Last year three big willows blew over on the bridge across my creek at home and smashed it. After I got done planting at the farm I went out to the woods and found a few big pines to make a new bridge out of.
After locating a tree I want and making path to it. I get my cutting equ out. I usually use hard hat with a face screen and ear muffs but it was at home. So I had to use the face screen and muffs. Many time when felling branches will break off and hang up in surrounding trees and fall out minutes, hours or days latter. Or dead branches fall while cutting. So I was very careful to check the surrounding trees for hung up branches before reentering the felling area. I should have had more wedges I usually carry three but I lost one and the other was at home. I never fell a tree with out wedges any more unless its too small for one. Its foolish and unsafe not to use them and they give you so much more control. Many times I have used them to push a tree that has a slight back lean over to where I want it to fall. Both so I can get to it and do the least amount of damage to the surrounding forest.
After judging the lean of the tree to make sure I can get it to go where I want. I clear off the lower branches off the tree I am cutting and the surrounding trees. Making sure I have at least two escape routs in different directions in case things go wrong. Which they have many times over the years.
Now when I am cutting a larger tree. After making my notch I cut a line in the tree from the notch back for me to follow when I make my back cut. It just makes things easier for me to get it all lined up.Note felling wedges are Plastic! Not metal. Never use metal wedges around chainsaws as it can break the chain as well as wipe out the cutting edge.
I have been using wedging trees over so much I almost feel cheated when I don't have time to back off set my saw down and drive the tree over. Anyway I cut into the tree far enough to set my wedge before finishing my back cut. In this picture I had just finished my back cut and stepped back to take a picture. And the tree started to go over as I snapped the picture. You can see the wedge falling out. And I had to quickly pull my saw out as it went over with no problems were I wanted it to.
Here you see the tree falling and the hinge directing the direction of the fall holding it from going to either side. How wide the face cut is also determines where the hinge breaks. At this point the face cut has closed and its just starting to break the hinge. If I had made the face cut wider it would have let the tree fall farther before breaking the hinge.
Here the hinge has broke and the tree is falling off the stump and rolling to the side.
Now the tree is down along the trail where I can get to it. You can see how far it rolled to the side and that about normal but I have seen them hit other trees on the way down and go more than 10 feet to the side. You wouldn't want to be standing there!
You should never cut the hinge out! If the tree is not falling when you are down to a inch of hinge wood stop!!!! That is what the wedges are for. Along with keeping the tree from sitting back on the saw and trapping it. I have had a few trees that it took me 5-10 of driving wedges in and waiting for it to go over. If you cut the hinge out You Have No control of the tree at all!!!! A professional logger may cut the hinge out as the tree is falling in the direction he wants and is sure it is going where he wants. But that is only to reduce to fiber pull (which you see sticking up from the stump and reduces the value of the log) not to help make it fall. Me as it goes over I am backing off to a safe place. I have felled around a thousand trees. And have seen trees jump back or to the side several feet. And had branches fall strait down and hit me.
Now this is what I really wanted the skidsteer and grapple bucket for. Picking up and moving logs and brush in the woods. Its a lot more moveable in the woods and needs a lot less room to work.
It has a lot more lift capacity than a tractor and front loader of the same physical size. I don't know what this 20.5 foot 22" across white pine log weighs but I am sure its over a ton. And a little more than than the JD was rated for. As I backed into a stump and tipped it over on the bucket. Luckily I was too busy lowering the bucket to leave skid marks on the seat!
And the grapple bucket makes it a lot easier and faster to load the log wagon. Than trying wrap chains around the tree and lift it with a loader.
The old 130 sure knew it had a load behind it. Those 20.5' logs are long and heavy. I had to load some 8 footers on top to keep them from tipping off the back.
That was a big tree I got two 20.5' logs and three 8' logs out of it!
Last edited by cowboy on Mon Jun 25, 2012 6:53 am, edited 1 time in total.