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Your felling technique?

Post in 'The Gear' started by Kong, Jan 13, 2010.

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  1. Kong

    Kong New Member

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    I may have been cutting firewood for our primary source of heat for the last 30 years but that doesn't mean I know much about it. I'm probably making the same mistakes today I was 30 years ago - how would I know?

    When I drop a tree, and most of the firewood we use comes from trees I fell, when I drop it I like to make the cuts at little above waist height. I don't like to be very bent over when I make the felling cuts for the notch and then the back cut. I just feel a lot more secure standing up. After the tree is down I then trim off the stump at ground level, usually leaving two lengths of wood from above to be split. Aside from stability this method is also easier on my back than bending over.

    A lot of guys I see drop them right down near the ground. Seems to work just fine for them.

    What do you do and why?

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  2. Danno77

    Danno77 Minister of Fire

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    I do like you do. it all gets cut up into firewood lengths anyway, no point in trying to fell a tree by bending way over and then when the tree is down you chop that off for firewood anyway.
  3. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    I want the henge point as low as I can get it, so I can have better control of the lye and less chance of Barber chair.I also work in and around house's so I also use a bull rope and wedges on just about every tree just to get the best control possible.25-33 percent face cut inch over the top with the back cut and a 2-3 in. hendge left depending on the size of tree.
  4. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    I cut at waist level or a bit over as well - saves the back, plus if you need to get out of the way fast, it means not having to stand up before you can run... What I like to do in the interest of not "wasting wood" is look at where I'm going to cut the trunk off at the end, and then measure up one or two stove lengths, and make my felling cuts from there. After the tree is on the ground, I will then go back and take off the remaining trunk as close to the ground as I can...

    Gooserider
  5. chad3

    chad3 Feeling the Heat

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    Most pros are getting the most log length they can. If you are cutting for firewood cut it about 1-2 lengths above the stump. You can cut them off afterwards and you will have an easier time cutting.
    You're doing fine.
    Chad
  6. bogydave

    bogydave Minister of Fire

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    Waist level for me too, same as your reason, easy on the back. Also in the "run position" if needed.
    Then 2 rounds from the stump.
    Grew up in Preston County WV, Kingwood area.
    Dave
  7. whotheguy

    whotheguy New Member

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    Personally waist level is too high for me. Why? Because I hate being neutrally balanced and no muscles flexed should the poo-poo hit the fan. I never cut higher than waist and prefer to have just a bit of a bend in my knees. Again, I do this so my arm and leg muscles are partially flexed and can react quicker than having to fire up "relaxed or semi-relaxed" muscle in order to get out of the way. To elaborate further, I also find that when I'm dipped a little in my knees I can control my cuts better. Think about this, you're standing still against nothing solid holding a gallon of milk, the slightest bump from someone will move you significantly. Now, imagine that gallon of milk in your hand while trying to unscrew the tamper proof lid and someone bumps into you. Although this is a fraction of force of what is typically used to cut, you will find you don't "rock" nearly as much, and you're much faster at technique and reflex versus being relaxed.

    I'll let others chew on my thoughts, then invite them over for some warmed up saw and milk.
  8. Danno77

    Danno77 Minister of Fire

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    yeah, i hear ya. I call that the "athletic stance" you use it for basketball, baseball, skiing, everything because, like you say, it leaves you ready to react. That's what i do too, i guess I just never really thought about it. I think it would be hard to just stand completely straight and cut off to the side.....
  9. quads

    quads Minister of Fire

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    I first try to determine which way the tree wants to fall and which way I would like it to fall. I cut it as close to the ground as I can get without hitting dirt. I make my wedge on the side towards where I anticipate it is going to fall. Then I start cutting on the backside. When the tree begins to tip and seems like it will keep going on it's own, I run away! Sometimes it even works.
  10. Kong

    Kong New Member

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    Part of my time-honored method is similar to yours. First I look to see which way the tree wants to fall naturally then I get myself to agree that's the way I want it to fall too. Then I move everything out of the way all around the tree - particularly the truck(s).

    Did I ever tell you about the time my wife asked me to take the little half-dead apple tree out of the yard? I took out the power lines and the phone line with that one and just missed a nearly new Toyota by inches. Took two days to get power back to the house and we were without phone service for about twice that long.
  11. Taconite

    Taconite New Member

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    I cut low or as close to the ground as possible. I grew up cutting my whole life because my grandpa has a sawmill. We where trying to get the most out of each tree especially at the truck where the tree is largest in diameter.

    As far as bending down, I guess that it’s just something that you have to do. However, over the years I have learned not to man handle the saw but instead let the saw do the work.
  12. CrawfordCentury

    CrawfordCentury New Member

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    I go with the slightly below waist cut in atheletic stance approach - but would modify my technique if I'd learned to fall trees with the objective of getting the max # of board feet per tree.
  13. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

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    I cut like a pro using a Humboldt notch. Was taught that way long ago.
  14. Danno77

    Danno77 Minister of Fire

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    I almost always use a conventional notch, but sometimes if I'm just not 100% sure of the balance of the tree and making it go the direction of the notch, I change the backcut to a downward angled (like 15-30 degrees). Nobody ever taught me that, i don't even know if there's a name for it, but just knowing what little i know about these things, it seems like the tree is less likely to go the completely opposite direction.

    BTW, this site has some good info (go to lesson 4 for Tree Felling)
    http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/etools/logging/userguide/userguide.html
  15. moosetrek

    moosetrek New Member

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    Pretty much use a conventional notch, how my dad taught me. But I think I'll try the Humboldt next summer just for practice; not sure there's any advantage for firewood as it all gets cut up, but for logwood I can see it saving a few inches here and there - adds up.
  16. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

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    Not having a sloped cut up against the splitter's base is nice. That and my OCD has problems with odd shaped splits.

    That said, 90% of the wood I process is felled by a harvester so there are no notches missing from the butts.
  17. computeruser

    computeruser Feeling the Heat

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    Depends how much root flare the tree has and what is going to be done with the stump afterwards, but generally I try to keep the stump at 10" or less. If I'm going to flush-cut the stump (as in a lawn/landscape situation), then I'll cut one or two firewood-lengths high and then go back and put it at dirt level.
  18. wendell

    wendell Minister of Fire

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    It, of course depends on the tree but most often, cut the notch in an open V (so the hinge won't break as the tree falls) to 80% of the diameter, bore cut and establish the hinge and then back cut leaving an inch or two at the back. Pull out the saw, put in a couple wedges and then cut a couple inches below the back cut.
  19. zzr7ky

    zzr7ky Minister of Fire

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    Hi -

    I use the method Wendal describes for 20-24" trees. It seems a lot safer to me. Less subject to a sudden gust of wind or sensitive to the occasional tree that is hollow. On really big trees one can drive wedges and not worry about hitting them with the saw as they complete the hinge. Most of my wedges bear 'tooth' marks...

    ATB,
    Mike
  20. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire

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    I cut as close to the ground as I can. I like having integer log lengths at the thickest part of the tree. I find it easier to cut the base if there's some tension of the tree leaning just a bit- like the fibers are cords stretched out and they cut easier.

    If I have to drop it in an iffy direction with regard to lean- then I cut it higher up and use wedges. I'm generally pretty good at dropping where I want it... but still hang 'em up in the woods occasionally
  21. Kong

    Kong New Member

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    What does "integer log lengths" mean? I think of integers as just numbers without fractions, does the term have a different meaning in logging?
  22. mkt1

    mkt1 Member

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    If I have to cut my trees high, I go backand cut them as low as I can,I HATE surprises on the underside of my truck if I forget where I cut a tree.
  23. snowtime

    snowtime Minister of Fire

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    I cut as low as possible. All my wood comes from our place and I have been "cleaning up our place" for 40 years. The nearest 1/2 mile in all directions in the forest are just like a park all well spaced big spruce. It also means that I have no pieces to deal with as I skid with a 4wd diesel tractor. I usually cut about 25 cord a year.
  24. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    I've always cut low . . . probably because that was the way I learned . . . we were taught to cut low to get as much wood as possible and help keep the stumps low for the tractor.
  25. timberr

    timberr Member

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    The danger with cutting high is that if something goes wrong the butt is farther from the ground which means it can move around more. I sually used the open face cut method. I don't bend over, I get on one knee. If you are cutting high and then going back and cutting the high stumps how are you saving your back?
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