Dropping trees slowly or quickly.

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Dropping trees slowly or quickly.

Postby dayle1960 » May 21st, 2016, 12:52 pm

I've noticed dead trees standing upright without there leaves. It comes to mind that there is plenty of fire wood within those trees. Now comes a question for the more professional tree fellers. Is there a way to slowly drop a tree so it will not shatter when it hits the ground? A nice slow drop instead of a fast fall. I'd be curious to know if the hinge would play an instrumental part in the quickness of the fall or if judging wind direction and falling the tree into it would also help.
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Re: Dropping trees slowly or quickly.

Postby Gavin Longrain » May 21st, 2016, 2:23 pm

From the trees I have felled, I prefer them to drop just where I want and without any part of me or my equipment getting snarled up. I am happy if those 2 safety parameters are met. The rate of drop is not something you really can control - unless you rig guy-lines to some suspension point or points. And that adds massively to time and danger. The thicker the felling hinge the slower the drop may be as the fibers gradually sever in the hinge. But the thicker the hinge, the less control you you have over direction of fell.

You could do math on the mass of tree & rate of fall - but that would count for nothing if the first point of impact was a branch hitting the ground, or the trunk hitting the ground on a rock, or on a mound of earth. There is too many variables really to constrain the problem.

Go fell some little trees - say 2 " diameter. See if you can get them to drop slow or quick. Unless you hold them up with your hand, I think you have no chance of controlling rate of fall. Tell us if I am wrong! Unless you can control the little ones, you have no chance to control the big ones!
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Re: Dropping trees slowly or quickly.

Postby Jim_Thode » May 21st, 2016, 5:29 pm

Breakage of firewood logs should not be a big concern, you are going to cut it up into small pieces anyway. Breakage of saw logs is a concern and using a modern a feller buncher operators can get trees on the ground with no breakage. This is the tool you need to prevent breakage, it will cut trees in an instant and lay logs down gently:

Feller Buncher.jpg


Falling by hand you are limited to selecting the location of fall to the flattest and maybe the softest areas to reduce the chance of breakage. Falling on smaller brush may be an option. Try to not fall over stumps or on uneven ground. No matter what you do there will likely be some breakage when hand falling. Falling into the wind would not be safe if he wind was strong enough to slow the tree down. Leaving a larger/thicker hinge would not help either because the the thinker the hinge the faster it will break free. Most of the speed is gained after the hinge is broken away.

Jim
Last edited by Jim_Thode on May 21st, 2016, 8:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Dropping trees slowly or quickly.

Postby Dale Torma » May 21st, 2016, 8:10 pm

I was a chainsaw logger for a part of my life, in my limited experience you cannot control the speed a tree falls. You do not want to work against the wind . Felling can be hazardous and you have to take advantage of everything available. Lean, wind, available openings, weight of branches relative to the rest of the tree. Speed of drop is not an issue I was ever concerned with. Everyone considering felling trees should get some kind of education related to the work. So many hazards to be aware of. More important than speed of fall are techniques to keep you from being hurt or killed. Leaning and holow trees have hazards to consider and techniques to utilize. I think there are unique methods available to the chainsaw feller that you cannot accomplish with a crosscut saw, such as plunge cutting your felling cut on a leaner or hollow tree and holding with a strap of wood till you release it, to prevent barber chairing. Boring cuts that can be wedged to direct the fall on a difficult tree. A well cut tree will usually fall fast. To prevent breakage , the trees are topped or felled on a brush or snow cushion. Going against the wind is a bad idea. The tree top can be a huge sail you can't exactly calculate the force.

Get yourself to a logsafe course or something, it is too easy to get killed felling trees. Really, it is serious business directing the energy of a falling tree. Lots of guys that thought they knew alot about logging have died from the energy they released felling a tree. Gravity rules .
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Re: Dropping trees slowly or quickly.

Postby Dale Torma » May 21st, 2016, 8:31 pm

Like one of the previous posters said, it is only firewood , who cares if it breaks up when it hits the ground. make sure you get yourself away from it as far as you can, off to the side and back from it. Like a 45 degree angle back and uphill if there is a slope. Always have a plan if things go wrong. Maybe you think I am being negative or over cautious, but I know people that died logging. And they should have known better. Watch for widow makers too. When I was 19 I was hit in the shoulder by a loose branch, it knocked me down in the snow next to my running saw. After that, I always look up before cutting and always wear a hard hat. They were not used often when I was logging 35 years ago. Felling with a crosscut saw has many of the same hazards as chainsaw felling, you are still dealing with the very same gravitational energy and sharp tools.
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Re: Dropping trees slowly or quickly.

Postby dayle1960 » May 22nd, 2016, 11:16 am

Thanks for the replies, fellows. I am glad I asked the question because good sound advise from professionals who have "been there, done that" is always addition to my knowledge base.

Terry
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