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Let's fight about ropes vs wedges.

CoreyYLTG

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Jul 14, 2016
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Side one: Arborist. Hanging a rope only takes skill and a throw ball. I'm not working with forest trees, I have huge canopies with hard to judge weight that loggers just don't see. I'm also working around roads, houses, power lines, and I'm not taking the risk. Plus I have plenty of people to pull the rope.

Side two: loggers. Everything I have to fall trees with I have to carry. Between gas, oil, saw, axe, lunch, water, wedges, radio, saw tools, and extra socks I'm not adding rope. Even if I did who would pull it? I'm by myself. The trees I'm cutting also can have huge canopies, but there aren't houses around, however while hitting a house would be an insurance claim, hitting a transmission line is a federal crime.

Maybe let's not fight but let's discuss. Or rather I don't think I have much valid input but would like to see the discussion.
 

SeanKroll

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Loggers pull trees, when they are leaning out of bounds, like over a road, or power line.

I wedge trees next to houses. The hinge does the steering, not the wedge or rope.

A guy-line/ 90* retainer line is a different story.
 

treebilly

Student of the Jedi
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I fell with what the situation calls for in my mind. Most of my trees are spars when it comes time to fell so it’s pretty easy to put a rope in since I’m already there anyhow. Because of this I’m probably not utilizing wedges to their capabilities. I personally think a pull line is “safer” but I also don’t need to put the board feet on the ground to get paid.
 

Burnham

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If we leave out the situation where a climber already has climbed the tree for whatever reason, I think we may make for a more focused discussion.

Assuming that...

If we accept that the hinge alone directs the tree to the lay (and if you don't accept that, go back to tree falling school :)), then unless there is sufficient back lean to render wedging to the face either not possible, or requiring a lot of fancy back cutting and wedge placement (which I have detailed in older threads...maybe need to hunt that up for bumping...) that is more difficult than setting a pull line, why would you choose to do the more time consuming rope pull?

Neither insures direction of fall by itself. That's a fact.

I expect the answer to my question is, we do what we know how to do from what we learned from our mentors. And our mentors learned from theirs. It is an unusual person who can break out of that continuum.

I learned both approaches from different mentors during the same time frame in my training and exposure, being in the USFS chainsaw protocol as taught by DD Dent while at the same time being heavily into the USFS Tree Climbing program. I think it's probably rare to get equal exposure to both paradigms.

I may be either wanting the most expeditious method, or just lazy :)...but I sure go for wedges unless there is an overwhelming reason that they are not a good choice.
 

Burnham

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Sure, nothing odd about that.

Insurance is a good thing. And in the case of pulling trees, I never count on the pulling line alone...always back up with wedges kept tight to keep up with the opening kerf as the pull develops.
 

forestkeepers

Forest Keeper
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Apr 14, 2018
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Kansas City
This thread feels oddly familiar -- Burnham being more comfortable with wedges... Sean discussing the pros & cons of ropes and wedges in certain situations...

As for us, we use both. Today in fact, the maple spar was dropped with wedges and a pull line for a lever assist (mostly due to rot limiting the wedges' effectiveness, plus the 395 cutting a smidge crooked made the stump shot not as effective. We were talking about adding a bottle jack with a plate on top to our repertoire for stubborn, massive, odd trees.
<iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/dBWcfUai6w4?rel=0" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen></iframe>
 

murphy4trees

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Plus I have plenty of people to pull the rope.



Maybe let's not fight but let's discuss. .
I haven't even seen a wedge in a few weeks.. The pick up that usually hauls my saws and gear has been in the shop sine I don't know when... Maybe there are a few in there... As far as wedging and pulling together.... I've done it and can confirm how well it works when needed, which is almost never when there is a 5,000 lb truck or skid steer on the end of the rope(s)... One back leaning locust we did had the skid steer spinning tracks even with 8:1 MA system.. those wedges did an awesome job, adding just enough force to the system to straighten the tree up to a point where the skid steer could pull it. That was around 2010.. Might have used the combination a few times only since then.

Lately its rare that I even stand at the stump when the tree goes.. There is something sweet about walking well out of the drop zone and watching the tree go with the waive of a hand.

And as far as plenty of men to pull with.... today is the first time we pulled a tree by hand in recent memory...

One of these days I may remind myself to get the hang of using wedges... But honestly... that day may never come. I like PHAT HINGES! I get nervous when there isn't a pull line in the tree... Even on straight trees....
 

flushcut

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I always wondered about that video. On one hand you have mega PPE guy and on the other non-existent PPE guy.
 

treesmith

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I use ropes and wedges together in big/leaning trees. After tensioning the line, I notch and start back cut. Once there is sufficient room (not to hit wedge with chain), I drive a wedge in reasonably tight, add tension, then continue the backcut. The wedge is a sure sign whether or not the tree is moving. I've cut big trees before where there was a lot of tension on the line, and there was not enough movement in the tree you could detect it by eye, but that loose wedge told me it was moving.
 

SeanKroll

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Keeping wedges tight is important.

Many people will put a tight wedge, and a medium/ long one loose enough to have some slant to it, barely in the kerf, which will show tipping faster than the tight wedge.
 

stig

Patron saint of bore-cutters
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I have nothing to add to what Burnham posted.

Sean, I use that " wedge dial" tecnique with setting a wedge by it's very tip, so it'll show movement, when tyhe situation calls for it.

I can't really see it's value in an arborist setting, but when felling in the woods on a windy day, it can tell you when it is time to cut like hell or have a barber chair.

If it is really windy, I will of course set a back strap.
 

Burnham

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sotc

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If a couple guys can pull it over with a rope, a couple wedges will generally be much faster imo. Sometimes I'll set a rope and pull with a GRCS if I don't want to beat wedges on a back leaner. Sometimes, a real back leaner I will run the GRCS pulling 3 or 5 to 1, with wedges and a jack. If I have to use a rope, it is never just a rope, always a wedge. Heck, on head leaners I will still set wedges just in case I miss read or the wind kicks up. It really isn't an either or thing, it is a case by case thing. Even if I know I won't need one, I often set one to watch the movement.
This had wedges, jack and multi block purchase pull https://www.instagram.com/p/7zE7ahjYSE/?taken-by=treewillie
 

Benjo75

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Malvern, Arkansas
I use ropes for pull as much as possible. Unless the tree is pretty close to balanced or a slight back lean. 95% of the time I am in the tree already so it's easy to send down for a pull rope when I've made my last cut. However I do like to wedge if it isn't going to take beating on them for 20 minutes. With wedges, once the tree hits the ground you pick up the wedges and walk away. If its a big hairy oak you might be 20 minutes sawing the rope out. I had one a couple of weeks ago that hit just perfect and drove a rope in the ground about 6 feet. It wasn't a clean up tree. I had to cut blocks off and tie a chain on the limb and barely pulled it out with the tractor. On the other hand if it's a very tight spot and you need your hinge holding all the way to the ground, especially if the top is already out, sometimes they just don't want to fall. Especially dead trees. They will just sit there and look at you all the while having a forward lean of 30 degrees. With a rope you can pull them over slowly with a larger hinge all the way to the ground. I guess I mean to say that I tend to use whatever method is safest first of all, after that it's whichever way is quickest. The majority of our jobs we do the cleanup so we have the tractor there so it's easy to pull and recover the rope.
 

theTreeSpyder

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Feb 12, 2016
Messages
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i think of wedge lift and rope pull as added force inputs; directed to the same central pivot to challenge/exercise a hinge to be thicker.
By this measurement the rope is decidedly at a larger leveraged distance.
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But wedge builds it's force from that leveraged point differently, and then holds it, then releases it when tree moves
>>wedge is also more compact, dead-azz safety backstop
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i like using both wedge and rope, but wedge mostly as a safety backstop, perhaps rest and re-eval of rope pull sometimes.
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i think we must also consider direction of the input forces also.
>>i think we should force to path, not against sideLean.
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i think we should force a thicker hinge, that then adds it's own leveraged multipliers into the chain of events/controlled support.
i think this is even more important in shallow leaners that on their own, make a much weaker hinge before moving, as they are less loaded.
.
A 15degree forward lean will force about half as strong /half as much forward resistance(support) a hinge as a 30degree forward lean
>>because the sine of 15 is ~.26 and the sine of 30 is .5 >> read like 25% and 50% of leveraged load potential at full tilt 90degrees
The 30degree lean has then a stronger hinge and less distance to travel and build speed etc.
>>While the 15degree leaner starts with half as strong a hinge, then must pass thru the 30degree doubling in leveraged load with half as much strength!
>>In addition to that we have movement to factor in, so multiply the load X speed SQUARED against the hinge forged at 15degrees
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So, fake tree to think has more load on 15degree leaner by input extra force, pre-prep tree with thicker hinge for it's future travels into ever increasing leveraged loading on hinge arc.
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That is just playing the 2dimensional forward lean part.
For sideLean would look at hinge shapes and see that some can have same forward resistance as above, but then offer different sidewards resistance/support via Tapered Hinge (perhaps Dutch Step at tearoff).
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So look to use tools to force stronger hinge, and then trust that to fight steering, using the leverages multiplied thru the hinge
>>not trying to control sideLean with tools directly, but only by running same force quantity thru hinge multiplier.
.
Further can center punch hinge to reduce forward fold resistance, but then re-apportion back to same forward resistance/support
>>but in further hinge taper against sideLean.
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By this model i think should let go of rope, like wedge stops lifting when tree is committed.
Can sometimes have CoG in a 'floating' iffy position as motion starts and reel in somewhat
>>but i think more proper to have Tapered Hinge architecture DEMANDING if 'float' iffy CoG sideLean to start motion
>>have a leveraged line of force thru Tapered Hinge giving INLINE, straighter support guidance, and on full arc of tour on hinge..
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time to clock-in, sorry any mis-spellz
 

forestkeepers

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Apr 14, 2018
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Kansas City
Thanks for the good info as always, TreeSpyder. It takes me a bit to digest your posts (I think your animated avatar is appropriate -- typing furiously!), but there is a lot of good info in them and I appreciate your contribution!
 

SeanKroll

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Olympia, WA
I decided to use a rope instead of a wedge yesterday.

Couldn't bang it over for S**t, and I ruined that little section of rope.
What is the best size rope for a standard kerf? 1/2" must have been too big.
 

flushcut

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Delavan, WI
Manilla is by far the best. Second is hard lay three strand. Then Arborplex, about all it's good for.
 
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