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Author Topic: Tree felling tutorials?  (Read 1914 times)

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Offline alan gage

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Tree felling tutorials?
« on: October 12, 2017, 02:34:41 PM »
I'm sure this has been discussed in the archives but I was unable to find what I'm looking for. I've got nearly 60 trees that I need to drop and will be starting in the next week or so. Nearly all of them are white oak (Bur) that have died in the last year or two (presumably oak wilt). They're in relatively open pastures so most have a clear path to drop the tree and no structures or power lines nearby. The biggest tree will probably be ~28" at the butt and they aren't overly tall due to growing in semi-open conditions. Most are straight, some are leaning, and a few are on hillsides. I'll have a 3/4 ton 4x4 pickup, 70hp Kubota with FEL and forks, heavy strap, and a couple hundred feet of steel cable and snatch block to help direct the falls.

I've been processing my own firewood for nearly 10 years and am comfortable running a chainsaw. I've dropped a handful of trees, all successfully, but most of my wood is already down when I get to it. I know there's a lot that I don't know when it comes to dropping trees and while much of my education will come by actually doing the work I'd like to learn as much as I can before hand to avoid those mistakes that don't give you a second chance.

So I'm looking for some reading material. Book form would be preferable but online is fine. I learn best by reading and doing but videos are good too. I've already ordered Professional Timber Falling by Doug Dent but it hasn't arrived yet.

Thanks,

Alan

Offline killamplanes

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Re: Tree felling tutorials?
« Reply #1 on: October 12, 2017, 09:11:27 PM »
Have you located a buyer/mill for the trees. I don't cut a tree without nowing were it's going and what it will be worth..
jd440 skidder, western star w/grapple,tk B-20 hyd, electric, stihl660,and 2X661. and other support Equipment, pallet manufacturing line

Offline jaygtree

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Re: Tree felling tutorials?
« Reply #2 on: October 12, 2017, 10:56:44 PM »
i watch felling videos on youtube. lots of info there.   jg
i thought i was wrong once but i wasn't.   atv, log arch, chainsaw and ez boardwalk jr.

Offline MbfVA

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Re: Tree felling tutorials?
« Reply #3 on: October 13, 2017, 12:15:05 AM »
 I'm no chainsaw expert, but I would especially recommend that YouTube videos by the chainsaw manufacturers, and other equipment manufacturers.   I'm privilege to have a hunter  at our farm who helps me out, he's really good at it.    Like you said, there are some mistakes that don't give you a second chance.

Offline mike_belben

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Re: Tree felling tutorials?
« Reply #4 on: October 13, 2017, 01:17:56 AM »
Have you ever bore cut/plunge cut into a tree before? 

Offline square1

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Re: Tree felling tutorials?
« Reply #5 on: October 13, 2017, 05:24:24 AM »
If you're genuinely concerned, take a course. You can learn a lot of what to do right and what to avoid in a short time. The things persons with good intentions taught me early on, that had to be unlearned during qualified training provided by my employer, was staggering.

There's a pretty good discussion here: Advanced Falling Cuts in Forestry and Logging

Youtube does not qualify it's contributors.  There's good stuff out there, but just as much bad.  You have to be discerning.  The suggestion to go to MFGs sites is good advice.  Stihl had a really good series at one time.

Offline alan gage

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Re: Tree felling tutorials?
« Reply #6 on: October 13, 2017, 10:47:50 AM »
Thanks for the advice so far. I'd kind of been staying away from youtube not knowing what I'd get but I did come across some of the manufacturer's stuff and it was really good. Much more in depth than I expected. A lot to learn, that's for sure. I'll be starting out with what look to be the easiest trees to learn new skills before tackling the more challenging ones if I feel up to it.

The logs will either be used on my personal sawmill or turned into firewood depending on their quality. Just got the sawmill this summer and already I can see my firewood production is going to be more difficult. Those nice straight logs that split so easily with the axe will now be going to the sawmill and I'll be left splitting the junk.

Alan

Offline John Mc

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Re: Tree felling tutorials?
« Reply #7 on: October 13, 2017, 10:31:22 PM »
Youtube does not qualify it's contributors.  There's good stuff out there, but just as much bad.  You have to be discerning.

Definitely! There is a lot of worthless junk - or worse yet, dangerous advice - on YouTube.

Husqvarna has a decent series out. you can find it at:


Of course, nothing beats getting some live training. Game of Logging is a good source, but I don't think there are any of them out your way, Alan.
If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.   - Abraham Maslow

Offline alan gage

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Re: Tree felling tutorials?
« Reply #8 on: October 30, 2017, 10:37:00 AM »
The Husqvarna series was very helpful and the book by Doug Dent was worth the time and money as well. Over the last couple weeks I took down around 20 oak trees and so far things have gone well. Not everything has gone perfect but nothing has really gone wrong either. Most have been straightforward drops that come down from gravity or a little help from the wedges. Early on I did have one tree with more back lean than I thought and I ran out of wedges before I brought it over enough to fall the correct way. Ended up using oak wedges to help finish it off. After that I made it a point to hook a cable to the tree ahead of time if there was any question.

Learning a lot and getting a good collection of nice logs.

Thanks for the help,

Alan


Offline thedoublejranch

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Re: Tree felling tutorials?
« Reply #9 on: November 05, 2017, 04:35:14 PM »
Have you ever bore cut/plunge cut into a tree before?

I'm all ears. I seen a feller (not a guy, but he was) <---"pun intended" doing just this for his pie cut and I thought it was unusual. What is the reason aside greater risk of a kickback?  He was doing it to all his trees he was felling, so I am curious.  :P ???
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Offline John Mc

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Re: Tree felling tutorials?
« Reply #10 on: November 05, 2017, 04:47:58 PM »
Have you ever bore cut/plunge cut into a tree before?

I'm all ears. I seen a feller (not a guy, but he was) <---"pun intended" doing just this for his pie cut and I thought it was unusual. What is the reason aside greater risk of a kickback?  He was doing it to all his trees he was felling, so I am curious.  :P ???

I use the bore cut frequently, and know quite a few others who do it as well. However, I have never seen anyone bore cut to make their notch.

I've seen bore cutting to make the back cut (which, among other things lets you get your hinge all set to the proper thickness before a front-leaning tree starts moving. In this case, it's done to prevent barber-chair.)

I've also seen people make their notch, then bore cut through the center of the notch to clean out the center of the tree. This lets you take down a tree with a diameter that is nore than twice the length of your bar. (There are also other reasons why someone night bore out the center in this way.)
If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.   - Abraham Maslow

Offline thedoublejranch

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Re: Tree felling tutorials?
« Reply #11 on: November 05, 2017, 08:32:09 PM »
OK,  just observed him do several trees. He would cut the tree with the top of his bar to score it, then once a slice was made, roll the nose in gently, then straighten it out and plunge it in (this motion was to prevent kickback). He made this for his lower cut on his pie. He would then push the saw through and then cut down at a 45 degree by pushing the bar outward from the center. Then come in at a 45 degree for his top cut for his notch. I just assumed he didn't like pulling the saw upward, was easier pushing it downward. Then his back cut leaving the hinge and wedging.

Ok, after watching that video, with the notch having to be cut from a specific side because of the saws design, I can assume the cutter did the plunge cut for the pie because he had to cut from the opposite side for his pie because of heavy brush. It makes sense now. He was not doing it to prevent the barber chair.

Thanks for the reply too.  smiley_beertoast
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Offline mike_belben

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Re: Tree felling tutorials?
« Reply #12 on: November 06, 2017, 12:46:52 AM »
Have you ever bore cut/plunge cut into a tree before?

I'm all ears. I seen a feller (not a guy, but he was) <---"pun intended" doing just this for his pie cut and I thought it was unusual. What is the reason aside greater risk of a kickback?  He was doing it to all his trees he was felling, so I am curious.  :P ???

Well, id say white oak and hickory really do require plunge cuts to rule out barberchair.  It relieves that stress at the shearline where compression wood and tension wood meet each other.  These two species love to delaminate and explode the trunks, maiming or killing the faller.   They also need the "ears nipped" as people call it.  A light score to sever the sapwood at the sides of the hinge so they dont tear the stump up.   Some people call it GOL for game of logging, where you have the tree resting on 3 points and pound in wedges.  2 that make the hinge and one scrap of tensionwood that sets the trigger.  When you snip the trigger it goes over.  Or... You gauged it wrong and it dont.  Then youre pounding tons more wedges trying to lift a tree to get it started.  GOL isnt fast and it has a bit of built in danger in that you cant tell if the tree is responding as you intend to your saw cuts, until you release and find out if you won.    Its safer when the tree has a slight lean that commits it in a known direction.

Heavy leaners definitely need plunge cuts.  I use a pair of bore cuts on slightly different plane to form a lock so that the back cannot physically kick out because theres a 2" step to the stump, preventing a chair. 

You dont ever stand behind a horse.  Same for a tree youre falling.

Offline mike_belben

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Re: Tree felling tutorials?
« Reply #13 on: November 06, 2017, 12:48:56 AM »
...one more bore cut bonus..  Think of it as a probe.  You watch the chips coming out for brown rotten dirt or doaty punky texture.  This tells you in the first plunge if its sound.  Soundness definitely alters your fine tuning on how thick each component needs to be for trustworthiness.

Offline thedoublejranch

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Re: Tree felling tutorials?
« Reply #14 on: November 06, 2017, 10:54:42 AM »
Mike, interesting you mention those points left. These 2 trees were going backwards, he had a wedge in them, then goes and cuts 2 more trees, one falls on another and the 2nd one ended up pushing these 2 trees back the other direction. OK, this is all making sense now. He was weaking them, while the other trees pop the seal and all fell in one direction.  :P Very informative post.
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Offline mike_belben

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Re: Tree felling tutorials?
« Reply #15 on: November 06, 2017, 11:11:32 AM »
Dominoes.  Definitely for pro's out in open forest and never for a site with kids running around or equipment, houses, parked cars etc.  It goes in the bag of tricks, but the bagholder must be pretty seasoned to know when to apply which one for best results.

Offline mike_belben

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Re: Tree felling tutorials?
« Reply #16 on: November 06, 2017, 11:20:37 AM »
I had a thread called "white oak barberchairs"  in this forum that has some good images and commentary for white oak and hickory technique.  Id cut red oak, maple and pines my whole life.. Then moved 1000 miles south and was blowing stems apart using my former technique.  Switched to a variety of GOL type cuts and have had no trouble.  But im not fast at all and am almost always near houses or trying to cull between decorative keeper trees on residential lots.  I depend on wedges, spurs and ropes more than a real logger.

"Advanced felling cuts" is another thread i reread every year or so but beware its full of pro technique and you better have the basics down, insurance paid, boots tied and bailout path clear.

Offline alan gage

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Re: Tree felling tutorials?
« Reply #17 on: February 20, 2018, 10:42:46 AM »
Thought I'd update this post a little. I finished the first pasture in December and took down about 26 Bur Oak trees. Most were 20-24 inches with the largest just over 30". Everything went well and I learned a lot. I plunge cut most of them, whether they needed it or not, just to help learn the technique and it's one that I'm glad to know. A couple didn't fall the way I expected them to and they were good learning experiences of just how much force a tree can exert. Thankfully none were close calls and overall things went smooth.

The biggest thing I took away was that logging is hard work! And not just the dropping of trees but the cleanup too. I knew going into it that I'd need to clean up the tops and that was the worst part of the job. These were pasture grown trees so relatively short and wide crowned. I had more time in cleaning up than I did dropping the trees and taking the saw logs and the cleanup didn't provide near the satisfaction of dropping trees. In the end I got about 26 logs out of the deal and probably a years worth of firewood. A handful of the logs are really nice and a handful are pretty ugly with the rest falling somewhere in between. Only a couple were over 12' with most being 8-10'. 

After getting done with that pasture I told the landowner I was going to take a pass on his other pasture which had just as many trees that needed to come down. Too much time and work for the reward and the trees weren't as nice either. A few weeks later I noticed a bunch of logs dumped behind a farmhouse. Talked to the owner and they were trees, mostly bur oak, they'd taken out for the neighboring bible camp. He was going to burn them for firewood but was happy to sell the larger ones. All I had to do was bring the tractor and trailer to load them up. I got probably 3/4 as much as I did from the pasture job and instead of busting my butt for a couple weeks I spent $400 and a day loading and hauling a few loads. If possible I'll probably be buying the majority of my logs from now on and I sure won't volunteer to cleanup anything I take down for free. 

Alan

Offline Stoneyacrefarm

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Re: Tree felling tutorials?
« Reply #18 on: February 20, 2018, 03:18:57 PM »
There you go Alan. 
Lesson learned. !!
I think a lot of us started out that way. 
Getting FREE trees. 
Usually it's the free ones that cost us the most. 
Think of all the experience you gained. 
I've got almost 20 acres I'm clearing for an additional pasture. 
Like you said. The brush cleanup is the hardest part. 
Up to almost three acres done now. 
There is no end in sight.  :D
Work hard. Be rewarded.

Offline Timbercreekfarm

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Re: Tree felling tutorials?
« Reply #19 on: February 21, 2018, 06:13:02 PM »
I am just finishing a free tree job, the farmer that bought the land next to me let me cut ahead of him removing all the hedgerows with an excavator. I have been working on it all winter, the best part is I don't need to do any cleanup, cut the trunks, leave the brush. I have a huge pile of firewood, lots of sawlogs, and lots of time into it.


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