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Author Topic: Safety Advice for Newbie...  (Read 11290 times)

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Offline Paschale

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Safety Advice for Newbie...
« on: September 18, 2002, 10:42:23 PM »
Hi everyone,

I'm a relative newbie when it comes to felling trees.  I certainly have an appropriate and healthy respect (maybe fear!) of the potential dangers involved when cutting down trees.  Next weekend, I'm going to the U.P. of Michigan to mill an ash tree.  The tree was blown down by the wind, but it caught on a much smaller tree, and has not fallen completely to the ground.  I am uncertain what the best method would be to get the tree all the way to the ground.  Cutting down the small tree is filled with danger--I can only imagine the force which would be loosed if I were to cut that one down.  I suspect it would shoot off in a very unpredictable manner, and certainly could possible result in serious injury.  I've enclosed a picture of the situation.  As I've thought through the scenario, I've wondered about cutting through the smaller tree partially, then perhaps attaching a chain to the smaller tree and using some horsepower to help get it down.  But, I know there's a heck of a lot of experience here on the forum, so I figure I'd check with you all.  Any help is greatly appreciated!  (Incidentally, I will be with two other guys who are pretty experienced with chainsaws...but I'd still appreciate some advice!  No tree is worth hurting oneself over!)

Dan M.

PS  I had a hard time trimming the picture so it wasn't too big a file, so hopefully there's enough there for you all to see what the situation is.  The small diameter tree at the far left is the tree on which the ash is hung up.

PPS I also posted this in the Safety Board, but it seems like this is just as relevant a topic here--so I hope no one minds!



Y'all can pronounce it "puh-SKOLLY"

Offline KiwiCharlie

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Re: Safety Advice for Newbie...
« Reply #1 on: September 18, 2002, 11:06:44 PM »
G'day Dan,

Firstly, for the picture thing, head over to www.xat.com, and you will find a free program for reducing the size of photos without having to crop the bejesus out of it!!

As for the hung tree, this is always a very tricky situation.  Each senario has its own factors, so I would be wary of giving you advice as to what to do.  No matter how you tackle it, make sure you have a clear and large escape route available, and dont be afraid of dropping the saw as you go, to get out a bit faster!  You can always replace the saw.....
I have had success by cutting a V cut in the top of the hung log (not more than half way!), not too high off the ground, and then coming up from below, until it starts to give, then getting the heck outa there.  By coming up from below, you avoid the saw bar getting pinched, as the cut is opening up.
This often gives the tree enough energy to come loose and come down completely.  Depends if you want the log for milling or not, as with this way, you will loose part of the bottom of the log.
Just spend as much time as you need surveying it, dont rush into it, and get your friends advice too.
Hope it goes well.  You cant be too safe.  Let us know how you get on.
Cheers
Charlie.
Walk tall and carry a big Stihl.

Offline DanG

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Re: Safety Advice for Newbie...
« Reply #2 on: September 18, 2002, 11:37:02 PM »
I couldn't get your photo to show up at all, so I'm just trying to envision the scene from your description.  First, DO NOT get a saw anywhere near the small supporting tree!  My first instinct is to use the aforementioned horsepower. Since you mentioned that, you must have access to it with a vehicle.  If the supporting tree is small enough, you may be able to move it enough to allow the ash to complete its fall.  If not, perhaps you could "roll" the ash off of it by attaching a winch cable to a stout branch on the opposite side, running it over whatever is left of the tree's canopy, creating sufficient leverage to free it.
If these things fail, and you don't have any better ideas, you might consider going home and having a few beers, and just let the DanG thing rot down.  It ain't worth killing yourself over!

BTW, it's probably good that you chose your Forum "handle" as you did. After what has been done with mine, these guys would have a field day with DanM! :D :D
"I don't feel like an old man.  I feel like a young man who has something wrong with him."  Dick Cavett
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Offline DanG

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Re: Safety Advice for Newbie...
« Reply #3 on: September 19, 2002, 12:09:55 AM »
I want to add a little to what I said above. What you are dealing with is known as a "widowmaker."  They call it that for a reason.  The power contained in a large tree, under stress, is awesome, unpredictable, and extraordinarily swift. They should be handled only by people who have the knowledge, AND equipment to do so safely.  If you can get a vehicle to it, you can get enough power there to free it, and salvage the log. It may not be cheap, as it may mean transporting a skidder.  You probably can do it with a couple of 4wd trucks and a bunch of ropes, but, if you can't, then call in a pro.

Dan, I'm not directing this just at you, since you have demonstrated your safety conciousness by starting this thread. This needs to be discussed here for the benefit of everyone who might be reading it.
"I don't feel like an old man.  I feel like a young man who has something wrong with him."  Dick Cavett
"Beat not thy sword into a plowshare, rather beat the sword of thine enemy into a plowshare."

Offline swampwhiteoak

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Re: Safety Advice for Newbie...
« Reply #4 on: September 19, 2002, 06:44:38 AM »
I wouldn't want to be any place near that DanG tree where it could fall on me.  This is a job for a chain and a skidder or truck.  Just isn't worth taking the risk.

Offline OneWithWood

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Re: Safety Advice for Newbie...
« Reply #5 on: September 19, 2002, 11:14:01 AM »
I am with the majority here.  If you cannot put a timber winch on it and drag it clear - leave it.  If the tree is a potential danger because of people traffic get a pro to get it down.
I have had too many close calls thinking I could just make a cut here and a cut there to relieve the tension and bring one down. :o  Now I am a big fan of staying clear of such trees and letting nature take its course.
One With Wood
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Offline Tillaway

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Re: Safety Advice for Newbie...
« Reply #6 on: September 19, 2002, 12:28:11 PM »
Heavy equipment...  I you have little or no experience, don't touch it.  Bring in heavy equipment, you will save the log and yourself.  
Making Tillamook Bay safe for bait; one salmon at a time.

Offline Kevin

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Re: Safety Advice for Newbie...
« Reply #7 on: September 19, 2002, 04:37:21 PM »
That looks like a large tree and is very dangerous.
Don`t get under it for any reason.
Pull it or winch it from a safe distance.
Trees like this have killed many people, don`t risk getting anywhere close to where it could fall on you.

Offline Corley5

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Re: Safety Advice for Newbie...
« Reply #8 on: September 19, 2002, 04:53:57 PM »
A situation like yours is bad enough for a professional to have to deal with.  Without actually seeing the whole thing in person to judge how it's sitting, where the pressure is etc,etc, etc No advice could or should be given other than that which already has been.  Bring in a professional and/or a piece of heavy equipment like a skidder or a dozer.  Ash is especially dangerous because of its tendency to split and don't ever try to cut the tree that is holding the other up.
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Offline Steve

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Re: Safety Advice for Newbie...
« Reply #9 on: September 19, 2002, 06:42:47 PM »
Another way to look at it--

IF the tree is completely cut free of the stump you might try this.With a chain or cable put a rolling hitch on the log so that when you pull on if with a come along (from a safe distance) you cause the tree to roll off the stump and if you're real lucky it might even roll it  out of the tree.
Rolling hitch- like this I think. Face the log, throw the hook over and hook the cable or chain on your side now roll the loop so that the hook comes around the back of the log and winds the cable oder the top of the log. Now when you pull it will roll the log.
Be carefull ,but this can be a low tech way to get the tree out if you're lucky.

Steve
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Offline Ron Scott

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Re: Safety Advice for Newbie...
« Reply #10 on: September 19, 2002, 07:29:31 PM »
Definetly stay away from such hangers until its safely on the ground. Pull it down with a cable skidder, grapple, or forwarder with winch on it. Hire a "pro" with the proper equipment if you don't have it and know how to use it.

A professional has the KSA's for this situation. Also caution flag the area to others until the tree is down. We had a near miss with such a situation on a job a couple weeks ago when someone from the mill came out on the job briefly and walked up to a "hanger" unknowingly just as it came down.  
~Ron

Offline Jeff

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Re: Safety Advice for Newbie...
« Reply #11 on: September 19, 2002, 08:19:18 PM »
Listen to the advice you are getting here. I don't want to hear that one of our forum members or any oneelse for that matter got killed doing something like chainsawing on that tree. It is not worth the risk. DID YOU HEAR ME?? ?? >:(

:) :) :)
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Offline Paschale

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Re: Safety Advice for Newbie...
« Reply #12 on: September 19, 2002, 08:45:46 PM »
Thanks for all the responses and the advice.  It seems the overall consensus is leave the DanG (or DanM) tree alone! :D  I am certainly far too inexperienced to handle it on my own.  I'm going up with my dad, and though he's a deft handler of a chainsaw, he's certainly as inexperienced as I am with felling a tree like this.  The third guy is the one with the Wood-Mizer, and I'll try and determine his comfort level with handling a situation like this.  I honestly am uncertain of his experience level, and I'll be completely upfront with him when we go up there, and tell him that if he hasn't had experience with this sort of situation, I want to just leave it alone.  There certainly isn't any tree that's worth risking life and limb over!  In addition, the only "heavy equipment" we have access to would be a couple of trucks and a tractor, nothing like a bulldozer or skidder.  Someone suggested using a rolling hitch if the log's been cut from the stump, but this is one which was windblown, so the roots are still intact.  My inexperience is pretty clear, since I'm not sure what a rolling hitch is anyway.  As to the whole safety issue, I've been looking at the OSHA website about logging and felling trees, and they say the same thing as what most of you have said, and it's put a healthy and appropriate dose of fear in me, believe me!

Even if we decide to leave the ash tree alone, the trip won't be a waste, since we have plenty of maple up there which we could pick and choose to fell in a safe manner.  Plus, it should be a good trip, spent in the woods with my dad.  I certainly want both of us to come back, however!, so that ash tree will probably be there for quite some time to come!  If I'm lucky, maybe the tree has fallen of its own accord in the two or three months since I've been up there--I'll give you all a report when I get back.

Oh...and Jeff B...I heard you loud and clear!  ;)

Thanks for all the input!

Dan M.

PS  Many of you mentioned hiring a professional.  Is there a website where one can find someone with the required experience?  Our land is located in Michigan, in Delta County and I know there are a ton of loggers up there who could probably help us out with this, if we decide to go that route, but since it's such short notice, I'm not sure if it's feasible to hire someone.  I guess I'm mainly curious how one obtains the services of a professional logger.

Y'all can pronounce it "puh-SKOLLY"

Offline Tillaway

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Re: Safety Advice for Newbie...
« Reply #13 on: September 19, 2002, 10:06:29 PM »
Local saw shop that caters to professionals.  Post a sign or ask someone that works there.   I would look at it if I was near by, but it's a bit of a trip for me. ::)
Making Tillamook Bay safe for bait; one salmon at a time.

Offline Kevin

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Re: Safety Advice for Newbie...
« Reply #14 on: September 20, 2002, 05:48:19 AM »
Dan,
You are dealing with a tree that appears to be about 2ft. DBH.
The tree weighs several thousand pounds and is under extreme pressure.
You`re dealing with wood under tension and compression along with gravity along the red line.
There will be extreme pressure on the tree and once you start cutting the fibers away there`s no telling what might happen.
It could be a non event or it could just as easily rip your head off and spit in your neck.

Offline Frank_Pender

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Re: Safety Advice for Newbie...
« Reply #15 on: September 20, 2002, 07:12:41 AM »
This is where I have the most fun of falling trees.   I often will spend a day or three reviewing my options.   One thought not listed yet is the following.  the least stress could well be right at the stump/ground level.  Place a saw cut ever so slightly in the top of the log at the dirt mark.   Cut until you feel that the chain and bar are beginning to pinch.   Then, place a plastic wedge into the top cut and drive it as far as possible without forcing the wedge to pop out of the cut.  I woudl then begin an undercut  in line with the previous top cut, where the wedge is locate.  In this way when to begin to get closer to your top cut your bar and chain are less likely to get pinched when the cut is complete.  You will find that the main stem will drop to the ground and your stump will lean back toward its original home.   Again, this is a very dangerous task to deal with.  When the stump is free, you could then place the rolling hitch or attach a choker to the butt end of the log and pull 90 dgrees to the main stem of the tree to allow for the canopy to either roll out of its resting place or put out enough to hit the ground.  MAKE SURE YOU HAVE ALL OF YOUR DUCKS IN A ROW BEFORE ANYONE TACKLES THIS TASK, please!
Frank Pender

Offline Bro. Noble

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Re: Safety Advice for Newbie...
« Reply #16 on: September 20, 2002, 07:39:33 AM »
There are so many things that can go wrong when cutting logs.  You never think of some of them until they happen.  One thing than no one has mentioned that could very well happen to a beginner in this situation is a rope or cable snapping.  Ropes aren't meant to pull logs, guy wires aren't logging cables etc.  Even using the right cable, a guy needs to have some kind of feel for how much they will take.  When any of the above snap, they can go zinging in everwhich direction and could decapitate a person.

It's the things that you didn't anticipate that hurt you.

Noble
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Offline Oregon_Rob

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Re: Safety Advice for Newbie...
« Reply #17 on: September 20, 2002, 07:54:47 AM »
From what I can see in the photo, it looks as though the top is caught between two smaller trees and I am guessing that most of the stump is exposed and the ground looks fairly level. Based on these assumptions, my first attempt would be to carefully cut any remaining, exposed roots loose, take a chain over the top of the root ball and attach as low on the other side as possible. Then with a truck, tractor or both pull on the chain and try to get the tree to rotate out of position. If you can get the tree to roll the right direction, it will most likely come down.
Good luck!
If you go to a local saw shop to hire someone, make sure they are insured. You don't want someone getting injured on your property without their own insurance.
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Offline Paschale

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Re: Safety Advice for Newbie...
« Reply #18 on: September 20, 2002, 05:15:19 PM »
Hi Everyone,

Thanks for the continuing advice.  Looking through my photos, I stumbled on one more picture.  It's kind of fuzzy, but it's taken looking down the tree from the roots to the crown...I thought I'd add it for a clearer picture of the situation.  Looking at this picture makes me aware that it's probably caught in several trees, making it even more difficult.  Or at least I assume...

Dan M.

Y'all can pronounce it "puh-SKOLLY"

Offline Bro. Noble

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Re: Safety Advice for Newbie...
« Reply #19 on: September 20, 2002, 06:16:30 PM »
I'll bet it's on the ground when you get up there.

Noble
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