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Author Topic: New to felling trees  (Read 2045 times)

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Offline Timberline

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New to felling trees
« on: March 25, 2021, 03:29:06 PM »
I asked a question in a different part of the forum about best bar and chains for some new clone saws I purchase recently. But I wanted to hone in on a specific question: What is the best bar length for felling trees? Iím fairly new to felling and would like to start felling larger trees up to 30Ē+. I bought a MS660 clone just for this purpose. Is it best to buy a bar that is at least 2 inches bigger than the tree I am cutting? If Iím cutting say a 28Ē tree, is a 30Ē bar the best?

Thanks 

Offline mike_belben

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Re: New to felling trees
« Reply #1 on: March 25, 2021, 03:42:46 PM »
Im gonna be blunt here out of concern, not disrespect or malice.  


That question is a red flag that you are looking at trees that are out of your league right now.   You may try it and survive and learn and maybe grow to be a bonafide slayer some day... but for today... luck is not a good thing to rely on when trying to tell a big old tree who is boss.  



Start smaller.  Please.  Im sure youve got a family that wants you intact.
Psalm 37:16

Offline mike_belben

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Re: New to felling trees
« Reply #2 on: March 25, 2021, 03:48:33 PM »
You did come to the right forum.. People here will help you get educated without ridicule .. Im just saying slow down a minute.  Because a real faller can probably lay out a 30" tree with a 14" bar and not get hurt or barberchair.  Armed with the wrong info, any tree can 'chair your head into the next county no matter what equipment you have.  


I am a just try it and see guy and its nearly killed me a few times. 
Psalm 37:16

Offline mudfarmer

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Re: New to felling trees
« Reply #3 on: March 25, 2021, 04:23:16 PM »
Also not being disrespectful but just relating my experience:
Read this whole section of the forum, front to back-- it's awesome and you will be amazed at how the varied information and perspectives help broaden your approach and thought process regarding all sorts of tasks not just cutting trees.

To give you some info in the vein of the question, trees are often referred to by their diameter but this is probably "diameter at breast height" and trees are tapered not straight. So if you have a 28" DBH tree the butt flare and root swell are going to mean it is some random amount larger where you cut than at breast height, entirely dependent on that tree. Some of these guys run crazy long bars because they need them regularly but sometimes you just have to cut a big tree with a bar too short. Best to practice on something else before getting to that point.

Offline firefighter ontheside

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Re: New to felling trees
« Reply #4 on: March 25, 2021, 05:59:29 PM »
I would recommend at least taking a class on felling and using a chainsaw in general.  I've been felling and using a chainsaw for over 30 years, but I learned a ton more about it when I took a class taught by the forest service only 10 years ago.  I wouldn't expect to always have a bar bigger than the tree you're cutting.  That's why it would be best to get some training.  Then get really good at felling a 12'' tree, then a 24" tree, etc.
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Offline Old Greenhorn

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Re: New to felling trees
« Reply #5 on: March 25, 2021, 06:17:45 PM »
It's not the size of your tool, it is the skill with which you can use it that counts. Not being smart here, just saying you don't need a big bar for bigger trees. I take 20 and 30 inch trees with an 18" bar often enough, but I prefer at least a 20".  WHat you need is someone to teach you how this is done. You can get ideas, but you can't learn this over the internet. Tell us about your experience and background, maybe we can help a little more.
 Welcome to the forum,
Tom
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Oscar 328 Band Mill, Husky 450, 372 (Clone), Mule 3010, and too many hand tools. :) Retired and trying to make a living to stay that way. NYLT Certified.
OK, maybe I am the woodcutter now.
I can work with wood, but I am NOT a Woodworker, yet.

Offline Timberline

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Re: New to felling trees
« Reply #6 on: March 25, 2021, 06:19:28 PM »
I sincerely appreciate the advice. I know itís difficult to really understand where a guy is coming from when youíre posting on a forum vs face to face. 

Just to help give some perspective, I am a 27 year old airline pilot with a wife at home and am extremely safety conscious. I really want to learn how to safely fell trees as I have always wanted to have a sawmill and build log homes. I got into chainsaws when I was a kid from a friend who was in the tree business and he let me run his big 90+ cc Stihl. Ever since then I was hooked. 

I know buying the 660 was probably way more saw than I need at the moment, but I also didnít want it to be like when I was learning how to weld myself and was trying to use way too small of a machine for the job. After ponying you the money for the more expensive welder it made things a lot safer and easier. That is sort of my question. Is it safer to use small bar or are there situations where using a larger bar is better? What would you guys recommend me getting for these saws to learn on safely? 

Honestly I have no trees to even cut right now as I live in town and my mill is out on my parents property. Iíve just been hoping to across some already fallen logs to start sawing on my mill and eventually go to more advanced things. If I do cut a tree down in the near future, Iím going to start on something as small as I can find, with my dad and brother (who have done some limited felling themselves) helpings/offering advice. 

My situation may be a little odd which is why I stared the thread, but I will certainly take the advice and read through this forum. Glad to have found it. I seem to find lots of info from pro to pro but less on starting out. Wish I had someone local who could show me the ropes, but I am grateful for this forum and truly want to learn from you guys. 

Thanks, Chris 

Offline Timberline

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Re: New to felling trees
« Reply #7 on: March 25, 2021, 06:41:03 PM »
I should also add that my short term plan for that 660 isnít to use it for felling, but rather bucking any of the larger logs I can get my hands on. I certainly wonít attempt to fell a large tree until I am confident I can do it safely. And I am not at all confident now. If I need hands on training as some of you have mentioned, I will get it. But I wouldnít even know how to go about getting it, so that is why Iím starting here. Basically short term just want a bar for the saw that I can run it with and get it all set up and running right and cut stuff on the ground. I just know someday Iíd like to use it for more, so if I can save myself cost by making an informed purchase and by the right bar now, Iíd rather do that. But if Iíll need two or more bars to do it the right way, thatís ok as well. Iíll do whatever is necessary.

Offline mike_belben

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Re: New to felling trees
« Reply #8 on: March 25, 2021, 06:48:06 PM »
I think the first best step is to watch any of the "idiots with chainsaws" vids on youtube. Youll see case after case of what not to do.  Usually involving a ladder, a minivan with a rope and maybe a powerline.  Im serious.. If you see enough of them crushing houses and falling out of trees youll atleast not ever consider any of those silly maneuvers.  


Next up, watch videos of barberchairs.  Lots of them.  Pay attention to where you simply should not ever stand, and also realize a barber chair is when one part of the tree (the top) says 'we are goin over' while the other part of it (the bottom) says 'the heck we are.'    You get a barberchair. The top and bottom cant reconcile their prerogatives and the buttlog is split vertically in two. It can lift a tractor off the ground and kill any living thing it touches.  Barberchairs are generally too much hinge material remaining as the top starts to go over.  Easy splitting wood will chair easy too.  


These are my top suggestions.. The dont do its.  No ladders, minivans, powerlines or barberchairs. There are many other ways to die but these top level mistakes. Some are plain stupid but even a pro can chair a tree now and then.  So know where to stand.. Always.  


Short answer, id hang a 24" bar on it.  Great all around size.
Psalm 37:16

Offline Timberline

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Re: New to felling trees
« Reply #9 on: March 25, 2021, 07:03:41 PM »
Thank you, sir! That helps a lot. Never heard the term barber chair so I am already learning. I will do my homework. Btw, I noticed you referenced the greatest book on earth in your signature line. It is always good to meet a fellow brother in Christ.

Offline Thomasjw4

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Re: New to felling trees
« Reply #10 on: March 25, 2021, 07:13:44 PM »
Firefighterontheside already mentioned it, but the Forest Service puts on saw training every year for volunteers(at least out in my neck of the woods) for free.  I would assume they do everywhere.  And to be able to put on that training the need to be a better than average sawyer.  its amazing how much you can pick up in a day or 2 of training.  

Offline Timberline

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Re: New to felling trees
« Reply #11 on: March 25, 2021, 07:22:43 PM »
That would be very cool! I live in SW MI which isnít a big logging area but Iíll have to look into it.

Offline Skeans1

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Re: New to felling trees
« Reply #12 on: March 25, 2021, 07:26:27 PM »
Having cut timber in production settings over the years I got lucky to break in under some of the old growth fallers if and this is a big if thereís anyone around your area like that youíll learn more from them then some of those classes. As far as bars go I run around that size of saw day in and out with a 32 sometimes a 36 doesnít matter if itís hardwood or softwoods, but most of the timber I cut is longer then those bars even on good ground. If youíre looking for a few more term to look up start with sight cut, face cuts of all kinds, and back cut. When breaking in a new guy doesnít matter the bar length the hardest thing for them to do is learn level when cutting and then truly sighting in a tree next would be learning how to feel your back cut by watching up as well as watching the cut.

Offline moodnacreek

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Re: New to felling trees
« Reply #13 on: March 25, 2021, 07:50:22 PM »
I started when I was 16 after watching men do it. Had some close calls and if the lord had not been there I would not be here. got a sawmill at age 32 and had to learn all over again as not to break them. Start small and always have plan B and I hope you are fast on your feet.

Offline treemuncher

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Re: New to felling trees
« Reply #14 on: March 25, 2021, 08:01:22 PM »
The absolute best $100 that I ever spent was getting my Master Logger Certification that was offered by the Tennessee Forestry Association if I remember correctly. It was suggested to me by the local forester at the TVA office. I think I was fed nearly $20 in food in each of the 5 classes that I attended. I think it was '94 or '95 when I took the class and then some continuing education classes the following years.

I CAN'T YELL IT LOUD ENOUGH - TAKE THIS SAW SAFETY COURSE IF YOU EVER PLAN TO RUN A CHAIN SAW, EVEN JUST ONCE. IT IS THE CHEAPEST LIFE INSURANCE YOU COULD EVER BUY.

I never started logging but had job offers when they found out I was certified. I prefer being self employed. I've cut plenty of trees when I have to for safety reasons in my own business but I avoid the chain saw when I can. I follow the safety rules except for rule #1- never work in the woods alone with a chain saw. I'm self employed without employees for 24 years now. I have to be careful and preplan if I want to survive.

I've had a couple trees do some unexpected things but using the open-face method with a pre-cut hinge, as I was taught in the training class, has made my life much safer when cutting trees. Preplan your escape routes, learn to read the lean on a tree and follow a solid plan for success. Heavy equipment with a winch and remote control allows me to tackle trees I would normally shy away from when I have to get the job done in extremely tight situations.

Now that I've tried to sell the value of training, I will answer the original question. I only own 1 conventional chain saw and 3 bar sizes. I started with a Husqvarna 272, a fantastic saw,  but that was stolen after 10 years. It was replaced with a Husqvarna 385XP that still used the same bars and chains. It's a lot of saw but I would rather have one big workhorse to get my work done fast. I keep a 20" for firewood or smaller jobs up to 36" at the cut. My most used bar is the 28" which is almost always on the powerhead and it allows me to handle up to 50"+ cuts. When I need to tackle the big stuff, I have a 54" bar that I dread using because it is so heavy and awkward to handle. When you cut a massive oak at 5'4" across the cut, you want that big ass bar.



 

This big red oak was leaning towards the road. The winch on my Barko broke the first 30k lb strap that was wrapped around the tree. The tree shook but remained standing due to proper techniques taught in the logger school. Another strap was wrapped into the crown and then, due to the weight of the tree, my machine could not pull it over. I was spinning tires in the field. They hooked an IT28 tool carrier to my cutterhead to help me with the pull and it made a mighty thud when gravity brought it home, right where I was shooting for.







 

Sadly, that big red oak was too large for the local mills to accept and too heavy to move about. I had to have help from an IT28 tool carrier to move that log when it started to slide down the hill towards the road. It was a beast. The entire tree was chips on the bank when I finished it off.
TreeMuncher.com  Where only the chosen remain standing

Offline OntarioAl

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Re: New to felling trees
« Reply #15 on: March 25, 2021, 09:06:40 PM »
Timberline
Kick Back research the term as  related to chain saws
I teach Chain Saw courses up here in Canuckistan understanding what causes it and how to prevent it is a major part of safe chain saw handling.
Cheers 
Al
Al Raman

Offline grabber green

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Re: New to felling trees
« Reply #16 on: March 25, 2021, 09:21:46 PM »
To answer your question ,just get a 20 inch bar.
from what you say your plans are, its all you will ever need.  More importantly
If you have no experiance  falling trees at least go   get some safety training and try to find someone that knows what there doing to mentor you in the woods . One problem is finding that person. I know guys that have cut trees for 40 years as farmers,tree trimmers,firewood cutters,hobby sawmillers and the like that think they are good but  would be lost in the pro timber faller world.   Also west coast fallers and east coast fallers have different ideas and methods.
I guess I just got lucky to be able learn from family members that were old time  timber fallers in oregon and tennessee. With their guidance and years of on the job experiance I was finally being called a timber faller by those old timers.   Also let us know how that chinese clone saw works out.

Offline mike_belben

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Re: New to felling trees
« Reply #17 on: March 25, 2021, 10:09:09 PM »
Btw, I noticed you referenced the greatest book on earth in your signature line. It is always good to meet a fellow brother in Christ.
Praise the Lord buddy, Amen. 
Psalm 37:16

Offline Ed_K

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Re: New to felling trees
« Reply #18 on: March 26, 2021, 07:33:14 AM »
 Get a smaller saw to start cutting in the smaller trees you talked about 20" bar is good enough. Save that big saw with a 36" bar for splitting logs that won't fit on your sawmill. See if you can find a Game of Logging course at some point to help with the safety part of cutting trees.

Offline thecfarm

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Re: New to felling trees
« Reply #19 on: March 26, 2021, 07:42:03 AM »
There is a lot of ways to fell trees, but only a few safe ways. Proper PPE and training is the only way to go. I cut good size trees. Most times I have to cut smaller ones for a place for the trees to fall. I only cut on mine land, as you will, so I have time to make it look nice. A OWB helps out on all the wood.  ;D
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