How do you cut up a huge fallen tree?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by scaryguyoy, Dec 17, 2006.

  1. scaryguyoy

    scaryguyoy Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    64
    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2004
    Location:
    Ohio,Indiana border
    A big old tree has fallen in my brothers yard.There is no way i an cut thru it with my 18 " chain saw.How can i cut it up,so i can keep the firewood?Should i cut pie shapes in the end of it then cut across?
    Scary
     
  2. Bearfootfarm

    Bearfootfarm This Space For Rent Supporter

    Messages:
    47,791
    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2006
    Location:
    Eastern North Carolina
    Start at the top and work your way back. When you cant reach through with one cut, then move to the opposite side. Your 18" bar will cut 36" Once you start youll see how to do it. AND BE CAREFUL!!!! Take your time and plan your cuts well. Often you can make a cut and then split the pieces off with wedges driven from the end.
     

  3. Hoop

    Hoop Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    799
    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2003
    Location:
    Northern Wisconsin
    Given the thousands of circumstances possible with the "huge fallen tree", it would be foolhardy to offer up any "advice" on the proper way to deal with a sight unseen situation.
     
  4. Alice In TX/MO

    Alice In TX/MO More dharma, less drama. Supporter

    Messages:
    30,626
    Joined:
    May 10, 2002
    Location:
    Texas Coastal Bend/S. Missouri
    Get help from someone who has a bigger chainsaw and experience.
     
  5. haypoint

    haypoint Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    12,390
    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2006
    Location:
    Northern Michigan (U.P.)
    Cutting a large tree is much more dangerous than just cutting branches. If the end of the bar catches the wood just so, the saw can kick back and lay open your forehead/chin, etc. Your biggest problem will be keeping the bar from being pinched. Once the pieces settle against the chain, you'll have a hard time getting it out. A big wedge and hammer can sometimes open the cut enough to release the saw. If you intend on splitting this by hand, make the pieces quite short near knots and branches or you won't be able to split it. What kind of wood is it? Is it thicker than 36 inches? What are your chainsaw skills?
     
  6. dragonfly1113

    dragonfly1113 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    366
    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2006
    Location:
    KY
    You may have to have a professional come in and cut it up for you. We have a tree in our back yard that needs to come down. It is a very old oak. She is a leaning towards the house and that scares me. No one will touch it for less than $1500 and thats just to put her on the ground. And some of them I have talked to say they dont have a saw big enough to cut her down at the base. The base on ours is 7 feet across and probably about 5 feet wide(could be wider). Yep, she's been here for a while. They have rental places that rents out those huge saws, but they are scary.
     
  7. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    8,183
    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2004
    Location:
    MN
    I started a message last night, but had second thoughts & so didn't finish it. Saftey, like the others say. We have no idea of your experience, so it's hard to advise.

    You are on the right track, but such large pieces have a lot of weight, twst, pinch, etc. and can really mess up in a hurry, ranging from trapping your saw blade to killing you.

    It is hard to just blindly lead you into that, without 'being there'.

    You really didn't tell us anything. how big is the trunk? Your saw can reach about 35", so you must have a big tree. Is under load - would it like to spring upward, bow downward, roll on the ground, etc?

    I would cut up the smaller parts, start at the top as someone mentioned. Then it depends just how big it is, as to how to attack that big butt end.

    What kind of wood is it? Would it be worth something as lumber? Probably not as trees that fall down are often past their prime, but something to at least ponder.

    Dad cut down a big cottonwood tree at my uncle's. Dad had a 20 inch Mcullath. Took the gripper teeth off to get as deep as possible, cut in a felling Vee, and cut in as deep as he could all the way around. They had a cable on it first - before cutting anything. Pulled it with a tracotor (150 foot of cable on the 110 foot tree). Broke the 10 inch middle that didn't get cut. And over it went.

    When they looked at the stump, a railroad spike was sticking out. Right in the middle of that 10 inch bit that the saw didn't reach.

    --->Paul
     
  8. Shrek

    Shrek Singletree Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    10,962
    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2002
    Location:
    North Alabama
    I cut a 3 ft diameter base trunk tree with a 15 inch bar electric chainsaw by notch cutting wedges out of it. Cut up about 10 feet per day of the trunk that way and the wedge chunks fit the wood stove nicely.
     
  9. Cabin Fever

    Cabin Fever Life NRA Member since 1976 Supporter

    Messages:
    14,800
    Joined:
    May 10, 2002
    Location:
    Between Crosslake and Emily Minnesota
    Consider going to an antique store and purchase a 6 or 8-foot, two-man crosscut saw (or try E-Bay). If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to get one for less than $40.
     
  10. Pony

    Pony Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    19,807
    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2003
    As others have said, Safety First. Hand, foot, head, body, eye protection. Be awake and alert. Take your time.

    I like Cabin Fever's suggestion to get a 2 man crosscut saw. The chain saw may save you time, but could cost you a limb -- or worse.

    Then, start at the top and remember how to eat a whale: One bite at a time.

    Pony!
     
  11. fishhead

    fishhead Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    15,080
    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2006
    Location:
    northcentral MN
    Start on the outside and work inward removing the smaller branches in pieces being VERY careful to look for branches under tension. A branch under tension as small as 1" can knock you flat or take out an eye.

    Then start working from the top moving towards the stump so you stay on the outside of the branches. When cutting the larger branches make sure you aren't cutting support without knowing where the main trunk is going. It may fall or it may roll or both when you remove the branches.

    Go slow and make your cuts carefully after you figure out where the trunk will move. Keep your cut branches hauled away from your work area.
     
  12. moonwolf

    moonwolf Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    7,576
    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2004
    Location:
    Canada
    good advice from the posts above making sure of safety first. Wear hearing protection if using a power chainsaw, eye protection with goggles and head protection with safety helmet.
    The thing to stress also is a SHARP saw and check that the safety brake is working.
    Assuming you have used a chain saw before. If not, I would not tackle a big tree cut down and best to get help with practicing instructions.

    The biggest trunk parts are going to be the most difficult unless you find a method to buck them for cutting up.The idea mentioned by Shrek has merit, and cut out wedge piece by piece starting from one end. Probably that way the pieces could be kept to size without further splitting manually.
     
  13. thedonkeyman

    thedonkeyman Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    699
    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2005
    IF the tree is FROZEN, the limbs will snap faster than you will expect if under tention (bent). Like a spring they will snap (split)and reach way out hitting you and your saw. Keep in mind that if you are to cut a branch, make a small cut on the oposite side first then make your cut, to help prevent it from splitting. The other advise I'm hearing is good, but use wood or plastic wedges NOT METAL. To keep from PINCHING your BAR drive a couple of Wood Wedges in. You can make your vertical cuts, drive a couple of wedges on top then work your way down. BUT, there are UNKNOWS as this could be on a side hill (stay up hill)and not on the flat, which changes things. One other thing if this trees has some light under it put some large pieces under it before you lower it down so when your working on it you won't be cutting into the dirt under it. The limbs under this trees that are supporting it are DANGEROUS to cut. Pull the whole thing over with a truck. This way the branches are not under TENSION and much safer to cut . ALLWAYS have an escape plan, never work in a spot with no way out to the rear. Take your time and keep that saw chain, SHARP, OILED and adjusted correctly.
     
  14. brownthumb

    brownthumb Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    136
    Joined:
    May 18, 2006
    Location:
    Lebanon PA
    What kind of tree is it and is the center rotten or hollow?
    If it is a good tree, pay someone to cut it into boards on the spot. They can haul in a Wood Mizer. A year from now you will have some wonderful boards..
     
  15. scaryguyoy

    scaryguyoy Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    64
    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2004
    Location:
    Ohio,Indiana border
    Well it actually fell on the house next door.Someone came and cut it away from the house but left the huge trunk on the ground.Its about 15ft long and I'd estimate 3-4 feet thick.Ive bucked a few trees before but they were not that thick.Im not sure about the insurance situation ,but ive been told that they are not going to cover the whole situation.I think that i will just let this one lie .I was hoping for an easy solution.It does seem like a pro should handle it.
    Scary