Ice storm tree down

Someplace just to show that reel collectors do have a life
Paul Roberts
Super Board Poster
Posts: 874
Joined: Mon Dec 14, 2020 1:35 pm

Re: Ice storm tree down

Post by Paul Roberts »

Thanks for the link.

Yes, a cord is a lot of wood. I’m not an experienced judge. Seeing that big beech into a measurable firewood stack helped. A cord out of one big (20” dbh) tree. Next up is a large ash (17” dbh) that has fallen victim to the ash borers. It’ll conveniently fall right in my back yard. I guesstimate it’ll yield between 1/2 and 3/4 cord?

And, yeah, a cord of firewood is a lot of work. Most efficient to let the professionals do it and purchase it from them. But the place here needs the attention. And I enjoy the work. It is satisfying. I joked with my wife that I can’t wait for winter. :)

Not sure how many years I’ll be able to do it. Trying to work smart and safely. My neighbor, who owns the tractor and splitter, is 75 and still at it. He’s been a triathlete so he’s earned some of that longevity. I gave him a hookeroon and after using it he commented that he didn’t know how he got along without one all these years.
ORCA 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023, 2024
Paul Roberts
Super Board Poster
Posts: 874
Joined: Mon Dec 14, 2020 1:35 pm

Re: Ice storm tree down

Post by Paul Roberts »

Felled a dead Red Oak today that was beside my driveway where I park my truck. It appeared mostly sound, but had a fair amount of punky wood too, esp near the top. It was only a matter of time. I literally hear a tree fall weekly in this mature forest around my home. One came down not far behind the house just today, in fact.

Hazard trees —ones that should come down— often present challenges, risks. It’s not like you can pick and choose which ones you’d like to fell. You have what you’re presented with; Leans, twists, turns, dead limbs above, hanger risks, terrain, not to mention the reason you feel the need to fell it in the first place: buildings and power lines being primary. The dead limbs, way up there, wiggled when I pounded my fist on the trunk. I’d have to keep my eyes on them as I worked.

The tree had a leaning base, that had then corrected itself as it grew. This always makes judging where gravity would like to take it a bit tricky. There was no appreciable asymmetrical limb mass above to worry about. But, again, the upper end of the trunk and limbs up there were quite punky, making them in danger of breaking off while the tree is worked on.

The biggest concern was a telephone pedestal box about 10ft away, with the upper (growth corrected) lean pointing that way. The second concern was another maple nearly in line with the basal lean, with a large fork in it, perfect for hanging my target tree solidly.

I could choose the lower or the upper lean. Because the upper part of the tree had shed most of its branches, was quite punky (therefore somewhat reduced in weight), and was roughly symmetrical, I went with the bottom lean, where most of the mass was -what the BC Faller training videos call the “dominant lean”.

To avoid the forked maple I decided to add an asymmetric hinge to my cut to, hopefully, swivel the tree as it fell, away from the forked maple. I cleared two escape paths bc I wasn’t positive where it wanted to go. I took a deep breath, and started my cuts.

I made a shallow face cut, bc of the relatively narrow trunk (~12” dbh), so that I’d be able to employ a wedge. I made just enough back cut, to insert a wedge, taking it slow bc the tree had punky wood up and down its entirety. I didn’t want it to suddenly cave. With each strike of the 3lb hammer, the upper limbs quivered, so I made a strike or two then waited for them to settle before continuing. I alternately sawed a bit, and struck the wedge.

When the hinge was as thin as I dared, I went at the wedge, until, eventually, the trunk had swallowed the entire wedge. Bummer. What this signaled was that either the tree wanted to fall in another direction, or, it was well balanced on top of the stump and wedge. I wished I’d used two stacked wedges to give the trunk a bit more lift. So, I put my hands on the trunk and pushed, watching those limbs high above. In case gravity had other plans I didn’t want to get the tree rocking as it might go over the wrong way. Then, with enough pressure, I heard a crack. I pushed harder and got another. I pushed again and… the tree started to go. Once started, it came down just where I’d been aiming, rolling a bit with the asymmetrical swivel hinge, the trunk twisting off the stump to end up lying on the thick side of the hinge. The tree hit the gravel driveway hard enough to bounce up off the ground. That’s a mighty big baseball bat! Best to step away from a falling tree, even one that is falling away from you.

Phew! Felling trees is always risky business. Those are some serious forces you are responsible for unleashing, and not always entirely foreseeable. Some trees more than others. It takes some careful planning. And when the decisions are made, a deep breath and crossed fingers. Pretty satisfying when things go well. Mostly bc i didn’t do something stupid.

EDIT: Split for firewood and found it to be a red oak not sugar maple. Tree was young enough that the bark hadn’t started plating yet. Red oak smells like cinnamon when burned. Wonderful.

Assymetric hinge:

Perfect landing! Phew!
Last edited by Paul Roberts on Sun Aug 07, 2022 3:52 am, edited 4 times in total.
ORCA 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023, 2024
User avatar
Mike N
Star Board Poster
Posts: 3768
Joined: Tue May 31, 2005 1:50 pm
Location: WV

Re: Ice storm tree down

Post by Mike N »

That’s an interesting post, Paul. Great hinge cut and smart use of the felling wedge, but you’re right, it’s a risky business even for the pros. Sugar maple is very hard; I made our dining room table out of sugar maple.

My biggest concern nowadays in felling trees seems to be the invasive, wild grapevines that tangle them all up around the tops and hang them up. It’s scary.

My neighbor had a large cherry fall in a wind storm last week and it reminded me of the tree that fell during the ice storm across my driveway that started this thread. The two trees were about an acre apart from one another. The small uprooted root balls of each of these big cherry trees are confusing to me and I’m going to ask a arborist why these mature root balls are so shallow. Here is the recent tree:



Mike N.
ORCA Founder, 1990
Paul Roberts
Super Board Poster
Posts: 874
Joined: Mon Dec 14, 2020 1:35 pm

Re: Ice storm tree down

Post by Paul Roberts »

Wow. I think many people don't realize how capricious forests are. Also, I'm old enough now to have seen trees grow. And many die and come down. Many of the farms in the NE where I've lived periods of my life have rows of trees, usually maples or Norway Spruce, planted in front of homesteads, representing family members. The idea was a wish for the longevity that trees represent. I've seen those trees all my life, and just recently I've begun to see them dying off and being taken down. Interesting perspective. Apparently, 80 to 150yrs is the lifespan of most hardwoods in the NE US, compared to up to 1500 years for oaks in the UK.

And, yes, we have lots of grapevines here too, some quite large. Haven't had to deal with one of those in a tree yet.

I've always thought that shallow roots are mostly due to very wet soil. However, I suppose it can happen where there is poor mineral soil, or bedrock, close to the surface?

Post an image of your maple table, if you can.
ORCA 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023, 2024
User avatar
Mike N
Star Board Poster
Posts: 3768
Joined: Tue May 31, 2005 1:50 pm
Location: WV

Re: Ice storm tree down

Post by Mike N »

Paul Roberts wrote: Mon Aug 01, 2022 2:10 pm
Post an image of your maple table, if you can.



I had a welder make the table legs to my design for under $200 and then painted them black with spray painted gold banding…
Mike N.
ORCA Founder, 1990
User avatar
Mike N
Star Board Poster
Posts: 3768
Joined: Tue May 31, 2005 1:50 pm
Location: WV

Re: Ice storm tree down

Post by Mike N »

The sideboard serving table is made from the same sugar maple tree. In the old days, these slabs would have been treated as scrap firewood. Each piece got 10 coats of pure tung oil from Canada. No polyurethane.



Mike N.
ORCA Founder, 1990
User avatar
Mike N
Star Board Poster
Posts: 3768
Joined: Tue May 31, 2005 1:50 pm
Location: WV

Re: Ice storm tree down

Post by Mike N »

And what’s a sugar maple table without some actual sugar tap holes?



Sugar maple is known for its great spalting, which is a discoloration induced by a fungus while the tree is growing…
Mike N.
ORCA Founder, 1990
Paul Roberts
Super Board Poster
Posts: 874
Joined: Mon Dec 14, 2020 1:35 pm

Re: Ice storm tree down

Post by Paul Roberts »

Beautiful! Love the character in that wood. The tap hole is very cool. Very nice!
ORCA 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023, 2024
User avatar
Mike N
Star Board Poster
Posts: 3768
Joined: Tue May 31, 2005 1:50 pm
Location: WV

Re: Ice storm tree down

Post by Mike N »

In 4 months (April,May, June & July) the uncovered wood has really dry seasoned in the sun:

From this:



To this, which is much lighter after the water loss:

Mike N.
ORCA Founder, 1990
User avatar
54bullseye
Super Board Poster
Posts: 531
Joined: Sun Dec 14, 2014 11:47 am

Re: Ice storm tree down

Post by 54bullseye »

Incredible !!! Mine does the same thing .
User avatar
john elder
Star Board Poster
Posts: 8580
Joined: Mon Sep 22, 2003 2:44 pm

Re: Ice storm tree down

Post by john elder »

Mike, i really love those maple tables! And i love the tung oil finish. Do you find it durable enough and resistant to water marks and stains? I guess i always go with Varethane on surfaces like that to yield a tougher finish, but maybe its a needless concern.
ORCA member since 1999
Honorary Life Member

Specializing in saltwater reels...and fly reels...and oh, yeah, kentucky style reels.....and those tiny little RP reels.....oh, heck...i collect fishing reels!...and fly rods....and lures
Paul Roberts
Super Board Poster
Posts: 874
Joined: Mon Dec 14, 2020 1:35 pm

Re: Ice storm tree down

Post by Paul Roberts »

It’s been a relatively dry summer so far. At least compared to last summer.

I love how tung oil brings out the color, grain, and character, too. Curious how it holds up as well.
ORCA 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023, 2024
User avatar
Mike N
Star Board Poster
Posts: 3768
Joined: Tue May 31, 2005 1:50 pm
Location: WV

Re: Ice storm tree down

Post by Mike N »

John and Paul:

I like Lee Valley products from Ontario and use their 100% pure tung oil. It takes a while for each coat to dry, but the finish is superior— no water marking or other problems over the past 5 or so years on several tables.



Here is the table raw and then with the first two (of ten) coats of tung oil, letting each coat dry for 72 hours then sanding lightly.




Mike N.
ORCA Founder, 1990
Stef Duma
Advanced Board Poster
Posts: 197
Joined: Mon Apr 03, 2017 8:54 am
Location: England
Contact:

Re: Ice storm tree down

Post by Stef Duma »

Once again a very informative and fascinating thread, I had never heard of Tung oil and had to google it. Now I know what it is. I used teak oil when we had our wooden kitchen worktops made, and now I know that the basis is tung oil and linseed oil. Many thanks.
Paul Roberts
Super Board Poster
Posts: 874
Joined: Mon Dec 14, 2020 1:35 pm

Re: Ice storm tree down

Post by Paul Roberts »

Since I've been plugging away in the woods, (rather than on the water), I thought I'd add some felling stories to the thread. I find the challenges of —as well as the tools and techniques developed for— felling trees fascinating; In the understanding of, and safely dealing with, the tremendous tension and compression forces locked up in them.

This 11”dbh (diameter at breast height) Hemlock obscured the view to the woods. It had two leans: a basal lean and a corrective growth lean further up the trunk. I wasn’t sure which lean gravity would favor —what’s called the dominant lean. The basal lean leaned toward a cluster of 3 maples I didn’t want to hang up in. So that was out. The upper lean offered some open ground as a target area. Only issue was a stand of pretty Witch Hazel that I didn’t want the tree to crush, so I needed to keep my tree in the opening. And, the upper lean started about 5ft up the trunk, meaning I’d be cutting at nearly eye level. But I’m getting a little ahead of myself…

There was another issue that had to be taken care of before any plan could be attempted. Hemlocks have a lot of branches and several had grown out behind a large Pignut Hickory standing right next to the hemlock. The hemlock’s branches were so close —one even pressed against the hickory— they would likely impact the hemlocks fall before it could gain any momentum. Once it did gain momentum, other branches, hooking the hickory, could turn the falling hemlock in an undesired direction. Far enough that to play it safe I rolled the log splitter out of the way. I then set about clearing those offending limbs with a pole-saw.

I have a 16ft pole-saw but a couple of the offending limbs were just beyond my reach. I got a large cooler out of the garage to stand on to get one. Then a step ladder, and my wife to steady it, to get the other. Better safe than sorry.

On to the plan: To take advantage of the upper lean I had to cut about 5ft up the trunk. I used a Humboldt (reverse) face-cut simply bc it was easier to do at that height. I then made an asymmetrical back-cut, and applied a wedge, to be sure the tree would fall in my planned opening. I still didn’t fully trust my read of the dominant lean. The Humbolt cut —essentially a drop-off— is supposed to accelerate the fall which might also help in turning the trunk on the hinge as it fell. I popped in a wedge, made a few more cuts, popped the wedge again, and down she went, coming to rest with a resounding “Whump!” just beside the hazel bushes. The impact loosed a couple dead branches from the mature oak towering over the opening the hemlock landed next to; Another risk that fellers should be looking out for as they work.

The hemlock was easy limbing and bucking, despite all the branches conifers have. I first cleared the top and side limbs, before deciding which of the lower ones to clear next because they held the trunk off the ground and cutting the main supporting ones could allow the trunk to roll over. The entire tree was cut into slash as hemlock is considered poor firewood.

Upper Lean:

Humboldt face-cut:

Assymetrical Hinge:

Whump!


Here’s how multiple leans can develop in trees, revealed upon splitting a round of ash for firewood. The ash’s sapling wood, at about 10yrs of age, is preserved in the center of the tree’s trunk, showing a bend it had taken around some offending obstruction; Probably another tree that had fallen against it. If a sapling is bent over by an obstruction during its young years, the sapling’s reach for light will correct its growth, clearing the obstruction to grow upwards again.
Last edited by Paul Roberts on Mon Aug 08, 2022 9:22 pm, edited 2 times in total.
ORCA 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023, 2024
User avatar
Mike N
Star Board Poster
Posts: 3768
Joined: Tue May 31, 2005 1:50 pm
Location: WV

Re: Ice storm tree down

Post by Mike N »

Very professional felling cuts, Paul. And that last photo of the tree growth pattern is interesting.

I’ve always liked the soft boughs of the Eastern Hemlock (easy to mow under, unlike the prickly Blue Spruce) and planted a few dozen along one of my property lines 30 years ago. They’re approaching 60’ in height and typically reach 100’.

The hemlock is the state tree of Pennsylvania and is traditionally long-lived— one in Tionesta, PA, which I suspect is near you, was estimated to be over 500 years old. Alas, yet another non-native, invasive insect, the nasty wooly adelgid, is destroying hundreds of acres of hemlock. Cornell University is introducing a beetle from the Pacific Northwest that feeds on the wooly adelgid larvae, but the introduction process is a slow one.
Mike N.
ORCA Founder, 1990
Paul Roberts
Super Board Poster
Posts: 874
Joined: Mon Dec 14, 2020 1:35 pm

Re: Ice storm tree down

Post by Paul Roberts »

Hemlocks sure are pretty, and great wintering habitat for grouse and other critters. We have a lot of hemlocks here, some quite large. Neat that you planted some and have that perspective on their growth.

I got to see the ravages of wooly adelgids in the hudson valley about 10 yrs ago or so. Very sad. Appears they aren't much of a problem here in W PA, at least yet.
ORCA 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023, 2024
Paul Roberts
Super Board Poster
Posts: 874
Joined: Mon Dec 14, 2020 1:35 pm

Re: Ice storm tree down

Post by Paul Roberts »

Talking about the challenges trees have in surviving... Here's a small beech that was crushed at one point, causing the trunk to "barber chair" (a timbering term when a tree trunk splits when falling -potentially very dangerous if you happen to be doing the cutting). The tree then lived on and it appears one branch has plans to become a tree unto itself! :)
ORCA 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023, 2024
User avatar
Mike N
Star Board Poster
Posts: 3768
Joined: Tue May 31, 2005 1:50 pm
Location: WV

Re: Ice storm tree down

Post by Mike N »

Well, the wind chill temperature here reached -35 degrees with that arctic blast over Christmas, so the downed cherry tree that started this thread last February and now has been drying for 10 months contributed to heating the homestead. Call me crazy, but I love this time of year.



Mike N.
ORCA Founder, 1990
User avatar
kyreels
Super Board Poster
Posts: 1179
Joined: Mon Feb 06, 2006 6:12 pm
Location: Louisville, Kentucky

Re: Ice storm tree down

Post by kyreels »

You are crazy but warm. Happy New Year.
Matt Wickham
Collector of Casting Weights, KY Reels and KY Tackle
Paul Roberts
Super Board Poster
Posts: 874
Joined: Mon Dec 14, 2020 1:35 pm

Re: Ice storm tree down

Post by Paul Roberts »

Not crazy. At least among some of us out there. My college roommate and I discovered we’d be lifelong friends when we both reveled in snowshoeing together in below 0 temps. How far sound carries when it’s that crisp out. Plus you find that you acclimate and almost any indoors is too warm afterwards. Luckily there was ice fishing and steelheading to keep me out and about. I even had to pop steelhead flies in my mouth to thaw them when the streams became super-cooled. Still revel in those ‘scapes.
ORCA 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023, 2024
User avatar
Mike N
Star Board Poster
Posts: 3768
Joined: Tue May 31, 2005 1:50 pm
Location: WV

Re: Ice storm tree down

Post by Mike N »

Last evening we had a beautiful red sunset, and today the weather warmed up to 63 degrees, all of which reminded me of my dear late mother’s old saw: “Red sunset at night, sailors’ delight. Red sky in the morning, sailor take warning.” (For the record, I did miss lighting the fireplace tonight while watching a few bowl games.)

Mike N.
ORCA Founder, 1990
Paul Roberts
Super Board Poster
Posts: 874
Joined: Mon Dec 14, 2020 1:35 pm

Re: Ice storm tree down

Post by Paul Roberts »

We had that same sunset here. Stunning. Today, nearly 60F! Definitely delightful.
ORCA 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023, 2024
Paul Roberts
Super Board Poster
Posts: 874
Joined: Mon Dec 14, 2020 1:35 pm

Re: Ice storm tree down

Post by Paul Roberts »

Thought I'd add another tree-felling description. I find the process, beyond a lot of work, interesting.

Felled a large (for my experience and saws) 18” dbh (diameter at breast height) 89ft tall White Ash. It was essentially dead, due to Emerald Ash Borer Beetles, with a very few small leaves holding on for dear life at the very top. :( All other limbs and branches were dead. It could make for as much as a cord of good firewood and it couldn’t be in a much more convenient location. If all went well it would topple over into my backyard.

Assessing possible hazards:
First, I had to make sure the tall tree would not fall on something important. I estimated the tree’s height (and reach) a couple of ways: The “right angle stick method” that allows one to pace the tree's reach, and a laser rangefinder gave 84ft to an upper limb. After the tree came to ground, the rangefinder gave a complete measurement from branch tips to stump of 89ft.

I could see that, when it fell, the ash could strike some of the outer branches of the 110ft oak leaning out over the yard. If that happened I’d have to keep my eye on any damaged oak branches as I limbed and bucked my fallen tree beneath. Even small oak limbs are dense! When the ash came down the uppermost limbs did indeed strike, and break, some of the outermost limbs of the oak. When a breeze kicked up, I stopped work beneath the oak. Better safe than sorry.

In planning the fall, I judge where gravity would like to take the falling tree by taking into account: dominant lean, mass distribution, and the integrity of the trunk and root mass. This one looked fairly straightforward. The tree had intact roots and stump. The long straight main trunk split into two separate leaders a good 40ft up and they appeared to pretty much balance each other out weight-wise. The tree showed little apparent lean. A straightforward felling it appeared.

Looking out from the tree base, there are other trees that border the yard the falling ash could strike on the way down. Closest was a 12” sugar maple that could even create a potential hanger. Maples are esp prone due to their forked limbs and trunks. It was not worth the risk, so I decided to take that maple down first. It would make for good dense firewood for next season.

Next there was a group of small to mid-sized maples to the right, and a pretty yellow birch on the left, neither of which I wanted the falling ash to damage on its way down. I felt I could drop the ash between both by aiming the face-cut, and trusting to my read on gravity. I had a pretty symmetrical tree and quite a wide target zone to work with. What could go wrong? Multiply whatever it is by the 5000 to 6000lbs such a tree weighs and the gravity of the situation should be sobering. So I aimed my cuts for dead center between the birch and maples, right at an overgrown honeysuckle bush my wife was wanting to remove, or at least prune back. Kill two birds potentially?!

The challenge for me would be making accurate cuts on the 22” stump with my 18” bar. I decided to make the face-cut in two sections, from each side. I first plunge-cut dead center, then carved out two equal wedges, and then cleaned up the apex. Nice!

I scribed the back-cut into the tree’s bark, and then, again, worked in from each side. However, I managed to mismatch the cuts! In trying to fix them I ended up with several deepish slices that pretty much precluded the use of my wedges! The gaps made by the saw kerfs would likely absorb much of the wedges lifting ability. :(

So, I continued with the back-cut, having to trust to gravity —my read of it— working my way in toward the hinge wood. The kerf opened, slowly, a bit too slowly! And the top of the tree rocked —actually teetered! Oo-boy… So I didn’t dare stay beneath the tree any longer to cut any further. I stepped back and watched as gravity slowly took over and the tree started to go, in the right direction. It hit the ground with a loud crash, bounced surprisingly high into the air, owing to the fact that the length of the tree spanned a dip in the ground. Like a spring the entire tree rebounded a good 6 feet into the air before laying to rest. And it crushed the target honeysuckle. Yes!! And… Phew! The hinge had been left a bit wide, but it worked. Would have been less hairy with a couple of wedges in place.

For bucking, I used four saws: A folding pocket pruner that makes short work of limbs less than 3” diameter or so. In fact, it’s about as fast as a small chainsaw, safer, quieter, and cheaper to run. I also used all three of my chainsaws: A lightweight 2hp MS170 for limbing, and trading off between a 3hp MS251 and a 4hp MS261, allowing each to cool as I worked on the large wood. The 4hp saw was a noticeable help on the main trunk, it scarcely bogging down with the bar fully buried in wood.

Bucking, in general, requires some thought, and knowledge —the recipe for good judgement. One may think the danger is over after the tree crashes to ground. But a felled tree —a broken twisted tangle, much of it under bending stress— is essentially a tangle of massive springs, loaded and waiting to snap straight again, like giant baseball bats. Bucker’s have been surprised, struck, and even killed, by such pent up forces. I worked thoughtfully, from the top of the tree on down the trunk. Even small diameter branches could be dangerous if released against a leg, arm or hand.

Another risk, but more hassle than safety issue, is binding of the saw blade. Mere 1” diameter branches can bind a saw bar tight. Binding on such little branches can be easily dealt with using the folding pruning saw I keep in my back pocket. With larger branches, a second chainsaw may be needed to free the first. As I’ve gained experience, binding happens less, and I only had a couple binds on this tree. Again, pruning saws are darn efficient, and safer than a chainsaw. If the tree is small enough, without a veritable forest of limbing to be done, I’ll opt for the pruner. It’s just safer and really just about as quick as a chainsaw.

I was particularly cautious around the massive twin leaders, lying side by side, that made up the upper half of the tree, attached to the main trunk like a giant tuning fork. The tree had fallen across a shallow dip, suspending the main trunk(s) from each end (why it bounced so high in the air when it fell) creating tension and compression forces pent up in the two massive leaders and much of the main trunk when it came to rest. This created what’s called a “top-bind” across the majority of the tree’s length. That is, the top surface of the trunk and branches are under compression and could pinch and bind the saw bar like a vice as the cutting relieves that compression. I used the top-bind cut sequence (I learned from the British Columbia Feller training video series) where there was space to reach beneath the log and not strike the ground, which can instantly dull the chain. A sharp chain is more important than horsepower. Where the log’s underside was too close to the ground I went to a wedge to keep the kerf from closing on the bar. I also worked the two leaders somewhat alternately, allowing each leader to act as a counterweight to the other, until the pressures were relieved. I just didn't know the pressures they held and how far one might rebound if released improperly.

With each round cut, the top-bind simply continued down the log. The trunk would only be able to fully come to rest, flat on the ground, in the very last 10ft or so of it, when I got across that dip in the ground beneath. This top-bind cutting was getting tedious! So I went to using support logs, stuffed and pounded under the trunk every 8ft or so to suspend the trunk’s cut end, allowing for simple top cuts. I proceeded down the trunk this way, each 125lb round dropping in a nice neat row as I went, until the final stretch of trunk was resting flat on the ground. To keep the massive final stretch of log from potentially rolling over as I lopped rounds off, I used some of the rounds as blocks to keep the log in place.

Are we having fun yet? This is heavy repetitive work, but I find it much more interesting than working out in a gym setting. To spare my back I cut from a kneeling position as much as possible. And I spread the bucking work over a couple of days, and taking breaks to rest and stretch. Stretching helps enormously in relieving, and avoiding, bound muscles. Acetaminophen is helpful too, just before I climb into bed for the night.

When the bucking was complete, I used my truck to haul all but the largest rounds to the woodshed and splitter. My neighbor then came with his tractor and bucket to bring the big rounds in. This 18” dbh 89ft White Ash yielded one full cord by calculation, and at least a full cord by eye in the woodshed. With 3 cords now in the woodshed, I won’t need to do more heavy cutting for the year.

I must say, cutting one’s own firewood is not a terribly cost effective endeavor for a homeowner, compared with the costs of just buying it from a professional outfit. The equipment required, the risks, and the work, are quite an investment. One has to enjoy the work. I enjoy the thinking and the exercise, but will be weighing the cost/benefit as I get older. At some point, large trees will not remain feasible for me alone. That said, with 40acres of mature woodland, there are always problem trees to deal with. Our driveway is a third of a mile long so blowdowns need to be removed from time to time.

This 18” ash aged out at 56 countable rings, down to large seedling size. Apparently, trees have been known to remain at seedling size as long as 20 years, waiting for light to open up in the canopy above. So, sometime in the late 50's to early 60’s, a White Ash seed had whirled down and settled in the woods here, eventually succumbing, before its time, to the Emerald Ash Borer Beetle by 2022, when I felled it for firewood.







Last edited by Paul Roberts on Wed Mar 01, 2023 10:14 pm, edited 4 times in total.
ORCA 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023, 2024
User avatar
Mike N
Star Board Poster
Posts: 3768
Joined: Tue May 31, 2005 1:50 pm
Location: WV

Re: Ice storm tree down

Post by Mike N »

Great read, Paul. Thanks for sharing that knowledge and experience.

Mike N.
Mike N.
ORCA Founder, 1990
Post Reply