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Author Topic: What makes a typical white oak become extremely hard on a chain ?  (Read 2541 times)

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Offline ZeroJunk

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Not sure where to post this, but here goes. I helped a friend drop a dead white oak today. Fair size, maybe 24 inch. He called back a few hours later and said he had dulled the chains on each of his three saws to the point they were unusable.  No rocks, barbed wire, or any of the usual suspects.

He was wondering if it had been hit by lightning, said he had heard that.
I have cut dead white oak before and don't remember it being a big deal.
Could it be water frozen in it, not sure you call it sap at this point , but it had moisture in it and it hasn't been above freezing.

Any ideas ?

Offline bluthum

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Re: What makes a typical white oak become extremely hard on a chain ?
« Reply #1 on: January 01, 2018, 06:52:14 PM »
You can rule out the lightning theory.

Offline ladylake

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Re: What makes a typical white oak become extremely hard on a chain ?
« Reply #2 on: January 02, 2018, 07:06:52 AM »

 I cut frozen dried out white oak a lot, cuts a little harder than in the summer but no big deal.  Either his chains weren't sharpened right or possibly the tree was where a lot of dust blew into the bark.  Steve
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Offline Al_Smith

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Re: What makes a typical white oak become extremely hard on a chain ?
« Reply #3 on: January 03, 2018, 05:07:25 AM »
I'm not  so certain it could get cold enough in NC to freeze solid .Maybe in Northern Minnesota .
Standing dead it would make sense it would be hard after all it is oak .As such more than likely it would take some file work maybe every tank full of fuel .

Offline Ianab

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Re: What makes a typical white oak become extremely hard on a chain ?
« Reply #4 on: January 03, 2018, 06:14:10 AM »
Something like dry White Oak, you might expect to touch up the chain after each tank of gas. Won't be completely dull, but it will have lost it's edge. Sharpen then, and it's a couple of strokes on each cutter, takes 5 min.

Run it till it wont cut no more? The cutting edge will be badly rounded over, and it will need some serious file or grinder work to get it cutting properly again.

I've been cutting Sheoak (Australian Pine in the US). That's up with Live Oak in the hardness and cutter wear.  Saws cut it OK, but need to sharpen a lot more often than cutting cypress / cedar / pine.

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Offline gspren

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Re: What makes a typical white oak become extremely hard on a chain ?
« Reply #5 on: January 03, 2018, 09:13:09 AM »
  Is the ground around there sandy? White oak bark could hold a bunch of sand.
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Offline ZeroJunk

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Re: What makes a typical white oak become extremely hard on a chain ?
« Reply #6 on: January 03, 2018, 11:06:03 AM »
I just dropped it for him. The wood seemed really damp, which I guess there is not much to dry it this time of year. And, quite a bit of the bark was gone.
He called a few hours later saying it was really dulling his chain.
The guy raises 100 acres of tobacco and another thousand acres of beans and wheat which he has to clean around. Plus he heats with wood. So, he is not an amateur exactly using a saw.

But, sometimes we all just get something in our head. May have been nothing particularly out of the ordinary.

Thanks for the replies.

Offline bluthum

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Re: What makes a typical white oak become extremely hard on a chain ?
« Reply #7 on: January 03, 2018, 04:34:31 PM »
Ask him to look really close at the cutting edge of the chain tooth for evidence of dirt or sand wear. Dead white oak is hard but not that hard.

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Re: What makes a typical white oak become extremely hard on a chain ?
« Reply #8 on: January 04, 2018, 08:58:46 AM »
I get into this from time to time in our tree removal business and i have asked myself this same question. I am not talking about frozen wood. Some oaks saw well and others are hard on a chain. I suspect that rot or decay may play a big role in this.

We cut a 24 in pine last week with a canker at the base, man talking about hard on a chain.
al glenn

Offline TKehl

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Re: What makes a typical white oak become extremely hard on a chain ?
« Reply #9 on: January 04, 2018, 09:14:16 AM »
We used to run hogs in timber ground.  When we cut firewood, we'd always cut it off "higher than a hog's back" as where they rubbed the trunk would dull a chain nearly as fast as hitting a rock.

I've also cut some old dead and down Oak that did that.  The last one was sunk in the ground a bit, but I wanted the ground cleaned up to get to the next area and the heart was good.  I should have thrown it in a burn pile as much as it dulled the chain.   ::)  I joked that it was half petrified as I've cut LOT's of similar stuff with virtually no muss and fuss compared to that one!   :D

In your case, I have to wonder if the tree had an old crack  in it that accumulated dust off the farm fields.  ???
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Offline Woodcutter_Mo

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Re: What makes a typical white oak become extremely hard on a chain ?
« Reply #10 on: January 04, 2018, 09:29:56 AM »
 I've occasionally had this trouble with white oak, but not any more often than any other species. Black Jack oak is what I have trouble with more often. I believe it's partially because of the thick coarse bark that might catch and hold sand or dirt that the wind blows or rodents track up the tree. Dead black jack limbs also can seem almost petrified, the heart wood gets very dry and hard if it doesn't rot. The heart wood of the trunk of dead white oak and Post oak can be similar but not quite to the extent of black jack, from what I've seen anyway.

 Was the white oak in a flood plain by any chance?
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Offline moodnacreek

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Re: What makes a typical white oak become extremely hard on a chain ?
« Reply #11 on: January 04, 2018, 02:42:16 PM »
Like others said; grit in bark. If it was frozen, it would be worse. Some times you have to file after each cut.

Offline Al_Smith

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Re: What makes a typical white oak become extremely hard on a chain ?
« Reply #12 on: January 04, 2018, 05:02:18 PM »
Oaks can get rather gnarly around the root flare if it has any .24"would be around 100 years old more or less .That many years of being whipped to and fro by  the wind makes for some tough wood .

Offline HolmenTree

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Re: What makes a typical white oak become extremely hard on a chain ?
« Reply #13 on: January 04, 2018, 08:21:01 PM »
Two trees grown together into one trunk (codominate trunk) over the years can collect alot of dirt or sand even gravel which grows inside the tree.

But on the subject of frozen wood I can assure you that there is no chance that it will dull chains after a few cuts.
I've cut frozen solid birch tamarack elm ash in 40below weather and never had a problem.
What chain is ZeroJunk running?
Making a living with a saw since age 16.

Offline ZeroJunk

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Re: What makes a typical white oak become extremely hard on a chain ?
« Reply #14 on: January 04, 2018, 09:20:34 PM »
Not my saws. The one I used to drop the tree was a Stihl 029 that I had put an 039/MS390 motor in for him a couple of years ago.
It had RSC on it.  Don't know about the other two saws.

Offline ZeroJunk

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Re: What makes a typical white oak become extremely hard on a chain ?
« Reply #15 on: January 07, 2018, 08:53:03 AM »
I'm not  so certain it could get cold enough in NC to freeze solid .Maybe in Northern Minnesota .
Standing dead it would make sense it would be hard after all it is oak .As such more than likely it would take some file work maybe every tank full of fuel .

It has not been above freezing here this year.   Weird.

Offline bluthum

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Re: What makes a typical white oak become extremely hard on a chain ?
« Reply #16 on: January 07, 2018, 07:16:25 PM »
Here in NC AR it has also been mostly below freezing for longer than in a long time. But no way cold enough to freeze live trees.

 About 35 -40 years back we had a couple winters where it was -20 briefly and below freezing for very long periods and the trees for sure did freeze. Some times you could hear them pop, whatever that signified. The green trees did definitely freeze but I noted little difference in dead stuff. I'd guess standing dead trees don't have enough moisture in them to  form meaningful amounts of ice.  Frozen green hickory and oak was absolutely slower to cut but I don't recall a big difference in chain sharpening.

But that was long ago and my sharpening skills and chainsaw knowledge were even more a bit less than today.

Offline Al_Smith

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Re: What makes a typical white oak become extremely hard on a chain ?
« Reply #17 on: January 07, 2018, 07:49:46 PM »
Some tell of live trees freezing but I've never seen it myself .The only frozen wood I've ever encountered was late fall cut burr oak and honey locust The stuff had some 4 feet diameter rounds,no exaggeration .I had the bright idea to noodle down some pieces at around 15 below like an idiot .I threw every thing I had at it including a Mac 125 .I could not cut it .Went back in the house and drank coffee and played on the internet .

Offline barbender

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Re: What makes a typical white oak become extremely hard on a chain ?
« Reply #18 on: January 08, 2018, 12:32:16 AM »
I've cut dead standing black ash before that all of the bark had fallen off. That stuff dries out and gets really hard, and it's hard on chains. I've never cut any oak that was in a similar condition.
Too many irons in the fire

Offline JW IN VA

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Re: What makes a typical white oak become extremely hard on a chain ?
« Reply #19 on: January 08, 2018, 06:51:35 PM »
 I've been cutting some limbs from a logging job I had done this late summer.Seems to be frozen or a lot like it.One dead piece had ice on the inside.Chisel chain like RSC probably will dull faster in this kind of wood.I seem to be filing more.Ordered some semi-chisel today and will try that.This was skidded in some very dusty conditions.

Offline mike_belben

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Re: What makes a typical white oak become extremely hard on a chain ?
« Reply #20 on: January 11, 2018, 06:55:53 PM »
A lot of times white oak and especially scarlet oak will get a little rot chimney up the center and it turns to mulch.  This stuff dulls a chain so fast you wont know what to do.  Sparks, smoking, stretching.  Sharpen 3 times just to fell a tree. 


If the cutters get bad enough a hand sharpening wont sort it out.  Gotta go on a grinder.  I have one chain that looks flawless and is sharp as a razor but just cuts left hand scallops like crazy.  Not the bar either.
Revelation 3:20


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