Putting the toys to work in the woods#

Tue Jun 19, 2012 1:34 pm

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.

Re: Putting the toys to work in the woods#

Tue Jun 19, 2012 1:59 pm

Thanks for the pics and lesson in tree cutting. Those are beautiful white pine logs.

Re: Putting the toys to work in the woods#

Tue Jun 19, 2012 2:23 pm

Thanks TwoTone

I don't have a lot of them big trees. So I save them until I need one that size :wink:


Re: Putting the toys to work in the woods#

Tue Jun 19, 2012 2:33 pm

Great job Billy! You have too much fun :) Where ya been lately?

Re: Putting the toys to work in the woods#

Tue Jun 19, 2012 3:15 pm


You are having way to much fun!!! Thanks for the pics and narrative.


Re: Putting the toys to work in the woods#

Tue Jun 19, 2012 3:36 pm

Hey Billy, we missed you this year at the Bash, but I can see you are still having fun in the woods. Another great post and safety lesson. You always come through for us! Thanks!

Re: Putting the toys to work in the woods#

Tue Jun 19, 2012 5:53 pm

Billy, thanks for the pictorial logging journey...enjoyed it.

Re: Putting the toys to work in the woods#

Tue Jun 19, 2012 6:26 pm

Great pics and How To :!: Here's hoping you'll grace us with pics of your lumber cutting and bridge building :wink:

Re: Putting the toys to work in the woods#

Tue Jun 19, 2012 9:06 pm

AxMan Billy,

You are a busy guy! Thanks for the informative post, always enjoy your projects!

Thanks for sharing,

Re: Putting the toys to work in the woods#

Wed Jun 20, 2012 7:30 am

Get pics as alwyas!. Be careful out there.

Re: Putting the toys to work in the woods#

Wed Jun 20, 2012 8:40 am

Howdy Ken

I've been at the farm since before memorial day weekend and got home last monday. And just wasn't online much before that and at the farm there's no internet at all.

Hi Bill H

It was great to get to the farm and do some fun projects. Instead of the I don't really want to do this but I have to stuff at home.

Thanks Bill

I REALLY wanted to make it to the Bash! I am sure it was a great time as always. I'm trying to get started in making a living farming. And was having problems getting my IH 56 corn planter setup for sugar beets. I didn't think it was that old but all the parts are no longer available and my brother and I had to rig up seed plate and knock out pawl's. We didn't get it right it was over seeding some areas and missing others. And we ended up being a month late planting but we got it in. I hope it does well and I can make some money off it so I can get some better equ.

Hi Dave

I got lucky and got some good pictures. While I have been cutting wood for over 30 years. Its only been in the last five that I got past the cut it and it will fall. To adding some real knowledge and skill to make it as controlled and safe as possible.

Howdy Bill E

I'll try to get us some pictures of the sawing. The building of the bridge is going to be a while yet. I have a lot of prep work to do along with building a footer for it as the old one was just sitting on the ground. But its going to take some time for the wood to season and get up to strength. I hope five 10"x10"x20' will support the weight of the 1.5x deck and farmall 130 or my horse. Hopefully Rudi will see this and point me in the right direction. As I haven't been able to find a chart to tell me how much of a load 10x10 beam will support on a 20' span.

Howdy David

Ya know I'm at my best in the woods!

Hi John

I try but there's always something to watch out for.


Re: Putting the toys to work in the woods#

Wed Jun 20, 2012 5:57 pm

Nice work Billy! I always enjoy your 'little' projects! Seems like you usually have something going on.

I saw a large pine 'slide' about 20 feet backwards once. Spooked me to no end and I was an observer! There are a few rules I follow, stay 20' from a 15' chain pulling a stump and even if you know what way the tree is going to fall, hedge your bets and pay attention.

Re: Putting the toys to work in the woods#

Wed Jun 20, 2012 9:19 pm


I really enjoyed the read ... and the pics of the acreage in the UP. I could almost smell the pine :D Sure wish I had white or red pine that size. I only have maybe a half dozen over 16" at the butt on my whole property with the others much smaller. Primarily black spruce and firs seem to spring up. We are planting pines though as I can get em and have the health to plant em. I enjoyed the how to aspect of the read as well. Nice to refresh - even though I don't cut much anymore.

Glad you had some fun with the toys in the UP ..,.. you do know some of us are pretty envious. :big smile:

Re: Putting the toys to work in the woods#

Thu Jun 21, 2012 7:34 am

Thanks Larry

I've seen some crazy things happen. Some were from ignorance and just not knowing what I was doing. And others from changing conditions, weather. All we can do is take our best guess as to the weight balance and soundness of the tree. But always have to remember its a guess and be prepared for when it doesn't work out.

Thanks Rudi

I don't have a lot of big wood either. So I am careful with it take damaged trees do some thinning and only take trees just big enough to make the lumber I need out of. But as I am sure you can tell I love it UP there. Have a great day my friend.


Re: Putting the toys to work in the woods#

Thu Jun 21, 2012 11:40 pm

Beautiful pictures,and I always learn from your posts. I remember cutting an oak tree over 30 years ago for tomato stakes and 2" boards, the stakes are gone, but we still have the porch swing I made from the 2" lumber. Said all that to get to this. I had two saws stuck in that tree and it still would not fall. Just standing there with a dumb look on our faces, Time to get the wedges, LOL!