Tree taken down last week

Stelcom66

Feeling the Heat
Nov 6, 2014
331
Connecticut
A tree is the front yard was in bad shape, losing significant branches with strong winds. If it did fall, it would hit would hit the utility wires across the street. Hired a service to take it down - he offered taking another down for the same price. I negotiated a different one that was hanging over the garage. As part of the deal I asked to have the main tree cut into 18 - 20" lengths, which they did. Same for part of the 'bonus' tree.

Last weekend split a piece about 20" high and 29" average across. Was surprised it wasn't as hard as I thought - maybe because it's good hard wood (maple or oak?) Good thing it's down, now I realize it appears maybe 2 trees grew together, or the one tree split at some point. That mark in the first piece was relatively easy to separate - seemed to be just filled with dirt. Maybe the tree could have split with really strong winds. Some wood for next year.
 

Attachments

SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
3,409
Downeast Maine
A tree is the front yard was in bad shape, losing significant branches with strong winds. If it did fall, it would hit would hit the utility wires across the street. Hired a service to take it down - he offered taking another down for the same price. I negotiated a different one that was hanging over the garage. As part of the deal I asked to have the main tree cut into 18 - 20" lengths, which they did. Same for part of the 'bonus' tree.

Last weekend split a piece about 20" high and 29" average across. Was surprised it wasn't as hard as I thought - maybe because it's good hard wood (maple or oak?) Good thing it's down, now I realize it appears maybe 2 trees grew together, or the one tree split at some point. That mark in the first piece was relatively easy to separate - seemed to be just filled with dirt. Maybe the tree could have split with really strong winds. Some wood for next year.
I've read on these forums that it's unsafe to use a hatchet as a splitting wedge. The steel is not designed to withstand impacts from a hammer or sledge. I think someone even took shrapnel to the face. Splitting wedges are a softer metal designed for this purpose
 

weatherguy

Minister of Fire
Feb 20, 2009
5,579
Central Mass
I've read on these forums that it's unsafe to use a hatchet as a splitting wedge. The steel is not designed to withstand impacts from a hammer or sledge. I think someone even took shrapnel to the face. Splitting wedges are a softer metal designed for this purpose
Really? I thought my fiskars 28in and hatchet were the same metal makeup.
 

Woody Stover

Minister of Fire
Dec 25, 2010
11,450
Southern IN
My (uneducated) guess is Red Maple. If straight-grained, easy as pie to split with a 6# or 8# maul. Those yard trees can be gnarly as all get-out though.
If it is indeed Red Maple, it will be dry by next fall, if not split real huge. You got the Dutchwest convection like I do, so ya better have dry wood! ==c
 

SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
3,409
Downeast Maine
Really? I thought my fiskars 28in and hatchet were the same metal makeup.
That's the issue, both are very hard resulting in spectacular failures with shrapnel. The softer metal of the wedges will deform rather than shatter.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Grizzerbear

Stelcom66

Feeling the Heat
Nov 6, 2014
331
Connecticut
I can't believe how well it worked - the load below was done without ever swinging the red maul. But - it ended up being not up to the task, the axe became separated from the handle. As noted there maybe a safety factor too. I will replace it with something larger - made to be used how I was using the one I broke. If possible, I'd like to try to fix it to use it what I originally used it for - kindling.

Re: the tree type, it must be straight grained because I've had a much harder time with smaller wood that evidently wasn't very straight grained. I do expect to run into some gnarly pieces at some point. Yes - the Dutchwest doesn't run up to par if the wood isn't dry.
 

Attachments

Woody Stover

Minister of Fire
Dec 25, 2010
11,450
Southern IN
the load below was done without ever swinging the red maul.
Is that a 6#? If so, swinging it is easy, with the right technique. Let it hang behind your back with your arms bent at the elbow. Then pull it like you are trying to stick the end of the handle in the ground. Centrifugal force will pull the head out, and by the time it gets to the wood, the handle will be in line with your arms, delivering a mighty blow to the hapless round. You make no effort to deliver the head to the wood. Grip lightly, only tight enough to keep the handle from flying out of your hands. Grippy gloves like these allow you to grip with the least amount of pressure:

With tough wood, you can sometimes work your way around the circumference of the round, cleaving off slabs.
 

Stelcom66

Feeling the Heat
Nov 6, 2014
331
Connecticut
It's 8 #, used it for 98% of the wood I've split over the last several years. It generally works very well, but to start these recent stumps I used the axe to get a split started. I did that because the wedges were just bouncing out when I hit them, so figured I'd try something different. When I hit the axe with a sledge hammer it happened to split almost all the way across (lucky to have straight grained wood) so I'd then just hammer in a wedge into the crack and hit it a few times and it would be split.

Also have a 6 pounder, it sometimes works better than the 8 because I believe I need to sharpen the 8 # maul.
 

Woody Stover

Minister of Fire
Dec 25, 2010
11,450
Southern IN
It's 8 #, used it for 98% of the wood I've split over the last several years. It generally works very well, but to start these recent stumps I used the axe to get a split started. I did that because the wedges were just bouncing out when I hit them
That's when I'm grabbing the 6-pounder to see if I can slab off the edges with as light a tool as possible.
 

Stelcom66

Feeling the Heat
Nov 6, 2014
331
Connecticut
Ended up buying this - the entire axe is forged metal.

Axe 2.JPG

Surprisingly - the one below which I thought would be ideal, did not work well for starting a split. Based on it's design I though it would definitely be the way to go. I'd hit it - just wouldn't penetrate into the wood like the axe that broke. The store let me return it. The one above cost a bit more. Still not quite as easy as the original axe, but if I was to get the same thing the handle would eventually come off. This costs about twice as much as a standard camp axe with a fiberglass handle. I can hit this a few times to start a split. Another method I may use is to start it with this, pull it out and continue with a wedge.

Axe 1.JPG
 
Last edited:

Bad LP

Minister of Fire
Nov 28, 2014
1,046
Northern Maine
I've read on these forums that it's unsafe to use a hatchet as a splitting wedge. The steel is not designed to withstand impacts from a hammer or sledge. I think someone even took shrapnel to the face. Splitting wedges are a softer metal designed for this purpose
This is 100% spot on. Never hit two hammer faces together.
 
  • Like
Reactions: SpaceBus

Stelcom66

Feeling the Heat
Nov 6, 2014
331
Connecticut
I think I was lucky the last few weekends. The tree grains were straight making them easy to split. Today not so much. On a large one ended up making a groove with the chainsaw. Placed the wedge in that and was able to split one in half that was about 2' high.

Re: wedges having softer metal, should they ever be sharpened? I never have sharpened mine. The ends are misshapen, mushroomed I guess you can say from the impacts. I actually did have a small piece break off the hitting end on a wedge recently. I always have worn safety glasses when working with firewood.
 

SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
3,409
Downeast Maine
I think I was lucky the last few weekends. The tree grains were straight making them easy to split. Today not so much. On a large one ended up making a groove with the chainsaw. Placed the wedge in that and was able to split one in half that was about 2' high.

Re: wedges having softer metal, should they ever be sharpened? I never have sharpened mine. The ends are misshapen, mushroomed I guess you can say from the impacts. I actually did have a small piece break off the hitting end on a wedge recently. I always have worn safety glasses when working with firewood.
Do you have an aggressive file? Usually folks just knock the mushroomed bits off with a rough file or grinder.

I'm sure your wife would be pissed if a piece of shrapnel hit your face.
 

Stelcom66

Feeling the Heat
Nov 6, 2014
331
Connecticut
I do have a grinder - good idea. Luckily the small metal piece went to the ground when i hit it with the maul or sledge hammer.
I may first see if any files I have would work.
 

Sawset

Minister of Fire
Feb 14, 2015
730
Palmyra, WI
For wedges, I picked up a couple of these. I got tired of hacking away metal on metal using steel wedges. I've had two of these, 5 or more years, they hold up to a lot of abuse, plus carry them in the saw case for freeing bound chain bars, tipping trees etc.
 

Attachments

Sawset

Minister of Fire
Feb 14, 2015
730
Palmyra, WI
now I realize it appears maybe 2 trees grew together
Had 3 trees grow together once - 100year old silver maple. Thing was 7ft in diameter, made 5 cords. The tree service hauled away the bottom 8ft in a dump truck - filled the entire box.
 

Stelcom66

Feeling the Heat
Nov 6, 2014
331
Connecticut
Had 3 trees grow together once - 100year old silver maple. Thing was 7ft in diameter, made 5 cords. The tree service hauled away the bottom 8ft in a dump truck - filled the entire box.
Jeez 7ft in diameter! I wonder what kind of chainsaws the professionals have for something like that. I wish I was home to see what the crew I hired had. Only maybe 2 1/2ft in diameter here but not something my chainsaw could handle.
 

Stelcom66

Feeling the Heat
Nov 6, 2014
331
Connecticut
For wedges, I picked up a couple of these. I got tired of hacking away metal on metal using steel wedges. I've had two of these, 5 or more years, they hold up to a lot of abuse, plus carry them in the saw case for freeing bound chain bars, tipping trees etc.
Wouldn't have considered plastic wedges, don't think I've seen any locally - but if they're in that shape after 5 years then they are durable.

Thanks for the tape measure reference. Went to the website, wow they have a lot of wedges! The plastic wedges I saw were named tree falling wedges - I assume you do use them for splitting?
 
Last edited:

Sawset

Minister of Fire
Feb 14, 2015
730
Palmyra, WI
Wouldn't have considered plastic wedges, don't think I've seen any locally - but if they're in that shape after 5 years then they are durable.

Thanks for the tape measure reference. Went to the website, wow they have a lot of wedges! The plastic wedges I saw were named tree falling wedges - I assume you do use them for splitting?
Splitting too. I'll make a starter slit with the splitting maul, then pound in a wedge or two.
 

Stelcom66

Feeling the Heat
Nov 6, 2014
331
Connecticut
Good to know. Even if I had a gas splitter I believe good wood splitting tools are essential. With the tree cut down in my yard, I couldn't lift
some of the pieces onto a splitter intact, would have to at least split them in half. Unless the splitter could operate vertically, not sure if that's an option or they all do.
 

Rhodie

New Member
Oct 29, 2018
36
Pacific Northwest
Some splitters can operate vertically. Looked at maybe renting one to try out since we have a huge douglas fir that has to come out in less than a few weeks and spouse said he’s tired of splitting everything manually. So after looking at various places the few targeted ads I get are all skewed. More than half the rounds they cut are too heavy and the space is inconvenient (somewhat tight on available space and not far from house, tree is in early stage of infection that isn’t treatable so being close to the house is a problem).
 

Stelcom66

Feeling the Heat
Nov 6, 2014
331
Connecticut
Renting a splitter was an option I considered. I believe an infection is what did my tree in although the majority of it will be good for firewood next year,

The cost of renting a splitter will likely be offset by the amount of split firewood you'll end up with after the tree is taken down.
 

Rhodie

New Member
Oct 29, 2018
36
Pacific Northwest
It’s about more than the wood (and we’d have to just leave it to rot otherwise). Renting or buying a splitter can more than offset the impact manual splitting has on one’s body. (Eta - and time savings).
 

Sawset

Minister of Fire
Feb 14, 2015
730
Palmyra, WI
Renting or buying a splitter can more than offset the impact manual splitting has
When I rented, it would be for 4hrs at a time. After 4hrs sitting on a stump, splitting vertical, I would get up with a permanent crook and bent over for the next four hours.
 

Stelcom66

Feeling the Heat
Nov 6, 2014
331
Connecticut
When I rented, it would be for 4hrs at a time. After 4hrs sitting on a stump, splitting vertical, I would get up with a permanent crook and bent over for the next four hours.
It's kind of strange - years ago I'd be bent over after doing something like that. Sure I'm sore after working with firewood, but no worse or maybe even less so than I would have been years ago. As my late father said - with age his bad back situation improved. He was correct saying mine would.

Unfortunately I don't have a hitch on my truck. At least one of my sons do on their trucks. Since time is of the essence when renting a splitter I'd have everything statically placed as much as possible.
 
Last edited: