Are large DBH trees worth it?

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neverbilly

Burning Hunk
Dec 27, 2015
177
Arkansas, USA
Somebody cut a humongous pecan tree near me. It's, oh, 36" - 40" DBH. What a shame. The man said he's been sick ever since he moved to our town, and so was his wife, and she died. So, he's cutting that tree and two huge sycamores. Doesn't make a bit of sense to me. The neighbors have plenty of the same trees! Weird.

Anyway, I asked the tree service if they could dump it in my yard instead of taking it to the city dump and they said yes. But after watching what was being loaded into their dump trailer, I decided against that and just told them I would cut what I want from the dump. The chunks were just too big and cumbersome (and also the loads had small limbs to deal with) to handle if dumped in my yard. My gosh, that is a big trunk. Lots of huge crotches from big limbs. Glad I didn't have them dump it on me, lol.

So, I've cut rounds and hauled several truck loads home. But I haven't noodled a bit of the trunk and my gosh, that would be some noodling! Is it worth it? That would be a lot of chainsaw runtime.

I also ask because there is a huge red oak at the dump that has been there probably a couple of years but it's solid as can be. About the same size. Rounds would be way too heavy to handle without noodling into quarters. (All that is there is the trunk. But it's a lot of wood to be had if it's worth it.)

Just wondering do you guys do this or not? I have a Stihl ms362 with 20" bar. It's a bad boy, it has been ported and modded and it's strong, so, no problem with having power.

Side note... this pecan tree weeps upon cutting like I haven't seen. Just super wet with water on the cut.
 
I do rounds only.
Some are huge, but all are easily transportable and splittable
by one person as I do the work. The two teenagers
get called into rare service when I come across some
monsters. Rare because luckily there's a supply I can't
even keep up with available.

Neverbilly, generally U can slip the chainsaw guy a $20 and he'll ask how long
you want it bucked. I take the Asplundh guys doughnuts and coffee and
they literally hand clean rounds to me, or leave perfect lil' triangle stax stashed in the
brush if I'm not around. (Both area crews are quite familiar with the Cheapster.)
I still don't own or need a working saw 2 seasons now. LOL
(got a couple to repair)
 
I would say, take the newer wood. Thats what i would do. Pecan is good wood. I dont think the the BTU's are as high as the oak, but the oak has been sitthing around so i would pass. As cheap said, i also only deal in rounds, if i do take limbs they are usually 12" but not smaller than 8". I dont grab much of them, most are given to my brothers-in-law. The pecan i think is a solid choice i would not pass on it. I think your looking at 22 million BTU's per cord. Its on the high end of the chart.
 
I would say, take the newer wood. Thats what i would do. Pecan is good wood. I dont think the the BTU's are as high as the oak, but the oak has been sitthing around so i would pass. As cheap said, i also only deal in rounds, if i do take limbs they are usually 12" but not smaller than 8". I dont grab much of them, most are given to my brothers-in-law. The pecan i think is a solid choice i would not pass on it. I think your looking at 22 million BTU's per cord. Its on the high end of the chart.

The thing is, that oak is solid as it can be. No telling what one 16" round would weigh. I'd have to noodle/quarter it to get it in the truck! I have no experience at handling such large DBH rounds, wondering if it's 'worth it.' It's there for the taking. And comparing it to cutting up a fallen tree, with this big trunk laying there, there are no limbs to deal with. Just buck it into rounds and quarter them. They'll still be heavy, lol.

As for the pecan, I'm pretty much done unless I quarter up the easy parts of the huge trunk. I got a lot of rounds done from just the limbs.
 
The thing is, that oak is solid as it can be. No telling what one 16" round would weigh. I'd have to noodle/quarter it to get it in the truck! I have no experience at handling such large DBH rounds, wondering if it's 'worth it.' It's there for the taking. And comparing it to cutting up a fallen tree, with this big trunk laying there, there are no limbs to deal with. Just buck it into rounds and quarter them. They'll still be heavy, lol.

As for the pecan, I'm pretty much done unless I quarter up the easy parts of the huge trunk. I got a lot of rounds done from just the limbs.

There are youtube videos of some people loading large rounds in there trucks. Check it out. The guy was by himself and was doing 18" rounds. Using some of the rounds like steps its really up to you on which tree you feel comfortable taking. Take the one that is best for you. Eather tree is high on the btu chart. Its not like its mulberry
 
I can't imagine a 16" round halved or quartered would be too much to load in a truck. The red oak I cut yesterday was 18", fresh cut/wet and I cut my lengths at 22". They were pretty darn heavy but I got them in my truck myself. Do a test run- cut your length, halve it with sledge and wedge and see what happens. I'd be taking all I could grab personally, especially if it's free
 
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I can't imagine a 16" round halved or quartered would be too much to load in a truck. The red oak I cut yesterday was 18", fresh cut/wet and I cut my lengths at 22". They were pretty darn heavy but I got them in my truck myself. Do a test run- cut your length, halve it with sledge and wedge and see what happens. I'd be taking all I could grab personally, especially if it's free

16" would be the length. The full round is as I said in the first post -- 36" to 40" diameter.
 
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There are youtube videos of some people loading large rounds in there trucks. Check it out. The guy was by himself and was doing 18" rounds. Using some of the rounds like steps its really up to you on which tree you feel comfortable taking. Take the one that is best for you. Eather tree is high on the btu chart. Its not like its mulberry

I have seen that video.

You're thinking mulberry is low btu wood? It's actually pretty high btu, you must be thinking of something else?
 
Before I got my lift, I used to carry two planks with me and position them off the end of my tailgate and roll the big rounds up. It even works better if you can locate your truck downhill from the rounds so that it is not so steep.
 
Rounds would be way too heavy to handle without noodling into quarters. (All that is there is the trunk. But it's a lot of wood to be had if it's worth it.)

Weight - water = Btu's!

I've loaded rounds much larger than I thought possible by myself by working smarter, not harder. And the bed of my truck is rather high.

You can make a "stairway" with two or three large rounds of varying heights. Then rounds can be "rolled" up the stairway. This works best if the bark has big enough crevices that they catch on the edge of the next "stair". This way you are only lifting half the weight of each round and only for a couple of inches because it gets lighter as it "rolls" up and right into the truck bed.

The rounds comprising your "stairway" will either need to be split on location or left behind.

Just wondering do you guys do this or not? I have a Stihl ms362 with 20" bar. It's a bad boy, it has been ported and modded and it's strong, so, no problem with having power.

I've found power mods for cutting big rounds to be over-rated unless the cooling capacity has also been increased. That's because the peak continuous power output of a chainsaw is generally defined by how much heat it can dissipate. Even a hot-rodded engine will lose power when it gets hot.

More valuable than power mods is a bar/chain combo that has minimized frictional losses and teeth filed so they cut easily without binding. A well sharpened full chisel chain (like Stihl Rapid Super (RS)) will make more difference than power mods. Similarly, a bar with a rounder nose like the Stihl Rollomatic Super (vs. Standard) will also help with apparent power due to the larger nose sprocket and flatter, more rigid bar. Use good bar oil (it's not all the same).

Sometimes it's easier to reduce required power than to make more (while wasting most of it). I always hand file my chains because I've found that to cut faster/cleaner and stay sharp longer than using the rotary grinders.
 
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I would recommend ramps. I've loaded some monsters with mine, and it's always more comfortable to get them home to split rather than split on site.
 
Pecan is fairly dense wood. A 40" round 18" long will top out at ~798# according to the chart - http://www.sherrilltree.com/media/pdf/products/LogWeightChart_70in.pdf.
Like D8Chumley, I like to split a bit on site if possible (weekend & after work). Even large rounds can be whittled down to make for easy pickings. Keep splitting until its manageable (eighths would be ~100# ea.). You can split to final size at home. I avoid noodling.
There is a lot of wood in a 40" round, and you'll get less bark than with limb wood. Large rounds, or log-length wood have the benefit of of not getting picked over as quickly by scroungers. You can take your time and pick away at it. Bring your favorite splitting maul, along with a few wedges and maul should it need more persuasion (splitting with wedges can be relaxing). Several times I've worked at my pace (a few rounds each night per week) to cut logs to desired length (20"), rolled out rounds, and split them down to manageable size on site.
 
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I would grab that oak first!
 
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I also like that you get a bunch of splits from bigger stuff, and I get some nice squarish pieces for cribbing the ends of the stacks
Most of the stuff I have scrounged recently has been no less than 24" but usually at least 30". I learned from here but here is how I split them...like D8Chumley said. The larger rounds are definitely worth it to get.
The side pieces I will split in thirds or quarters depending on the size of the rounds. The inner pieces will be 6 or 8 pieces (again depending on the size), and I leave those square for the ends of the stacks.
Love the big rounds!
 

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Most of the stuff I have scrounged recently has been no less than 24" but usually at least 30". I learned from here but here is how I split them...like D8Chumley said. The larger rounds are definitely worth it to get.
The side pieces I will split in thirds or quarters depending on the size of the rounds. The inner pieces will be 6 or 8 pieces (again depending on the size), and I leave those square for the ends of the stacks.
Love the big rounds!
Do you mark all of your rounds up like that before splitting, or did you just do one for our sake? ;-)
 
I replied before I saw this reply...glad to see someone else defending the honor of the noble mulberry [emoji2]
I've only gotten my hands on one mulberry so far. It was really yellow, and burned great. It was also very knobby and crooked everywhere. Not difficult to split, but hard to stack, and made it difficult to pack the stove because of all the curves and knobs. One day I went outside, and it had fallen over at the base. Could have hit the fence, other smaller trees or shrubs, or the driveway. Instead, it fell right into the only open space around it. Couldn't have behaved nicer for me.
 
i have split some big stuff over the years by hand. . . BUT it was straight grained stuff! I think that's the key with hand splitting any size wood; the straightness of the grain and presence of knots/crotches. . and moisture content I guess
 
...I've found power mods for cutting big rounds to be over-rated unless the cooling capacity has also been increased. That's because the peak continuous power output of a chainsaw is generally defined by how much heat it can dissipate. Even a hot-rodded engine will lose power when it gets hot.

More valuable than power mods is a bar/chain combo that has minimized frictional losses and teeth filed so they cut easily without binding. A well sharpened full chisel chain (like Stihl Rapid Super (RS)) will make more difference than power mods. Similarly, a bar with a rounder nose like the Stihl Rollomatic Super (vs. Standard) will also help with apparent power due to the larger nose sprocket and flatter, more rigid bar. Use good bar oil (it's not all the same).

Sometimes it's easier to reduce required power than to make more (while wasting most of it). I always hand file my chains because I've found that to cut faster/cleaner and stay sharp longer than using the rotary grinders.

Your comments bring up some questions. I hope you will respond, interesting!

1. How do you increase the cooling capacity?
2. A bar with a rounder nose -- I didn't know it exists! My bar is Rollomatic ES, whatever that is.
3. I thought any old bar oil would be fine. Wrong? What kind is good?
4. Filing -- is there a technique you can recommend?

As for my saw, it was ported/modded by an expert modder. I didn't know any of that stuff you commented about. I assumed just being jacked up like it is is good. It certainly does not bog down, it eats wood.
 
Your comments bring up some questions. I hope you will respond, interesting!

1. How do you increase the cooling capacity?

To be honest, done properly, porting and modding can provide an increase in airflow which provides a small increase in cooling and a modest increase in power (at the expense of noise, emissions and fuel efficiency). Fuel efficiency suffers more than the modest increase in power due to reduced muffler back-pressure causing more volatile vapors to escape without being combusted. I'm not aware of cooling specific mods (although I'm sure they are out there). But my point was, that cutting big rounds has a high duty cycle at full throttle and, unless you're in an arctic front, there comes a point where power begins to fall off due to excessive heat on most saws.

My Stihl 026 Pro has an adjustable summer/winter air intake. In winter mode it draws intake air across the cylinder fins to warm the air and prevent icing. Depending upon humidity, I can leave it in summer mode for cooler intake air and more power. I only put it in winter mode if I actually experience carb icing.

2. A bar with a rounder nose -- I didn't know it exists! My bar is Rollomatic ES, whatever that is.

Almost all modern saws come with a rather pointed bar (to varying degrees). This reduces kickback danger due to fewer teeth at the very tip of the bar (less tip bite). However, it causes more chain friction.

It sounds like you have the ES Light. I've never used one of those but I believe the Rollomatic Super has a larger diameter tip sprocket which reduces friction by having a straighter chain path over the length of the bar. Bars with "pointier" tips have a more arched chain path over the length of the bar which is not supported by the sprocket on a bearing rather the chain glides over this arch metal/metal (plus whatever bar oil is there to lubricate). I think the ES light falls in the middle of available options in terms of "pointiness". That makes it a reduced kickback bar vs. low kickback or, on the other end of the spectrum, one designed for maximum efficiency/versatility without regard for kickback danger (like the Super).

3. I thought any old bar oil would be fine. Wrong? What kind is good?

I ran an inexpensive bar oil once after running out and noticed the lubrication was not as good. Confirmed when I switched back to Stihl bar oil. I've used two kinds of Stihl bar oil, the BioPlus and the Woodcutter. Both are good but I've settled on the Woodcutter as I notice it feels a little slicker.

Also, Stihl makes a synthetic 2 stroke oil. Quite pricy but worth it. My 026 really screams on this. With a ported/modded saw it's a no-brainer, run the synthetic oil!

4. Filing -- is there a technique you can recommend?

I've tried rotary grinders, hand files with guides and freehand. I find the guides difficult to use consistently and the ground chains dull quickly so I have settled upon freehand filing with the bar mounted to the powerhead.

It helps to make sure the bar is level (don't file until the saw is flat and level in all directions). Yes, it's possible to compensate but I don't give myself that much credit. I also make sure my head is consistently placed relative to the bar (so I have a consistent view regardless of whether I'm filing the left or right teeth). This gets the geometry correct but I also pay attention to the feel of the file teeth biting into the chain. Generally two- four light strokes is enough for regular maintenance but the feel/sound of the file can help determine how much it needs. If you have good light and good eyesight you can also tell by looking. I've never found it helpful to feel the freshly sharpened tooth unless I've hit a rock and want to know how bad it is.

My chains cut fast with minimal powder duff and last a long time. I save my old chain for "dirty work" and even then I try to avoid dirt rocks. Always start sharpening using the painted link as a reference because it's important to keep all the teeth consistent. If the paint has worn off, file a reference notch it the top of one of the teeth.

Probably the most obvious sharpening mistake I see on other peoples saws is that their saw doesn't cut in a straight line. This might not be much of an issue for simple bucking of 12" rounds but can be really problematic in more demanding situations. The cause is inadvertently sharpening the left teeth differently from the right.

As for my saw, it was ported/modded by an expert modder. I didn't know any of that stuff you commented about. I assumed just being jacked up like it is is good. It certainly does not bog down, it eats wood.

There's nothing wrong will well done porting/modding as long as it suits your needs and your expectations are realistic because gains are typically limited and modest without getting into tuned pipes and accepting substantially higher sound levels, less healthy emissions and more frequent filling of gas. Personally, my saw has never had the kind of low exhaust emissions available today because it's from before they were cleaned up. I will re-position myself or wait for the breeze to change if I'm getting too much because CO hinders the bodies ability to absorb O2 in order to carry it to my muscles. Chainsaw exhaust makes a body tire more easily. Ported/modded saws increase emissions due to less backpressure around the exhaust.

But any saw will bog down if buried in a big log improperly - that's more a function of operator skill than amount of power available. It's up to the operator to prevent bogging. Assuming the saw runs properly to begin with. And my mostly unmodded 026 is quite the screamer. Would I be
happy with a new MS261? Maybe not.