Watch out for the Barber Chair

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Forum topic by waho6o9 posted 07-16-2016 03:29 PM 1042 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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8523 posts in 2778 days

07-16-2016 03:29 PM

Topic tags/keywords: vertical tree split barber chair fell a tree

Do be careful when you guys and gals fell a tree.

11 replies so far

View leafherder's profile


1596 posts in 2153 days

#1 posted 07-16-2016 04:34 PM

Never seen a tree do that, does not look like they get much lumber out of it. Wonder what makes them do that? And why do they call it “barber chair”?

Thanks for posting.

-- Leafherder

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

5125 posts in 4162 days

#2 posted 07-16-2016 05:36 PM

Looks to me as if he didn’t do the proper notching and final cut above the notch, but I’m not a forester (not to be confused with a Forstner).


View johnstoneb's profile


3060 posts in 2374 days

#3 posted 07-16-2016 05:46 PM

X1 Bill/ also the tree was completely rotted out with just a rind on it which makes it more susceptible to doing what it did.

-- Bruce, Boise, ID

View doubleDD's profile


7895 posts in 2244 days

#4 posted 07-16-2016 08:38 PM

Wow. Will make me think twice next time cutting a tree down.

-- Dave, Downers Grove, Il. -------- When you run out of ideas, start building your dreams.

View Woodknack's profile


12431 posts in 2581 days

#5 posted 07-17-2016 12:20 AM

I bet he needed clean drawers afterward.

-- Rick M,

View Dark_Lightning's profile


3342 posts in 3310 days

#6 posted 07-17-2016 12:49 AM

Never seen a tree do that, does not look like they get much lumber out of it. Wonder what makes them do that? And why do they call it “barber chair”?

Thanks for posting.

- leafherder

“Barber Chair” = “Close Shave”!

-- Random Orbital Nailer

View distrbd's profile


2252 posts in 2648 days

#7 posted 07-17-2016 01:15 AM

That’s why I never cut anything wider than 5”, that would scare the ** out of me for sure.

-- Ken from Ontario, Canada

View splatman's profile


586 posts in 1600 days

#8 posted 07-17-2016 02:57 AM

First comment I read on that video was “Make like a tree and split!”. Good one.

I bet he needed clean drawers afterward.

- Rick M.

Or he could just mill up that tree and build new ones. Better: A whole new cabinet. or even a whole new kitchen. if that’s not the kind of drawers you’re talking about, then never mind.

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18390 posts in 3877 days

#9 posted 07-17-2016 08:34 AM

His under cut is fine, the tree was rotten in the middle. Hard to predict. Sometimes you can feel it with your chainsaw. All that tells you is be extremely cautions, there is no safe place to be and be ready run like 7734 at the first sign of movement!

That looked like a rotten fir.

More typical barber chair Adler does that frequently. Cottonwood, well, just stay away and let someone else deal with it ;-)

Another issue is not keeping the back cut parallel to the under cut or having weak wood on one side. It can spin a tree more than 90 degrees as it falls. That can be handy if you have an out of balance tree to fall and the weighted side will not let it go where you need it to go. Undercut to start it falling and turn it on the stump as it goes down ;-)

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

View waho6o9's profile


8523 posts in 2778 days

#10 posted 07-17-2016 01:16 PM

From Murphy on why it’s called Barber Chair:

Its called a barber chair because the tree mimics the motion of a barber chair.. While the top of the chair goes forward and down, the legs go back and up…

When a tree barber chairs, the forward force on the top, exerts a force on the base of the tree that splits the trunk along its grain, so the front half (or thereabouts) of the trunk (above the notch) stays put, while the back half splits and lifts, hinging on the stationary front half. I’ve heard of trees hinging at 40’, which would mean a 40’ split in half trunk flies back as it lifts to a 40’ height, and then can break at the unintentionally high hinge, and come falling down 40’ to the ground, and landing 40’ behind the stump…

That is why the escape route should be 45 degrees back, not straight back.. Barber chairs will happen anytime the forward pulling force on the trunk is great enough to split the grain of the trunk, but not great enough to trigger the hinge to fold..

This is most often caused by heavy front leaner on species that split grain very easily, like ash, or can be caused by an unintentional bypass of the two face cuts, called a “dutchman” as was the case in the video, and can also be caused by pulling on the pull line too early in the backcut, before the hinge is formed….

this is one of the very real dangers of pulling with a truck or machine.. If you don’t know what you are doing and call for the pull too early, you can barber chair the tree or break out the top.

View Grumpy's profile


24656 posts in 4052 days

#11 posted 07-19-2016 04:55 AM


-- Grumpy - "Always look on the bright side of life"- Monty Python

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