Best bucking practices and method?

EPS

Burning Hunk
Jun 5, 2015
143
NH
I've been cutting splitting and stacking my own wood for only about five year, so I'm still learning new things all the time.

What is the best way to buck downed trees, especially out in the woods? I feel my method could be improved upon.

Thanks
 

SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
4,331
Downeast Maine
I like to have plenty of wood under the logs I'm bucking so I don't have to worry about hidden rocks or dirt. Some folks achieve this with a wooden device that holds the logs in the air or maybe with a tractor. My preference is to pile the logs on top of runners made of tree tops, rotten logs, or otherwise low quality wood.

Edit: Another tip I picked up from a member here is to buck the logs in the winter with plenty of ice under the logs.
 
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johneh

Minister of Fire
Dec 19, 2009
2,862
Eastern Ontario
I would guess that everyone has there own method
We skid the logs out in the winter. they get delivered
in the first week of March. Bucked split and stacked at home
at our convenience. The log pile has runner logs under
it to keep the wood off the ground.
 

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Montanalocal

Feeling the Heat
Dec 22, 2014
381
Helena MT
The BC Feller training standard #17, bucking, has a lot of good info, although it is oriented toward cutting saw logs rather than short firewood pieces. All of the series is good.


One thing I do differently that works well for me is on a top bind cut, or a length that is supported at both ends. Rather than finishing the cut from underneath, I cut down from the top part way, then insert a wedge or two in the top of the cut and continue on down the cut and out the bottom. The wedges keep the top of the cut from closing and pinching the saw. Cutting up from the bottom is a bit hard on my arms.
 
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Riff

Member
Nov 3, 2015
93
Virginia
I recently picked up a cant hook for bucking trees that are on the ground. Nice to be able to use it to manuever logs in place as well as I installed a log holder so it will lift the log up a few inches so its easier to keep the saw out of the dirt.
 

EODMSgt

Feeling the Heat
Dec 11, 2018
277
White Mountain Region, NH
So many different methods and techniques out there and much of it depends on where your logs are (i.e., still in the woods and attached to a root ball, in your yard on the ground, etc.). Most of the logs I buck are still in the woods. I never seem to have an issue with hitting items underneath however I've been doing this for a long time. I mark the log and then proceed to cut the rounds leaving about 2" uncut (keep the saw bar parallel with the ground, don't use crazy rocking motions or you can hit the ground with the chain). Once all the pieces have been cut, I use a cant hook to roll the log over and then just walk down and 'unzip' the rounds. Never hit the ground with the chain and it's quick and easy. If I get logs back to the house, I sometimes use the tractor but usually just use the same procedure as when I'm out in the woods.
 

Poindexter

Minister of Fire
Jun 28, 2014
2,195
Fairbanks, Alaska
I agree with all of the above. When I was cutting in state forest lands up here we weren't allowed to use power equipment other than chain saw, truck and trailer. No dragging. I talked to a forester off the record, he agreed the reason was to not tear up the topsoil so the Dep of Forestry could replant without having to do a lot of dirt work. So I bucked mine where they fell and brought my truck as close in as I could for loading.

Around here it is a given any felled birch is going to be weight bearing at only a couple or three points and then sagging between those points. I marked up first. Chalk line where the base of the log straightened out, then marks at 16" down to the felling cut, and 16" marks up to the first major fork. I have I think blue, orange and yellow chalk in my saw box, one of those three is usually high vis on a felled tree.

Now is a good time to stop, have some hydration and look at the log to see where it is actually supported.

Next, if the base end is off the ground take those off 16" at a time as freebies, cut about 1/3 of the way through at the chalk marks up to the first fork, and then harvest the crown. I will take everything out of a birch crown down to about 3" in diameter, because I can zip open the bark while it is still attached to the tree and then lop off eyeballed 16" lengths. This is also a good time to make any needed rip cuts in forked pieces that would be impossible to split. While they are attached to the log you can do about anything to them. Just rip down the crotch of the split to the next chalk line, then cut two pieces off the limb, already halved, with one crosscut.

The last piece is to then look over the main log again to see where the stresses are in it and then cut it into shorter and shorter pieces, always on the chalk marks.

Peavey very handy. There were a few times I wanted a timber jack in the field, but a timber jack is a pain to use as a Peavey. I personally don't like a cant hook for round logs.

With spruces I mark the trunk while the tree is still standing. We were supposed to leave stumps less than 3" tall, so mark that cut, then 16" up, then another 16" up, usually 32" above the abandoned stump would be my felling cut with two rounds to cut off the stump before I was done. Once the tree is down mark the free trunk and cut the rounds off it, then limb a little, mark a little, buck a little, repeat until all you have left is a Charlie Brown Christmas tree at the top. You want as much wood off the log end as possible before cutting the limb supporting the free end. Once or twice in every tree the thing to do is cut the 16" round that has the supporting limb sticking out of it, and then limb the round on the ground, but most of the time I could limb and then buck my way up the tree.
 
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Simonkenton

Minister of Fire
Feb 27, 2014
1,659
Marshall NC
I wouldn't even put gas in the saw if I didn't have my cant hook along. That timber jack is also a good tool, a cant hook with a device to lift the log into the air.
 
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Zack R

Feeling the Heat
Sep 27, 2017
398
Sisters, OR
flic.kr
Once the logs are in a manageable length (around 10-15') I cut 2/3 of the way through every 16". I then roll the log over with my peavey and finish the cuts in an upward direction with the top side of the chainsaw bar. I save the dirty logs for last since they will dull the chain.
 

Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
17,309
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
I am with the guys that cut 2/3 through each cut, roll the log, and then finish the cuts. Easy on your back, easy on the chain. The only trouble is when the log is too big to roll. Then you need to cut one of your bucking cuts all the way through.
 
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Dataman

Minister of Fire
Sep 10, 2018
738
Newport, Wa
I am with the guys that cut 2/3 through each cut, roll the log, and then finish the cuts. Easy on your back, easy on the chain. The only trouble is when the log is too big to roll. Then you need to cut one of your bucking cuts all the way through.
On Big Stuff I can't get my Timber Jack on I do this way. If too big too roll around I have Wife do it with Bucket on Tractor. Switch to Pellets 2 years ago. Still did 1.5 pickup loads of Wood (8ft Bed). Trees that nature brings down. Next year I plan on just putting them in big bon fire. Hard to get people to come get them even bucked up and all in pile.