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Two leaners - tapered hinge/wedges

pantheraba

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I took these two down Saturday...both had a lean towards the street (and the power lines), maybe 15 degrees (a swag mainly). The drop zone was perpendicular to the lean, bordered on the left by some pines along the street and on the right by a car that the owner said couldn't be moved.
 

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lumberjack

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I'll give him the what's how next time I'm over about not moving the car.

Good job on the trees, the backcut was plenty high :P.

FWIW I normally make the floor of my notch the top of the stump. Brian doesn't, neither right nor wong.
 

pantheraba

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I am sure some of you guys could have dropped the trees whole in the zone but I haven't done enough falling to try that...so, I limbed my way up the tallest one then swung over and limbed and topped the shorter one...left a pull rope in it and swung back over to the tallest and topped it.

Once I got on the ground I notched the tallest -- I faced the notch directly at the dz. I started the back cut on the street side and left about a one inch hinge there as I walked the saw towards the downhill side of the hinge. I tapered the hinge, leaving it thick on the side in the direction that I wanted to "pull" the tree. Once I had a substantial back cut I set a wedge on the left (uphill) side of the back cut and hammered it to force the tree more straight up and towards the dz. I was surprised that I actually wedged the tree past the line perpendicular to the face..the tree fell about 10-15 degrees right of where I wanted it...but, no complaints here, I was mucho glad to just keep it away from the street and power wires.

So, here’s one question...I have seen tapered hinges discussed before and don’t really remember a consensus being reached about their efficacy (high falutin’ word).

Do y’all use a tapered hinge or are the wedges alone enough to push the tree against its natural lean?

Another question: if the tree is leaning like these were on a hill, should the base of the face (and the back cut) be horizontal (level to the earth) or perpendicular to the trunk?

Last question: the vertical distance from the base of the face to the back cut ranges from about 2 in. on the street side to about 3 in. on the downhill side...too much or OK? (I know that ideally the face base and back cut should be parallel.)

(Yeah, the saw was overkill but the 029 needed the rakes filed and the MS 650 was sharp...I chose sharp).
 

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pantheraba

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Cool G. Next time hook a tug strap to the bumper and to the trailer hitch of your truck, prove the owner wrong. :)
Haha, yep, thought about that, too...the owner's buddy said the car was junk and it didn't matter if I hit it or not...at least I THINK that is what he said. They are both Bosnian and don't speak much English...I donna spik ANY Bosnian so we had a lot of gestures and sign language filling some gaps.

I would have felt real peculiar if he hopped in that car and just drove off after I did my felling..:lol:

(Yep, Carl, that was Mejo...you can give him a hard time next time you are out this way)
 

lumberjack

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Tapered hinges are the shit. There's no point in fighting the thicker compression side of the hinge trying to get it to bend over.

There's also a good reason to leave the tension side of the thicker.

In general, the way I see a tapered hinge is you have the "right" thickness hinge when looking at the tension side. Having a straight hinge would mean you had to force a lot of compression wood over, which has no advantage in most fellings. By tapering the hinge you're leaving the hinge thick where it needs it and cutting the troublesome wood away.

In and of themselves, the wedges in the back cut don't dictate the direction of the fell. Hammering them in to lift the compression side doesn't help. Hammering them in the tension side is putting extra strain on the hinge. Putting the wedge in the back gives you the most leverage to lift the tree, closer to the hinge gives you more lift for more effort.

If I need the extra lift, but the tree has a lean like the smaller one, I definitely hammer hard into the compression side before I'd go to the tension side. No point in trying to break the hinge.

The height of your back cut is fine. In our part of the country above a negative height (respective of the apex of the notch) is fine. The ledge allegedly prevents the trunk from kicking back over the stump when felling up hill or through an obstacle. Pine is a great hinger and thus the hinge will hold the tree to the stump preventing the trunk from jumping back and getting the cutter.

On the shot of the tapered hinge, your thick side could be half as thick and still be twice as thick as it need be to drop the tree with the limbs still on it, much less with the lean side weight removed (spars).

The compression side looks fine for dropping a full body tree, a touch thicker than I'd go. For a spar, it's about twice as thick as I'd go.

The more hinge, the harder it is to go over. That can be handy for trying to make something go over slower. Tapering the hinge and gutting it (removing the wood in middle 1/3 of the hinge, give or take) are both ways of removing insignificant wood to make the tree easier to go over. Making it easier to go over reduces the chance for barber chairing also, but in normal pine, that's nearly unheard of.
 

pantheraba

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Good stuff, Carl...thanks...that's the kind of info I wanted to have to mull over.
 

woodworkingboy

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Nice job on those two trees.

I don't know that much can be said in addition to Carl's document, but I would just like to add that with pull trees, a higher back cut is helpful in that the tree has more wood to stand on as you pull it over, and the hinge won't tend to break prematurely and not follow what you have set up in terms of directing it's fall. I agree, leaving more hinge wood on one side is a safer bet when swinging a tree, than using a dutchman, or even prayer.

I'd like to read Jerry's thinking on the matter, but I don't believe that having a face cut and back cut out of parallel to level with the earth, is very common practice.

Jay
 

lumberjack

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You're right Jay, the hinge apex of the face needs to be perpendicular to the wood fibers for an accurate gun.

On leaning trees, where the lean is basically all the way to the stump, put the notch perpendicular to to the lean.

When a tree is leaning for a ways and straightens out before it gets to the notch, it's a judgement call. If it's a moderate lean and the fell is tight, I draw an imaginary line from the lean through the stump and put the face perpendicular to that. On sever leans, I go with the wood grain in that area, and leave a hella tapered hinge.
 
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NeTree

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Not too bad overall, but I did see a couple of things. I'll elaborate when I get home.
 

Burnham

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I think Carl has hit most of the main points, and well. As he said, with the limb weight removed and the lean as moderate as those trees show, and knowing that live pines hinge well, I'd have gone with a straight hinge, perhaps a smidge thinner than your thin end, and wedged from the rear.

The weakness with use of a tapered hinge is that while the theory of their use is solid, the ability to accurately estimate the exact response you'll get from each individual situation is difficult at best when precision is required for satisfactory results.

I avoid their use myself, generally but not exclusively.
 
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NeTree

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Careful for leaving Dutch as you did... it can bite you!

Given the weight reduction and moderate lean, you didn't need to leave the hinge so thick; it makes it harder to wedge over, and can actually make the hinge weaker.

As I said, great pics, and not too shabby a job, neither. =)
 

pantheraba

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Careful for leaving Dutch as you did... it can bite you!

Given the weight reduction and moderate lean, you didn't need to leave the hinge so thick; it makes it harder to wedge over, and can actually make the hinge weaker.

As I said, great pics, and not too shabby a job, neither. =)
Thanks for the input folks..10-4 Ne and Burnham on slimming the hinge down some.

Ne -- what mean you "Careful for leaving Dutch"? When I first took out my wedge there was a Dutchman on the high side...unintentional...it would have supposedly pushed the tree away from the street for me. It was a small block about 2 in. wide and 3 in. high. I took it out with my saw.

Did I have another one that I did not realize was there?
 

squisher

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I think maybe in this picture.

It's hard to tell but it looks possibly like your horizontal cut of the undercut bypassed your angled cut. Hard to tell for sure though. This obviously would make it harder to pull over against a backlean without compromising your hinge.
 

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squisher

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Here's where I'm talking about.

I'd like to add Gary that I really apreciate your felling threads that you start and the time and detail that you put into the pics/description. Thanks.
 

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pantheraba

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Here's where I'm talking about.

I'd like to add Gary that I really apreciate your felling threads that you start and the time and detail that you put into the pics/description. Thanks.
Thanks, Squisher, but it is a win-win. The feedback I get is excellent...I give as much detail as I can so that y'all can dissect it as you have time...kind of learning on-line. Ex posto facto lessons may not be the best way to learn but they are better than no learning at all.

You and NeTree are very right about that bypass cut...I remember seeing that and nibbled away some at the lower aspect of the sloped face cut where it needed to meet the floor cut...I didn't nibble away enough, partly because I was using that big honkin' saw and it was hard to be precise with. I'll take the time to use the right saw next time.
 

squisher

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Still looking good imo. What I like best about your choices in this situation is that you weren't 100% certain on tipping them without brushing them and topping them out first. So that's what you did, the safe, reliable, no damage choice.

8)
 

squisher

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I didn't nibble away enough, partly because I was using that big honkin' saw and it was hard to be precise with. I'll take the time to use the right saw next time.
Dog that monster in and you'll find more precision with the bigger saw. I pull my 660 whenever I get the chance.
 

pantheraba

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Dog that monster in and you'll find more precision with the bigger saw. I pull my 660 whenever I get the chance.
You are right...Burnham has gotten on to me -- errr, suggested -- the same thing before. It does have some bodacious dogs on it, need to be sure I'm using them whenever possible. Thanks.
 

stig

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The weakness with use of a tapered hinge is that while the theory of their use is solid, the ability to accurately estimate the exact response you'll get from each individual situation is difficult at best when precision is required for satisfactory results.

I avoid their use myself, generally but not exclusively.
Have you tried bore cutting the middle out of them. That way insted of a long tapered hinge, you get two separate hinge blocks, one thicker than the other. It seems to make them more effective.

I mostly fall hardwood, where you don't want to leave too thick a hinge for fear of splitting the log. Borecutting helps give you the advantage of taper while avoiding the resistance of a lot of wood in the hinge.

On anything where the top and branches have been cut out, I'll bore the hinge to make it easier to wedge or handpull over.
 

Burnham

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I often bore the hinge, we call it "gutting the hinge" here, for the same reasons but I never have in conjunction with a tapered hinge. But like I said, I fairly seldom use a tapered hinge. Sounds reasonable though, Stig.

I just can't get past the unpredictability of the degree of the swing effect from one tree to the next. I dislike that aspect of the tapered hinge.
 
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NeTree

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Here's where I'm talking about.

I'd like to add Gary that I really apreciate your felling threads that you start and the time and detail that you put into the pics/description. Thanks.
Yup... that was what I was referring to. :)
 
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