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Thread: Pulling big ones

  1. #1
    Woods walker Sponsor Burnham's Avatar
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    Default Pulling big ones

    I barely avoided a derail in Chris' thread on high lead blocks...

    https://www.masterblasterhome.com/sh...Logging-Blocks

    So here's the thread for stories about rigging to pull over old growth conifers. Long-time readers of the Treehouse will probably recall references I've made in the past to these projects...apologies to those for repeats of past glories. Old people tend to do that...I hear .

    Back in the mid to late 1980's, FS fisheries biologists spent lots of time and money trying to improve in-stream habitat, mostly for T&E anadromous species (salmon and steelhead). Structure, in the form of log jams, had been actively removed over many decades prior to that, at the behest of fisheries biologists I hasten to add, to improve in-stream habitat . Confused yet? Not as confused as the -ologists apparently were .

    Anyway...logs were carefully placed, and cabled together, with cable anchors epoxied into boreholes in bedrock or huge boulders. Don't get me started on how those -ologists could justify putting a large excavator right in a stream channel in pursuit of their objectives, while at the same time screaming bloody murder about a drop of sediment from a road maintenance program for ditch and culvert cleaning :what:.

    Somewhere along the way one of them got to musing that it sure would look more natural, and probably function better if we could just imitate the way trees end up in streams in the real world...blowdowns. An old trails foreman who'd been called on to help with the rigging of the log jams had experience building backcountry log foot bridges using small gas-powered winches, and a bunch of MA. He speculated that with the right rigging, tipping over trees along streams would be doable. The rootwad would anchor the tree, which would catch other wood from the flow.

    I was called in to do the rigging aloft. We started with smaller trees, about 24 inch dbh. The standard rigging we worked out was to hang a 6 inch block on a 5/8 inch cable chocker, run 1/2 inch cable from a ground level anchor point across the stream from the tree, up through the block, back across the stream, through another 6 inch block anchored low, and then run down or up stream to the pulling machine (either an excavator of a spider. I always liked using the spider better, 'cause it was winch equipped).

    I had serious doubts about being successful...I'd been climbing trees a long time, and I considered them pretty sturdy . That first tree was about 24 inches, and maybe 150 feet tall...I set the block at 70 feet. I learned at that point that manhandling 140 feet of 1/2 inch cable up and into a block is hard work . I was completely surprised when that first one laid over easy as you please...a little taken aback, to be honest.

    There was a lot of trial and error early on, figuring how to work with the cable attachments, join sections of cable to avoid binding on blocks as slack came out of the systems yet still have enough room to work the tree over. As we moved into trying this with bigger trees, I made the mistake of thinking I should rig higher up, to give us more leverage on the roots. That turned out to be an error with dangerous consequences. We broke the tops out of a couple before I realized we needed to stay down low enough for the stem to not be able to bend much.

    Breaking the top out was very scary...heaps of cable and blocks snapping and snarling through the air, shards of timber flying all willy-nilly, and the big top crashing down through other tops...just mayhem!

    The other disconcerting thing was how little directional control we had once the roots finally gave up the battle. As you can imagine, asymetrical pull from those roots being ripped free from the ground did not auger well for hitting a desired lay with much accuracy. An arc of about 30 degrees from the actual pull direction was average, but a few fell outside of that...but we always got them in the water enough to satisfy the fish guys.

    It was a wonderfully challenging project to be a part of. One of those times in my career when my work stood pretty high profile.

    I never took a single pic...those were before digital cameras were common, and though I've tried to get some I know were taken by observers, so far I've always struck out .
    "Confidence is the feeling you sometimes have before you fully understand the situation."

  2. #2
    Treehouser treebogan's Avatar
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    Thankyou for sharing.

    Did you smash any Blocks,or have to dig/cut a few out from under Stems?
    sixtey percent of the time,it works every time!

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    Woods walker Sponsor Burnham's Avatar
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    Both. Some we needed a dry suit, mask, and snorkle to get to, in the water, under a big trunk.
    "Confidence is the feeling you sometimes have before you fully understand the situation."

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    California Hillbilly Sponsor CurSedVoyce's Avatar
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    That would be a tad spooky having just dropped the tree you are under.......
    I love the stories you and Gerry tell about stuff like this. Just adds a new dimension of looking at what we do and what developed over the years.
    Interesting how a limited gene pool and a limited labor force seem to be so closely related.

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    Bamboo Plantation Owner Sponsor Tucker943's Avatar
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    What a cool experience! I've been shocked before about the root hold of trees in a woodland.environment vs the root hold of trees in a residential setting.

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    Patron saint of bore-cutters Sponsor stig's Avatar
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    When I visited Burnham there was a giant stack of logs outside his equipment trailer.
    Most of those would have given a Danish lumber mill owner a serious hard-on.
    So I asked Burnham if that was the sw log pile.

    " No, that is just some stuff we are going to toss in the rivers for fish habitats" he said.

    They sure treat their fish nicely up around Mt. Hood

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    Treehouser Sponsor chris_girard's Avatar
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    Wow Burnham, that's a great story! It must have been pretty exciting working on a project like that.

    Any idea how these trees in the stream look now after all these years?

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    TreeHouser Sponsor DMc's Avatar
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    Cool story, Burnham! Thanks for sharing.

    Dave

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    TreeHouser Sponsor woodworkingboy's Avatar
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    Interesting history to read about. It sounds a bit like somewhat controlled abandon for the fish. Not many would get the opportunity.
    Bright days and dark days are both expressions of the great mystery. ~ Oglala Sioux

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    Woods walker Sponsor Burnham's Avatar
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    Chris, they do a pretty thorough job of monitoring the condition of these man-made log jams. Last time I looked into it, and best I recall, after 5 years about 80% were in place, though many shifted closer to parallel to the flow than when originally dropped (they do photo point samples). After 10 years, the numbers where still quite good from my perspective, at better than 60% in place. Looking at them today, you'd never guess that they were created artificially.

    That's a much better average over time than the earlier cable and epoxy placements have done, in my opinion because the wood we pulled over was so much larger/longer and the heaviest part was up out of the water and still attached to the ground with some of the roots.
    "Confidence is the feeling you sometimes have before you fully understand the situation."