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post #1 of 188 Old 12-22-2017, 09:14 PM Thread Starter
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Felling Trees

Our "Firewood Processing" thread is now 130 pages long, and I am guilty of loading just about anything related to me sawing, moving, hauling, splitting, stacking into it. So, how about a thread for Felling Trees.

I reported earlier (probably in that crowded Firewood thread) that I had a half-dozen dead red Oaks topped out by a climber this summer, and I am gradually getting that wood processed. But late in the summer I noticed yet another Oak that had died, and was leaning toward my utility lines. Today my son visited, so with some help I decided to tackle it.

I threw a line up into that crotch in the middle tree there. (It didn't happen on first, second, or third toss):



Then, with my son on the handle of the come-along:
  • I climbed down and notched the face
  • I forgot to take my hatchet down with me, so I stumbled up, got it and knocked the notch wedge out
  • Son cranked some serious tension on the tree
  • I made the back cut, drove in a pair of wedges, and inched the back cut a little farther
  • Reached for hatchet and got one more tap on the felling wedge, but tree was already on the way down
  • And, as usual in my video, a small branch plunked my camera

Sorry for the 4:30 video, it would be shorter if I had taken the hatchet down the hill with me, or, if I learned how to edit with the GoPro studio software.


Thanks Guys, please add your pictures, stories, and with any luck a couple videos to this thread
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post #2 of 188 Old 12-22-2017, 10:54 PM
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Re: Felling Trees

I had some bad luck with a come along once. I put some pretty good tension on it, and made my back cut. Maybe no notch was my downfall. Figured I could get away with it, since the tension on the line. As soon as it started to fall, the tension disappeared and the tree went where it wanted to after that. It didn't hit anything fortunately, but it taught me a lot about how not to tension a tree felling line.

A few years ago, thinking about that moment, I had my neighbor help me drop a tree out back. He used my tahoe, and I asked him to keep lots of tension on the rope. That way, when the tree would start to fall, he could keep tension on it all the way to the ground. That's when I found out what happens with too much tension. About halfway through the backside cut, the tree split from the cut up to about ten feet up, kicking out severely. I remember that split portion flying past my face at about mach two, feeling the cold wind from it about two inches from my chin. That was a pretty good shakeup, but no physical harm done.

Couple years after that, same uber cool neighbor had some trees professionally dropped in a pile like pickup sticks, and he'd cut them up later. Yeah, he's smarter than I am. Anyways, I noticed a day or two after that he was getting around kind of slow and awkwardly. I asked him what was up. He said when he was cutting, he remembers getting just about through a cut, then waking up in my yard about 15 feet away with the saw idling on the ground next to him. He has no clue how long he was out. Apparently, the trees must have been stressing each other the way they were tangled together, and one of his cuts relieved the tension in a really bad way, and tossed him like a rag doll. Darn near busted him up pretty bad. Never mind the rotating chain on the saw flying through the air he no longer had control of, unconscious and all.


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post #3 of 188 Old 12-22-2017, 11:40 PM
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Re: Felling Trees

Quote:
Originally Posted by steddy View Post
I had some bad luck with a come along once. I put some pretty good tension on it, and made my back cut. Maybe no notch was my downfall. Figured I could get away with it, since the tension on the line. As soon as it started to fall, the tension disappeared and the tree went where it wanted to after that. It didn't hit anything fortunately, but it taught me a lot about how not to tension a tree felling line.
Yeah, you only want enough tension to hold it until you finish the cut. Too much and you can break the hinge or pull the tree right off the stump if the line is not high enough in the tree.
For that matter, if you use a bore cut instead just making a progressive back cut from the outside in, there is far less chance of losing control of the tree. Dead trees are the worst. If they are dead and dry, not enough hinge wood can make it snap right off as soon as you start to pull and the tree will twist and fall where ever it has a mind to.

Quote:
Originally Posted by steddy View Post
A few years ago, thinking about that moment, I had my neighbor help me drop a tree out back. He used my tahoe, and I asked him to keep lots of tension on the rope. That way, when the tree would start to fall, he could keep tension on it all the way to the ground. That's when I found out what happens with too much tension. About halfway through the backside cut, the tree split from the cut up to about ten feet up, kicking out severely. I remember that split portion flying past my face at about mach two, feeling the cold wind from it about two inches from my chin. That was a pretty good shakeup, but no physical harm done.
Barber chairs can kill you. Again, too much tension before the back cut is done can pull the tree apart. Using a bore cut usually can prevent it from happening.


Quote:
Originally Posted by steddy View Post
Couple years after that, same uber cool neighbor had some trees professionally dropped in a pile like pickup sticks, and he'd cut them up later. Yeah, he's smarter than I am. Anyways, I noticed a day or two after that he was getting around kind of slow and awkwardly. I asked him what was up. He said when he was cutting, he remembers getting just about through a cut, then waking up in my yard about 15 feet away with the saw idling on the ground next to him. He has no clue how long he was out. Apparently, the trees must have been stressing each other the way they were tangled together, and one of his cuts relieved the tension in a really bad way, and tossed him like a rag doll. Darn near busted him up pretty bad. Never mind the rotating chain on the saw flying through the air he no longer had control of, unconscious and all.

Trees that are on the ground either from being cut or being blown down can be far more dangerous than trees that are still standing, especially when there are two or three on top of each other. There is a lot of tension in some of those limbs. Cut the wrong branch and not only can it whack you pretty good, it can cause the whole tree to roll over taking you with it. I've seen this stuff happen many times.
The other thing to realize when cutting trees that have fallen is that chaps are not going to protect you all the time. Chaps are for cutting with the saw held below the waist, as in felling or bucking firewood. When trees are on the ground, you frequently have to cut with the saw held up high to prevent something from springing back. I always wore a protective shirt when doing storm damage. Just like chaps, with the protective fibers in the sleeves, upper chest and shoulders. Its not something to fool around with for sure.
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post #4 of 188 Old 12-23-2017, 08:00 AM
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Re: Felling Trees

I will make no pretense of telling someone how to cut trees as there are so many variables. There are some pretty poor techniques used by many and because nothing has happened those feel they are proficient. The importance of putting in a proper face, that is not under or over cut and a level back cut can't be stressed enough. The biggest mistake I see novice fellers make IS NOT LOOKING UP!. Everything that will kill you is above you and seeing a hazard coming is the ONLY thing that will save you.

I have seen 8" limbs break out of other trees weighing in excess of 100#s launched over 100' straight backwards. A limb that size would be fatal and looking up is the only safeguard.

I feel the Terry Hale videos are far and away the best videos I have seen, this is one of the series:


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post #5 of 188 Old 12-23-2017, 11:53 AM
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Re: Felling Trees

Jere, don't take this the wrong way, but that video was pretty boring by the standards you've set in the other thread! Now, had you videotaped the bloopers of trying to land the rope in the tree, THAT would have been entertaining!

Kidding aside, nice job missing the wires!

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post #6 of 188 Old 12-23-2017, 01:26 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Felling Trees

Right again, probably don't have a big enough SD card for my bloopers. Getting throw bag to right place, pulling the rope through, rigging the come-along, and show my son which tree to duck behind took way longer than cutting the tree down. Hauling it up the hill will likely take me most of a day.

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post #7 of 188 Old 12-24-2017, 07:28 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Felling Trees

Found this "danger lurking" Tulip Poplar in the woods today. No use for Poplar, so I'll let it fall itself.

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It's about one third gone, one third rotten and one third live wood.

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post #8 of 188 Old 12-25-2017, 12:51 AM
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Re: Felling Trees

I don't think I'd touch that regardless of what kind of wood it is! Widow Maker for sure...

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post #9 of 188 Old 01-06-2018, 07:20 AM
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Re: Felling Trees

Looking good Jere!

Good point by all. Agreed, looking up is very, important! I do for reasons said and to watch tree movement etc.

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post #10 of 188 Old 02-02-2018, 07:48 PM
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Re: Felling Trees

Ive been putting off,cutting down a dead fir tree,mainly cause im injured,and walk with a cain.Its next to easement,and leaning about three feet toward easement.No escape routes,as it sits between a barb wire fence and 3ft diameter log,that died, and I cut down, a few years ago.So i put the odds in my favor and boosted confidence,with my homemade tree jack,one of two sets. It made the tree fall early and slowly with more hinge,felt safer,and the pretty tall tree landed perfect.
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post #11 of 188 Old 02-02-2018, 07:59 PM
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Re: Felling Trees

Ingenious and glad it works out for you--now drag it away and cut it up or the other way around so your path will be clear.

A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort.

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post #12 of 188 Old 02-02-2018, 08:30 PM
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Re: Felling Trees

Thanks quickshot,here is a little better picture.This is first time using this jack.My drill could not sink the 5/16" x 4" lag bolts, all the way,so the brackets were alittle loose.
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post #13 of 188 Old 02-02-2018, 08:48 PM
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Re: Felling Trees

Like the inverter set up also, still I bet you were a tad bit uneasy at times.

A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort.

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post #14 of 188 Old 03-10-2018, 05:04 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Felling Trees

So, had some snow to make the dragging easier, had my son visit, so I'm back on the hillside along by driveway. This falling was not very difficult, this tree didn't really want to fall up hill toward my utility lines, my son, my dog, or my Deere. Still, I worked the direction to keep it from falling down the hill from which we'd have a more difficult retrieve. So, here in almost 5 minutes of stunningly boring detail is a simple face cut that I had to dress from both sides as the saw I brought (my Dolmar 510) bar did not reach the whole way through the tree. The back cut, and the fall.




Yes, I should have had my helmet on, I know. I did have eye and ear protection.

Stay tuned for some more video of the day, including winching up the embankment, making the last grunt off the hill onto the driveway, and the long drag to my processing location. (I'll leave the even more boring video of me bucking into 8' lengths out of the public domain for now).

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post #15 of 188 Old 03-10-2018, 07:49 PM
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Re: Felling Trees

Looks good, Jere.

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