Monday, July 6, 2015

Heating With Wood

Heating with wood means getting wood. I can still do it with a chainsaw and a splitting maul.

So yesterday was a wood gathering day. I usually try to recruit help so I am not alone in the woods with a chainsaw. I also recruit help because cutting, splitting, hauling the wood to the truck, and unloading and stacking it is a lot of work.

My best help is in Texas on vacation. My other best help was working. I took the saw and went to the woods alone. I picked an oak tree that was leaning and and had some vines that I didn't see and promptly leaned it the rest of the way into another tree.

This was not my first rodeo and I made my cuts and managed to get the tree down without anything more than a severe case of adrenalin overload.

True Blue Sam posts videos of chainsaw advice. On his front page he has a how-to dealing with making cuts on a tree that has tangled itself into another tree appropriately titled Staying Alive While Cutting Lodged Limbs. The links you can follow on YouTube from this video will make you think that a chainsaw and a standing tree are just about the most dangerous thing in the world.

He also has a list of rules for using a chainsaw in his sidebar. It's longer than the 4 rules of gun safety, but it seems to cover yesterday's festivities pretty well. Here's three of them I can give an AMEN to:
12. Make a plan for every tree you cut. Assess hazards, lean, escape routes, forward cuts, and back cuts. Evaluate the forward or backward lean, and the side lean of every tree you cut. Know your limits.

13. Clear your work area and your escape path of brush, vines, and other hazards that can trip you or catch your saw.
22. Do not cut a tree that is holding up a lodged tree. Do not work under a lodged tree. Think about a mouse trying to steal the cheese out of a trap.


R.K. Brumbelow said...

Your opening paragraph reminds me of a radio commercial for a joint cream a couple of decades ago...

Do you have problems with morning stiffness, I know I do and for it I use (insert product here). I think it was an elderly Georgia politician in the commercial.

And then you have the deliberate Corn Nut commercial...

Comrade Misfit said...

Going solo out into the woods with a chain saw doesn't sound like a good idea.

Old NFO said...

ON the good/bad scale, it's hard to stay safe by yourself. I've seen one of those leaners jump about 10 feet when it was cut!

burt said...

How to save money using a wood stove:

First year costs:

2 stoves and installation $1385.
Removal of hot water baseboard and boiler $238.
Search for reputable wood dealer N/A $76.
Chain saw $210.
Ax, wedges, maul, cant hook, etc. $119.
Old truck (junk after 1st load) $595.
Newer truck $8645.
Tire chains $88.
Replace truck's rear window (twice) $310.
Fine for cutting wrong trees $500.
5-acre woodlot $4995.
Splitting machine $950.
14 cases of beer $126.
6 fifths ginger brandy $38.
Fine for littering $250.
Towing charge (brook to road) $50.
Gas, oil, files, Band-aids $97.
Doctor's fee (sawdust in eye) $45.
Medical cost for broken toe (dropped log) $128.
Safety shoes $35.
Attempt to fix burned hole in carpet $76.
New living room carpet $699.
Paint living room $110.
Taxes on woodlot $44.
Woodlot boundary dispute settlement $465.
Roof repair after chimney fire $840.
Fine for assaulting fireman $50.
Extension ladder $55.
Chimney brush $22.
Medical fee for broken leg (fell off roof) $478.
Chimney cleaning service $90.
Replace coffee table (chopped up and burned while too drunk to bring firewood up from cellar) $79.
Divorce settlement $14,500.
EXPENSES $36,388

Sale of hot water boiler system $125.
Fuel oil savings $376.


(from a very old joke group on alt.humor - a really long time ago)

STxAR said...

Thank you for the timely posting of this. My sis and bro-in-law took down a tree in their yard last week. They narrowly missed horrible injury. I watched quite a few of his videos and read his blog. Sent them a link. I hope they take it to heart.

I also advised them to get their will together and be sure and appoint a guardian for their young kids if they decide to just 'muddle' through their next tree. That huge oak almost orphaned their kids.

libertyman said...

I have a chainsaw, but I don't have a tractor with a front bucket. I'll cut up limbs and downed trees but leave the real tree felling to the pros.

I had two 130 foot white pines taken down and it was worth every penny.

David aka True Blue Sam said...

Big solid trees are usually easier to drop than little trees. They have lots of room to set up your hinge and back strap. Hollow trees have to be treated with lots of respect. Watch a few videos of people knocking down silos. The thin shell tends to collapse rather than acting as a hinge. Running and profanity occurs.

Learn to bore cut for making your hinge. You have the power to cut any tree in the world once you learn that technique.

My right elbow went to crap after 40 years of splitting with a maul. I should have bought the power splitter at 35 years. The bad elbow interferes with shooting, so please take that advice!

Thanks For The Link!

abnormalist said...

So I'm a fair hand at felling smaller trees.

This is what I thought from dropping a few hundred of them over the years. They all went where I expected, when I expected. I learned a lot from watching and working with a few friends who know what they are doing, they learned their trade working big lumber in Michigan's upper peninsula.

I thought I was good to drop this 50ft mulberry in my back yard. Sure it was by the corner of the yard, and had fence on two sides, but I was a few hundred feet from any houses, and not in a big deal if it went off poorly.

Problem 1. Failed to notice the limbs that were entangled in the pine next to it.
Problem 2. The limbs entangled were in such a manner, that the tree was only falling ONE way. Straight at the fence, and into the neighbors yard
Problem 3. It wasn't that big of a tree, and the wife wanted it gone before the weekend was over, so I figured I'd just get it by myself while she was gone. Tree still weighed probably 1500-2000lbs

So, hinge cut, planning to drop it in my yard between the kids play structure and the fence. It doesn't start to lean as I want, so I proceed to use the felling wedges to wedge it and get it heading in the right direction. I still have several inches of wood uncut when I start this process, plus the large bites I took out to begin the cut.

Working the wedge in there, when the tree SNAPS off... Tree drops forward, hits the ground falling off the cut and nearly takes my foot. Lands straight down on the ground directly in front of the portion of the trunk (now stump) rather than hinging over.

Tree now free from its trunk falls DIRECTLY on the fence, almost kicks me into the next county. I ran just before it could (escape path)

Long story short, I'm better at building (and repairing) fences than I am at felling trees. That said, I did get a very cheap lesson in humility. Only cost me a few fence slats. Didn't even need to wash any blood or feces outta the clothes (very close on both accounts though)