Ash messed up 4 chainsaw chains yesterday. What the Heck?!

Jan 20, 2009
45
New England / S. NH
A friend had some still alive ash trees taken down by crane. They were all bucked up, just lying by their driveway for me to cut and take home. I haven't had as many cutting issues since my rookie year cutting. I brought 2 Echo CS-400 saws w 18" bars. (Both chains done by a shop, one with a new Oregon bar - Due to loaning one to a friend. Won't do that again...)

One soon started cutting crooked, the other quickly dulled, but was able to finish cutting enough to get the wood home. I put a new Oregon chain on the new bar. It cut like a champ. Until it suddenly stopped cutting. Sparks observed coming from inside the cut. I noticed the black center core of the tree on this cut. (See pics)

I grabbed my old McCullough. Same story - Cut really well until it stopped throwing big chips. Instantly stopped. I know I did not hit anything on the ground. Have not seen any nails, etc in the trees.

Thoughts?






Ash Echo Dull Saw 2.jpg
Ash Echo Dull Saw.jpg
 
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blades

Minister of Fire
Nov 23, 2008
3,456
WI, Leroy
possibly metal/ fiberglasss /rock. support stake when tree was young- never seen any ash with that kind of super dark center. sparks suggest metal or rock ,discoloration says metal. Over the years I have hit just about everything possible in trees. From rebar and T posts to concrete, rocks that were set in a crotch long ago and over grown and on and on. When you wipe out a 4 ft bar chain full comp .404 Chisel tooth it gets a bit upsetting.
 

Jazzberry

Minister of Fire
Dec 17, 2014
645
Next to Yosemite
You need a tree with less sparks or a whole lot more blades lol.
 
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Bad LP

Minister of Fire
Nov 28, 2014
1,139
Northern Maine
So much for free wood. LOL
 
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This is when you borrow your buddies saw and play dumb …..;hm
 

heavy hammer

Minister of Fire
Jul 18, 2015
1,624
Kirtland Ohio
As stated above I have seen all sorts of things inside of a tree. I have a logger friend that has some old gear drive saws. He has ripped every tooth off of a bar before hitting steel posts inside of a tree. Just bad luck sorry.
 

SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
4,104
Downeast Maine
Sounds like you will find out when you split those rounds.
 

Jazzberry

Minister of Fire
Dec 17, 2014
645
Next to Yosemite
Sounds like you will find out when you split those rounds.
I find lots of barbwire around my neighborhood trees. I hit the logs with a metal detector before I mill them. Sharpening a 42" or 60" inch blade due to a nail sucks.
 
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Sawset

Minister of Fire
Feb 14, 2015
887
Palmyra, WI
Yard trees can be the worst for hardware and rocks. Farm fenceline trees - use an old chain below shoulder ht. I've been lucky enough to avoid the tree stand spikes from decades ago.
 

CincyBurner

Feeling the Heat
Mar 10, 2015
475
SW Ohio
Are you sure it's ash ? The bark looks like sugar maple (platey), and peach color of wood is more like sugar maple too. Plus in the 2nd pic there is what looks like a maple leaf resting on the log.

It doesn't take much stone or concrete to dull teeth. As fast as the chain runs it's practically instantaneous.
Some arborists carry sacrificial, old, junk chain to run through the rest of a small problem section.
You might want to pass up on the log if you have any more of it.
 

SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
4,104
Downeast Maine
Yard trees can be the worst for hardware and rocks. Farm fenceline trees - use an old chain below shoulder ht. I've been lucky enough to avoid the tree stand spikes from decades ago.
Even yard trees without extra hardware are always harder on chains. You end up spending more time cutting up bark than you normally would.
 

Jazzberry

Minister of Fire
Dec 17, 2014
645
Next to Yosemite
Trees alongside a dirt road can be real bad but sparks are always as bad as it gets.
 
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SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
4,104
Downeast Maine
Trees alongside a dirt road can be real bad but sparks are always as bad as it gets.
I get sparks limbing yard trees. My 1/4" picco chains almost exclusively cut bark are a real pain in the ass to sharpen and take forever with my file-n-jig. I always get them back to original shape, but I wish they made threaded grinding stones in 1/8".
 

thewoodlands

Minister of Fire
Aug 25, 2009
12,894
Foothills of The Adirondacks
A friend had some still alive ash trees taken down by crane. They were all bucked up, just lying by their driveway for me to cut and take home. I haven't had as many cutting issues since my rookie year cutting. I brought 2 Echo CS-400 saws w 18" bars. (Both chains done by a shop, one with a new Oregon bar - Due to loaning one to a friend. Won't do that again...)

One soon started cutting crooked, the other quickly dulled, but was able to finish cutting enough to get the wood home. I put a new Oregon chain on the new bar. It cut like a champ. Until it suddenly stopped cutting. Sparks observed coming from inside the cut. I noticed the black center core of the tree on this cut. (See pics)

I grabbed my old McCullough. Same story - Cut really well until it stopped throwing big chips. Instantly stopped. I know I did not hit anything on the ground. Have not seen any nails, etc in the trees.

Thoughts?






View attachment 244231 View attachment 244232
Like a poster said, that looks like sugar maple and not ash, do your rakers need to be lowered? I've been felling ash because of the EAB in our county, what's pictured isn't ash.
 

SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
4,104
Downeast Maine
possibly metal/ fiberglasss /rock. support stake when tree was young- never seen any ash with that kind of super dark center. sparks suggest metal or rock ,discoloration says metal. Over the years I have hit just about everything possible in trees. From rebar and T posts to concrete, rocks that were set in a crotch long ago and over grown and on and on. When you wipe out a 4 ft bar chain full comp .404 Chisel tooth it gets a bit upsetting.
There are still 4' trees that aren't on the west coast?
 

Tar12

Minister of Fire
Dec 9, 2016
1,594
Indiana
Sure doesnt look like any Ash that we have around here...
 
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Corey

Minister of Fire
Nov 19, 2005
2,459
Midwest
1) Doesn't look like any ash I've had either.

2) Keep an eye on the 'shop sharpened' chains... sometimes they tend to go fast. If you see any metal bluing on the teeth, they went too fast, overheated the steel and tempered the hardness out of the steel. It will go dull much faster...which brings you back to the shop faster...and puts more money in their pocket faster. Though this doesn't seem to be an issue here as you mention a brand new chain also went dull.

3) I've outlined an area in the photo which looks like a classic nail to me...somewhat of a long/narrow bright patch (steel nail cut through at an angle?), surrounded by a brown ring (rust), but their is no corresponding mark on the other half (so this isn't a 'bark defect' running vertically through the tree). But, yeah, one nail will take out several chains if you cut through it 'the hard way'!
 

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heavy hammer

Minister of Fire
Jul 18, 2015
1,624
Kirtland Ohio
Have you taken a couple rounds and split then yet to see what is inside?
 

CincyBurner

Feeling the Heat
Mar 10, 2015
475
SW Ohio
There are a couple of light gray streaks that run through the black center. Concrete ?
Someone might have filled a cavity with concrete years ago. That was state of the art 'tree surgery' in the day.
Pick at it with a pocket knife. Let us know what you find.
 
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blades

Minister of Fire
Nov 23, 2008
3,456
WI, Leroy
There are still 4' trees that aren't on the west coast?
yep, in fact the 4 ft bar sometimes isn't long enough mostly the Silver maples, Willow, and Cotton wood Box Elder. About 10 years back 3 Sugar maples 4 ft just barely made the grade. I have also had some 5ft Oak although mostly hollow. Ash 36"+, Honey Locust 36"+
 

SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
4,104
Downeast Maine
yep, in fact the 4 ft bar sometimes isn't long enough mostly the Silver maples, Willow, and Cotton wood Box Elder. About 10 years back 3 Sugar maples 4 ft just barely made the grade. I have also had some 5ft Oak although mostly hollow. Ash 36"+, Honey Locust 36"+
Its been a while since I've seen trees that big. I didn't realize trees could live with rotten or hollow spots.
 

xman23

Minister of Fire
Oct 7, 2008
2,080
Lackawaxen PA
I took down a small tree a few years ago. It was sparking and dulled a new stihl chain in a cut or two. After another chain doing the same thing, I dragged the tree out in the woods for the wood peckers. Newer had any other dead wood do this. Seamed to be petrified, but don't know.
 

jaoneill

Feeling the Heat
My best (worst) ever was a horseshoe, grown over in the center of a crotch in a 40" hedgerow elm. Spoiled a 36" chain. Threw that section of log on a brush fire later that winter and the next day found the shoe in the ashes. Farmer must have hung it on a branch and of course I had to find it 75 years later.
 

jetsam

Minister of Fire
Dec 12, 2015
4,720
Long Island, NY
youtu.be
My grandmother's place had about a half mile of gravel driveway with pasture on both sides and maybe 20' between the driveway and the fence. Early on they had apparently decided that trees were cheaper than fenceposts and run barbed wire all down both sides, on/around trees.

Later on the barbed wire fence went electric and got hung on poles, and the old wire came down. Except for what was inside the trees.

Bucking a tree from around the edge of the pastures was a known recipe for excitement. Saws didn't always have chain catchers on them either.
 
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