Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Pine Pain

Here is a common problem if you have to cut pines in a stand of trees. Pines are taller and thinner than hardwoods, and they are not as heavy, so they have more of a tendency to hang in the branches of the trees around them when you are dropping them. This tree was dead, and the only direction to drop it wasn't open; it was only less blocked than any other direction. The first wedging started it over, and it promptly stopped when it was snagged at about sixty feet up. I cut a shim out of the face cut wood and had a second go with a wedge, and pushed it a bit further, then made a thicker pine shim, and pushed it further still, but it still wouldn't drop. The second shim crumbled under the pressure, so I cut a thick shim from a honeylocust that I had just dropped and wedged for a third time. That one pushed the top through the overhead crowns and the pine broke through and crashed. If you have to drop trees during your woodcutting activities, you need to practice cutting tapered shims before you have to use them. Shim grain should stand in the same direction as the tree you are pushing over, and you can cut your shims out of nearby stumps so the wood holds still for you. I like to do a bore cut on the stump, angling the bar upward to create a bit of taper, then cut downward to make the sides; then punch down at the inner end to turn it loose. Keep the good ones you create in your woodcutting kit; you never know when you will need it again.

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