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any chainsaw experts?(14 posts)

any chainsaw experts?DougSloan
Sep 15, 2003 9:10 AM
Back in the old Missouri days, I did a fair amount of felling with chainsaws. However, these typically were 12" oak and walnut, while very hard wood, were relatively easy to manage.

I want to do some mtb trail maintenance. On one trail, there is a tree that is a good 3-4 feet in diameter that has fallen across the trail, bridged by the stump on one side and the ground on the other. You have to dismount and crawl under the tree, and there's no way around. It is still connected to the stump with about 1/3 of the trunk, and the stump is about 6 feet from the trail on the uphill side.

So, I'm looking at a big pine or redwood tree lying at 90 degrees across the trail. It has some 12" or so branches here and there. It appears to have been dead for a long time before falling, so it's very dry.

Since the tree is lying on its side, but bridged for about 10-15 feet, if I start cutting on the top side, I'll jam the saw for sure. I'm not sure a wedge would even hold this monster. I don't want my saw to be permanently embedded, nor do I want to become pinned under this thing, or worse.

So, I'm looking for any tips or suggestions for getting rid of this sucker, particularly without having to make 50 cuts and taking all day. I'm not making fire wood here, just wanting to do as little as possible to clear the trail.

Any general suggestions on choice of saw, etc., would be welcome, too. I have only an electric for trivial home use now. Thanks.

Build a ramp up and overmoneyman
Sep 15, 2003 9:17 AM
Really. Make the trail a little more challenging, rather than sanitize it. Creates additional interest in the trail and doesn't cause you to jeopardize life and limb to remove it.

that's certainly thinking outside the boxDougSloan
Sep 15, 2003 9:24 AM
Thanks, but I really want to get rid of the tree. Trees fall on this trail all the time, and if we did that each time, pretty soon we'd have nothing but ramps. ;-)


P.S.: horses use it, too
OK, then here's what I'd domoneyman
Sep 15, 2003 9:41 AM
I would pick the spot where I was going to cut, probably just to the outside of either side of the trail. On both sides of the cut, I would jamb in a log between the fallen monster and the ground, thereby supporting the tree on both sides, but not giving it the large distance between supports. Then I would make a cut starting at the top and cut a wedge about 1/3 to 1/2 of the way in. One cut should be straight, the other should be at a 45 degree angle to the straight cut. Then go under the tree and cut straight up to meet the intersection of the wedge cuts. The tree will collapse into the wedge, freeing your saw blade. Repeat on the other side.

Be sure to wear a hard hat, gloves, safety chaps, eye and ear protection, and bring a partner along with you.

I still like the ramp idea. With all those trees down, your trails could look like they do in Vancouver, B.C., except warmer and drier.

thanks, good infoDougSloan
Sep 15, 2003 10:03 AM
Very good point about supporting the tree with logs. That should do the trick. I didn't think of that.

Would you ever attempt such a thing with a hand tree saw (bucksaw?)?

The top of this thing would be about 8 feet off the ground. A ramp would need to be very long, and I'm not up to that.

Appreciate the info very much.

Sep 15, 2003 10:22 AM
No way. Not unless it was a two-man and Paul Bunyan was on the other end.

Eight feet. OK - Build the ramp up one side and leave the other side as a big wheelie-drop. That should create excitement as well as discourage those nasty equestrians.

Ramps are goodmohair_chair
Sep 15, 2003 11:16 AM
One of the places I ride, Soquel Demonstration Forest (aka "Demo"), they take great pride in building ramps over fallen trees. It's fun and challenging to ride over some of them. A tree as big as yours is probably not a good candidate, though.

I would leave it alone. There are trees to duck under in Demo, too. It's just part of the course. Besides, it sounds like it's doing a fine job keeping the equestrians out!
Husqvarna nm128
Sep 15, 2003 9:51 AM
re: any chainsaw experts?gtx
Sep 15, 2003 10:48 AM
do you have any local mtb clubs that do a lot of trail maintenance? Might check with them. Also look here for tips:
If you're looking to buy a new saw...jesse1
Sep 16, 2003 2:46 AM
...Consumer Reports have always rated just about any saw from Stihl as top notch. I've had one for about 10 years now and use it quite a bit. It's never failed me.
Stay away from McCollough (sp) saws!
Also - there's a device I use (don't know what it's called) that has a handle about 3 ft long, and a hook on the other end that allows you to get a log off the ground several inches to allow a better cut. It's worth hauling into the woods.
2nd the Stihl... and stay away from McCollough.loki_1
Sep 16, 2003 9:21 AM
The only problem with the McCollough is that it doesnt start. Chain stays sharp though ;)
The tool is called...boyd2
Sep 17, 2003 10:51 AM
a peavee or a cant pole. THose things are key when doing alot of tree work, but don't work well with really big trees. Another usefull tool is a scissors jack from a car. They can be used to free jammed saws and lift logs for cutting. I run a Poulin 365 and that is one cuttin saw. I also have a old sthil climbing saw (light and small) that I like alot. I have a couple of old homelights also, but they don't get much use.

With isabele bearing down on me I made sure they were all ready to go last night! I am surrounded by really big trees.
Never move, either bridge it or re-route....asphalt assault
Sep 16, 2003 3:26 AM
Mother nature put it there for a reason, she'l be angry if you move it...and that's not good! (looks like somebody on the east coast REALLY did something to tick her off!).

The beauty of MTB is an ever-changing landscape...roll with the changes. Our simple rule about a re-route is that the new section of trail created must always be an improvement over the old.
may have toDougSloan
Sep 18, 2003 9:05 AM
Apparently, the land management here is picky about being "qualified" to use a chainsaw, plus there is a fear of fire from sparks. So, I'll likely back off the chainsaw idea, if no other reason than having to deal with beaurocrats.

I think I'll try re-routing above the tree, but it's on a pretty steep lateral slope. You are right, though, in that it could make the trail more interesting. Thanks.