Chainsaws, Overconfidence and A Jumping Tree

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by LiberalCountryBoy, Feb 12, 2005.

  1. LiberalCountryBoy

    LiberalCountryBoy Well-Known Member

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    Well, the electric co-op came out today and disconnected my electric so that I could take down this sixty foot monster elm tree. I had this tree well roped and everything fell exactly where I wanted. I was feeling such confidence that I decided to take down another chinese elm that was only thirty or forty feet tall. My greedy eyes were seeing only a quadruple sized garden.
    I notched the side I wanted it to fall to and went around to the other side to make the felling cut. As I was making the felling cut I noticed it looked like the tree was sorta 'floating' around.
    I heard the first cracks and backed off to watch the show and yell '' timmm berrrr'.
    I swear to you people, this tree jumped up about an inch - spun ninety degrees and and crashed down directly on my nice new chicken coop :eek:
    I'd estimate that it is about a thirty percent loss on the coop. No chickens were hurt.
    Of course right at that minute the electric co-op shows up to re-connect me. After they had a good laugh at my expense, I showed them the stump and how the tree had 'jumped'. I have heard of this happening but it was like watching water run uphill. I just couldn't believe it.
    I suppose it could've been worse, it could've taken two or three jumps in the opposite direction and landed on the house. I wouldn't of been any less surprised
     
  2. Blu3duk

    Blu3duk Well-Known Member

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    Thats is one of the reasons professional loggers sometimes lose their lives felling timber...

    barberchairs are another happening that can give a fella a thrill, or wind shifting blowing the tree over the wedge backwards.... or sawing the notch on a solid side of a tree and finding out the back side is rotten and only a shell with very little to swing the tree you the way you needed to..... among a multitude of others little everyday quirks that can leave a normal human reeling with fright that are just everyday occurences ormaybe just once every couple months to those who make theri livelyhood in the timber industry....

    Although the last friend that lost his life recently was due to the loader operator running over him on the landing while he was sawing in the early morning hours he had quit falling after his brother died a couple years before..... life aint easy in timber.

    You actually got lucky nothing more serious happened..... hope your chicken pen is easyily rebuilt....

    William
     

  3. marvella

    marvella Well-Known Member

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    my ex worked as a logger for a few years. he would come out of there beat and banged up all the time. there was the time the butt of the tree jumped up and hit him in the jaw- broke out a bunch of teeth, busted his jaw and nose. and the time the saw bucked back and bounced off his kneecap a few times. or the time that a tree started to fall, and a horse colt we had started to walk under it, and the ex stepped up to it to slap it on the flank to make it move and the tree fell on him instead of the horse.

    to this day, i get nervous every time i hear a saw cranked up.
     
  4. CarlaWVgal

    CarlaWVgal Well-Known Member

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    That reinforces why I tell dh he is not "allowed" to cut trees by himself! Glad you and your house were unhurt!

    Carla
     
  5. MorrisonCorner

    MorrisonCorner Mansfield, VT for 200 yrs

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    My husband says to tell you about the time the sugar maple peed on him. He was cutting at the base when water, LOTS of it, started spraying out. Soaked him, the saw, everything. Well, it is a sugar, and he's from California, so he taste tests it thinking "the wife is going to kill me for wasting all this sap." Of course, it isn't sweet...

    And it dawns on him that the tree is hollow, and probably rotted right at the crotch above him. He backed off fast and put the logging chains and winch to it, and sure enough, tree split in half on the way down, rotten right down the core.

    All of the loggers I know are slow, deliberate, men, who never move quickly. The people in the second and trophy homes think this is because they're just dumb locals with not much on the ball. I think it Darwinism at work. Men who move fast and cut corners end up crippled or dead. Like the boy a few years ago who decided to fill up a skidder tire without bothering to put the cage around it... and it exploded and killed him.
     
  6. Wilbur

    Wilbur Well-Known Member

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    trees will do the darndest things and always at the worst possible moment. Judging headlean and sidelean is usually harder with deciduous trees anyway- limbs you think are heavy and provide leverage in the way you want aren't as heavy as you estimated. Or a slight breeze comes up from the wrong direction and suddenly that nice landing area you had prepared for the tree is the place you are running to to get the hell out of the way!!

    Fortunately I got out before I lost any limbs or had any major problems. But it only takes one. It is very unforgiving work. Glad that all it was was the chicken coop. Not all stories such as this end so well. (Not that it is good to lose a coop or part of one, but it beats losing people!)
     
  7. Cyngbaeld

    Cyngbaeld In Remembrance Supporter

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    I am so GLAD it was the coop and not YOU that got smashed! I have had trees twist and pop up like that too. Haven't tried to cut down a tree for quite a few years now, but I used to back up quick everytime one started to give even a little. Stand WAY back and watch it for a while to see if it was going down. I don't have the nerves for it anymore! LOL.
     
  8. Nomad

    Nomad Well-Known Member Supporter

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    In another life in the late 70's, early 80's I used to heat with wood and pretty much always went out to cut alone. I was proud of the fact that I could land a tree almost dead on where I aimed. But I was very careful about getting away from the tree as soon as it started to go and never cut a tree that could hang up on another tree. As I look back on it from an old man's point of view, I was kinda foolish and probably very lucky nothing ever went wrong. I think my being naturally cautious saved my bacon. The worst thing that ever happened was overloading my pickup and causing the sidewalls to buldge out on a set of new retread tires. Not too smart on that one. :no:

    Nomad
     
  9. Jack in VA

    Jack in VA Well-Known Member

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    So , did you determine what caused this, and how to prevent it? May as well get some lessons out of this thread.
     
  10. caballoviejo

    caballoviejo Well-Known Member

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    Sometimes when I don't have the backcut lined up perfectly with the front cut there is a little more meat towards one side. The tree then may twist towards that side where it is held more and throws the fall off from my aim.

    Sometimes I don't cut the front cut level but put a slope on it downwards towards the direction I want the tree to fall. I really don't know if it helps or not. The really big trees have got so much weight on them and often such a lack of true branching symetry that I rarely get withing 20 degrees of the intended fall.

    Putting a chain up above and pulling with a come along towards another tree helps.
     
  11. horselogger

    horselogger Well-Known Member

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    there are old sawyers and bold sawyers,but no old bold sawyers.. Working at this for 31 years now....getting time for me to think about doing something else.....nah....2 per cent of the time trees will doing something totally bizarre when you are falling. the trick to surviving in this game is to be able to recognize when you are about to fall a 2 per center.. and plan for it. the other thing to realize is that all trees can be a two per center. where does that leave you?You have to be careful and accept the risk,otherwise don't fall trees. by the way I have always worked alone,it means I go slower,more deliberately and am totally concentrating on what I do...Lee
     
  12. Laura

    Laura Well-Known Member

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    --"All of the loggers I know are slow, deliberate, men, who never move quickly."--MorrisonCorner

    All the loggers I know are the fastest on their feet people I've ever seen! Yes, they are slow and deliberate while they ponder and study their trees, and their footing before the cuts, but when a tree goes over, these guys move fast and can change directions on a dime!

    DH isn't allowed to fall trees, he is not of logger blood. When Ex cut trees on the property, all I could do was stay in the house and review life insurance policies. He would cut straight through the trunk and they would stand there upright on the stump!

    When I logged this place, I hired professionals. I loved sitting out there in the yard watching Carl take out my trees, dropping right where he wanted or cabling them down with his cat. As much as I admired his skill, there were many times all that I could say was, "Dang I'm glad he's not my husband, I'd be worried sick over him for taking those risks!"
     
  13. Cosmic

    Cosmic Well-Known Member

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    Yup, trees can do funny things. I have had them jump or twist.

    Could be the wind, can be the weight distribution within the tree envelope or maybe in strange circumstances even be related to a twisted grain.

    You really do have to be careful of them hollow ones, ain't called Widow Makers without reason. Sometimes split up and come sort of straight down. Best in built up areas to do the normal wedge cut, backcut but have a guide rope / chain / cable attached well up the trunk and actually cause the fall with a pulling force rather than waiting on the normal fall sequence to occur. Still can go wrong, but usually the tree is in motion in the right direction before things can get too far out of hand.

    Round me the bad'n are the oaks that are infested with carpenter ants. Very dangerous critters. One tree I never trusted. Crawled up in it and cut all the branches and a lot of the top working my way down. Finally got down and cut the standing last 15 feet or so. Duh, I had been waltzing in a tree with only a arc of live wood 30 degrees or so around holding that critter up. Center completely gone and the rest of the outside, except for that thin ring of live wood totally punky. No real hint in dead branches or whatever. Nothing is ever fool proof. :no:
     
  14. Corky

    Corky Well-Known Member

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    Yep! Sure enough, I laughed! :haha:
    :eek: Sorry, not funny! You could have been squished!!!!
    Now... I know it was a new chicken coop but .... maybe it needed remodled. Are you sure you had it big enough or maybe that end needed shaped diferently or something. :)
    Maybe you can find the good side of all this, I mean besides the fact that neither you or the chickens were squished. :)

    Now comes the fun part. Getting the stumps out! :eek:
    No ... wait! use them to tie tomato vines to. ;)
     
  15. Cosmic

    Cosmic Well-Known Member

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    Actually maybe that chicken coop was not built to ABTCS big tree standards. I built a shed and used only 2 x 4's for the rafters, had some sticks left over and tried something I saw somewhere else.

    You tie the rafters together with something like a collar tie but right under the ridge board. If you really want to go big time, make a tie each side of the rafter. Even more turn up another insert piece to form a upside down T tying the ridge board, rafters and tie into this peanuckle of a super strong affair. Theory here is the nails actually fail in the rafter connections to the ridge board, the rafter members themselves will take far more load and jolt. If you can make the connections ironclad will force a total failure or peneration of the structure to fail.

    Short story was that shed with that affair got hit by one monster oak tree that blew down during one of the few big hurricanes that made it this far north. Busted shingles grits end over tea cups, broke a few roof boards but shed thought it was Old Ironsides. Required a slight jacking exercise to straighten frame enough for door to close as normal.

    One must over engineer chicken coops for the maximum impact load that may come their way, thousand year storms or nuclear weapons. :rolleyes: Chicken can be off their feed big time from such an event. :eek: Total failure gives a whole new meaning to Pressed Chicken ;)
     
  16. fordy

    fordy Well-Known Member

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    ..............Well , your old Rooster may have had the "Doodle" squeezed out of his "Do" :eek: , such that maybe he has been effectively Neutered :waa: as far as the hens are concerned. fordy.. :)
     
  17. leaping leon

    leaping leon Well-Known Member

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    I'm a type A and I sometimes forget to be careful (Just Do It Now!)...thanks for the reminder. My children (teenagers, no less) remind me to NOT cut trees by myself (but it's so tempting, got free time and energy, etc.) I use an axe and I am very careful. I used to work in a large factory checking in and inspecting semis and other trucks and almost fell under one...I used to tell people that I was afraid of those trucks and I intended to stay afraid of those trucks.

    So one of my latest fears is trees falling...Fear keeps me alert and careful. I don't remember anyone mentioning this, but I am careful that I am rested, alert and not taking anything like antihistimines. Beer and anything involving sharp instruments does not go together at all...more so with power tools.

    I know that I am not a good person for powerful tools like chainsaws...I know that SOMETIMES my mind wanders, and I feel a lot safer if I am chopping with an axe...besides there is something about directing each "whack" that tends to keep me more focused. AND I need the exercise. Besides, it seems a little more respectful of the tree (not quite a tree hugger, but I do love them, at least when they are not shading my garden).

    With the axe I can hear the first pops that precede the fall, you can't hear that with a chainsaw...also, speaking of chainsaw noise, I had a (thank God) temporary partial hearing loss from one job I had, after I quit it took about six months before my hearing came back completely...don't like chainsaws for the noise...music means too much to me to risk my hearing again...

    So I have a smallish oak that has a slight lean in the wrong direction and it seems to be rotting where the people who put in our septic clipped it with the bulldozer....big enough to kill me if I'm careless...still thinking about how to do it, I wish it was where I could tie something like our truck to it and pull (but you gotta watch out for the rope or chain then, a break under that kind of pressure can fling it forcefully enough to really hurt or kill someone). I've read about anchor ropes and other lines on ships cutting people in two when they part like that...So I might use a ladder and a hand saw and cut limbs out of it until it's more manageable, maybe I can balance it more the way I want it to go...Thinking and looking at it...
     
  18. LiberalCountryBoy

    LiberalCountryBoy Well-Known Member

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    You know when something like that happens it is reminiscent of a car wreck. Your legs aren't as sturdy for a few minutes, your confidence was given a severe whupping.
    But then you get over it.
    I am not a master logger by any means. I'd say I've cut down less than twenty significant trees in my life so I probably carry a bit of the fault. BUT (Big But) the stump shows a beautiful cut. I suppose it could of been weight distribution up top, maybe throw in a bit of a breeze. Keep adding up the tiny bits here and there, and there you have it. Whatever reason, It was still like watching water run uphill.
    I Guarantee you I'll be much more cautious in the future. The first, larger tree, went down soo beautifully that I thought I was Paul Bunyun. The ole Confidence Meter was pegging a perfect "10". Figured I was wasting too much time doing all that rope tying etc. So, I looked at that tree, thought "hmmm, an even Larger garden" and it wasn't two minutes later that the coop was crushed. The Confidence Meter plummetted.

    I figure I will leave the stumps, maybe use the chainsaw to grind out the center a bit and plant something directly into em, tomato plants around them sounds good also.

    Leon, I had ropes on the first tree because it was heavily over the house. I cut some limbs that I had roped over alternate limbs to catch them before they landed on the house. It worked very well. I went to ebay and purchased some tree gaffs, linemans belt, safety harness, tie off shock absorbers and 400ft of rope. I climbed all over that beast. You probably don't need all that but just a thought.

    Fordy, that blasted rooster crowed before, during, and after the felling. He likes to crow up a storm in the evening just before going into the coop. What a nut.

    We've had a little drizzly rain here all day in Okliehomer so the bombed out chicken coop has plastic all over it. The plastic is held in place with pieces of the very tree that bombed it. I look out the window at my once lovely little coop, now crooked and smashed. Plastic flapping in the wind, it looks like little Baghdad...
    I think I'll fix the coop tomorrow and finish cleaning up the trees next week.
     
  19. Quint

    Quint Well-Known Member

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    I had one catch on another tree on the way down and it twisted and turned and the bottom moved backwards really quickly. I tried to get out of the way but it managed to knock me off my feet and I ending up on top of the log and taking a short but memorable ride as it fell. The whole thing took maybe 4 or 5 seconds but it seemed much longer. It is a wonder I wasn't killed. I just couldn't move fast enough and the tree moved in a way I never expected. I will admit I was more than a little shook up. I put the saw on the 4 wheeler, sat there for a while and went back to the house and didn't cut wood for a few weeks.
     
  20. NativeRose

    NativeRose Texas Country Grandma

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    The worst experience my husband and I ever had with a tree was when my youngest son was just a baby. My hubby and a friend were to cut down a tree that was in our yard. It was between two other trees and leaning away from our house. My son was in a infant swing next to our kitchen window. When my hubby and friend cut the tree it unbelievably fell the oppostie direction it was leaning and hit the house and the window where my baby was. Thank the good Lord my son wasn't hurt. I to this day (22 years) later still can't believe how that tree ended up where it did.