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Beranek's Coos Bay felling cut vs. Burnham's

Burnham

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Jerry, I was very interested to note in your Fundamentals that the method you describe for forming this felling cut is somewhat different than that I was taught.

You put no face cut in at all, just take a third of the diameter off each side, parallel to the head lean...then cut hell for leather from the back on through to the front.

I put in a face cut, relatively shallow but otherwise normal, gunned to the head lean. Then using the tip and as much of the bar as needed, working from one side and then from the other, take off the wood behind the hinge leaving a central strip just like you do. Then back cut as you describe...sharp chain, strong saw, high rpms. Gary (GSAoline71) drew a nice diagram that showed this style Coos Bay cut not too long ago.

I rather like my technique better...no hinge just doesn't feel right to me.

I'd enjoy hearing your comments a great deal, if you don't mind.

Edit: Anyone else's too, for that matter :).
 

Stumper

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With utmost respect for Jer I prefer the sound of your method Burnham-and must admit that I have never used either one
 
T

TheTreeSpyder

Guest
i prefer facing too in theory, but; as long as there is something holding on as she flexes over; i think there is a hinge mechanic. But have done some strong stuff without. Just perhaps with no face: more to a point(than spread force with face), less/no relief with no face and less further 'undermining' of the CG.
 

gf beranek

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Ah yes. That brings back one heck of a story.

The Coos Bay cut was first described to me by Mike Davis, RIP, yes the M. Davis in High climbers. The way Mike described it to me then is the way I've used the cut since. With minor varients to suit the situation, of course.

When Mike was first describing the Coos's Bay cut to me, back in 1986 at the Golden West Hotel Saloon, I was astounded by the shear "against the grain methodology" I thought to myself, "He can't be serious." Dave Deconti was present during Mikes description and we both exchanged eye contact a number of times in disbelief of what Mike was telling us.

I had to ask Mike a couple of times just to get it straight without any misunderstanding. Needless to say I was still skeptical even after 20 Budwisers.

When I went to work for Pete Benedeti in 89 I watched Raymond Bates use the cut exactly as Mike described it. The tree was a redwood, heavy leaner over the county road. The county road crew closed the road off and in three cuts, less than one minute, that tree floped across the pavement and was doing the dying quivers.

Even at that I never attempted to use the Coos Bay. I was still too skeptical.

A few years later, round about 92 or so, I was working in Dos Rios for Homer Helms. Dos Rios is rattle snake, bald face hornet infested hell hole I'll never forget. Well the Bullbuck on that harvest plan awarded me a strip on a big slide that covered a few acres of the mountain. The Bullbuck said he liked me. Most the trees on that strip toppled when the the hill side slipped out, I guessed about 10 years before my arrival, the downed trees were all pretty well rotten. Now the trees left standing, if you want to call it that, were all heavy leaners, no, no hangers, like holding out your arm, Douglas Fir averaging about a thousand foot apiece. Scratch your head in wonder thinking about the forces on the roots holding them.

It was impossible to fall to a lead. Every tree leaned a different way, over one another and over bad ground. I walk through those trees two times without even tugging on the pull rope. Finally when I came back to where I started, I thought about what Mike told me, and I remembered how Raymond Bates flopped that redwood in just three cuts.

I was thinking, "Man, I'm gonna have one of these trees barber chair and lose my saw and possibly my life." I looked across the hillside, up and down and thought, "I'm not walking through this again. I'm gonna just start cutting the way Mike told me. F it."

So I tugged on that pull rope and brought life into a sawing machine that was hell bent for destruction. Knees knocking and sweat pouring I cut one side of the trunk, better than a third, socked a wedge in, and cut the other side the same, then hit the back!!!

The sound of wood pulling from the stump ecohed across the caynon and the tree launched itself into the worse lay you could imagine. Fortunatly it was Doug Fir, and tough, and it took the hit. SOB to buck. Would of been easier if it broke clean. No such luck.

So, OK! That was the first one. So far so good. I have couple dozen more.

About 4 o'clock that afternoon I had the last of the outlaws apprehenced and bucked them all, honest to God. I felt like a pro. Oh, yeah.

It was late in the day for a timber faller to walk out of the woods. Most the others were out of there by 1 oclock and home by the time I quit. I wanted to finish that strip. I didn't want to go back to it in the morning. My next strip was steep ground but the trees stood fare and straight, and was going to be a heck of a lot easier.

I suppose had I learned the Coos Bay from someone else, like yourselves, I would have done it that way. I recall when the discussion about the Coos bay came up here at the house the description was different than what I have used and wrote about. I found it interesting the varients of methods to solve a common problem. And I knew one day someone here would call me on it.

Thanks, Burnam.

Since using the Coos' Bay on that God awful strip in Dos Rios I started using it in the trees to launch big, heavy, hanging, limbs and spars. It works great.

It'll pull wood, generally out of the stub,or stump, but it solves the issues of getting a saw stuck in a cut by undercutting a heavily compress portion of a stem or trunk. Non-directional. Only good for flopping.

Varients? Yes! Even though a tree with heavy head lean,,, it can also favor one side. Cut that side first, better than a third, set a wedge. Cut the other side. Then bore into the holding wood, and threat it like you would with a conventional face and bore cut to trip.

Heavy head leaners are a Son of a Bitch. Anybody that's been in the business for long can attest to it. Even treated with the best of your knowledge and skill they can still get you. Always treat them with the utmost respect and have a clear and safe way out of there.

Up in the tree? Always excute the cut from above.

Thank you Mike Davis for the knowledge. RIP, 2003
 
Last edited:
J

Jonseredbred

Guest
I wonder if this is what we refer to as a "flat cut"???
 
J

Jonseredbred

Guest
Cut the root flare towards the lay (front), clean out all of the center wood from the front side leaving a small portion in the back and side root flares. cut the back strap, insert wedge then cut straight down the side root flares so the tree pops off the stump.

Sorry, I cant put it into words any better than that.

We use it on Black Walnuts and Hard Maples here to keep from pulling the centers.
 

gf beranek

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Yeah, you don't want wood pull on valuable logs like that.

Names and descriptions of the techniques used in this business can be tough and confusing to get across to others. As the old saying goes, "One picture worth thousand words" Even better to have it demostrated live.
 

wiley_p

Climbing Up
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I've used the Coos Bay alot on heavy Alders. Jim Justus showed it to me when I was younger and knew everything:D , I never knew the proper name for it till I read Gerry's book in the late 90's. I always called it a strip cut. I just learned the name of another cut I have been using for the last few years on heavy trees that I am trying to keep sidehill, Another one that was taught to me by a guy from Forks, WA. Eric Schatz said it is a sidehill undercut. Works WAY better than a Swing Dutchman w/ a swizwill for holding those bastards in the lay.
 

GASoline71

'cause chicks dig scars
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Names and descriptions of the techniques used in this business can be tough and confusing to get across to others. As the old saying goes, "One picture worth thousand words" Even better to have it demostrated live.
When I was discussing with Burnahm some serious head leaners I had to deal with on a job, he described to me the Coos Bay cut as he uses it.

He described it perfectly to me via a PM. Worked like a charm too.

I tried to describe it to a friend of mine (my groundie at the time) on another job. We were even right there at the stump as I was tryin' to explain what I was about to do. He just scratched his head and said, "Show me."

So I did... he was pretty impressed with how well it works.

Thanks Burnham for the info!

Thanks to you too Gerry... for if you would not have been in that saloon sluggin' back Bud's with your pal... the cut prolly would not be as known on the West Coast.

Gary
 

Al Smith

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Cut the root flare towards the lay (front), clean out all of the center wood from the front side leaving a small portion in the back and side root flares. cut the back strap, insert wedge then cut straight down the side root flares so the tree pops off the stump.

Sorry, I cant put it into words any better than that.

We use it on Black Walnuts and Hard Maples here to keep from pulling the centers.
I've never done so myself but in my woods is the remains of a big red oak somebody flopped like that .

I don't know if you can tell by this picture or not.
 
J

Jonseredbred

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Yes Al, that looks like the remains of what we call a flat cut.
 

Al Smith

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Yes Al, that looks like the remains of what we call a flat cut.
Not to derail the talk of a Coos Bay but how in the world is this flat cut done.By that it is apparent that the tree would set down on the bar with just a root swell holding it up .

Do you stand the front up on a set of wedges or something??? From the looks of that stump I could not see any hinge and I imagine that big old oak,all 100 foot of it must have weighed 10 or 15 tons or more.
 

gf beranek

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Names of specific cuts people use everyday are often different in every local. But slowly through internet forums and chat rooms I think a lot of the confusion different slang, jargon and names create will diminish.

Did that make any sense?
 

Burnham

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  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #19
Thanks very much, Jerry. That's a great story. Know what? You oughta write a book :lol: .

Your point about the hazard of having a heavy head leaner set down on your saw trying to get a face cut in is for true...it can be a challenge. I've managed it on a couple of occasions by reaming the kerfs as they want to close, but that can take an awfully fine sense of touch. If you misjudge, it sucks the hairy moose lips, as Stumper would so eloquently say.

I'm going to keep Mike Davis' and your method in mind...there will just as likely as not come a time when I'll want to use it. In fact, I can think of a very heavy leaner, a western red cedar that needs to come down when the snow melts...leans over a road and a trail. Bet that'll be the one.
Also thanks for the description of that Coos Bay variation of boreing the backcut. Another trick to put in the mental toolbox.

Sorry to hear that Mr. Davis is no longer with us. Damn but that man had a set of arms and shoulders on him. What a cutter. One of the finest pictures in High Climbers and Timber Fallers for my money is of him bucking a big redwood laying up and down that really steep slope in James Creek. Bucking on a slope like that is so difficult...

Thanks Jerry.
 

JIML

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Sorry to hear that Mr. Davis is no longer with us. Damn but that man had a set of arms and shoulders on him. What a cutter. One of the finest pictures in High Climbers and Timber Fallers for my money is of him bucking a big redwood laying up and down that really steep slope in James Creek. Bucking on a slope like that is so difficult...

Thanks Jerry.
Yeah I read thru the book and most all the guys in the book look no bigger than you or me. They you happen across the Mike Davis pictures. He was pretty big fella.
 

SkwerI

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A good thread worthy of bumping, since the topic comes up once in a while. Maybe it will be picked up in the forum search if it gets bumped since the old threads aren't searchable.
 

Burnham

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  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #24
Hey, GASoline71/Gary...you still have that diagram?...it's lost from the thread, might be useful to repost if you do.
 
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