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First cut, Angle Or Gun?

kevin bingham

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Nov 10, 2010
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I do angle cut first. Its the longer cut so its easier to match up the corners with the flat cut. That's what I was taught I don't know why. But as long as the tree falls where you want than your good. After reading all this maybe ill try the other way around
 

Tim_B.

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Jan 19, 2014
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Northern Virginia
Well making the horizontal last is what caused Tom to spend some time in the hospital a few years back .Damned wedge dropped down pinching the bar on an 066 kicked back and got him bad .He's lucky he still has all his fingers .
Hey, Al! If you don't mind my asking, did he do his diagonal cut first, from high to low? That is how I'm picturing this incident in my mind. He cuts high to low on a diagonal cut, then comes in on the horizontal cut below the big fat pie sitting above it, the wedge in the cut falls out, and the big fat pie falls onto the bar and pinches it, causing the kickback. Is this correct? So if he'd done the diagonal cut from the bottom up, and then did his horizontal cut afterward, the weight of the pie-shaped wood would not have had a chance to pinch the bar?

Thanks for any answers you choose to give, and for your patience with the newbie questions.

Tim

Edit: Oh, never mind. I just figured out that what you meant by the phrase "wedge dropped down" in the above quoted post was referring to the wedge of wood dropping down on the chainsaw bar, not that a wedge that he was using to hold the kerf open had fallen out. So Butch's original supposition was correct in this case, thinking that a pinched bar could get someone in trouble. This is a great thread. Thanks to everyone for sharing their knowledge and experience with regard to this stuff.
 

Al Smith

Mac Daddy
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Here's how I think it went .It was a big fat old elm tree ,dead .I don't know if he missed the line up or just made the horizontal cut last and it pinched .I don't think he had a wedge driven to hold it up or not .
I do know that older style 066 had some azz behind it ,I had ran it and it would pull like a Georgia mule stung by a bee .There wasn't much that would stall it .
At any rate Dar was still l alive and got a phone call he was in the hospital and he spent the rest of the summer with one hand wrapped up like a boxing glove .

Further babbling on like a magpie .Hindsight is always 20/20 .Tom had a tendency to file the drags down pretty aggressively .It was 36" bar and I'm not so certain the chain brake was intact at the time ..That saw had components changed from time to time before it got stolen .Combine all this and it could lead to bad results which in this case it did .
 

Jed

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Nov 2, 2010
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Stig: Watching that vid made me happier than you could understand, and let me just say that ANYONE who does not respect Euro-cutting techniques is either ignorant, or just an ass. Region is everything regarding how a pro cuts a tree. There are many, many reasons why Europeans prefer to cut faster and lower with short bars and half-wraps.

The PNW is just different. I cut with long bars that reach all the way through, because I suck at cutting. I use full-wraps because they are better. I cut the horizontal first, because, unlike Stig, I don't know martial arts, am a wuss, and don't want to get beat up. If any man were fool enough in my area to cut the diagonal first, he would IMMEDIATELY incur physical violence from the boys. (Again, for myriad regional reasons. Around these parts... LEVEL matters, to the hugest extent, and nobody really even CARES how you get the stupid pie-cut out. Just make darn sure you have a dead-level undercut to one third first, and ceterus paribus... everything else will just take care of itself.) PNW gospel... Can I get a WITNESS!!!

Hey Sir!... Was that a 462? That thing seemed to do fairly well.
 
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stig

Patron saint of bore-cutters
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462 yes!

Burnham and I have sort of made an art form out of bashing each other about our regional preferences.
All in good fun.
 

Bermy

Acolyte of the short bar
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May 3, 2008
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Bermuda and Tasmania
How does a guy get his fingers cut from kickback cutting a felling notch?

Yeah Jed, I got some VERY strange looks first time I cut the diagonal first in front of tree fallers in OZ...being a girl stopped them from calling me a girl for doing it that way haha! But with the thick bark low down on the trunks of Eucs...I see why they do it the other way.
Thin bark, still my go to is diagonal first.
 

SeanKroll

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Oct 13, 2016
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Olympia, WA
I can't figure out how you can accurately cut the sloping first with a big saw and bar on uneven ground, on spurs, or a springboard.
 

Burnham

Woods walker
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Mar 7, 2005
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Western Oregon
Well duh, Sean. Isn't it obvious? They are all just better sawyers than you and me :).

462 yes!

Burnham and I have sort of made an art form out of bashing each other about our regional preferences.
All in good fun.
For true! And the basis for having fun with it has to be deep solid respect for the skill represented by doing it another way from our own normal.
 

Tree09

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Feb 28, 2017
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Peoria il
When i do the angle first(most of the time), especially on a conventional, i get a very small cut to start it in, then before i actually make the cut i gun the saw. If it is level and aiming right, your cut will be too, so all you have to do is pull the trigger. Then you simply have to match up a horizontal cut, which is easier. Doing it this way, for me at least, takes some of the skill and touch out of it and makes it a technique. I also suck compared to everyone else on here.
 

SeanKroll

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Oct 13, 2016
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I wish the gunning lines on Stihls would be a bit more raised...1/8" more.
I was off a couple-6', in about 80 yesterday. I know I need my eyes checked and am coming to accept I might need glasses.

When I train fellers, I tell them to use the gunning sight like a sniper rifle, not a shotgun. Yesterday, I just dogged the saw into the humboldt face-cut and stepped 6' back. I had to adjust as I went slightly to the left, while cutting the horizontal, trying to sniper the trunk between 4 orchard trees (6-8' wide), all expendable and not really wanted.

Midway up the trunk I was out by 2.5-3', dead center on the pear tree trunk, rather than maybe snapping off a few small branches. My efforts were wasted from trimming some of the branches on another fruit tree that I was expecting to hit to the left. I figured preventative pruning, rather than prune based on breakage, would be better. Then I remembered my old supervisor telling me how at Parks, he got on a streak of hitting the picnic tables wherever he moved them, rather than leaving them in danger wherever they were. Totally missed the prophylactically-pruned tree by about 4-5' (expecting to hit it 2' into the canopy).

I don't think I could cut an angle correctly the first time, very easily with a ms661 and a 32" or 36" bar, whichever it was. first

With doing lots of root-disease tree fells, the hingewood is very often much better at head-height, so I set my horizontal first, 'throwing the saw up up' off my knee and pushing the saw against the tree to hold it, which is easier than lifting it up and positioning it. The dogs also help to take the load, and position it. I've never tried a sizable humboldt-cut sloping cut-first, nor have I seen it done.
 

Marc-Antoine

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Apr 17, 2011
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France
I completely sucks at the Humboldt with a big saw, but for the conventional, I'm with Kyle.
For a high cut, I 'throw the saw up up' roughly aimed and lands on the bark at the angle I want, with a little blip on the throttle. It makes a small rest in the bark for the saw so I have the time to fine tune my aim and angles with no big efforts. Then go cutting the slanted cut, with an eye at the aim to verify it. When I'm where I want, I adjust my horizontality (maybe not so horizontal, as needed), the aim being good from the start (ideally). Then I start the bottom cut with the same "horizontal" angle as the end of the slanted cut, no worrying at all for the aim, just trying to get the match at the apex. When the notch is free, I verify the aim again. It works for me, even with the 3120xp and the 44" bar (actually, I have more trouble to start the horizontal cut with this saw).
I even think that I'm good at it time to time. Well, at least if I "forgot" what the guys here are capable of.:D
 

Husky D

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Jun 13, 2008
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94
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UK
Angled cut mostly here and what is generally trained although as long as the cuts meet I’m not fussed. Have found with training that more people can use the top cut to help line up their bottom cut whereas they tend to miss more often doing too cut second or believe they’ve met up correctly if the wedge of wood falls out and they don’t check inside. On larger trees years ago I’d do bottom cut first to make sure I was cutting as low as possible on the tree and allowed the wedge to drop and not pinch the saw in the kerf as easily but can get it low enough with top cut first and not usually felling very large material.
On larger trees to help sight with top cut first I don’t use all the bar but start the cut and as you have a good percentage of bar out of the tree plus the powerhead allows me to view the felling direction easier.
 

kevin bingham

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Nov 10, 2010
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I can't figure out how you can accurately cut the sloping first with a big saw and bar on uneven ground, on spurs, or a springboard.
I guess not cutting tall trees in the woods accuracy is not as important to me as a clean hinge. I do aim, but my primary focus is getting my corners aligned with no overlap

It just seems easier to do that with the second cut being the shorter, easier cut.
 

Al Smith

Mac Daddy
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Mar 6, 2005
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Northern Ohio
It's fairly easy to set the cut using "gunning sticks " .In my case it's two 8 foot furring strips with a nail for a pivot point .It works for me . Makes sense if it worked for a big fat coastal red wood in 1910 it will work on a 3 foot diameter white oak in 2019 .The laws of physics have never changed .
 

SeanKroll

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Oct 13, 2016
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Olympia, WA
Easier to match cuts on a mis-aimed face-cut... Easier to get a well-aimed face-cut then match a harder cut. All of this is backyard stuff, not only logging or woods-work. A few degrees matters whether to squeeze between obstacles, or hit a crash-pad.
 
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