Saturday, June 30, 2018

Chainsaw Blunders Will Kill You!

There are too many mistakes in this stump; one is wasteful, two are potentially fatal. The first one is the high stump that the cutter made. This was a white oak, and was included in a sale of high quality trees, so the stump should have been just off the ground. Cutting the stump above his waist was just plain stupid if the cutter was trying to make money on this tree. Cutting high not only throws away high value wood, it pushes the bucking points of the segments into lower grade logs, and devalues the entire tree. But that's just money.

The front cut defies belief. The purpose of the front cut (face cut) is to aim the tree, because it wants to fall at a right angle to this cut. Wood that is left in front of the face interferes with the forward and downward travel of the tree. The two cuts that should make this open face must meet! Wood in this face interferes with the rotation of the tree to the ground. In olden days the front cut was opened up to 45°, because that was what you could do with an axe. The tree would close the opening halfway to the ground, breaking the hinge. Nowadays, because we use chainsaws, we open that cut up to 70° or 90°. The tree will rotate all the way to the ground before the hinge breaks. There is no excuse for making only a single cut on the front side of the hinge. When the tree begins to rotate, it will hit that wood and split lengthwise, causing extreme danger to the cutter as the tree elevates on a springpole.

Now, the back cut. Way back in B. C. (Before Chainsaws) we cut the front opening to aim the tree and to allow the tree to turn down on the hinge. Old timers call the hinge Holding Wood. Nowadays, the holding wood is the backstrap that you cut last; so you have to be careful with your terms. The tree was felled by cutting from the backside with a crosscut saw. At some point, if the tree has forward weight, the tree tips on the hinge. If the tree has excessive forward weight it will tip too soon, and split lengthwise instead of bending the hinge, elevating itself on a springpole called a barber chair. Chainsaws can bore through a tree, making a hinge of proper thickness in order to prevent springpoles, while you leave a backstrap that holds the tree in place on its hinge. The cutter who made this stump obviously did not possess the skills to do that, and he probably did not understand the importance of a proper setup on his stump.

I think the cutter survived, because the ruined tree was cut up in pieces and left around the stump. Learn how to use your chainsaw safely and effectively. Now, go and sin no more.

PS: This is a repost from June 2015.  I have been thinking about this subject, and I have encountered only one person smashed by a barberchair incident.  Another person, whom is still living and cutting trees got busted up by one.  I know four people who have been smashed up (and lived) by trees they match-cut.  They cut from one side, then the other, severing the tree with no hinge to guide it.  The broken bone and body count in my personal experience is higher from match cutting than by creating a barber chair, but both are extremely dangerous, bad ideas.

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