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"Chainsaw Question" Topic

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827 hits since 15 Nov 2012
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Xintao15 Nov 2012 9:30 p.m. PST

Now that the first tree is off my roof and in the firewood pile. I have the big honking pine to cut up.

It's laying flat on the ground with a big root ball sticking up. I heard somewhere as you cut off the top of the tree near the root ball, the root ball will try to right itself back into the whole that it tore out of. Which can be dangerous for the person cutting the tree.

So how should I handle the cut close to the root ball. Start there and get it out of the way, while I still have all the weight of the top of the tree? How to make the cut?

Any advise would be great, Cheers, Xin

Xintao15 Nov 2012 10:08 p.m. PST

Or Advice

The Hobbybox Inactive Member16 Nov 2012 3:18 a.m. PST

To be honest, I would call a local tree surgeon and ask their advice.

Any decent tradesperson should be able to explain the job to you and allow you to make the decision as to whether you feel comfortable doing it.

The main thing is not to put yourself in danger by doing something you are either unfamiliar with or not confident in attempting. At the moment it sounds like you're suffering from both of these.

Mr Elmo16 Nov 2012 5:14 a.m. PST

not to put yourself in danger by doing something you are either unfamiliar with or not confident in attempting

America was founded on untrained amateurs performing their own chores, be that plumbing or yard work.

I don't know the answers; ask the neighbors over. They can either help or laugh and call 911 if needed.

stenicplus Inactive Member16 Nov 2012 5:40 a.m. PST

I agree, the advice of keen amateurs is never going to be as good as a professional's, especially when your safety is involved.

Besides, how big is the hole? Is the root hanging out over it significantly? Is the main trunk horizontall flat on the ground or are the thicker branches intact and creating a potentialy unstable platform? Once you start removing branches could it roll as the weight redistributes itself?

And might I suggest you recall the look on your wife's face from last time and don't ask your daughter to hold the tree down grin

Cold Steel Inactive Member16 Nov 2012 6:25 a.m. PST

The key to doing the cut safely is anticipating the movement of all the parts. As you cut through any log, it will weaken and start to bend at the cut. In your case, the stress will initially bend the trunk down, but the weight of the ball will cause the log to bend UP as you cut. Make sure the whole area behind you is clear so you can back away safely. Keep everyone else away. Your daughter can rest up for stacking firewood later.

First, make a wedge cut on the top of the trunk about 1/3 of the way down through the log. Don't go any deeper because the cut may bind as you do. Then cut another wedge from the bottom up about 1/3 of the way, directly under the 1st wedge. By now, you should start to see if the log is bending up or down. That is your signal the trunk is weakening and about to go. Start cutting from the side the log is bending toward. Remember, that will probably be the top! When the trunk weakens enough, it will quickly break off the rest of the way and the ball will drop. The log may pop up in the air a little if the ball is heavy enough. Once it starts to break, remove the saw, step back quickly and let it go. Be alert to either the trunk or the ball rolling in your direction unexpectantly.

If you are the least bit unsure, find a smaller tree to try first or get experienced help.

richarDISNEY Inactive Member16 Nov 2012 8:40 a.m. PST

As usual, Cold Steel nails it.

Jovian1 Inactive Member16 Nov 2012 9:01 a.m. PST

First, get a ladder, as tall as you can get and stand on top of it. Then, holding the chainsaw in one hand, begin cutting at the root ball end of things. Make sure you get the blade deep into the dirt portion of the root ball to insure you kill any Cthulhu type crawly things which may be lurking in there. Remember to wear appropriate safety clothing. The appropriate clothing is shorts, tank-top, and short socks and shoes. This will make it easier for the paramedics to get to the injured area faster and will not require them cutting your clothes off to get to the injury.

In all seriousness, call a professional tree removal service if you haven't cut down trees before. Otherwise, follow Cold Steel's advice. I prefer to start by making the wedge cut (a "V" cut) close to the root ball and then sawing off the entire top of the tree and letting the root ball do what it will. I make sure to take precautions like bracing the root ball with timbers to make sure it doesn't move first. I also brace the tree with timbers spaced out so that the tree doesn't just fall after it is cut from the root ball. It take a bit longer, but it makes it easier to cut up when you leave the tree off the ground.

Best of luck.

fredjg16 Nov 2012 11:06 a.m. PST

From observation a neighbor had a large pine tree (50'+) uprooted and land across his driveway.

Chainsaw in hand, he proceeded to cut the branches from the trunk. He then moved from the top of the tree towards the root ball, cutting 3 foot trunk sections.

He now has an 18' foot tall stump in his front yard. As a side note, he wasn't injured he way lucky. The trunk moved, just a little towards vertical, which is when he moved out of the way. The trunk went vertical, in seconds.

The same thing happend with a professional crew clearing a large oak, from another neighbor. They have a 10 foot tall, 4 foot diameter stump in their yard.

SECURITY MINISTER CRITTER Inactive Member16 Nov 2012 1:59 p.m. PST

I've never had the root ball tip back up…
Cold Steel has the best advice so far.

Ed Mohrmann Supporting Member of TMP16 Nov 2012 2:39 p.m. PST

Jovian's is the best advice (hire a professional), Cold
Steel's next best.

Cold Steel Inactive Member16 Nov 2012 3:10 p.m. PST

Since I am now on the home PC instead of at work, the most efficient way to separate the ball from the trunk is to wrap about 15 ft of prima-cord around the trunk, connect the blasting cap, then walk behind the house before pushing the button. Trust me, it works a lot faster and safer. As long as you don't have uptight neighbors or can be seen from the road.

Xintao16 Nov 2012 3:33 p.m. PST

Sound advice Cold Steel, thanks. I like your 2nd option better, but my wife won't let me play prima-cord :(

So option 1 it is.

Cheers, Xin

And If I don't post back, It means I've unearthed some nameless horror from down below and all the unpleasantness that follows.

goragrad16 Nov 2012 10:36 p.m. PST

BATFE and FBI also tend to frown on option two these days as well.

That sounds like a pretty high grain primacord CS or is det cord a thing of the past?

Back in the day in Corp of Engineers hasty tree felling called for a block of TNT strapped to the trunk and detonated. The more economical method was to bore a hole in the trunk and insert the block. Both a bit messier than primacord.

stenicplus Inactive Member20 Nov 2012 5:38 a.m. PST

Well? How'd it go?

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