After attaining my US Forestry Chainsaw certification I had to go back to my Mother’s house in SC, which just happened to give me a chance to practice some of the techniques that they had just taught us.
The yard has/had 2 dead trees that I have been needing to cut down (fell).
1 of which was a pine tree which was further away from the house – so I conveniently choose to practice with this tree first. I found an old flag and placed it out in front of the tree based on where I wanted to drop it and about where I figured the top of the tree would be.
This also gave me a specific location to aim for. After doing that I lined up the saw and made the initial face cut, as usual I think I dug-in too deep. Then I lined up the first cut to make the 2nd cut to finish the face-plate. I was shooting for over 70 degrees and probably just got that much. More would not have hurt tho.
Next I scored both sides of the tree – again, something specific to aim for when I make the bore cut. Then I went ahead with the bore cut (being very careful to use the ‘attack’ part of the blade and avoid the ‘kickback’ area) and also being very careful not to cut the ‘hinge’ of the trunk. Since this is a softer pine tree, I planned for a 2″ hinge. My angle was a little low, but I was satisfied with it. Standing on 1 side of a big pine tree and attempting to bore a chainsaw straight through is a little more challenging than you may think.
Now I started the wedging. I placed a wedge on either side of the bore cut, and drove them slightly into the tree facing in the general direction what I wanted the tree to fall. After ensuring that both of them were snug – I cut the back-strap.
I finished the back-strap cut, but the tree didn’t move. At this point all that is holding the tree upright is the hinge and the wedges. So, I started hitting the wedges and having them dig deeper into the trunk. After several hits on each the tree suddenly started to topple.
Now that I have the tree down on the ground, I was surveying my face-plate cut, and the Hinge that is used to guide the tree during the fall.
I was thinking about the steps that I had just taken to fall this tree. It seemed so calculated. I had made a plan, then executed that plan. The only difference was that the tree didn’t fall as soon as I cut the back-strap.
The face-plate is at the bottom of the picture – the fibers are left from the hinge, then the bore-cut.
I had to hit the wedges but this fact proved how effective it was that the tree didn’t topple backwards.
Look almost in the center of the picture, just to the left of the trunk.
Suddenly, as I looked up the tree I remembered that I had put a flag out to use as a guide. I walked up the tree and started to look around, when I found it surprisingly closer to the tree than I had even expected.
Beginners Luck is what I figured…. I mean I have experience cutting down trees, but that tree fell really close to the flag.
Well, that was the fun part….. next is clean-up. I ‘bucked’ up the tree and started loading it into the trailer. We won’t use this soft pine for firewood, so I was free to cut it up into what ever was manageable.
With some work I was able to drop this tree and since it was already dead there weren’t any pine needles or smaller twigs – this made the clean-up process much quicker than usual. So, it wasn’t much later that I got that tractor stuck in the woods while attempting to unload. Luckily I was stuck right where I unload brush and just had to unload the trailer to get it all unstuck and cruising back to the house for a cold beverage.