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"Fun with Chainsaws" Topic

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510 hits since 11 Nov 2012
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Xintao Supporting Member of TMP11 Nov 2012 9:51 p.m. PST

So Hurricane Sandy was kind enough to drop half a tree on my roof. As well as a 70-80ft pine tree in my yard on my fence. Now is my chance to justify buying a chainsaw. Didn't really need one before, but I could put one to occasional use, but not enough to warrant the cost.

Anyway, this half a tree is resting on my roof and has got to go. It is half on the roof, half down to the yard. So I get a Stihl Chainsaw with a 18" bar. Bigger than I would of gotten for small jobs, but we have a lot of lumber lying around the yard now.

First of all, chainsaws are scarey things if you never used one before. Holy cow does this thing have power. I've used an electric one, might as well been a toy. Maybe saving money and doing this myself wasn't such a good idea. I'm no stranger to tools, but never used a gas powered chainsaw. We will go slow and take it easy. No zombie hunting with this bad boy.

The main trunk or branch is on the ground, with the upper branches laying fairly level with the slope of the roof. The plan my buddy and I come up with is removing as many branches as possible to lessen the weight without cutting load bearing limbs till later. We get most of the limbs clear and now are down to 3 main branches that go down into one trunk.

We successfully cut 2 away, leaving the top portion on the roof, without the overhang dropping onto my deck or further damaging the house siding. One branch left, this is where the fun starts.

Too stop the branch once cut free from dropping on my friend and me, we have my teenage daughter hold top part just in case it wants to slide down. It should stay in place on it's own weight, but just in case. I would cut the branch, my buddy would push it clear as it drops free, onto the grass, not deck, not house.

I cut 75% through branch and it starts to sag, as I don't want the bar to get pinched in the cut, I pullout and do an undercut, and it starts.

The main trunk spins,and starts to slide, towards me, on a ladder with a running chainsaw. The top part(with my daughter) starts to drag along the roof and down to the edge. My buddy(standing under the branch) can't hold the branch back now that it has momentum. So he cuts behind me, in case daughter gets pulled off the roof. I release the trigger so the chain is stopped, but the ladder is now being pushed over. It was a semi slow moving accident that was being played out, but not in our power to really stop.

Finally after what seemed like minutes of the sliding branch of death(in reality most likely was seconds) the main trunk separates from the upper branch on the roof. The trunk crashes to the deck, My ladder stops before tipping over and Daughter stops getting dragged off the roof.

The wife was not happy about my use of said daughter in my schemes as she watched it all.

I had almost everything figured out right, but was just a little too timid with the cut. it was the last 10% that when the branch started to go, pulled my daughter over. And since the branch could not drop straight down, it was dragged to the side into my ladder and my friend. It was a little scarey but ended well.

Next weekend will tackling the really big pine tree. Thankfully it's lying flat on the ground.


Sergeant Paper11 Nov 2012 11:23 p.m. PST

Get some rope next time – standoff distance is what gives you time to react, time is life in this kind of thing.

Ed Mohrmann Supporting Member of TMP12 Nov 2012 3:45 a.m. PST

Chainsaws and pines – a dangerous combination.
After my first escapade, I hire it done when it's
necessary to be done.

Xintao Supporting Member of TMP12 Nov 2012 5:27 a.m. PST

What's wrong with Chainsaws and pines?


Cold Steel12 Nov 2012 5:43 a.m. PST

Yes, get a strong rope. Better, get 2. Never depend on manpower to hold something as big as a tree or large limb who's weight you don't know. Tie 2 ropes at 45 degrees to each side of the direction you want the tree/limb to fall. Make sure the anchors are strong and can withstand a hit (don't use a car!). I've used a chainsaw for 40+ years and still tie down trees that might hit something if they fall the wrong way.

jdpintex12 Nov 2012 8:33 a.m. PST

We had several deaths and severe accidents after Ike with folks trying to cut trees when they didn't know what they were doing. You were very lucky. Cold Steel has some good advice, especially the car bit.

Be very careful when using a chain saw when cutting a pine tree. You can hit a pine knot inside the tree and the chain saw will kick on you. If you don't maintain control, then very bad things can happen.

Ed Mohrmann Supporting Member of TMP12 Nov 2012 10:25 a.m. PST

Xintao – what jdpintex said.

The pines removed from our lot (over 60) were full of
knots, and even the experienced guys wielding the
chainsaws had a couple of 'almost's.

The hardwoods were a lot easier on 'em.

BTW, pine resin can gum-up the saw, so take care
of the chain.

I do use a chainsaw, but it's a small electric one, for
trimming and for cutting small landscape timbers, and I
*NEVER* use it on a ladder.

And Cold Steel's advice is sound as well.

Xintao Supporting Member of TMP12 Nov 2012 2:10 p.m. PST

Thanks for the advice.

stenicplus Inactive Member14 Nov 2012 4:51 a.m. PST

This is not to be meant as flippant but would not the insurance company insist any work done should be done by a professional in case you exacerbate any damage?

Not to mention nullifying any health insurance if the tree rolls onto you or any one else?

I've not had trees fall in the garden but we've a fair few and I get a company in to fell or prune the trees as needed. I have a chainsaw to just cut up the manageable bits into foot lengths for my wood burner.

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