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Author Topic: Can this safely be cut down?  (Read 2160 times)

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Offline sumpnz

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Can this safely be cut down?
« on: September 15, 2021, 07:16:05 PM »
Got a birch tree that is dying.  Normally Iíd just drop it, but look at the pictures and tell me if thereís a way to do so safely, without a bucket truck anyway.  It looks to me like a barber chair tree no matter how itís cut, unless from the top down.

 

 

Offline beenthere

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Re: Can this safely be cut down?
« Reply #1 on: September 15, 2021, 07:27:16 PM »
Drop like any hard leaner.. small notch, plunge cut to establish a good hinge, and then cut back out to release the tree.

And keep your chin out of the way if it releases suddenly.  ;)
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Offline Southside

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Re: Can this safely be cut down?
« Reply #2 on: September 15, 2021, 08:31:38 PM »
That would be my go to answer but looking at the base it's clearly fractured and likely decomposed. Meaning holding wood is a crap shoot. 

I would say trust your gut and know your limits. Get a machine to fell it or a bucket to work from the top. 
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Offline treemuncher

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Re: Can this safely be cut down?
« Reply #3 on: September 15, 2021, 09:16:56 PM »
Drop like any hard leaner.. small notch, plunge cut to establish a good hinge, and then cut back out to release the tree.

And keep your chin out of the way if it releases suddenly.  ;)
With that much lean, he could get stump pull - not a pretty thing. I learned my lesson on a bad leaner many years ago that had that set up. Didn't get me but I learned a valuable lesson for the cost of adrenaline.
I'm no pro feller but I would notch above the horizontal crack, bore cut the hinge and then start from the back towards the bore cut to minimize any chance of stump pull. When she cracks, run. If its too dodgy to bore cut, just start from the back after setting the face notch. At least it's leaning away from the fence.
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Offline sumpnz

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Re: Can this safely be cut down?
« Reply #4 on: September 15, 2021, 09:45:19 PM »
That would be my go to answer but looking at the base it's clearly fractured and likely decomposed. Meaning holding wood is a crap shoot.

I would say trust your gut and know your limits. Get a machine to fell it or a bucket to work from the top.
It doesnít show up great in the pictures but there is considerable spalting on the compression side.

Offline Skeans1

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Re: Can this safely be cut down?
« Reply #5 on: September 15, 2021, 10:30:24 PM »
Drop like any hard leaner.. small notch, plunge cut to establish a good hinge, and then cut back out to release the tree.

And keep your chin out of the way if it releases suddenly.  ;)
With that much lean, he could get stump pull - not a pretty thing. I learned my lesson on a bad leaner many years ago that had that set up. Didn't get me but I learned a valuable lesson for the cost of adrenaline.
I'm no pro feller but I would notch above the horizontal crack, bore cut the hinge and then start from the back towards the bore cut to minimize any chance of stump pull. When she cracks, run. If its too dodgy to bore cut, just start from the back after setting the face notch. At least it's leaning away from the fence.
Doing this itís liable to pop the hinge right out of the stump, same thing happens when boring in to put spring boards in always make sure your hinge is in front of your board or behind it.

Online mike_belben

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Re: Can this safely be cut down?
« Reply #6 on: September 15, 2021, 10:38:01 PM »
If it has room to go exactly where its leaning id cut a few gills in the front to be sure i dont get pinched.. Watch watch watch for motion.  Clean out whatever kind of notch you fancy but make it quick..  Clip the sapwood from afar by scoring with the tip around the sides then just race in with a backcut as fast as itll go and chase it off.  Dont slow down and dont count on a hinge of any integrity unless you core drill and determine its legit inside
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Offline Runningalucas

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Re: Can this safely be cut down?
« Reply #7 on: September 15, 2021, 10:39:44 PM »
Do you have access to a tractor?  I've got a small backhoe that I use to push stuff over like that a lot; plus it'll help get rid of the stump more easily.  
Life is short, tragedy is instant, it's what we do with our time in between that matters.  Always strive to do better, to be better.

Online mike_belben

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Re: Can this safely be cut down?
« Reply #8 on: September 15, 2021, 10:40:54 PM »
The compression side is already fractured from the load.  Itll probably want to pinch as you notch.  I might just bore cut the center and fly right out the back and run like hell.  It is definitely a dangerous job.
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Offline Iwawoodwork

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Re: Can this safely be cut down?
« Reply #9 on: September 15, 2021, 11:09:16 PM »
Before you even start get 2 good tow chains at lest 5/16 and wrap around the stump about 1-2 feet above the ground then about 2 feet above that wrap the second chain, then as stated before make a small face, about 1/4 or less of tree diameter,  in the side  of tree the direction it leans. I would never mess around with doing anything but a straight back cut on that nasty tree, the less messing around and the sooner the back cut is made the less time around that tree.

Offline sumpnz

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Re: Can this safely be cut down?
« Reply #10 on: September 15, 2021, 11:12:14 PM »
Do you have access to a tractor?  I've got a small backhoe that I use to push stuff over like that a lot; plus it'll help get rid of the stump more easily.  
Weíve rented a mini-ex a few times.  If we can do that again Iíll use that to push it over.

Iím strongly tempted to see if a fall storm knocks it over.

Online mike_belben

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Re: Can this safely be cut down?
« Reply #11 on: September 15, 2021, 11:14:25 PM »
Youd be better to dig the roots out than push too hard on that i reckon.
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Offline Tacotodd

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Re: Can this safely be cut down?
« Reply #12 on: September 15, 2021, 11:48:48 PM »
If itís of any value to you then youíll need to be extremely careful no matter how you approach it. But if itís not of value, just do it.

Just BE CAREFUL! We want you to come back, with zero medical problems from this dilemma .
Trying harder everyday.

Offline Southside

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Re: Can this safely be cut down?
« Reply #13 on: September 16, 2021, 12:06:10 AM »
It doesnít show up great in the pictures but there is considerable spalting on the compression side.


That's bad - really bad.  You touch that with a saw and she just might blow up.  The question is which way does the frag fly?
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Offline sumpnz

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Re: Can this safely be cut down?
« Reply #14 on: September 16, 2021, 12:19:49 AM »
It doesnít show up great in the pictures but there is considerable spalting on the compression side.


That's bad - really bad.  You touch that with a saw and she just might blow up.  The question is which way does the frag fly?


Yeah, I think the answer here is either hire a dude with a bucket lift or let nature bring it down next time we get some decent wind.  Supposed to get almost 4Ē of rain between Friday and Tuesday, over 2Ē just Friday.  Maybe weíll get enough wind with that storm?

Offline Ianab

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Re: Can this safely be cut down?
« Reply #15 on: September 16, 2021, 01:29:18 AM »
On a positive note, you have passed level 1 of the "How to spot a hazard tree" test.  ;D

It's hard to give advice on that sort of thing over the internet. Could it be bored and felled like a regular leaner? Will it explode when a saw touches it? Can't really say  :-\ ???

Bucket truck or heavy machinery would be the safest option for sure. 
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Offline BargeMonkey

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Re: Can this safely be cut down?
« Reply #16 on: September 17, 2021, 12:57:08 AM »
 
Drop like any hard leaner.. small notch, plunge cut to establish a good hinge, and then cut back out to release the tree.

And keep your chin out of the way if it releases suddenly.  ;)

 ☝....  that tree is big enough to smoke the cab on a small machine, adding danger to it. Poke it at a comfortable height, get as much as you can and if it seems funny walk away, if it's 3/4 cut the wind will do the rest. 

Online kantuckid

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Re: Can this safely be cut down?
« Reply #17 on: September 17, 2021, 08:52:28 AM »
A couple lengths of chain and my tractor would pull that down easily. Cut afterwards!
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Online DMcCoy

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Re: Can this safely be cut down?
« Reply #18 on: September 17, 2021, 09:28:55 AM »
That is ugly. 
In your trunk picture - where I would place the hinge -is already cracked with the backside opening up. Man that is really ugly.
If it was me...
I would wrap it with 2 chains above that horizontal crack.
Put a long line on it a high as I could reach, long enough where I could pull it without getting hit.
Give it a light backcut with my arms extended and a clear escape route.
Pull it down with the cable.
-or-
blast the backside with a shotgun until it fell
-or-
leave it alone, which is safest, and I have 2 trees like that...

Online kantuckid

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Re: Can this safely be cut down?
« Reply #19 on: September 17, 2021, 10:13:26 AM »
Leave it be is the best answer...
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Offline Southside

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Re: Can this safely be cut down?
« Reply #20 on: September 17, 2021, 10:20:33 AM »
Just putting it out there that with the whole chain thing.  First, chains fail when facing a shock load, when they do you have flying steel at head level.  Also, chains transfer energy, so they may hold at the point of wrapping the tree, but the energy stored in the tree is transferred above that point.  If that point is compromised you now have an uncontrolled failure at head level or above, being higher off the ground it has more opportunity to reach out and touch you.  

I hear guys recommend it a lot but the whole chain thing has a very deadly downside to it. 
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Offline snobdds

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Re: Can this safely be cut down?
« Reply #21 on: September 17, 2021, 10:50:33 AM »
Before you even start get 2 good tow chains at lest 5/16 and wrap around the stump about 1-2 feet above the ground then about 2 feet above that wrap the second chain, then as stated before make a small face, about 1/4 or less of tree diameter,  in the side  of tree the direction it leans. I would never mess around with doing anything but a straight back cut on that nasty tree, the less messing around and the sooner the back cut is made the less time around that tree.
That is what I do as well. All the beatle kill SPF around me crack bad.  I put a sturdy ratch strap below and above where I cut.  It keeps the tree from barberchairing.  I then make a small notch.  I then get my pole saw and start the back cut from a safe distance.  I have a helper that only job is to look up and hit me on the shoulder if it moves.  Then I run. 

Offline trimguy

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Re: Can this safely be cut down?
« Reply #22 on: September 17, 2021, 11:32:25 AM »
I donít know how well it would work, but I like the shotgun idea. ;D

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Re: Can this safely be cut down?
« Reply #23 on: September 17, 2021, 11:42:08 AM »
If it were me and using what tools
I have , I’d give a shallow notch the way it’s leaning and then back cut with my pole saw while 15 -20 ft away from the tree

Offline Skeans1

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Re: Can this safely be cut down?
« Reply #24 on: September 17, 2021, 11:58:02 AM »
Just putting it out there that with the whole chain thing.  First, chains fail when facing a shock load, when they do you have flying steel at head level.  Also, chains transfer energy, so they may hold at the point of wrapping the tree, but the energy stored in the tree is transferred above that point.  If that point is compromised you now have an uncontrolled failure at head level or above, being higher off the ground it has more opportunity to reach out and touch you.  

I hear guys recommend it a lot but the whole chain thing has a very deadly downside to it.
Letís also not forget they slide up round objects very well.

Offline Hilltop366

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Re: Can this safely be cut down?
« Reply #25 on: September 17, 2021, 12:32:58 PM »
I watched a video one time about dropping a hazard tree (I think it was a back leaner), he dug and cut the roots off on the back cut side of the tree the pulled it down.

Looks like it pulled over rather easily with the roots cut off yet the remaining roots controlled the direction of fall.


Offline Iwawoodwork

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Re: Can this safely be cut down?
« Reply #26 on: September 17, 2021, 01:38:39 PM »
Southside, On the puny little tree in question a good chain is not going to do any of the things you mention,  also in my life around machinery, 40+ years, have had quite a few chains break and have yet to  have anything like you promoted, happen, so as you can tell my experience has been different than yours.

Offline sumpnz

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Re: Can this safely be cut down?
« Reply #27 on: September 17, 2021, 03:17:03 PM »
I donít know how well it would work, but I like the shotgun idea. ;D
Tannerite and a round sufficient to set it off would be fun.  Probably would get me in more trouble than it would be worth though.

Offline Lostinmn

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Re: Can this safely be cut down?
« Reply #28 on: September 17, 2021, 05:10:45 PM »
tell your least favorite relative there's no way they could do it, then stand back.....  ;D 

Offline sumpnz

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Re: Can this safely be cut down?
« Reply #29 on: October 21, 2021, 04:22:44 PM »
My patience was rewarded!  Weather station in my backyard recorded a 27.3mph gust.  Guessing thatís what did it.  So glad I didnít have to try to cut myself or spend the money on a pro to do it for me. 1st picture was from this morning and shows how the cracks had grown.  Other 2 are, obviously, after it fell, showing the extent of the rot.

 

 

   

Offline samandothers

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Re: Can this safely be cut down?
« Reply #30 on: October 21, 2021, 09:35:01 PM »
Good things come to those that wait!

Offline B.C.C. Lapp

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Re: Can this safely be cut down?
« Reply #31 on: October 26, 2021, 01:33:57 PM »
I read all the posts in this thread and decided I'm either pretty good at what I do for a living, OR, I'm a moron not smart enough to be worried by this tree.   I don't really want to know which it is. :D  
And don't get me wrong I dont post this to brag, its just what I see and thought.

Because from what I can see in the pics I would have cut that tree down without any hesitation at all.  Would be a bit trickier than some but since it was not a high value tree so I wouldn't be concerned with fiber pull and it seemed like it had its direction decided and nothing to hit.  With the center broke and splits already there a barber chair would be pretty likely so I may or may not have opened it with a shallow face cut and would not have tried to bore it at all.    I would have made a T cut starting on the worst side then cut the more solid looking side.   Not much to it. 
But then I cut about 7000 board feet of timber a day with a chainsaw and have for decades.  
Its the first few thousand trees that's hard.   After that you start to get the hang of it. smiley_thumbsup
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Offline bitternut

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Re: Can this safely be cut down?
« Reply #32 on: October 26, 2021, 03:36:01 PM »
In my younger days, I would have just made sure that I had a sharp fast cutting chain and cut right through that horizontal crack from the backside of the lean. Judging from the picture the tree had a pretty good lean toward a clear hole to drop into. I would not have bothered with a bore cut or worried about a barber chair. That's because I did not know what either was when I was younger.

Today I am a little older and wiser and would most likely have wrapped the trunk with one of my 2" ratchet straps but made the same cut as my younger days. Probably would have had my arms extended as much as possible to keep me off to the side out of harm's way.

B.C.C. LAPP could you explain what a T cut is.

Offline Skeans1

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Re: Can this safely be cut down?
« Reply #33 on: October 26, 2021, 03:44:52 PM »
@bitternut 
A T style back cut or a coos bay are where the two sides are taken first then you go right through the center both of which would of gotten that on the ground.

Offline Southside

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Re: Can this safely be cut down?
« Reply #34 on: October 26, 2021, 03:48:00 PM »
@Wudman showed me a printoff of an incident which happened in New Zealand recently.  Co-dom tree and a tracked forestry harvester.  Amazing example of just what can go wrong, even when you have all of the correct gear.  Maybe he can post it on here.  Describing the carnage does not begin to do it justice.  You simply can not out run a falling tree, nor duck a butt that has jumped at you.  Lucky is all you can be, and that runs out.  

Have we all cut stuff we really should not have?  Yup, I have.  Have I gotten lucky and known it? Yup.  Even got lucky when a widow maker hit me as it was maybe 2" in diameter, dead, and hit my hard hat.  Collapsed the suspension and split my head open, but after getting my feet under me I did walk away.  Completely my fault - I missed the fact it was hanging up there.  Spent the next month with a massive concussion that resulted in me getting lost on my own farm and thinking I had discovered fields I didn't know we had.  Did I mention I got lucky? Very lucky.  I knew a couple guys who didn't get that lucky.  

The tree is on the ground, the OP has no health issues as a result, and there is zero property damage.  He did the exact, right, thing.  
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Offline sumpnz

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Re: Can this safely be cut down?
« Reply #35 on: October 27, 2021, 04:56:27 AM »
@Southside - I have cut down a lot of trees on my 5 acres.  But thatís what a pro would call a good few days.  Iím at that stage that people are either the proverbial dangerous 2nd Lt with a map and a compass, or smart enough to know their limitations.  I like to think Iím the latter. At least in this case Iím pretty sure I was.

About 6 years ago I got diagnosed with young onset Parkinsonís Disease (38 at the time).  One aspect of that I never expected is anxiety.  Never had the slightest problem with that before, but after cutting down probably 8-10 trees (after a full day at my day job) I had a full blown anxiety attack.  It happened again after another evening (post work) of cutting down 6-8 trees.  After that I caught a clue.  Seems that combo of physical exertion and mental stress due to the dangers is what does it. Itís forced me to be more thoughtful about things like falling trees.  The meds for PD help a lot but only so much. 

Max is now 3 trees in a day (and no more than 3 days running at that pace), and maybe only 1 tree if itís a difficult/stressful one.  And sometimes I look at a tree and just say ďhell noĒ.  Thankfully the vast majority of the trees that needed cutting are done by now.  So itís just the occasional tree like this one that I have to deal with for the most part now.

I could *DanG near feel anxiety swelling just looking at the tree in the OP.  And I didnít even have the chainsaw out.  

Mind you, I can run the saw all dang day limbing, bucking logs, running the CSM, and whatnot.  Itís converting trees from vertical to horizontal that gets my stress levels up.

Offline bannerd

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Re: Can this safely be cut down?
« Reply #36 on: October 27, 2021, 06:47:53 AM »
I read all the posts in this thread and decided I'm either pretty good at what I do for a living, OR, I'm a moron not smart enough to be worried by this tree.   I don't really want to know which it is. :D  
And don't get me wrong I dont post this to brag, its just what I see and thought.

Because from what I can see in the pics I would have cut that tree down without any hesitation at all.  Would be a bit trickier than some but since it was not a high value tree so I wouldn't be concerned with fiber pull and it seemed like it had its direction decided and nothing to hit.  With the center broke and splits already there a barber chair would be pretty likely so I may or may not have opened it with a shallow face cut and would not have tried to bore it at all.    I would have made a T cut starting on the worst side then cut the more solid looking side.   Not much to it.  
But then I cut about 7000 board feet of timber a day with a chainsaw and have for decades.  
Its the first few thousand trees that's hard.   After that you start to get the hang of it. smiley_thumbsup
I was thinking the same.. I don't know.. I would have just cut the back side and walked the other direction.  If it had a 40" base and was perfectly vertical I might have question it... but that lean!

Offline Wudman

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Re: Can this safely be cut down?
« Reply #37 on: October 27, 2021, 09:26:12 AM »
The incident that Southside mentioned happened in our New Zealand Operations.  The safety alert is attached.  The operator of a TimberPro tracked feller was cutting a tree with multiple leaders in the top.  He heard the tree snap overhead and slid forward in the operator's seat and looked up.  One of the leaders fell straight down and entered the cab of the machine through the escape hatch.  If he had been in the normal operator's position, the stem would have hit him in the head and driven his body through the seat.  As it was, he walked away with minor scratches.  See attached safety alert for pictures. The escape hatch on these machines have been redesigned and reinforced.  His angel was with him that day.

Wud 
ďYou may tear down statues and burn buildings but you canít kill the spirit of patriots and when theyíve had enough this madness will end.Ē
Charlie Daniels
July 4, 2020 (2 days before his death)

Offline Old saw fixer

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Re: Can this safely be cut down?
« Reply #38 on: October 27, 2021, 02:50:03 PM »
     Too close for comfort!
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Offline newoodguy78

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Re: Can this safely be cut down?
« Reply #39 on: October 27, 2021, 07:26:06 PM »
Thatís unreal, you arenít kidding about his angel being close that day.
As someone with a plate and five screws in my forearm without the full use of my left hand from a tree landing on it, I cringe when someone gets overly lax when cutting trees especially questionable ones. Thereís nothing wrong with being confident in oneís abilities but things happen fast and when least expected. 

Offline Skeans1

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Re: Can this safely be cut down?
« Reply #40 on: October 27, 2021, 08:02:04 PM »
Itís not the first time Iíve seen that sort of picture is the bad part to the flat style sky lights vs the old style that were pop up style windows. Weíve seen limbs go through 1Ē without an issue.

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Re: Can this safely be cut down?
« Reply #41 on: October 27, 2021, 09:36:36 PM »
i think that one was above angel pay grade!
Isaiah 63:10

Offline B.C.C. Lapp

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Re: Can this safely be cut down?
« Reply #42 on: October 29, 2021, 08:55:57 AM »


B.C.C. LAPP could you explain what a T cut is.
@bitternut
A T style back cut or a coos bay are where the two sides are taken first then you go right through the center both of which would of gotten that on the ground.
Skeans, bitternut covered it spot on. 
  Sometimes with a T cut I make a face cut and then open my notch, then bore cut the fiber behind the notch.   I do this with hard leaning trees that are also good lumber trees to avoid fiber pull or splitting.    Once you have removed enough wood as you can you release it by coming across the back side from the right then left depending on which way has the most pressure.   You always cut the side with the most pressure first.
Hard for me to explain in type.   Would be much easier to show you. 
Listen, or your tongue will make you deaf.


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