The boyz at the rifle range have been concerned about a tree above the back stop falling down and damaging the high power target carriers and roof. Its roots have been emerging from the hill for years. We have some awesome wind storms at times. One of these days, the wind and erosion will drop it. If they don’t the continuing weight of growing branches on the south side will bring it down with a substantial landslide as well. Growing in that position, well over 3/4 of the weight was hanging out towards the target structures.
At the last board meeting there was some talk about trying to find an arborist to take it down. Finally, one of the guys moved I cut it down at the next work party. Nothing against office people, but these guys are mostly office people and thought this was going to be a big deal. I hadn’t taken a good look at it, just seen it up there growing for many years. It was only about 45-50 feet tall. Saturday was the work party. Several guys warned me I couldn’t get up to it and that it was a big tree that would fall down where we didn’t want it doing damage. Well, that is the point of taking it down under our terms, isn’t it? It was at least 3, maybe 4, feet back form the edge of the hill. There was no sign of instability of the earth.
This little fir in the center is the offender.
I took my little saw http://lumberjocks.com/reviews/1424 up the hill when I walked up there. It didn’t look too big from down below and I didn’t want to carry or manhandle the big Stihl if I didn’t have to. The tree was a bit over 12” in diameter. I cut as many limbs off as I could reach to lighten up the pull out over the target line. Made the under cut to fall it sideways and plenty deep. I wanted it to break off on the heavy side first. There was no way to fall it up hill. The only way was to hold it long enough for the momentum to over come the weight pulling it straight out over the cliff. It was a back cut to swing the tree 90 degrees, but since it was too heavy to twist or swing, the theory of operation became one of holding it long enough to get the upper hand on the weight.
After trimming the branches to lighten it up as much as possible and making my undercut, I started on the back cut. I was cutting about 30 off of parallel to the undercut. I got it far enough it should have broken off, but no fall! ;-(( I cut a couple of falling wedges to put in the back cut and continued a little more. Still no fall ;-(( About then, I ran out of gas. I took the saw down to the truck and brought back a splitting wedge and maul. About the second whack on that wedge, I head a loud crack. It just stood there defiantly. One more whack with the maul did the trick. All the wood I left on the up hill side away from the target structures did its trick. It held the falling tree long enough for it to pick up enough momentum to overcome the weigh pulling it straight down on the target line.
There are a couple more that are gong to be worse on the left side of this picture. They are madronas and they are leaning about 15 degrees out where we don’t want them landing. That is a lot more tree than I can turn or control from the stump. I have a 15,000 pound Warn winch to mount on my truck. Just another of those years old projects that have been waiting for a nice day without migraines. The winch will take care of them if I go up with my spurs to get a little leverage. Nice thing is not having to climb straight up. It will be like walking on a sidewalk ;-))
It is kind of hard to tell in this picture, but the one behind the little green bush on the left is leaning out over the cliff. The others on the edge will be easy, except of bringing out the firewood ;-))
Edit: I forgot to mention, there was a small madrona growing through the fir in the line of fall. It was about 5 inches in diameter. I was afraid it would divert the fall to out over the target line, I cut it off, but it was hung up in the fir. I cut the bottom end of it off leaving it swinging in the fir adding a little weight pulling the way I wanted it to go. You can see the end of it sticking up on the target carriers.
-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence