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Plunge cutting and dealing with stacks

Post in 'The Gear' started by Jay H, Apr 23, 2007.

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  1. Jay H

    Jay H New Member

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    I've got a monster sized stack of trunks in my driveway and as I posted before, I bucked up one 24" maple already but soon I will be faced with dealing with stacked trunks. I can try to see if I can pull them down with a come-along or perhaps a car jack but looking for hints and tips with dealing with stacked wood. These aren't small trunks either, many of them are insanely big and heavy.

    One thing I've heard is the use of plunge cutting and then working one's way til they are small enough to roll out with perhaps a come-along (hand type mechanical winch). That would entail doing a plunge cut from the side, obviously making sure the log on top isn't going t roll over on you and then cutting the log on the ground, then cutting the upper overhanging log and then working your way through til the log on top is small enough to roll out. I guess it is a higher possibility for kick-back with the plunge cut itself...

    Sounds like a good plan? I am going to borrow a friend's come-along but I'm also thinking one of those hydraulic bottle jacks might be handy if I can use that to push a log off the stack. Wondering what kind of tonnage I should get. the min. height is about 9.5" on those according to the northerntool catalog I have...

    Jay

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  2. EatenByLimestone

    EatenByLimestone Minister of Fire

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    I think I'd pick up a come-a-long. The latest HF flyer has them on sale. Even if they were not on sale I'd pick one up. I wouldn't want to be anywhere near the action when the log decides to roll.

    Matt
  3. Jay H

    Jay H New Member

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  4. Turner-n-Burner

    Turner-n-Burner New Member

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    I dealt with that last season. If you're careful, you can plan where each unsplit billet will land and work the pile so you fill up the dead space and then roll the later cuts over them. I also found a pulp hook to be a huge help. you can get a really good hold of a chunk and tip and drag it around rather than try and lift or roll. sometimes dragging is actually easier than rolling.

    http://store.baileys-online.com/cgi-bin/baileys/1448?mv_session_id=w3XtM2nR&product_sku=15840

    honest - best $18 I ever spent on a tool.
  5. Jay H

    Jay H New Member

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    http://store.baileys-online.com/cgi-bin/baileys/587

    I like the idea of the 40ft 5/16th cable. I'm wondering if this is overkill or not.. Not having done this before, I don't have an idea of how much force or tonnage I should prepare for to move these guys. The above looks strong and has dual rachets. I've only used a cable puller before to lift up some bushes in front of my father's house before. Another problem is a lack of a good anchor to use other than my car, would be worried about cable snapping and all that bad stuff...

    Jay
  6. TruePatriot

    TruePatriot New Member

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    Jay,

    I don't know how big your logs are, without a pic or and idea of lengths, but I got a couple of dump truck loads of hardwood trunks, some up to 33" or 36" in diameter, but all above 18" in diameter--maybe the average was 22"-24".

    They were not very long. I'd say 7 or 8 feet, on average.

    I just rolled one of the bottom logs out from under the others, I believe, with a cant hook. Or maybe I rolled them off the top first. In each case, obviously, you buck off as much as you can from an exposed end, to lighten the piece you're trying to move, before moving it.

    I think you're more likely to pull something off of your car than you are to snap that come along's cable.

    Be careful hooking up to your car's suspension, as well--I mean, don't--you can tweak the alignment--even on the rear wheels, depending on the veh. On a leaf spring pickup truck's rear axle, I wouldn't worry about it, but then, on a big pickup, there's plenty of frame, hitches, etc... to hook to.

    I have 3 ton chain come along (the actual brand is "CM," I believe) but while very safe, they are s-l-o-w, b/c you have to keep "recycling" the pull. By that I mean there is a double-loop of chain, down to the hook block, which has a pulley built into it (doubles the power). So, each pull is only 6 FEET, then you have to run the chain out again, rehook, etc....

    The reason I'm going on about the above, however, is that the CM brand come along has an internal clutch, which will slip before you break the smallish chain that runs to the hook. If you then use a 20 ton logging chain to go from hook to log, you can be sure nothing will "snap."

    I wonder if that winch thing you linked to has such a built in clutch? You might try asking them.

    I can't imagine why you wouldn't be able to just "nibble around the edges" with your saw, as I did, then roll out what's in the way, with the cant hook--of course, the hook keeps you right up by the action, whereas your winch will have you safely out of the way.

    Here's a tip: Don't straddle the cable as you work the winch.... ;-) Seems obvious enough, I know, but it's easy to get distracted.

    Oh! Almost forgot. I didn't fully understand why you'd need to make any "plunge cuts," but I think I'd stay away from them anyway, if i could, even without a ton or more of wood above my saw, waiting to tumble onto it and me. And just when you're making what sounds to me like one of the more dangerous-type of cuts. I'd explore a lot of options before selecting that one, no offense.

    Post a pic, if you can, and we'll see if I'm way off base here or not?

    Be safe.

    Peter
  7. EatenByLimestone

    EatenByLimestone Minister of Fire

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    Do you have anything you can drive into the ground you can hook the come-along to?


    Maybe you can pour an anchor in a place that won't be too much in the way. Maybe a flower garden could cover the anchor up in the summer and be easily accessable in the winter?

    Oh, and I'm sure I don't have to say this, but don't expect 40 feet of reach from 40 feet of cable. ;-)

    Matt
  8. Jay H

    Jay H New Member

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    For sh*ts and giggles, I tried for the hellofit to move a 24" wide maple, about 10ft long with a 5' peavy and no way I could get the thing to even budge. Unfortunately, because of all the limbed knots that were still there. I'm only 130lbs 5'5" and not on steroids. ;) I'll see if I can get a picture of it.

    I plan on doing as you guys say, cutting as much as I can off the top, but a lot of it would be above shoulder height and I know standing on a ladder isn't a good idea.

    As far as the winch goes, I have a 3rd generation Subaru Outback which has a tow hook in the center of the back and 2 in the corners in the front. I would chock the wheels and wont straddle the cable. :) Worst case scenario is I call the tree guy who gave me this wood and beg him to come back and use his crane to drop them on the ground. Once they're on the ground, I would be more comfy with it.

    I know about the 40ft cable length, but most of the cable winchs I see don't even come with more than 12ft of cable...

    From what my friend told me, you can carefully get at stacked logs from the end, if you can't roll them or winch them off, by plunge cutting on the tree on the ground, your 16" or whatever length... then you can buck the log above it which is now presumable free to fall down, at least this is the explanation that I got. then you can slowly work your way through the log til the log on top is light enough to be rolled off...

    Jay
  9. TruePatriot

    TruePatriot New Member

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    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Hey, Jay,

    I'm starting to understand. While a lot of my logs were also about 24" in diameter, your 10' log is 30% heavier than the 7' footers I was wrestling. And though I'm like you (not on steroids), at 5'10/165lbs, I guess I can put 22% more weight on the end of the peavy. Again, it all adds up, right? Plus, mine were not quite up to shoulder height, either. Definitely, there's no breakin' the laws of physics, is there?

    Thank you for the explanation about "plunge cutting." That's a neat trick, in a pinch. I guess it doesn't sound so risky, provided one takes extra care when starting the plunge cut. I'm just a little leery, as I've found that, espeically on a bigger saw like I've been using lately, big teeth and big power will make that bar nose travel QUICK, if one isn't careful, and it gets a bite on something. Still, I'll keep that in mind, in case my next load of logs is bigger than the last.

    We have an Outback too--I guess it's first generation? (1997). For all the trouble it's been, I'm not sure it should have been allowed to reproduce--alreadly on it's third engine, and last week, it fetched up with what is either a bad rear diff or bad rear CVJ (let's hope it's the latter). I LOVE how it drives, but a Toyota, it ain't--reliability-wise. Instead of sucessive generations, I'm thinkin' it's a candidate for a Darwin Award.

    I think you're okay with the (rear) tow hooks but I would try to avoid chocking the wheels. Here's why: if you can move your logs with unchocked wheels, you know you will not overload the suspension, because the two (rear) contact patches (tires) will slide freely on the earth, if the wood doesn't budge. However, if you chock them real good, then you start to load the suspension beyond the load possible from just the friction of the locked rear wheels on the ground, you see? And you don't know how great a load you're putting on, until the car jumps out of the chocks. (Suprise!) Probably, on dirt, you'd not overload it, but why risk it? If you can move the wood without chocking, you know you're safe.

    You have to keep in mind that these are frameless, "unibody" cars, built lightly to be efficient, as opposed to the ladder-frame jobs we grew up with, that are still in most pickups.

    Actually, didn't you say you're working on your driveway? Definitely, do not chock the wheels, if your driveway is paved. I mean, unless you feel confident you just need a little bit more than you got before the wheels slid, and that you can correctly assess the greater loads created by chocking. JMO.

    Also, on our Outback, the hooks are higher than the bumper cladding. Depending on the angles involved, you may find the taut cable actually pushes up on the bumper plastic, potentially scratching or cracking it. Just a thought.

    Lastly, is your car an auto? If so, I'd leave it in neutral, and set the E-brake--hard. Otherwise, you're applying your winch load directly to the "park dog" in the slushbox. Again, on dirt, it's probably okay, but why risk it? The E-brake will slide the wheels just as well as "Park," but without the risk. I would never slide the wheels on pavement, using the park dog instead of the E-brake. That's one reason why tow truck drivers put soap on the rollback decks, if they don't have the keys to an auto-trans car.

    Good luck!

    Peter
  10. TruePatriot

    TruePatriot New Member

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    Jay,

    I just remembered something my father told me, years (many) ago, that might help you: "You can lift more than you weigh."

    I don't remember if I was able to roll my big logs by leaning on the peavey, or by lifting it (obviously, when lifting, you just take your bite on the log from the opposite side you were leaning on) but if you were leaning on it, you might give lifting it a try. (Back straight, knees bent, of course). ;-)

    And one more thing: I believe I also used my 4' (or 5'?) crowbar when I was wrangling those logs. You might be able to get things rolling (literally) by using a crowbar, in a narrow space between one of the logs on top, and the one it's sitting on. The peavey, being of a larger diameter than the crowbar, won't go into those smaller spaces, but I think that, somehow, you can get more leverage by sticking a crowbar into a tighter space than you can by using the peavey as a lever arm, attached to the outer diameter of the log, even if the peavey and the crowbar are the same length. I know that doesn't sound right (and could be wrong) but keep in mind, you're only looking for a little movement here (just inches) to get those bad boys unstuck, so you can roll 'em off the top of each other with your peavey.

    Also, if you do get some movement (up, down/sideways) you can have an assistant stick small splits or 2x4's into the gaps you create with the crowbar, and work your way down the log making successive "picks" (lifts) until something shakes loose.

    At least, that's my thinking. My name's not Euclid and I didn't build the Pyramids, so I can't explain why this works this way, but I think it does. Sorry to blather on so long.

    Let us know....

    Peter

    EDIT: Dan--I just saw your post about using wedges, after I wrote the above--I wasn't stealin' from ya, guy! LOL What's that they say about great minds? And yes, it's certainly true you can weigh more than you can lift--if I don't ease up on the PBR's, I may be in that category one day. Jay's slim 'n trim, though. ;-)
  11. Turner-n-Burner

    Turner-n-Burner New Member

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    true enough,


    but you can weigh more often than you can lift !!!

    ;-)


    The trick I used when I needed to cut big logs that I couldn't lift or roll was to make some ~3' long wedges out of a scrap 2x4's. I'd hammer them lengthwise under the log from both sides, lifting the log off the ground so I could cut through it without hitting the asphalt driveway (usually)

    'course, I also learned that asphalt will take the sharp out of a chain right quick !!!



    -Dan
  12. Jay H

    Jay H New Member

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    Well, right now I'm working the end logs, I used my Peavey to move a short maybe 6' 20" wide log off the stack so I'm right now bucking up a 18-20" somewhat medium density wood... I wont have to deal with the monster 36"+ diameter logs for a bit. I also spent some time this sunday installing a class II hidden hitch on my Subaru Outback.... What a major pain in the butt. Not the installation of the hitch itself, it's the dropping of my dual mufflers to get at the frame!! They are mounted with 4 (2 per side) big rubber blocks that are simply friction fitted to welded rods with an endcap on them. I had to use a bunch of screwdrivers to leaverage those rubber parts off the rod and some dry lube. PITA!!! I thought about just cutting them off and using zipties to rehang them but after an hour or so of prying, I got them off...

    ...and then I realized I bought a 1" shank hitch ball and it needs a 3/4"... D'oh!

    Jay
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