Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Bad Idea Falling Cut

 When I was working in Kentucky, many of the loggers had an odd method of match cutting the trees they felled, and they usually called it stump-jumping. Match cutting is used in bucking logs and making pruning cuts. You make a cut on the compressed side until the kerf begins to close, and then you cut on the tensioned side, causing the two sides to part. It is not a good idea for falling a tree, though many do it. A match cut gives the tree no guidance and it will fall where gravity and wind take it. The idea of the method they called stump jumping was to create a V match cut on the stump. The V is supposed to act like a knee joint and let the tree fall with a bit of guidance.

I have watched this cut being made and there is little that is predictable about the path the tree takes. It can pop sideways, spin, or jump back. A hinge is a darn important safety device when you cut a tree. It guides the tree in the direction you want it to fall and it keeps the butt of the log anchored to the stump until hinge failure when the face cut closes. 

I was surprised to see this reminder of a bad idea in McLeansboro the other day. Maybe this ash tree was taken down from the top and this was just part of the final cleanup. I hope so, but I have seen that many of the bucket truck tree trimmers do not understand the safest ways of falling a tree.

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