in the top side - less tha 1/2 the diameter of the trunk about 1-2 feet above the ground.
    - Back cut up from the bottom towards the bottom of the top notch, (pull the bar up, don't get under the tree!).
    - Before you complete the back cut , the tree will start to "kneel". Don't complete the cut- leave the hinge.

    As you repeat this the grey tree will get shorter and more upright and easier to winch out.
  25. billb3

    billb3 Minister of Fire

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    I just had to get a mess untangled similar to that aside my driveway.

    I had lots of widowmakers to carefully get down (handsaw and ropes) and a major fork caught in a fork (I had another tree's branch caught in there, too) . My 28 foot ladder reached the fork, so I was able to cut the grey branch back with a pull back hand saw, so only a couple inches remained in the fork. Then levered the base away from the brown tree. I was hoping the grey tree would fall to the side with the weight of the other branches, but of course it hung up on the grey tree's fork and I had the lever the base for about 10 feet before it slid down the brown tree on its own.

    I've pulled a hung tree with my tractor but I don't like doing it.
    Trees damaged years ago and healed (they're not always obvious) can do unexpected things.

    If I couldn't have reached the fork with my ladder I would have hired someone with a bucket truck. I couldn't have leaved that to fall on someone.
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