Best way to cut from the top of the pole wood pile?

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forby

New Member
Oct 14, 2008
67
Northeastern PA
Hi all...

It's been a long time since I was here, but life tends to get in the way sometimes!!!

Anyway, I find that I need a load of pole wood delivered about every 2-1/2 years to support my scrounging efforts. Lat time, I had a pile in my relatively small residential front yard that was 8-10 feet high. Climbing the pile to cut from the top was slow and tedious as I was being very careful.

This time, I'm thinking about a new way to cut. Would it make sense and is it safe to get a skidding tong and use my jeep/winch to pull the top log out from the end of the pile a few feet? This way I can cut off a few rounds that will fall safely to the ground. Skid and repeat as needed.

Has anyone tried this approach, or is it likely to upset the balance of the pile?

I really didn't have any sings that my pile was unstable last time I climbed, but every cut was like a physics project for me- mass, force, arm, etc....

Thanks in advance.....
 

savageactor7

Minister of Fire
Jan 25, 2008
3,732
CNY
Anything is better than standing on top of the log load to cut...even if you can man handle a log down with a spud bar. If you got the room to skid the load off with jeep... yeah go for it.
 

forby

New Member
Oct 14, 2008
67
Northeastern PA
My fear is that I'll cause a log to tumble off the pile lengthwise and into the street. Are these piles stable when logs are pulled off from the edge?
 

CowboyAndy

New Member
Feb 29, 2008
744
Chateaugay, NY
im going through the same thing. although i have cut over 1/3 of the pile, i am finding more the problem is that the logs are so close together i cant cut just one at a time. im going to skid them off the top of the pile with my truck right down to the ground on the grass.
 

forby

New Member
Oct 14, 2008
67
Northeastern PA
CowboyAndy said:
im going through the same thing. although i have cut over 1/3 of the pile, i am finding more the problem is that the logs are so close together i cant cut just one at a time. im going to skid them off the top of the pile with my truck right down to the ground on the grass.
So do you plan on using skidding tongs, a choker chain or a strap? Let me know how this goes for you. I have a very tight working area and I can't afford to have a log roll off!!
 

CowboyAndy

New Member
Feb 29, 2008
744
Chateaugay, NY
I plan to use a chain...


ive found so far that the pile overall is pretty stable. im sure yanking logs from the middle might upset it, but coming from the top shoouldnt be a big problem...
 

zzr7ky

Minister of Fire
Jun 12, 2006
1,053
I don't see anything wrong with your approach. You could lay some logs at 90 degrees for the trees to land on. That would keep them up out of the dirt and minimize gouging up the ground.

I did it both ways as a young man. Now I like staying on the ground when at all possible.
 

PapaDave

Minister of Fire
Feb 23, 2008
5,739
Northern MI - in the mitten
I don't like the idea of climbing the log pile. If it goes, you're going with it, and that WON"T be a fun ride when the logs turn your body into a pretzel.
I pull the logs from the top with my hands, then watch the landslide. The logs only go to the bottom of the pile, then I can cut away.
Sometimes I'll use a prybar to get the stubborn ones.
Can we get a pic of your situation?
 

Danno77

Minister of Fire
Oct 27, 2008
5,008
Hamilton, IL
no help this time, but could one solution to this problem be to have the load laid on about 4 heavy duty ropes (or more) and then tie the ropes at the top of the pile to contain it to some degree then cutting from atop it wouldn't be AS dangerous (i'm still not feeling super confident about the safety of this method). This would allow you to hack off stove length rounds starting at the top and working all the way down on one end, then when you get to your last two ropes you've got some fairly short log lengths that are easier to completely untie and let them fall if they want to or you can at least manage them by hand tools or come-alongs or trucks or whatever....
 

Backwoods Savage

Minister of Fire
Feb 14, 2007
27,812
Michigan
forby said:
My fear is that I'll cause a log to tumble off the pile lengthwise and into the street. Are these piles stable when logs are pulled off from the edge?
Too bad you don't have pictures or at least tell what size logs you have. Small logs? Big logs? Many times one can just man-handle the logs. It is easier than it looks. I recall helping someone once and showed them how to make it easier. We pulled the logs partway off then got under them and with some weight on one shoulder were able to walk the whole log over to his sawbuck. It is amazing how much weight one can handle with a balanced log. Some were too heavy to balance with the log horizontal but partially vertical still makes it easier than it appears.

So, you are concerned about the whole stack falling? If so, then when you are pulling the logs, never pull one from the street side. Always tend to pull one from the opposite side so if the stack falls apart it will go where you want it to go.

The tongs are a good idea or you could use a chain or heavy rope.

When you get the pile down to a manageable level, then you could pull the log only part way off. Stop and cut blocks from the end while the log is held up off the ground, then pull the rest of it down. It will make it easier. Any time I can cut at waist level or even chest level I'll do that rather than cutting below the waist. I hate bending.
 

forby

New Member
Oct 14, 2008
67
Northeastern PA
Here are some pics from last year. These logs are about 22 feet long and up to 20 inches in diameter!

I climbed the pile last year. There is NO WAY to pull these by hand.....

What do you all think? I was thinking of winching out a few feet at a time..
 

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Flatbedford

Minister of Fire
Mar 17, 2009
5,252
Las Vegas, NV
How do the neighbors feel about that pile?

I thin you should be OK with the skid method. If the pile is about the same, start with the ones that are near the top, but not on the street side. If you can pull it lengthwise you should be ok. Maybe have the driver leave a couple logs on the ground at the street side to act as a barricade just in case the pile rolls the other way.
 

PapaDave

Minister of Fire
Feb 23, 2008
5,739
Northern MI - in the mitten
Whoa, well I guess I wouldn't be pulling THAT size log by hand either. Pics tell the tale.
I think I'd start on the side opposite the street, low, and work from there. Winching may be your friend in this situation.
The logs I get are only 8.5', so most are pretty easy to pull to get the pile down.
 

forby

New Member
Oct 14, 2008
67
Northeastern PA
Flatbedford said:
How do the neighbors feel about that pile?
I got that delivered on a Tuesday and by Friday morning it was gone! Cut into 20 inchers and I personally lifted everyone into a 5x8 trailer. Trailered it to the back yard via jeep. Unloaded all by hand in back yard. 13 trips total. All spit by hand from July to Jan. about 8.5 cords of red oak stacked.

My neighbors and many others on the busy road just stopped and looked in amazement. It was cool. I must have been asked ten times if I was building a log cabin!!

Nobody around here does this sort of thing. They are more likely to order a cord split and that would last 2 years.....

I got this deal for $600 delivered. It kinda makes scrounging not worth it. Especially since I trashed every part in my jeeps rear brakes. It's rated at like 1500lbs and I've been towing like 4000 lbs down hill. I ripped the rear brake backing plates off of the axle!! Cost me $500 in parts alone.
 

Rustaholic

New Member
Mar 28, 2010
47
Michigan
Thanks for the pictures.
What we get around here is a huge load of eight foot long poles.
They come stacked the other way on the truck.
Usually there is nothing like a 20" log.
Eight to twelve inches is more like it.

With a pile like that I would drive a couple fence T-Posts in at a 45 degree angle.
They would be on the house side.
I would drive them close together and deep.
Then put a short loop of chain around them to hold a snatch block to thread my winch cable through.
On the driveway side my truck would hold the winch.
Then I would be pulling the high logs off close to the house.
It is nice that they dropped the logs on stringers to keep them off the ground.
Probably the first thing I would do is cut one or more up into short poles to extend those stringers only have a lot more support so as you cut the remaining log stays up off the ground.
As soon as you get the pile down to a decent cutting height forget the winch and start cutting.
BTW, I have a T-Post driver http://www.afence.com/store/product.php?productid=23197&cat=508&page=1
and a T-Post puller too. http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber=38444
In they go and out they come.
 

Rustaholic

New Member
Mar 28, 2010
47
Michigan
forby said:
I got this deal for $600 delivered. It kinda makes scrounging not worth it. Especially since I trashed every part in my jeeps rear brakes. It's rated at like 1500lbs and I've been towing like 4000 lbs down hill. I ripped the rear brake backing plates off of the axle!! Cost me $500 in parts alone.
What kind of Jeep do you have?
I have a 1965 Willys Jeepster and a 1975 Cherokee.
That is the old full size Cherokee.
 

ansehnlich1

Retired Hearth.com Member
Dec 5, 2006
1,601
Adams County, PA
I get log length like you do. I've never had my logs roll very far at all, in fact, it's hard to roll 'em off the pile with a large digging iron.

I always start cutting wherever I can first, mostly on both ends of the pile, to shorten as many logs as I can first.

Then I'll cut whatever else I can get to safely.

Then I'll pick the most likely to roll off the pile and work that log off with the iron. Maybe work a couple off the pile with the iron if I can. Never had any roll more that 6 feet or so when they hit the ground. Most logs aren't perfectly round and won't roll much anyway.
 

forby

New Member
Oct 14, 2008
67
Northeastern PA
Thanks for all the opinions....

I'm using a 1997 wrangler 4 cylinder......

I can't roll the logs off the pile because I only have a few feet before the mailbox and road- same distance to decorative trees on house side.

Sounds like winching off the end will be the best bet. Last year, all went well until a 10 ft piece on the bottom slowly rolled off the stringers and into the road!! It nearly took out a mini van. I had set up several rounds along the curb to prevent this, but this one was near the end of my "safety" and missed it completely.

Hey.... maybe I can winch each log over my trailer and I can cut them off right into it!!!!
 

Shari

Minister of Fire
Oct 31, 2008
2,332
Wisconsin
Tight quarters to work in! Before the logs come, how about sinking some post holes in your yard street side. Pour in some cement with a larger pipe centered & flush to yard surface. Once logs are delivered, insert a smaller pipe into your cemented post holes to create a 'stop' to keep logs from rolling into the road. When you are done, remove the smaller pipes.

Winching right over your trailer sounds like a time saver.

Shari
 

Oldmainer

Member
Aug 19, 2009
100
southern maine
Hi forby...your askin' for big trouble...both cuttin' from on top of the log pile...and rollin' them off...in tight quarters... no matter how or what you do it with. But the cuttin' on top of the pile with a runnin' chain saw is what gets me...:) you gotta be a few bricks short of a load to do that...:) Anyway it would pay you to move your logs to an area where you have more room to move...and alot safer. Franklin
 

leaddog

Minister of Fire
Sep 24, 2007
933
Hesperia, Michigan
forby said:
Flatbedford said:
How do the neighbors feel about that pile?
I got that delivered on a Tuesday and by Friday morning it was gone! Cut into 20 inchers and I personally lifted everyone into a 5x8 trailer. Trailered it to the back yard via jeep. Unloaded all by hand in back yard. 13 trips total. All spit by hand from July to Jan. about 8.5 cords of red oak stacked.

My neighbors and many others on the busy road just stopped and looked in amazement. It was cool. I must have been asked ten times if I was building a log cabin!!

Nobody around here does this sort of thing. They are more likely to order a cord split and that would last 2 years.....

I got this deal for $600 delivered. It kinda makes scrounging not worth it. Especially since I trashed every part in my jeeps rear brakes. It's rated at like 1500lbs and I've been towing like 4000 lbs down hill. I ripped the rear brake backing plates off of the axle!! Cost me $500 in parts alone.
Just a thought, but if you can get it cut up that fast maybe you could have half set in your driveway on stringers also and then they would all be at cutting height. You could have the ones in the drive cut and gone in a day and beable to use the drive again. You wouldn't have to spend as much time moveing them and alot safer.
leaddog
 

thewoodlands

Minister of Fire
Aug 25, 2009
13,148
Foothills of The Adirondacks
forby said:
Hi all...

It's been a long time since I was here, but life tends to get in the way sometimes!!!

Anyway, I find that I need a load of pole wood delivered about every 2-1/2 years to support my scrounging efforts. Lat time, I had a pile in my relatively small residential front yard that was 8-10 feet high. Climbing the pile to cut from the top was slow and tedious as I was being very careful.

This time, I'm thinking about a new way to cut. Would it make sense and is it safe to get a skidding tong and use my jeep/winch to pull the top log out from the end of the pile a few feet? This way I can cut off a few rounds that will fall safely to the ground. Skid and repeat as needed.

Has anyone tried this approach, or is it likely to upset the balance of the pile?

I really didn't have any sings that my pile was unstable last time I climbed, but every cut was like a physics project for me- mass, force, arm, etc....

Thanks in advance.....
I had a load of log length delivered and when I cut it I worked from the outside in, did that on the front side plus the back side and never had to get on top but my pile was most likely smaller. The third picture is right after he delivered it then the 2nd is after I started cutting from the outside in.

zap
 

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LLigetfa

Minister of Fire
Nov 9, 2008
7,360
NW Ontario
Ja, if I had long log lengths, I'd just nibble off as much as possible from both ends as others said, and then roll down what's left.
 

forby

New Member
Oct 14, 2008
67
Northeastern PA
Thanks for all the ideas..........

Rolling logs off the side is out of the question.... Too tight. I can't change that. Wires over the driveway, logs a few feet from mail box and road and decorative trees.

Last year was my first time cutting wood ever and I really wasn't happy about climbing the pile. But, after spending some time looking at it, I rationalized that it could be done safely but slowly. I really want to try the winching of the top log over the trailer idea.

I thought about tying the logs together with chain or large straps to help reduce the chance of rolling logs, but it doesn't seem to be that good of an idea. I have to loosen the strap eventually and that might set things rolling after trimming the logs down.

I can't drive much into the lawn as I have services running under them- gas, water, etc....

I really am left with not much of a choice but to climb or winch. I may be able to get the operator to set two sections end to end. This would cover my driveway of course, probably avoid the power line right over the middle of the drive, and lover the pile by at least half. But, one of these logs rolling down 3 feet will hurt as much as rolling 6 feet!!

Keep the ideas coming.......
 

Rustaholic

New Member
Mar 28, 2010
47
Michigan
Hey Shari,
That is a great idea.
I would just add one thing though.
Ya need some kind of secure caps for those bigger pipes when you do not have the poles in them.
That is both for safety and to keep dirt and other junk out of them.
Maybe an 8" piece of the smaller pipe welded in the center of a round or square piece of metal that will cover the hole.
 
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