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When to plunge cut?

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by schlot, Dec 13, 2012.

  1. schlot

    schlot Minister of Fire

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    I was watching some youtube videos, and came up with a question.

    When would you use a plunge cut of the back cut? I typically use it on smaller diameter trees that I can't get a wedge safely behind my saw as I make my back cut.

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  2. RK_MacKendrick

    RK_MacKendrick Member

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    What you describe is called "bore cutting", it has it's uses, you noted one of them. Often enough it is over used and is often taught as the safest way to fall trees, Using the bore cut requires a lot of bar tip contact, kickbacks can occur, you also spent too long at the stump dabbing away. Getting all cuts lined up properly is one of problems I have seen. The GOL advocates believe this is the way to fall trees, all trees. It is a way to avoid barberchairing a heavy head leaner, but there are other ways, simpler, faster and safer. I have used the bore cut, but rarely, it simply is not required very often. The term plunge cut is used more for bucking, you ream with the bar to avoid getting caught in the bind. I was taught to only use wedges for falling.
    amateur cutter likes this.
  3. schlot

    schlot Minister of Fire

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    Sorry, yes I meant bore cutting. It reminds me of a router plunge.
  4. RK_MacKendrick

    RK_MacKendrick Member

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    I gotcha. I know some timber fallers that use that to prevent fiber pull on veneer grade hardwoods. I fell conifers for the most part, while fiber pull can be a problem, I chased the hinge and used a proper sized face cut.
    I'm suspecting that you are dealing with hardwoods, what do you consider a small tree? Got a stump photo?
    You show me your's, I'll show you mine. ;) LOL
  5. schlot

    schlot Minister of Fire

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    LOL. My stump pictures are off limits sir!

    I don't know, maybe up to 10". I haven't used these cuts a lot.
    TreePointer likes this.
  6. RK_MacKendrick

    RK_MacKendrick Member

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    Understood, pretty funny.
    Yeah, 10" is small. I suppose a PNW remark about brush is indicated. ;lol
  7. Flamestead

    Flamestead Feeling the Heat

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    Most of what I'm cutting is hardwood pole timber in the 12-14" range, and I use a bore cut with nearly every tree. Works very well for me. I'm thinning in an overstocked stand, and the control helps me avoid hangups and damaging the trees being released.

    I've seen the trees in the PNW, and wouldn't even know where to begin with one of those!
  8. trog04

    trog04 New Member

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    In the wildland fire faller classes, they teach plunging the saw quite a bit. One use is to check the integreity of the tree. If we sound a tree and something doesn't sound so solid, we'll do a plunge cut andd see what we get. Does the saw get easier to push through? Does the quality of chips coming out change? This helps us determine the relative risk of falling a hazard tree.

    As for the backstrap cut which you mention, we would consider it with a heavy leaning tree to reduce the risk of a barber chair. Once I've plunged in, I'll set my hinge wood, checking frequently on both sides to make sure I'm leaving enough and that it's even. Once that is set I saw backwards and leave a couple of inches of wood to the outside of the tree. The vertical fibers will keep the tree from falling. If I feel like it, which is most times, I'll drive in a wedge in one side of the backstrap cut and try to bury it as far as I can, essentially pre-loading the tree to the fall. Sometimes in both sides. I can then just make a cut either slightly above or below by an inch or two to sever the fibers and the tree commits to the fall. You can sometimes chop the remaining wood with the felling ax and make it fall. It isn't something that is done real often, but I will do it on a some "normal" trees just to keep the skill up.

    One issue on smaller diameter trees is there isn't enough room for the face cut, adequate hinge, then the width of the bar on some of the bigger saws.
  9. TreePointer

    TreePointer Minister of Fire

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    As mentioned there are legitimate reasons to use it, but It's a rarity for me. I most frequently use it just for the fun of it.
  10. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    I never use it. If it comes down to a "have to plunge" I am walking away. :cool:
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  11. RK_MacKendrick

    RK_MacKendrick Member

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    I made plenty of boring cuts, but that is what coffee and Pall Malls are for.

    I did use plunge cuts to block out face cuts, only rarely used it on the back cut. Wore out quite a few roller tips, they don't stand up to that type of use.

    trog04, SOP on the nasties. I did the fire thing off and on in the '70s, started the first day out of high school.

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