Ice storm tree down

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Mike N
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Re: Ice storm tree down

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Yet another good reason to look under your tractor before starting it up.

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Re: Ice storm tree down

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Up and about today.(photo taken through a window)
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Re: Ice storm tree down

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Well, I was reading the evening paper and looked out of my library window and…it’s twins.


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Re: Ice storm tree down

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It was a little warm today (88 degrees) to be out in the woods cutting up deadfall trees, but I couldn’t just let it rot away, could I?



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Re: Ice storm tree down

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Finished up two more loads of ash (an invasive beetle native to Asia, the Emerald ash borer, has destroyed many ash trees in North America; but it does make good firewood - 24.2 million BTUs per cord). Then I found a downed cherry tree and started cutting and hauling some rounds (shown).



Finally, in keeping with the motto my grandfather taught me many years ago (“Work hard, eat hard”), I fired up the cabin charcoal grill (steak, mushrooms and cherry tomatoes).

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OK, let’s split that cherry…



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Re: Ice storm tree down

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As soon as I’m done filling this 12’x4’ rack which holds 1/2 a cord…

I will then be done with firewood at the house…
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Re: Ice storm tree down

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I guess I'm just N of you now, in W PA. Familiar landscape. Fawns all about here too. Wonderful to see.

Our property has a lot of mature trees, and I hear trees fall almost weekly. We've been losing a lot of beech to leaf nematode infestations, bark disease, and to root rot. This large beech went down and took me some time to dismantle. Its trunk was 25" at the base and 18" to the first limb. My saws are on the small side for beech of this size, but I finished it today. Beech is a dense wood! I guess I cut some of the rounds a bit long, 18"+/-. My stove will handle them, but I've ended up with a bunch of 150-200lb rounds! Neighbor is coming over with a bucket loader to get them up to the woodshed.



Last edited by Paul Roberts on Fri Jul 15, 2022 11:34 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Ice storm tree down

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Lookin’ good, Paul. Those are some good looking rounds you bucked up there and great ferns in the backdrop. I’d have to take an old fashioned maul to those big boys to get ‘em out of the woods. I’ve not had any of our beech trees fall, but I’m interested in how those split. At 27.5 BTUs, beech burns pretty hot. Maybe post a few photos after you run them thru the splitter.

I follow “Outdoors with the Morgan’s” on YouTube, who have a firewood business 30 miles north of me in Cranberry, PA. Are you near that locale? They have some nice hardwoods in that area, too.

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Re: Ice storm tree down

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Mike, we're about 40mi north of Cranberry. We bought the place just this past October. Yes, it's very pretty here: Mature forest, wetlands, ponds, streams. We have two ponds on our property; The larger is co-owned with a few other families. We’re surrounded by quality farmland. Many of Amish and Mennonite homesteads are here. Farm stands, fruit, and vineyards are wonderful to have so close by. Lots of sugar maples and we tried our hand at sugaring this spring. Loved it and will expand a bit for next year. Our "driveway" is a third of a mile long, through the woods, and required some serious plowing at times this winter. Worth it! It's just lovely back in here. Previous owners let the understory grow up pretty thick so I'm in process of... letting the light back in, clearing trails, and pond shoreline access. That kind of "nesting" has been fun, but it is eating up a lot of my fishing time!

Beech is labeled "difficult" to split, being so very hard. Even grained though and a pretty pink color. I considered bringing a sledge and wedges down to break up some of those rounds, but... thought better of it. My energy, and body, could be more wisely used. I wouldn't normally target such a big tree. But it fell so close, and blocked easy access to a pond. My saws have 14, 16, and 18" bars, and all under 12lbs. Most recent acquisition is a little 170 with 14" bar. It's a delight to trim and buck branches with. And gives my back a break!

Here's a pic of the larger pond, from last fall:
Last edited by Paul Roberts on Fri Jul 15, 2022 11:36 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Ice storm tree down

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What a perfect pond setting!
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Re: Ice storm tree down

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It is beautiful here. But a certain amount of maintenance is involved, as you well know. Good physical work though. I sleep pretty well, with some ibu. :)
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Re: Ice storm tree down

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Got myself into a little trouble today. Clearing some trees for light in "the black forest" here, I got a maple hung and my saw pinched to boot. I'd left a swivel tag in the hinge to clear a large cherry, but the maple hung before the hinge could take effect. There didn't appear to be much holding it against the cherry, just didn't develop enough oomph to punch through, and the butt was still sitting atop the stump, held by the last piece of hinge. So I thought I could free it. That's how I pinched my saw. :doh: What I get for getting fancy.

Removed the saw and bar, leaving the chain pinched, to clear space for the axe. A good sharp axe is quite an efficient tool! Managed to free the chain, then go ahead and sever the piece of hinge -with the axe- and... the maple rolled off the stump and came to ground! Phew! That one looked -was- a little scary there.


Attaching a pic of two sweet little saws too. At 8lbs, the 14" 170 is great for limbing/light bucking. With a sharp blade it'll handle felling of trees up to 8" or so. With a dull blade it might only find use in the kitchen. :) The 18" 261 is just enough saw for... as heavy work as I wish to get myself into.
Last edited by Paul Roberts on Fri Jul 15, 2022 11:35 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Ice storm tree down

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Been there, done that . I’ve pinched a bar so bad I removed the power head and came back the next day with reinforcements to save the bar and chain still stuck in the tree. I hadn’t left enough hinge to control the cut. I’ve used plastic felling wedges ever since. Getting a tree hung up gets a bit dicey. They don’t call those trees “widow makers” for nothing.

I have the MS 171 (EZ start) and the MS 251– your MS 261 is a much more capable saw, especially with a full chisel chain. Thanks for the photos. I really enjoy felling and splitting stories.

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Re: Ice storm tree down

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Nice pond- what fishes reside in it?
you can tune a piano,but you can't tuna fish.
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Re: Ice storm tree down

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Felling and splitting stories are surprisingly easy to acquire. I think experience is the only way to... not be surprised. :) It's a long, complicated process, inherent in the tension and compression forces -powerful springs!- hidden inside wood under any tension. Not always as intuitive as one might think. If you haven't seen the British Columbia Faller Training videos on YT, they are worth watching. Or, they were for me. Another good channel is Guilty of Treeson. Seems the Pacific NW is a whole ‘nother playing field.

I was bucking trees this morning and got a saw pinched. Tangled limbs and branches can be complicated. I picked up the second saw to free the first. Pinched that one. I have a third saw. I'm not attaching a photo bc I didn't pinch the third! :lol:

I have a 251 as well. Good saw. (All saws with sharp blades are good saws). I added the 261 after a part broke in the 251. Easy replacement and I now have the 251 as a backup. With the rate of pinching here I'm glad to have it. :)

I do have a truly amazing felling story from years ago that I'll share when I clear a little time. The guy was from the PNW and his name was Buck. No kidding. And what I saw blew me away for sheer... balls, and skill. They had to go together on that job, otherwise I would've been saddled with a smashed house, garage and Corvette. Buck would likely have disappeared into the Alaskan bush.

arley, there are largemouth, bluegill, pumpkinseed, yellow perch, grass carp, and I'm told channel cats and northern pike. Since I'm new here I've yet to find the time to ply it. Very uncharacteristic for me, but... all in good time.
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Re: Ice storm tree down

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Next step in the process...
Our weight/round guesstimates kept rising with each trip up to the woodshed. :lol: We weren't all that surprised though when an online log weight calculator spat out ~200lbs for each of the larger (18") rounds!
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Re: Ice storm tree down

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Mike had asked about splitting beech. I axe split the smaller straighter pieces today, leaving the larger tougher pieces for my neighbor's splitter that we'll pull over next week.

Beech is tough to split. Several things working against us: The bark binds the wood like steel. There are crossing fibers within the wood, like with elm or oak. Both were esp noticeable with the fresher (but not green) wood. Not to mention that the wood is very dense and hard. With its light gray bark it feels, and looks like, chunks of concrete! The older drier stuff, up to 10" dia or so, I was able to split although it took considerable effort. And as long as there weren't many branches or grain direction changes. I ended up tossing the most challenging stuff -and quite a lot of it- into the splitter pile.


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Re: Ice storm tree down

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Great iconic photos of your woodshed and those rounds. Tough doing it the hard way with a splitting axe, but it’s a heckuva workout. I have a lot of buddies that say it’s smart to split hard wood when it’s green, but I’m not so sure. It’s always a battle. Very cool post.

Here’s my arsenal for splitting big rounds when I can’t get them to the hydraulic. I broke the tip off my favorite torpedo wedge (bottom left) but still can’t throw it away.

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Re: Ice storm tree down

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Nice array there. I'm using the same splitting axe. The torpedo wedge looks like a good idea; Easier to start in the wood I'd bet than conventional wedges, which is what I have. I enjoy the hand splitting. A workout with purpose works best for me.

I don't know about splitting green beech. The easiest I split had been dead long enough to get a little powdery around the outer edges just inside thin dry bark/skin. The inside was still dense but quite dry. The tougher stuff was still pink inside, jacketed in steel skin! I have some large green sugar maple rounds, felled for light, that are stacked in the woods for next year. Might try them green to see how well they split.

EDIT: So I tried the green sugar maple, a dense wood. It did not split all that easily. No dry stuff on hand to compare. It feels as though -and I'm reading in- that the moisture deadens the blow. Lotsa variables there though.
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Re: Ice storm tree down

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Machine splitting large beech.


Vertical for the really large heavy rounds, breaking them into quarters, then going back horizontal. Vertical helped spare my back, but was rough on the machine: Hit cross grain and the entire splitter lifted off the ground.


The hookeroon and tongs are essential back-savers, sparing me from bending over to lift.


Fresh split beech heartwood has a pinkish color.


That big fallen beech is now firewood, only to be stacked in the woodshed.
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Re: Ice storm tree down

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Nice job, Paul. There’s something very satisfying salvaging firewood from a fallen tree. In the first photo, I appreciate the way you inserted a extra round lengthwise to shorten the return stroke of the wedge and speed things up. Great idea.

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Re: Ice storm tree down

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Mike N wrote: Thu Jul 14, 2022 8:24 pm Nice job, Paul. There’s something very satisfying salvaging firewood from a fallen tree. In the first photo, I appreciate the way you inserted a extra round lengthwise to shorten the return stroke of the wedge and speed things up. Great idea.

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Mike, my neighbor, who owns the splitter, showed me that. He splits slices off three sides to square the sides so the log has flat faces on three sides. Otherwise a round piece has a tendency to roll. The one in the photo is not a good example as I'd accidently split my faced piece up (doh!) and quickly replaced with this one to finish.
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Re: Ice storm tree down

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Beech tree split and stacked (on the right). Came out to one cord.


Mike, not sure if you've seen this splitting device. It's called a Kindling Cracker and was invented by a Kiwi teenager. Simple, just an inverted splitting process. I mounted it up on a beech round so I don't have to bend over, and use a 4lb hammer. It works very well.
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Re: Ice storm tree down

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Paul, funny you should post a photo of that kindling cracker. I follow a channel on YouTube called “Tony’s Cool Tools” and he did a 12 minute segment on it this week. Very cool tool. That’s a nice batch of kindling you split,

Here’s a link:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jamJNVmij5E

BTW: Isn’t it amazing how many rounds it takes to produce a full cord? Nice job.

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