The Tree House loves TreeStuff!

Drop and flop oak - S. Georgia style

pantheraba

More biners!!!
Joined
Jul 31, 2005
Messages
12,076
Location
near Atlanta
This oak was taken down the day after the Suckerfest Sweetgum...it was a busy 5 days for me.

We have a family farm in deep south GA, the farm where my mother was raised. When Grandaddy died in 1988 the farm was divided among the children...mama ended up with the old homeplace, where I used to go as a kid and learn to be a farmer (what I learned most is that I DIDN'T want to be a farmer...crop tobacco one summer as a 13 year old for $6 a day and you start to learn what real work is).

Darrin, the man who owns the house in the right of the video, wanted the tree down...it was starting to die in the top. His wife told him adamantly that he was to go nowhere near the tree with a chainsaw in his hands. He figured he could have probably done it...but she knew that the week before he and a buddy had a pine across the road almost get away from them...they quit cutting as it started going the wrong way and were able to get a pull line in it and salvage the day...so when Darrin heard I was down with a lot of gear he asked for some help.

I don't get to flop and drop too many trees so this was fun for me. I used my big saw, just 'cause...still learning how to make flat cuts with it. My father was our trusty Bronco driver and co-commentator.

All deep South accents were studiously practiced for your listening pleasure.

Here it be....

<iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/4dXVbK2Qljw?list=UUcMO1J7CZBN1WrjqG6e3ymQ" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
 

Ryan

Treehouser
Joined
Mar 6, 2005
Messages
1,334
Location
Canada
That was an enjoyable show, Gary. "Pops" did a good job operating the skid steer. :) A few more and you'll have your felling cuts bang on.
 

Burnham

Woods walker
Joined
Mar 7, 2005
Messages
17,305
Location
Western Oregon
No offense, Gary, but your felling cut technique would most likely get you a fail in the FS cert. course :). Well, maybe an A cert...:D
 

lumberjack

Young man on the go
Staff member
Joined
Mar 6, 2005
Messages
8,690
Location
Mississippi
All deep South accents were studiously practiced for your listening pleasure.
I guess I missed that part? They all sounded normal to me :|:


I don't do wing cut's as a general rule, it undermines the strongest part of the hinge and for my species I haven't found it to be needed.


I make the top cut first to make it easier (for me) to line up the cut's. When you left the far side's corner left, generally you want to recut the top cut to include that corner, not just cut the wood out leaving a 2 angle top cut. I normally use quite large angled notches for ground felling.

Nice vid, sounds like you had a week long fun time with a bunch of good ole boys. :thumbup:

PS It looks like you're wearing on of my shirts ;) I know it's an imitation though.
 

JIML

Treehouser
Joined
Oct 17, 2005
Messages
480
Location
Indiana
Nice job, im a humbolt notch guy, the butts usually slide off the stump with that.

Id spend a little more time making sure my notch cuts line up with no dutchmans.
 

pete mctree

Treehouser
Joined
Feb 5, 2006
Messages
2,819
Location
N East England
when using the saw on it's side are you switching to using your thumb on the throttle? It helps with the angle of the cut as maintaining the traditional finger use will tend to push the nose down as your wrist will only flex so far.
 

pantheraba

More biners!!!
Joined
Jul 31, 2005
Messages
12,076
Location
near Atlanta
when using the saw on it's side are you switching to using your thumb on the throttle? It helps with the angle of the cut as maintaining the traditional finger use will tend to push the nose down as your wrist will only flex so far.
Never heard of it but I'll give it a try...I didn't realize I was angling down on that first cut til I saw the video. Thanks for comments, all...still learning stuff.
 

Skwerl

TreeHouser
Joined
Sep 6, 2006
Messages
15,951
Yup, the downward angle on your bottom part of your notch is what resulted in the tree sitting back on top of the stump. If the bottom of the notch were flat or angled down slightly, the tree is more likely to slide off the stump as it falls.

Looks like you guys were having fun! :)
 

Burnham

Woods walker
Joined
Mar 7, 2005
Messages
17,305
Location
Western Oregon
No offense, Gary, but your felling cut technique would most likely get you a fail in the FS cert. course :). Well, maybe an A cert...:D

I have been kicking myself all day about this post, Gary. I came off all negative, with no constructive criticism offered. Please accept my apologies, and maybe I can do something more useful.

When you start that flat cut for the base of your face, if you have trouble getting it level, hunker down on your knee and sight down the bar...this helps some folks read level and flat better. Stop and check by stepping away from the tree a little farther, leaving the saw in the kerf...it's easy to read then, and if you need to start over, do so just a bit lower...the bad cut will come out with the face.

You don't appear to be using your dogs near as much as you could...for that first cut, dog in about where you think the hinge should be on your side of the tree and swing through, watching the gunning sight to hit your intended lay. Especially with a larger saw, let the dogs do more of the work of holding the saw in place, then you can concentrate on accurate cuts more.

When you started the sloping cut of the face, you just kept cutting without checking the line the kerf was going to take...early on, stop and look at the far side of the tree, visually extend your kerf, and if it's off, pull out and restart right then. Use the dogs here to...just set them in so the kerf on your side will hit the bottom cut with no dutchman and swing it through. Carl was right in telling you to re-cut the whole sloping cut rather than just nip off the dutchman. That angled top of the face can easily send the tree off your lay as it closes during the fall.

Nipping the ears below the hinge may be usefull, for some species...I have never felt the need to do it when falling...up in the tree with a lanyard below your face is a different story. If you DO do it, go very shallow and at least 4 inches below the hinge. It's easy to compromise the most important holding wood, so be cautious there. Your hinge held fine, so you did well there.

Now, your back cut. All that scribing business is of little use in my view. Get the bar level the same way as the first cut of the face. Leaving stump shot to help keep the tree from kicking back over the stump towards the faller if it hits another tree when going down is normal practice in the woods. Might not be needed if there is nothing to hit out in front, but anyway, to do that, have the backcut be 1 to 4 inches above the bottom of the face cut, depending on size and species. Since you have all that bar and a big saw, there is no reason to do anything besides dog in on your side of the tree at the point where the backcut will leave the right amount of hinge, and just swing on through. Sight down the back of the face cut and don't let the bar cut past parallel to that. Check the far side near the end of the back cut. You must not take too much wood at the end of that swing, nor leave too much. Sometimes with head leaners you have to keep in the kerf, keep cutting, even as the tree starts to fall. Again, it appeared that you did fine on that score.

I suppose with the pull line it is not really needed, but I ALWAYS put in a wedge as soon as I can. It's good insurance. Stuff happens, pull vehicle engines die, ropes come undone, and a setback can be a bitch...worse, it can set in motion a chain of events that can get you killed.

When you are in the kerf, you can count on it that the saw will keep cutting :). Don't just watch it work, lean back and look overhead frequently. More sawyers get hurt by stuff falling out of the tree on them than most any other cause. Watch out overhead. This is especially true when you are driving wedges. Don't just set up a regular pattern and drive away, hit a couple, look up and let the vibrations die out, then hit a few more.

That's it, end of lesson. By the way, that stump you left is a perfect opportunity to practice your felling cuts. You could put in a couple more faces on that to fine-tune your technique. Practice makes a difference, that's for certain.
 

Skwerl

TreeHouser
Joined
Sep 6, 2006
Messages
15,951
I have been kicking myself all day about this post, Gary. I came off all negative, with no constructive criticism offered. Please accept my apologies, and maybe I can do something more useful.

When you start that flat cut for the base of your face, if you have trouble getting it level, hunker down on your knee and sight down the bar...this helps some folks read level and flat better. Stop and check by stepping away from the tree a little farther, leaving the saw in the kerf...it's easy to read then, and if you need to start over, do so just a bit lower...the bad cut will come out with the face.

You don't appear to be using your dogs near as much as you could...for that first cut, dog in about where you think the hinge should be on your side of the tree and swing through, watching the gunning sight to hit your intended lay. Especially with a larger saw, let the dogs do more of the work of holding the saw in place, then you can concentrate on accurate cuts more.

When you started the sloping cut of the face, you just kept cutting without checking the line the kerf was going to take...early on, stop and look at the far side of the tree, visually extend your kerf, and if it's off, pull out and restart right then. Use the dogs here to...just set them in so the kerf on your side will hit the bottom cut with no dutchman and swing it through. Carl was right in telling you to re-cut the whole sloping cut rather than just nip off the dutchman. That angled top of the face can easily send the tree off your lay as it closes during the fall.

Nipping the ears below the hinge may be usefull, for some species...I have never felt the need to do it when falling...up in the tree with a lanyard below your face is a different story. If you DO do it, go very shallow and at least 4 inches below the hinge. It's easy to compromise the most important holding wood, so be cautious there. Your hinge held fine, so you did well there.

Now, your back cut. All that scribing business is of little use in my view. Get the bar level the same way as the first cut of the face. Leaving stump shot to help keep the tree from kicking back over the stump towards the faller if it hits another tree when going down is normal practice in the woods. Might not be needed if there is nothing to hit out in front, but anyway, to do that, have the backcut be 1 to 4 inches above the bottom of the face cut, depending on size and species. Since you have all that bar and a big saw, there is no reason to do anything besides dog in on your side of the tree at the point where the backcut will leave the right amount of hinge, and just swing on through. Sight down the back of the face cut and don't let the bar cut past parallel to that. Check the far side near the end of the back cut. You must not take too much wood at the end of that swing, nor leave too much. Sometimes with head leaners you have to keep in the kerf, keep cutting, even as the tree starts to fall. Again, it appeared that you did fine on that score.

I suppose with the pull line it is not really needed, but I ALWAYS put in a wedge as soon as I can. It's good insurance. Stuff happens, pull vehicle engines die, ropes come undone, and a setback can be a bitch...worse, it can set in motion a chain of events that can get you killed.

When you are in the kerf, you can count on it that the saw will keep cutting :). Don't just watch it work, lean back and look overhead frequently. More sawyers get hurt by stuff falling out of the tree on them than most any other cause. Watch out overhead. This is especially true when you are driving wedges. Don't just set up a regular pattern and drive away, hit a couple, look up and let the vibrations die out, then hit a few more.

That's it, end of lesson. By the way, that stump you left is a perfect opportunity to practice your felling cuts. You could put in a couple more faces on that to fine-tune your technique. Practice makes a difference, that's for certain.
Wow, what a well written and informative post! I quoted it only to carry it forward to the second page so some might get a chance to read it a second time. I'm thoroughly impressed and awed by your depth of knowledge, Burnham. Very nice how you can express the thought processes of 30 years experience that occur in the 3-4 minute operation of felling a tree.
:thumbup:
 

JIML

Treehouser
Joined
Oct 17, 2005
Messages
480
Location
Indiana
yah thats some damn good info. I tell people to look around while working on the back cut. I look up often myself.

I find making my angle cut first makes it easy to get your cuts lined up perfectly the first time.
 

No_Bivy

Treehouser
Joined
Sep 2, 2006
Messages
5,887
Th Oak in the background looks like a fun climb, how big is it?
 

pantheraba

More biners!!!
Joined
Jul 31, 2005
Messages
12,076
Location
near Atlanta
I have been kicking myself all day about this post, Gary. I came off all negative, with no constructive criticism offered. Please accept my apologies, and maybe I can do something more useful........That's it, end of lesson. By the way, that stump you left is a perfect opportunity to practice your felling cuts. You could put in a couple more faces on that to fine-tune your technique. Practice makes a difference, that's for certain.
No apologies necessary. I truly appreciate you taking the time to pass along your knowledge. I have printed out your info and put it in my climbing gear case...I'll consult it again when I fell my next tree.

I wondered about nipping the ears below the hinge...I had read about it in Dent's book (I think). I have started using kerf cuts below the hinge when cutting tops to keep them from ripping down into my lanyard but wasn't sure of their utility for cuts from the ground.

Excellent point on using wedges even if there is a source pulling the tree...I hadn't thought about how a loss of power (engine, rope breaks, etc.) might let the tree set back...I'll use wedges as a matter of course.

I'm looking for chances to practice felling cuts...my cousins in S. GA have hundreds of acres of pines. I asked them to let me know next time they do a lot of felling so I can get in on the fun.

"Lean back and look overhead"...I have read it before but it didn't take. It will take now...your words mean a lot to me because you took the time to pen them...thanks.
 
B

bergsteiger

Guest
Listen to Burnham :thumbup: :thumbup: Learn to use your felling sights, dogs and wedges. :)
 
R

RIVERRAT

Guest
First off I would like to thank Gary for posting that vid. Gary you came on this sight, it seems like a very short time ago. Since that time you have been doing what I think is pretty remarkable in spite of the time you have spent at this vocation. Your age & very real, youthful enthusiasm cant help but be a positive kick in the pants to others here!!

Secondly I think the "O'l Fart" Burnham, also shows his worth to this sight with his wisdom & concern about how he puts it forth....Great stuff fellas!!
 

pantheraba

More biners!!!
Joined
Jul 31, 2005
Messages
12,076
Location
near Atlanta
Thanks, River. I post the videos not just to entertain folks but to get the feedback that y'all give. I don't have anybody to study under...books - Dent, Beranek, ASPR, etc..are a help with basic principles but direct feedback on some of the specifics that I can share through video are a big help.

Burnham and a lot of you guys have been a great source of learning for me...good camaraderie and entertainment, too.
 

Burnham

Woods walker
Joined
Mar 7, 2005
Messages
17,305
Location
Western Oregon
Thanks for the positive responses, folks.

I also want to offer kudos to Gary for both his open attitude and willingness to put himself out there for all to see. And I agree that his enthusiasm is a wonderful asset to the Treehouse.

While I have your attention, if you'll indulge me I'd like to throw out one more point to consider when making your face cuts. I often see cutters here on the forums post pictures of face cuts that are pretty narrow, say 20 degrees or so. To my way of thinking, this is far too small.

Here's how I see it: the hinge is the controlling feature in determining where the tree will lay to. Other factors exist, to be sure, but this is far and away the major thing. Now, we all know that the moment the face closes during the fall, the hingewood tears. That's why we must eliminate any dutchmen...when that little face-within-a-face that is a dutchman closes, the hinge there begins to tear out and it does so extremely early in the fall, compromising the directional control you desire. By the same token, if we form up a 20 degree facecut, it is an inescapable fact that the face will close early in the fall...the tree will only tip 10 degrees off of vertical (assuming a straight up and down tree) before this happens, and that the hinge will break very soon thereafter.

So you have lost directional control when the tree is still close to upright and when very little momentum has built up in the direction the hinge headed the tree. Now then, those other factors, like side lean, weird grain or rot in the hinge, or brushing another tree crown, can easily exert significant impacts because the tree is so weakly commited to the initial direction you dictated with your hinge when that hinge breaks.

Pull lines actually do nothing to help direct a tree through the fall, they only assist in commiting the tree to the direction the hinge mandates, unless you can accelerate the uptake of the pull line to match or exceed the speed the tree falls. I have never seen an operation where that was accomplished...there is always slack developed soon after the tree commits to the face. So we can't look there for much help with directional control once the tree commits to the face.

Thus, I conclude that the farther through the fall the hinge remains functional, and the closer the tree is to the ground when the face does close and the hinge is rendered powerless, and the faster the tree is moving when that happens, the better for getting things to go where you intended.

To accomplish this, a minimum of a 45 degree face opening is my choice, and I go with more if other factors make desireable even longer directional control through the fall.

If Gary's bottom cut on his face had been level, I think his would have been about right...it was not nearly as small as many I've seen posted here. I'm not criticizing his falling this time :) .

I'll be quiet now...differing opinions may well exist, let's hear them 8) .
 

pantheraba

More biners!!!
Joined
Jul 31, 2005
Messages
12,076
Location
near Atlanta
I'll be curious to watch this line of exchange develop. I, too, have seen hinges that range from very skinny to very open. I think it was ASPR that recommended a 70 degree face as a rule of thumb...pretty open. I have started trying to follow that idea.

I don't know why I made my base cut of the notch first...I have read recently about making the angle cut first but didn't do it...probably because I have habitually made base cuts first. They are harder to intersect when done that way. I'll be unlearning an old habit for awhile.

Good explanation of how the holding wood works...I'm going to ponder some more, too, about the stump shot. I reviewed it in Dent's book today and it makes sense.

I suppose that when I see a stump where the holding wood that broke is the only thing sticking up on a smooth surface, it means that the back cut directly intersected the base of the notch...and there wasn't any ridge there to help prevent the spar from moving backwards in the event the top hit another tree.
 

Burnham

Woods walker
Joined
Mar 7, 2005
Messages
17,305
Location
Western Oregon
I don't know why I made my base cut of the notch first...I have read recently about making the angle cut first but didn't do it...probably because I have habitually made base cuts first. They are harder to intersect when done that way. I'll be unlearning an old habit for awhile.
Well, there surely is a difference of opinion on that one, too, Gary. For it to be easier to intersect perfectly when making the angled cut first you have to be good at keeping the back of both cuts level and parallel...and we have seen that that can be a challege for some cutters. As I see it, the only advantage to doing the angled cut first is being able to sight down that kerf and watch for the second cut to intersect with it. That will keep you from cutting past the first kerf, but not insure that you are not above or below it. I've been doing it the flat cut first, either standard face or humbolt, for a long time...I don't really want to learn a new way when what I'm doing works pretty well. For what it's worth, though when I first trained under Dent making the flat cut first was the "only" way it was done, he has more recently allowed as how he doesn't care which you do first, so long as you make it accurate.

I think what works best is what works best for the individual, what they are accustomed to doing, and have competency doing.

The main thing is not whether you hit perfectly the first time, but rather that you recognize the importance of fixing it before proceeding further when you don't.
 

pantheraba

More biners!!!
Joined
Jul 31, 2005
Messages
12,076
Location
near Atlanta
I think what works best is what works best for the individual, what they are accustomed to doing, and have competency doing.

The main thing is not whether you hit perfectly the first time, but rather that you recognize the importance of fixing it before proceeding further when you don't.
And that means understanding exactly WHAT you are trying to do and how what you are doing accomplishes that end. Your quote,

"Confidence is the feeling you sometimes have before you fully understand the situation."

is something I have been guilty of with some of this tree stuff...sometimes I think I start to understand and then another gremlin pops up to challenge my thinking.

I purposefully put those kerf cuts below below the hinge because I had read about it in Dent or Beranek's book. But, I was not sure exactly how it was supposed to affect the fall of the tree. I figured somebody would ask me WTF I was doing and I'd probably get some good discourse out of it.

Thanks for your input, Burnham.
 

pete mctree

Treehouser
Joined
Feb 5, 2006
Messages
2,819
Location
N East England
Great thread. It has made me examine and analyse my felling carefully today, performing a mini autopsy on each stump.
I love your attitude Gary, It can be hard to ask questions and take criticism in such a positive manner.

Oh and Burnham, great posts !
 
B

bergsteiger

Guest
In regards to making your flat cut or angle cut first, I always do flat cut first so that I can sight in the lay exactly where I want it. I think it is much easier to use the sights this way rather than making the angle cut first.
 
The Tree House Loves TreeStuff!
Top