Felling Trees-Sort of Safely

Snail

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I'd like to try passing on some cutting tips, and precautions. Before I start, I have 54 years experience logging, and 52 years cutting professionally. I wont mislead anyone intentionally, if you have legitimate questions ask.

Theres lots of ways to get hurt, ill try to explain them one at a time, over a period of time.

BARBER CHAIR

One of the most frequent accidents occurs when the tree rips and kicks back into the cutter removing nose, eyebrows, breaking bones, etc. Worse it can wreck your saw.

The classic example is when the cutter is felling a moderate to heavy leaner, with the lean. As the cutter cuts the back cut, the tree rips.

Theres several solutions, depending on species and circumstances, the best all round solution is to wrap a short chain around the tree, tightly, a comfortable reach higher than your head. Secure the the loose end so it doesn't get in your saw. 3/8 chain with a grab hook.
 
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Paul----define for the brethren "Widow Maker"? :)

Also----I do not do it on any of my many 2 cycle or 4 cycle small engines but specifically for saws, bigger ones, say over 70cc would you ever use fuel that contains ANY ethanol?
 

Ninjaman12R

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I think I have shed more blood on trees, than any of my other work efforts. Trees like to play unpredictable tricks on non professionals.

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I got pinned in the fork of a maple tree a little over 20 years ago doing some "trimming"...🙄. I'd taken off work a week for the birth of my oldest son. He was sleeping most of the time, so I decided to catch up on some work since I was watching him and his mom lay up like goddamned welfare recipients all the time 😀. I got carried away, and admittedly thought I was more skilled than I was. I cut a big limb overhead while in a standing fork, it did not fall straight down. It fell into another limb which caught it enough that it sent the cut end right into that fork I was in. Green wood is heavy, and I was up in a damned tree pinned, and this thing was starting to cut my air off. I realized no way I was moving it one handed, do I sacrificed that bullshit saw I had and dropped it to the ground. I was actually scared because the weight was still sort of settling, and the way I was pinned it was seriously not allowing me to breathe much at all. When I'd wrestle with getting loose, I'd get lightheaded and I didn't want to waste any air or energy yelling for help. I didn't feel like there was enough time left for that. Before I got it off of me I caught my breath as best I could and thought there is no fucking way I'm going to die up in a tree in my front yard, with a newborn son that doesn't even know me yet. I managed by the thinnest of margins to get it off of me, and I was done for the next couple of days. It got me.

From then on, if I can't safely trim with a pole saw, or flat footed on the ground with my bigger saw, I call the pros. Unless it's smaller shit then I'm still sketchy as hell, extension ladder, one handed, leaning off the side of the ladder, and ready to bail at any second. 🤣
 
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Snail

Snail

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Not to be snobby but I want to stick with my curriculum. Please limit your questions to the current subject(s). Also, I only want to talk about species I have experience with.

I dont know about gum trees, never cut one.
Hardwoods generally lose their leaves in the winter (maple etc., soft woods are conifers.

DIRECTIONAL FELLING VIA EQUIPMENT
Dameon mentioned that he uses a skid steer to push over trees. I do to, a lot. Theres risk involved in that.

Task, need to push a tree that is too big for the machine to push over roots and all, it needs to be cut and pushed.
Method. Cut it up close then push it over.

Risk, it might come off the stump and fall back over the machine crushing and smashing the operator, or worse, wrecking the machine.

Solution, make your back cut 4-6" lower than the apex of the face so the solid stump wood acts like a stop block.

Ninjaman, i know exactly what you did wrong and will use your example when I discuss climbing.
 

Wretch

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is overrated
Gums are heavy as hell, even after they die and fall very suddenly/hard.

I thought you might know something about what makes them so troublesome.

I suspect it's in the sap being as it is, impossible to split with a maul/axe when green and still very difficult once dried, for a year.
 

Dameon

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Excellent thread!

DIRECTIONAL FELLING VIA EQUIPMENT
Dameon mentioned that he uses a skid steer to push over trees. I do to, a lot. Theres risk involved in that.

Task, need to push a tree that is too big for the machine to push over roots and all, it needs to be cut and pushed.
Method. Cut it up close then push it over.

Risk, it might come off the stump and fall back over the machine crushing and smashing the operator, or worse, wrecking the machine.

Solution, make your back cut 4-6" lower than the apex of the face so the solid stump wood acts like a stop block.
I'll also add... DO NOT rock the tree! For the same reason: when it does decide to let go, it could be swinging back over your machine. I always angle my back cut and deep... probably half the diameter of the trunk. If you don't go deep enough, it could peel the back cut off the trunk and negate your effort.

Keep the tips coming Snail!
 
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I got pinned in the fork of a maple tree a little over 20 years ago doing some "trimming"...🙄.
Funny my close call learning experience involved me in the fork of a maple tree too. The best I can gather is don't do it. Especially with no safety equipment.

So I was standing in the fork of the tree, cutting a branch. As soon as I got through it the fucker came straight for my face, also kicked back the saw engaging the blade brake. So I have an idling saw in one hand, holding the stump in my other hand and was able to push the limb away with one hand, but barely.

After all said and done the blade went across my knee on that kickback, cut my pants and got a little blood but not deep enough to need medical attention. Lucky for that blade brake.
 
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My question. How do you deal with this dead smaller tree propped up by the larger tree? It's been there like that since before I moved in here. It's broken off at the ground and leaning there. Can't just knock it over as there are some sheds it will hit. Also it's so weathered if I start messing with it the whole thing may just topple down. For reference the tree was probably 10" diameter at the bottom, maybe 50 feet tall and it's pretty light from rot and woodpecker damage,


treeC.jpg






treeA.jpg
 
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Ninjaman12R

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Funny my close call learning experience involved me in the fork of a maple tree too. The best I can gather is don't do it. Especially with no safety equipment.

So I was standing in the fork of the tree, cutting a branch. As soon as I got through it the fucker came straight for my face, also kicked back the saw engaging the blade brake. So I have an idling saw in one hand, holding the stump in my other hand and was able to push the limb away with one hand, but barely.

After all said and done the blade went across my knee on that kickback, cut my pants and got a little blood but not deep enough to need medical attention. Lucky for that blade brake.
Damn!
Maple trees be hatin'...😀

I agree with you 100% on the don't do it part. 👍
 

Dameon

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My question. How do you deal with this dead smaller tree propped up by the larger tree? It's been there like that since before I moved in here. It's broken off at the ground and leaning there.
Yeah, that's one of the definitions of "widow maker". I have a similar situation in the way back of my property. A huge limb (basically the size of a tree) fell and got trapped in the upper echelons of another big tree. It spooks me to work near it as that thing could decide to drop at any moment. Right on my head. It's far out of sight, so I just leave it be. It'll drop at some point.

I had a similar situation closer to my house. Big section of Water Oak fell and got trapped in the upper canopy of the neighboring Live Oak. I left it a couple weeks hoping it would work out. It didn't. The end was about 2 feet off the ground, so I attached a long chain and pulled the bottom in a direction that would allow the pivot point to overextend and the top would pull it down. Took some work, but I managed to get it out without damaging myself or the Live Oak. The correct answer would have been a man lift to bring it down piece by piece.
 

Dameon

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What do you think about the before and after of this tree. I fucking love it except they didn't go far enough...
Geez, why didn't they just chop it down? Is that second picture the actual finished product? Why didn't they round it out better? Is that your tree? It looks like it would be on your property unless you have some weird easement plot between your fence and the road?
 

Mr Lucky

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None of your fucking business...
Touche...

I was looking forward to learning something from Snail about tree handling. I do more tree work than I care for.

And you shall. He is a grouchy old fuck but a smart and resourceful grouch old fuck with may years of experience behind him.

The tree was dropping its tree shit all over my mother's house so we had the council come and hack the shit out of the hateful wooden fucker. I wanted it cut down completely as it's roots are doing damage to my mother's property but this is what they came up with...
 

Mr Lucky

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None of your fucking business...
I'd like to try passing on some cutting tips, and precautions. Before I start, I have 54 years experience logging, and 52 years cutting professionally. I wont mislead anyone intentionally, if you have legitimate questions ask.

Theres lots of ways to get hurt, ill try to explain them one at a time, over a period of time.

BARBER CHAIR

One of the most frequent accidents occurs when the tree rips and kicks back into the cutter removing nose, eyebrows, breaking bones, etc. Worse it can wreck your saw.

The classic example is when the cutter is felling a moderate to heavy leaner, with the lean. As the cutter cuts the back cut, the tree rips.

Theres several solutions, depending on species and circumstances, the best all round solution is to wrap a short chain around the tree, tightly, a comfortable reach higher than your head. Secure the the loose end so it doesn't get in your saw. 3/8 chain with a grab hook.

In all seriousness. Hang ups. In a really tree-crowded area how do you stop them and what are the dangers?
 

Dameon

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On YouTube, the most common fail on commoner tree cutters is the ol' cut the limb next to the trunk from the top (no bottom cut first), the limb eventually noses into the ground (which firmly plants it), the noob finishes the cut which promptly causes the limb to fall and hit the bottom half of the ladder and retard and all come tumbling down.
 

JustTom

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I have a lot experience with trees, with most of it being "on-job-training".
Some training was official, but a lot was learning what not to do.

Upper Michigan is having a spell of "oak wilt", it's killing trees everywhere.
In late summer, a big old oak's leaves will turn crispy dry and fall off in a matter of days.

Too bad for the trees, but oak is the premium fuelwood around here.
Lots of dead trees that people want gone, plus any on state land is up for grabs.

I work by myself mostly, so extra caution is required.
A saw,a pickup and trailer.

My 100ft ropes and a couple snatch blocks are my main tools if I'm concerned about direction of fall.
This one was long dead, and needed to go away from power lines.
Instead of dropping it, I threw a line 20ft up and gave it a couple tugs with my truck.

White oak.
Prime shit right there.
44399
 
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I try to come up with as much of my own firewood as I can, but it's a lot of work so I also buy some of it.
A lot of time and work for not much reward dollar for dollar.
Here's next year's pile needing processed for seasoning.....some professionals gave it to me. Maple and a cherry tree, but free is free. I respect this pile as much as dropping any tree, as it too can hurt ya.
treepile.jpg
 

Vicious_Cycle

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I've managed to not injure myself while taking down many trees. There's plenty of info online about how to do it right.
I use a rope if I'm concerned I may not be able to drop it in the right direction. If I'm working alone I will tie the rope to my box scraper and put a little tension on it, then do the standard cuts. A little weight on the rope helps for throwing it up over a branch.

I have one tree (maple, I think) that snapped off 20-25 feet up, and the top is caught up there in a couple trees. That one looks like an invitation to hurt myself, so I haven't fucked with it. I'm slowing down in my old age...
 
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Snail

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Brain dead, we deal with snags entangled in green trees, almost daily.

Heres how. First, a close visual inspection, look for indicators of defect, rot, rotten knots, signs of fracture etc. also look at tips of the branches to see it still has twig or if the twigs and small branches are rotted away. Look to see if the bark is still tight.

Secondly, hit it with a maul or single bit axe and observe if the wood is jelly, or if its sound.

Third check to see if its completely free from the root wad and actually hanging, or is it still bearing weight on the ground.

My advice, if its hanging free of the ground, is to pull it down. If its not free, you'll have to cut it.

Let me know what you find, and I'll continue.
 
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Snail

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Oh, have some stsnd back and watch for you when you whack it...be easy on the whack, don't swing for the fence.

If it rings when you hit it its probably sound, if it thuds like hitting a water melon its not sound.
 
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Snail

Snail

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When you are limbing with a pole saw under cut the bottom of the limb FIRST, reach under and get the far corner, then cut down from the top. The limb will then fall down, and away.

Except for maple. Maple is the second worse species to cut, second only to wild cherry.

Maple and cherry will barberchair, rip, set back, explode for no apparent reason.
 

Dameon

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On YouTube, the most common fail on commoner tree cutters is the ol' cut the limb next to the trunk from the top (no bottom cut first)
When you are limbing with a pole saw under cut the bottom of the limb FIRST, reach under and get the far corner, then cut down from the top.
I'm surprised most people don't know/think of this. I was just helping my coo-san cut some limbs last weekend. He went after every limb from the top. I suggested a couple times "if you hit the bottom with a good cut first, you'll have a cleaner drop". He'd do that a couple times and revert back to top only cuts. :roll:
 
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Snail

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Dameon, it would seem like they'd catch on after getting the saw hung up a couple times.
 
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