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Author Topic: How can I safely cut down this tree?  (Read 4304 times)

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Offline 379hammerdown

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How can I safely cut down this tree?
« on: February 24, 2007, 02:07:03 AM »
Hello,

Last year we got hit with Hurricane Rita... which left me with a lot of trees down on our property. Out in "The woods" (Uncleared area on our property) there is a pine tree that has fallen across the path. Its laying across in a way that I dont quite know how to safely lay it down on the ground.

The tree is a pine roughly 10" in diameter. It broke about 10' off the ground so basically it goes from the ground up to 10' then its hinged at about 55degrees where the top of the tree is laying on the ground about 75' away. There is nothing around that I need to worry about damage wise... BESIDES MYSELF :) The top of the tree is also partly off the ground via broken & bent branches. Its a loblolly pine so there are only branches at the top of the tree.

My only objective is to get the part that's hinged 10' off the ground... on the ground, safely! I'm scared to cut the stump any direction because I'm afraid of the possibility of it kickin back at me because of the preassure... should I start at the top going slow & cut a section at a time? Any ideas?

Offline DanG

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Re: How can I safely cut down this tree?
« Reply #1 on: February 24, 2007, 02:57:14 AM »
I'm not an expert on these matters, but since I seem to have the first shot at this, I'll give my idea and see how it holds up when those that really know weigh in. ;D

I would start at the top of the tree, the part that is on the ground.  Cut away any branches that aren't supporting anything.  Then start just whittling away at the supporting branches, beginning at the top of the tree.  Grab each branch before cutting and give it a good shake.  If you can make it move, there isn't much pressure on it.  Try to figure out which way each one is being pushed, then cut from the appropriate side, just as you would when limbing out any freshly cut tree.  When you have the stem resting on the ground, start bucking it with a series of undercuts until you are as close to the stump as you can get.  Then put a come-along on the stump to control the direction, and fell it like a normal tree.

Now, lets sit back and see what the real experts have to say. ;)
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Offline Ianab

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Re: How can I safely cut down this tree?
« Reply #2 on: February 24, 2007, 03:18:27 AM »
haha.. DanG types faster than me, but my plan is basically the same  :D

Without seeing it it's hard to say.. but...

Quote
should I start at the top going slow & cut a section at a time?

It's probably pretty safe to do that, bearing in mind that there may be branches and the trunk itself under tension in there, so just be carefull and plan your cuts accordingly. You will probably need to cut up from the bottom of the log if it is supported from each end and watch it doesn't roll off the spar as you are cutting and shifting the presure.

Other thought that occurs to me is to tie a rope at the 10 ft break, bind the spar and the broken trunk together (so the broken piece cant fall on your head) then run a nice long rope down to a winch or tractor. Run the rope at 90 deg to the broken top and just take the slack out of the rope, dont try and pull it over yet. Now notch and backcut it to fall in the direction the rope is pulling. Leave a nice fat hinge so it doesn't fall while you are still cutting. Now wander over to the safe end of the rope and winch the thing over.

A combination of the two ideas might work best, remove as much weight from the top as you think is safe, then cut the rest down using rope and winch to control it.

Normal safety advise applies and if you dont feel happy with the cut, dont do it. At 10" dia it doesn't sound too scary, but it could still put the hurt on you if it landed on your head.

Cheers

Ian
Weekend warrior, Peterson JP test pilot, Dolmar 7900 and Stihl MS310 saws and  the usual collection of power tools :)

Offline 379hammerdown

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Re: How can I safely cut down this tree?
« Reply #3 on: February 24, 2007, 03:40:05 AM »
I appreciate both of you getting back with me! I probably made an error judging the size of the tree when I estimated its width heheh its really more like 15" or so but thats not really too big of a deal as both of em will put a major hurtin on me! I've got a nice scar on by back from an oak tree about 6" diameter! (Rita cleanup) :o Learned a good lesson & thankfully I'm still here to tell about it. I'm paranoid from then on, sure you can underatand  :D

I think that indeed the best way is to limb off the top as much as I can, tie it off securely to my tractor from enough distance, make a nice cut on the oposite side of the chain/rope and use the tractor to pull the whole thing down. Sound about right?

Maybe tomorrow I'll take a walk out there and take a picture of it just to make sure were all on the same page, I'm not in a major rush to take it down, but it sure would be nice to get my path back...

Thanks again for your suggestions


Offline Kevin

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Re: How can I safely cut down this tree?
« Reply #4 on: February 24, 2007, 08:52:46 AM »
hammer, would it look like this ...


Offline 379hammerdown

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Re: How can I safely cut down this tree?
« Reply #5 on: February 24, 2007, 05:07:04 PM »
Yep it looks just like that! I just went out and took a couple pics






Offline Kevin

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Re: How can I safely cut down this tree?
« Reply #6 on: February 24, 2007, 05:50:14 PM »
I cut many like that.
That one looks solid at the break.

Remove the limbs.
Cut it off where it hits the ground.
Put a rope on the side you want to pull it.
Make a face cut and felling cut on the trunk, LEAVE a hinge intact.
Add a couple of wedges in the felling cut.
Go a safe distance and pull it over using the rope.



Online beenthere

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Re: How can I safely cut down this tree?
« Reply #7 on: February 24, 2007, 06:02:36 PM »
I like Kevin's idea too. I had a hickory break off in the wind last summer, that was near identical to yours. Removed the limbs holding the top from rolling over, then cut it at the stump to fall sideways, using Kevin's technique. The wedges were important, as it just wanted to perch on the stump and had little to no weight to push it over.

This was after it was down.



Puttin that wood through the woodburner as we speak...... :)
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Offline mur

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Re: How can I safely cut down this tree?
« Reply #8 on: February 24, 2007, 06:34:44 PM »
All good advice given in the previous posts.  If a machine is not available to pull the tree over, here is another method.  If another tree is available to '"hit" the stub and hanging tree section, "Cut up" the 10' stub, leaving enough wood holding to keep everything "intact".  Use wedges.  Then, from the safety of the second tree, drop it on the "cut up" stub and hanging tree section.  This operation is not to be performed by novices.  Because improperly done, the second tree can pivot on the stub going out of control.  And if the scene is really too scary, cut up the tree, bore it and blow it with powder.  Again, only a professional can do this.  If you feel out of your element when you hit complications in falling trees, you probably are.  Get some advice from someone who has the experience.  Good fallers are around and most of them enjoy helping other people do it safely.  They can be great teachers and most I know like to be challenged with a problem.  Always, Safety First.
Don't dream it, be it.

Offline Paw

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Re: How can I safely cut down this tree?
« Reply #9 on: February 24, 2007, 06:41:34 PM »
Kevins idea is the "legal" way to do it! I learnt it the same way at the Danish scool of Forestry

I hope You can read my english  ;)

Paw - Who still is at home because of snowstorm

Offline Furby

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Re: How can I safely cut down this tree?
« Reply #10 on: February 24, 2007, 06:49:43 PM »
We sure can read your english Paw, welcome to the forum! 8) 8) 8)
Where are you from?

Offline Jeff

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Re: How can I safely cut down this tree?
« Reply #11 on: February 24, 2007, 06:52:51 PM »
Welcome to the Forum Paw! :)
Just call me the midget doctor.
Forestry Forum Founder and Chief Cook and Bottle Washer.

Commercial circle sawmill sawyer in a past life.
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Offline mur

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Re: How can I safely cut down this tree?
« Reply #12 on: February 24, 2007, 07:04:20 PM »
Welcome to the Forum Paw.  Your English is excellent. 
Don't dream it, be it.

Offline rebocardo

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Re: How can I safely cut down this tree?
« Reply #13 on: February 25, 2007, 05:35:30 PM »
Kevin's picture shows pretty much how I would do it. When I do something like this, I usually use a pole saw to remove me 8-10 feet from the tree and I make the cut waist high. A cheap Ryobi 12" gas pole saw will handle this pine.

On the rope where Kevin showed (I use cable) I anchor it to the 4x4 before I start anything. Whatever work I do, I do it on the opposite side of the tree, to the anchor, so the tree does not roll back towards me.

I make the face cut and back cut with the pole saw and do not bother with wedges (I am not getting that close). If it sits back on the saw I then pull it forward and down with the 4x4. I have never had one sit back on the saw, I just plan for it.

I attach an additional line around the upright trunk itself in case the leaning part decides to fall straight down (breaking from the trunk) and leave the trunk standing. I usually anchor the additional line to another tree to prevent the remaining trunk from falling towards me, or kicking back towards the right, if the hinge breaks the wrong way. 

On the back cut,  if the saw is not big enough to go straight across the back cut, start on the leaning side first and get your depth and hinge correct there. Then walk with the saw to the right side (opposite the lean) while making the back cut deeper. That leaves the holding wood on your side (in a wedge shape) until you are clear of the leaning and back side, and are standing at the exit side.

I would spend the time removing the barberchair from over your head with a pole saw before you started anything.


Offline Kevin

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Re: How can I safely cut down this tree?
« Reply #14 on: February 25, 2007, 06:11:29 PM »
I have on occasion cut them intentionally like that to save an ornamental in a customers yard.


Offline 379hammerdown

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Re: How can I safely cut down this tree?
« Reply #15 on: February 26, 2007, 07:41:28 AM »
Hehe I like the pic of your tree there Kevin! Thanks for all your imput :) I'm confident that I'll now be able to safely get this sucker all the way down. Next is to bring that nice oak in the background to my mill...


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