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A tricky little tree

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Blog entry by TopamaxSurvivor posted 04-11-2011 10:19 AM 2002 reads 0 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch

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.

-- "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence



13 comments so far

View patron's profile

patron

13181 posts in 2092 days


#1 posted 04-11-2011 10:55 AM

this semingly simple but nesesary task
was entrusted to you bob
a man of action

no more shooting third in line
or laying down
you will be honored with chairs to sit for your shots
lunches payed by grateful members
babies to bless
speeches to make
a ‘bobday’ BBQ
with the school band
autographs to sign
a commemorative museum
guest speaker requests
ribbons to cut

‘thank you bob
for reaching out
where no man
has reached before’

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View stefang's profile

stefang

13633 posts in 2085 days


#2 posted 04-11-2011 11:00 AM

Good work Bob. If you were in Norway today you could help me cut down my Norwegian palm tree (big juniper actually). It’s a midget compared to the one you cut. I am hoping to get some turning blanks out of it. I’ve never tried turning juniper before, so I’m hoping it will turn well. Did you get some of the wood from the one you cut?

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile

TopamaxSurvivor

15088 posts in 2427 days


#3 posted 04-11-2011 11:03 AM

I doubt it David ;-)) I told them if they couldn’t find anyone to do it, i would. After some discusion of the awesome task, one of them made the motion that I just go ahead. I think the guy didn’t think I was really a logger ;-) Actually, I’m not, but my daddy-in-law was. I helped him falling so firs that were 130 feet + between 2 cabins and along a power line. He showed me a few tricks ;-)

-- "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

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TopamaxSurvivor

15088 posts in 2427 days


#4 posted 04-11-2011 11:10 AM

Hope that juniper works out Mike. I’d like to come to norway some day;-)

I will probably take a little of it for firewood when we clean it out. It is all still there with the branches trimmed off. It isn’t big enough to be anything but construction grade lumber, but getting one log to a mill isn’t going to happen. They won’t bother coming to get it. We don’t have any way to haul it as a log. The really nice clear verticle grain fir comes from a lot bigger trees!

-- "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

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patron

13181 posts in 2092 days


#5 posted 04-11-2011 11:11 AM

never doubted your skills bob
i have felled some big boys too
in the country we learn these things
just to get thru life simply
things aren’t as complicated as most make them

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

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TopamaxSurvivor

15088 posts in 2427 days


#6 posted 04-11-2011 11:20 AM

I didn’t think you were, I was just mentioning where I learned the tricks of the trrade. My wife had a cousin with a falling business in Oregon. He sends a guy out with 5 gallons of gas and expects him to come back with an empty can atht eend of the day. That is a lot of sawing. He’ll set up a fall that takes serveral hundred trees at once. No need to spend all day dropping them one at a time. I’ll leave that for the big boys ;-))

There are a lot of mole hills that look like mountains if you spend too much time on pavement.

-- "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View chrisstef's profile

chrisstef

11475 posts in 1758 days


#7 posted 04-11-2011 02:19 PM

Nice work Bob … i was on a tree cutting expedition this weekend as well in my front yard. I counted 42 trees, 28 of the being maple or oak, the rest were scraggly pines and firs. With the help of the wife we got down all the evergreens except for 4. The ones that are too close to the power lines for me to fool with. While i was in the process of cleaning the front yard i found a few maple branches about 5” in diameter which had been laying there for a while. I cut into it … holy crap … spalted !! Im going to be cutting them up on the bandsaw just for the heck of it. They may be too far gone but im gonna give it a shot anyway.

Way to show those boys how to get it done Bob!

-- "there aren’t many hand tools as awe-inspiring as the #8 jointer. I mean, it just reeks of cast iron heft and hubris" - Smitty

View Karson's profile

Karson

34916 posts in 3152 days


#8 posted 04-11-2011 03:40 PM

I was cutting some tres in my property a year or 2 ago. Some were dead and I didn’t want them to fall where they would do the most damage.

My son in law was helping and I’d go an put a rock where I thought I’d get the tree to fall. I dropped a couple right on the rock but misjudged the length. It’s not a big deal if you’ve cut some before and figure out where gravity and precision cutting will get them to fall.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware karson_morrison@bigfoot.com †

View Bertha's profile

Bertha

12951 posts in 1444 days


#9 posted 04-11-2011 03:47 PM

When in TN, I was tasked with taking down a similar tree. I sketched it out, put together my strategy, and while doing so, an aggravated Country boy chained it to his F350 & yanked it off the hill. Sometimes you gotta give the job to the right guy, in this case you :).

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View bluekingfisher's profile

bluekingfisher

1107 posts in 1731 days


#10 posted 04-11-2011 05:30 PM

Good work on the tree cutting Bob, I am visiting my folks in Scotland week after next, my old man has asked that I bring the “buzz saw” My sister has bought a house about 20 miles away from him so he is looking after it untill she and her husband return home from their posting (Virginia). There is a large conifer growing against the neighbours wall and could bust the foundations if left to grow much longer.

Just need to make sure I don’t damage the saw (or myself) with it being so close to a brick built wall. At least it’ll be on level ground though!

-- No one plans to fail, they just, just fail to plan

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile

TopamaxSurvivor

15088 posts in 2427 days


#11 posted 04-11-2011 09:11 PM

I remember cutting a big fir that I though was about 130 feet. It was closer to 160’!! It landed right where I wanted it, but my truck was only about 20 feet beyond it. I’m glad I parked further back than I thought I needed to be ;-))

The guy who I was cutting it for wanted me to winch it so it didn’t go down over a hill. I told him if that tree decided to go the other way, it would break something or that my truck with it !! So I just felled it for him. Nothing there to hurt.

I have walked way from a few that I knew better than to try. The thing about staying in business and not getting hurt cutting trees is knowing when to say, “NO! Not only NO, but h&$$ NO!” :-)

-- "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Dennisgrosen's profile

Dennisgrosen

10850 posts in 1866 days


#12 posted 04-11-2011 10:46 PM

niice job there Topa :-)
I think you cuold get a few jobs here in Denmark tooo….LOL

take care
Dennis

View peteg's profile

peteg

3006 posts in 1574 days


#13 posted 04-12-2011 01:02 AM

NIce project Bob, sat down & thought about it, made up a plan, did the business & “bingo” one successful project result.

-- Pete G: If you always do what you always did you'll always get what you always got

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