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Author Topic: Felling a tree on a steep slope  (Read 3848 times)

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Offline Greyman

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Felling a tree on a steep slope
« on: July 09, 2019, 01:52:21 AM »
I have a couple trees I need to take out so I can have my friend put in a road.  They're on a very steep slope and it makes me a little nervous.  I'm thinking the best bet is to send it downhill, but what if it's leaning uphill?  Side hill would be 2nd best I'm thinking.  Up hill would be dancing with the devil...  It's too far down the slope to cable it or anything.  Any tips?

Offline BaldBob

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Re: Felling a tree on a steep slope
« Reply #1 on: July 09, 2019, 02:30:57 AM »
Without using something for a good reference to vertical (plumb bob, axe or straight piece of wood held loosely by the end,etc.) the true lean of a tree can be quite deceiving on a steep slope. First be sure that you truly know the lean. Then cut accordingly to drop it sidehill which is generally as safe as a downhill drop and safer than an uphill drop .

Offline Greyman

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Re: Felling a tree on a steep slope
« Reply #2 on: July 09, 2019, 03:02:45 AM »
Yes, that's good.  It's very loose ground so just making your way around the tree is an effort - makes it tough to eyeball.  From a distance it looks like the sketchiest one is about 30" pine and it's leaning uphill, I hope that's not the case.  Exposed roots on the downhill side, where the existing "road" is.  The easiest exit is downhill, but that's like running away from a train...

Offline Skeans1

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Re: Felling a tree on a steep slope
« Reply #3 on: July 09, 2019, 06:15:12 AM »
Generally steep ground cutting Ill quarter timber across the hill vs straight down less likely to have a missile headed down a hillside. The worst thing about cutting steep ground is having no where to escape once the tree has started over youre still on the stump.

Offline thecfarm

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Re: Felling a tree on a steep slope
« Reply #4 on: July 09, 2019, 02:27:21 PM »
I have only cut one tree on steep ground. We have a horse back on my land. Like putting a bowl on the ground. Very steep. My Father knew what was going to happen.He told me to shut the saw off as soon as it started to fall. That tree left the stump and flew through the air. All I heard was woosh,than the tree hit the ground, Something that I will never forget.
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Offline Old Greenhorn

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Re: Felling a tree on a steep slope
« Reply #5 on: July 09, 2019, 02:57:15 PM »
Around here we have a lot of steep ground, just ask @BargeMonkey  ;D :D Every tree is different, and I agree with the other guys here. I will send a tree straight down the hill if I find that the be the safest choice and I don't care where it stops. Every hill has a 'bottom', right? The hazard here is any damage it might cause, but it allows you a predictable exit path even if you can only crawl one or two steps uphill and off at an angle.  The chances of it jumping back over the stump are very low.
I usually dig or chop out a flat spot where I can set the saw when I cut it free as I am turning to claw myself away. The flat spot ensures the saw will stay put and not roll away. and my hands for climbing.
Felling uphill increases the chances of a back shoot by quite a bit, plus, it can still roll after that.  If your hinge doesn't break because the tree didn't fall far enough, freeing it from the stump can be tricky too if it backslides. My least favorite choice, and if you have an uphill lean I would opt to take it over to the side as Bob suggested.
As Skeans said, you have no where to go and that is a very scary thing for sure. About a year ago I was nearly hurt on a steep slope where I could barely keep my feet. I did not make a mistake, per se'. I had done the face and the bore cut from the bad side, then came around to the safe side to clip it loose. As I was circling the tree, I felt the earth drop an inch. I dropped the saw in it's spot and scrambled off as I heard the tree crash. The butt was 40' from the stump when it stopped. The stump had failed and split down to 18" below grade and tore out. I got lucky.
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Offline Riwaka

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Re: Felling a tree on a steep slope
« Reply #6 on: July 09, 2019, 10:01:28 PM »
Explosives, detonate when everyone is well out of harm's way. Bore cut and pack if the base of the tree can handle internal cutting. External wrap of explosives otherwise by qualified explosives personnel. 
The key words you have used that put explosives at top of the list are loose soil and a steep area to cut on - limited, risky escape routes etc.
 
Probably would not use explosives in times of dry conditions and high fire risk.

Offline BargeMonkey

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Re: Felling a tree on a steep slope
« Reply #7 on: July 10, 2019, 12:52:11 AM »
Explosives, detonate when everyone is well out of harm's way. Bore cut and pack if the base of the tree can handle internal cutting. External wrap of explosives otherwise by qualified explosives personnel.
The key words you have used that put explosives at top of the list are loose soil and a steep area to cut on - limited, risky escape routes etc.
 
Probably would not use explosives in times of dry conditions and high fire risk.
I like the way you think 😂👍 A couple hundred bucks of tannerite will level a decent sized tree but again all how you put it in there.
90% of the time on any decent steep ? hillside they will go down the hill, they may look like they curve in but its deceiving. Doesnt take much to help them change direction a little bit. So much of this "mystical art" 😂 of falling wood is just knowing what wood to cut and how much wood to leave, Skeans talked in another thread about how to much hold wood will hurt you and I see people leave 3" of wood on a tree with good direction thinking they are helping and it stays glued to the stump. I wait on some of these jobs till the wind is blowing, big top full of leaves you can send it the other way with a couple wedges and a gust of wind. Again I read about lines and winches and ROPE 😂, Cant glue them back on the stump.

Offline longtime lurker

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Re: Felling a tree on a steep slope
« Reply #8 on: July 10, 2019, 08:03:07 AM »
Me too for explosives first given what I'm reading.

My preference going that way would be to give it a good sized front, then a back cut with a heavy (steel or alloy) wedge just sitting in the cut. Stop you backcut about where you feel comfortable.... or if the tree moves slightly and the wedge falls out as a safety stop. Then put a couple wraps of det cord around the hinge... ideally you want three wraps in a triangular shape because that directs the explosion in... a number 8 det, and a good length of slow fuse. Light the fuse and bug out.

Alternately if you can't access explosives I'd do a good front and lift my backcut a bit (slows things down), take it until its about ready then ditch the saw and finish it with wedges and a sledge. Can hear whats going on that way, and a sledge is something i'm not going to think twice about ditching when I bail out.

If you got to go uphill with it, and you're worried about the getaway route an option is a big square face real low to the ground, then a vertical borecut behind that... basicly a siswheel but no directional set to it. In the right species I can just about lay them on the ground still attached to the stump, and by keeping it low theres less chance of it jumping back over the stump and coming after you. Problem is its a slow fall, and on the list of things that are truly dangerous to clear is an uphill hang up on a steep slope so make sure you've got a good path to ground for the thing.

I got a few busted ribs once felling uphill... was doing my normal big front and chase it to the ground with the saw so they come down hard and fast and dont hang up... a branch clipped another tree on the way down and it screwed sideways and that directed the butt straight to where I'd gone as it came back. Head sized rocks underfoot and I went down pretty bad as I was getting out the way. Lucky I guess.
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Offline Skeans1

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Re: Felling a tree on a steep slope
« Reply #9 on: July 10, 2019, 08:46:24 AM »
@longtime lurker
You mean a block face? A sizwheel is 100% different, a sizwheel is a face that will allow a tree to swing or rock off that side.

Theres also a reason for quartering across a slope, one reason youll have less stress on the root ball of the stump, two youll save out more wood.

Offline longtime lurker

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Re: Felling a tree on a steep slope
« Reply #10 on: July 10, 2019, 09:08:44 AM »
Yup, I screwed up my translation from 'strayan again. My bad, it's been a long day.

So a block face, then another vertical cut behind the block face and parallel too it.  You want your block face and that second vertical pretty long to allow for fibre bending. When you come in on your backcut the tree should start to fall as it hits the second vertical cut, and the hinge section between the vertical cut and the block face should pretty much stay intact on the way to the ground... it bends a long way and if it breaks it'll break at the bottom of the face. Not something for barber chair prone species but in the right wood its another trick to have up your sleeve.

It does waste a lot of wood - that extended block face puts your backcut high - but in the situations where you might be wanting to use it mostly wasting wood is secondary to getting out in one piece.
The quickest way to make a million dollars with a sawmill is to start with two million.

Offline mike_belben

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Re: Felling a tree on a steep slope
« Reply #11 on: July 10, 2019, 12:13:05 PM »
This minus the pie cut. (Which was to let the fiber closest to the saw bend even more.)



With no notch faces to close and a long radius for the hingewood to curve over, there is no tearout and the tree lays down while still attached to stump.

Revelation 13:11-18

Offline longtime lurker

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Re: Felling a tree on a steep slope
« Reply #12 on: July 10, 2019, 04:53:19 PM »
Yeah Mike, but I've have said that your face was too short on the side away from the saw rather than too long on the saw side for the effect I'm chasing. And probably too much meat between your verticals also - the biggest risk here is barber chair and you can see in your picture where its started to split into the log a little. In the situation envisaged, a steep slope and an uphill lay, I'm after a long flexible strap of wood, and if it does break across to the vertical thats better than having to cut past it to get her moving. Mostly going uphill you havent got far to ground.... its like 45 or 40 degrees not 90 which also reduces the barber chair risk.

It's a PITA for downhill extraction: where I've done this it's been to extract off a sidecut above me. If a downhill winch out is required I had to put a block on a tree above and to the side to take the load off while butting the log and kick it clear of the stump. Slow, and time is money. But it got it on the ground with a lot less risk of tree sliding around the same hill as me
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Offline mike_belben

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Re: Felling a tree on a steep slope
« Reply #13 on: July 10, 2019, 07:55:44 PM »
The pic is deceptive, the hinge is pie shaped when looking from a birds eye view.. It tapers to a point at the sprocket end.   What i think youre saying looks like the start of a chair is actually a saw kerf.. I slit way up with the bore cut.  That wedge in a funny place did nothing its just for illustration. 

Revelation 13:11-18


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