Tuesday, December 14 2010
The main reason I'd bought the high limb rope-and-chain saw was to facilitate the remote cutting of vertical trees, not limbs. The problem with dead trees, especially leaning ones, is their unpredictability. I've been in situations where I was undercutting a large hung-up tree and it suddenly broke away without warning, which can throw enough kinetic energy (violence) into the environment to cause injuries even if you're not in the direct path of the tree itself.
In the course of my anti-evergreen jihad, I keep causing trees to hang up in other trees as they fall. This is because these evergreens are not massive enough to break through the resistance of surrounding trees as they fall. Today I attacked one such tree with the rope-and-chain saw. I looped the chain around the trunk about eight feet above the ground and then stood high on the slope above the tree some distance away, pulling the ropes alternatively. I got nearly all the way through the tree before the chain experienced pinching, but still the tree (which was nearly vertical) wouldn't fall. I had to put another rope around the tree near the cut and give a yank to cause it to buckle at the cut and collapse spectacularly.
My second rope-and-chain victim was a White Pine that I had not yet attempted to fell. I decided to cut it off about ten feet above the ground, which would make the falling part shorter and thus less likely to get hung up. The chain was more resistant this time, but I managed to cut the tree enough for it to fall onto and get hung up in a neighbor. Shortly thereafter, a gust of wind knocked it down to the ground. Using my bow saw. I cut off most of the limbs and digested the trunk into manageable pieces, all of which I piled up in a windrow near the bottom of the slope (near the northern terminus of the Stick Trail). Later I'll come through with a chainsaw and buck it all into woodstove-compatible lengths. It's not great firewood, but I'm perfectly willing to burn it. And it's proved possible to burn it within days after cutting it down.
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