A Discussion on The Fundamentals of Tree Felling

RopeShield

Well-Known Member
What is wrong with you? I know your intentions are good but suggesting University botany as a requirement for basic felling fundamentals is ridiculous.
The knowledge to keep people alive is what is necessary. That basic science is what it would take, still not enough, take Donezelli RIP for example. Highly educated and a competent feller as understand. DEAD, DEAD DEAD this is what is haappening and needs to be curtailed.
 

RBJtree

Well-Known Member
Lets stop arguing the point and post what you got on the subject and let the audience gleen what they will. There are a lot smarter people here than me when it comes to science any way so if you have a question post it up, get an answer and be safe
https://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/wood-beams-strength-d_1480.html
Thats amazing how so many duplicate numbers come up cross species. I'm not a scientist, but I have cut a lot of trees. Many of us know that even within a sub species there can be great variation in strength, flexability, hinge-ability... numbers are not enough. Even experience is sometimes not enough as we all know many knowledgeable and experienced people have had things go wrong and even died because of it. There is a level of unpredictably in trees that must be respected and cannot be eliminated. There is a little something more than knowledge and experience that is required. I don't know what to call it, a tree persons instinct. That isn't enough by its self either but knowledge, experience, and instinct or feel all together are what makes the best in my opinion. Its a dangerous job. Not just because there are a lot of hacks and fools out there, but that doesn't help. It's dangerous because of the level of unavoidable unpredictability.
 

evo

Well-Known Member
Thats amazing how so many duplicate numbers come up cross species. I'm not a scientist, but I have cut a lot of trees. Many of us know that even within a sub species there can be great variation in strength, flexability, hinge-ability... numbers are not enough. Even experience is sometimes not enough as we all know many knowledgeable and experienced people have had things go wrong and even died because of it. There is a level of unpredictably in trees that must be respected and cannot be eliminated. There is a little something more than knowledge and experience that is required. I don't know what to call it, a tree persons instinct. That isn't enough by its self either but knowledge, experience, and instinct or feel all together are what makes the best in my opinion. Its a dangerous job. Not just because there are a lot of hacks and fools out there, but that doesn't help. It's dangerous because of the level of unavoidable unpredictability.
Not to mention drought...
 

Tony

Well-Known Member
No we are going ! I cannot not more is there need to respond to every response. I will recap a few that peak my interest though.

Evo - KISS yes, but let's change the military quip to keep it simple and smart

benfuest - yes, no matter the size tree the principles, fundamentals remain the same. In my experience, fallers often get in to trouble on "small" trees because they ignore the fundamentals and fail to plan thing, it's just a "'lil one."

Rico - we are in agreement. sound mechanics, understand the process, plan and apply.

RopeShield - wood fiber, it's characteristics and predictability or lack there of are important, but even with in species, seasons, locals and even trees there is variability. The best any of us can do is predict. Also don't assume many on here do not have the knowledge to make the types of judgement whether learned in school or out. Last, you are mistaken in saying Kenny is the reason for this thread. I give a fuck about Kenny or the other youtube arborists. I started this thread, because I feel it needs to exist, but mostly because I want to. If you see artifice, sham or hidden agenda...

Mitch Hoy - yes, control variables, but we need to define them and understand our control is often fleeting. planning to control is imperative, understanding that few plans survive contact with the "enemy" is imperative as well!

RBJtree - yes, many similarities. Something I have noticed as well in reading and cutting.

Now that we have "discussed" a few core principles, have the idea of where the goal line is, what a score looks like we can begin to plan. For the sake of simplicity I am going to forgo a discussion of hazards when felling. IT IS IMMENSELY IMPORTANT! However, regions, species, situations, Bla,bla, Bla... Suffice to say, anyone felling a tree needs to step back evaluate the hazards, determine obstacles and adjust as necessary. PLEASE do not ignore this vital, so often overlooked step. I just don't see the value in discussing it here, on this medium of communication. If you do feel free to start a thread!

After hazard assessment we need to understand the height and lean of tree. Height is often the easiest. The "stick trick" will work on level open ground. I look forward to hearing others input on this.

As for lean, it is not so much judging lean , but judging how much before something needs to be done. Of course front lean is often the easiest do deal with. How much front lean until a faller can anticipate barber's chair as a likelihood? How much side lean before offsetting your face will no longer work? Again remember we are keeping it simple! I am not asking what you do to handle the lean, (we will get to that!) I am asking when do the alarm bells start to chime? When does the plan start to alter?

As for back lean, it is the second easiest to deal with, but again at what point do you as faller start to plan, add tools or technique to the process to overcome back lean?

To get some consistency address your answers in numbers. for instance, " I never fucking worry about front lean unless it is "X" feet." (the number is derived by estimating the distance of the center of gravity for the whole tree from your hinge)

I'll look forward to your answers before I share my .02

Tony
 

Tom Dunlap

Here from the beginning
Administrator
First, for me...don't cause more damage

Face the tree so that it doesn't hit anything on the way down

Control stump kick-back

Slow the speed of the fall so that the tree doesn't hit hard making divits..don't break the hinge wood, use it to brake the fall
 

Pelorus

Well-Known Member
I follow this thread (and some others) reluctantly.
Knowledge + experience can hopefully produce competence.
It can create little arrogant monsters with inflated egos.

Knowledge also gets arborists and loggers injured or killed. They become complacent.

I look for humility in these threads, and just can't locate much.
Dave
 

Serf Life

Well-Known Member
For height I pulled out my Biltmore stick this past Sunday on a dying butternut. Stick trick is same basic premise but you need to be a chain (66ft) away from the tree with the Biltmore. Honestly rarely measure height, eye-balling is the go to 99% time.
 

rico

Well-Known Member
Dave brought up complacency. There is a very fine line between complacency and laziness, and both are a real problem in this industry. Inevitably when I see someone fuck up it is because they got lazy/complacent, decided to blow off the fundamentals, and thought that they could somehow defy the laws of physics. Thats the mentality that produces bad results and gets people hurt. This shit aint rocket science, and if we just follow the basic rules of sound falling practices 99.99% of our outcomes will be positive.
 

rico

Well-Known Member
In some cases it changes the wood character. Last year the wood moisture levels were the lowest ever record by the DNR, less hingy and more brittle.
I imagine this would be the case across almost all species and regions? The idea that dry wood responds differently that wet wood is pretty universal.
 
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evo

Well-Known Member
I imagine this would be the case across almost all species and regions? The idea that dry wood responds differently that wet wood is pretty universal.
I can’t speak to the region aspect, but different species behaved across a spectrum. Some actually had some “improvements” others were about the same, and some had alarming changes.
Some species were just all over the map, like red alder, but over all their hinging seemed to improve!
 

benfuest

Member
Hi again, very interesting thread this, and have read some things that chime with me. Tony mentioned felling smaller dia trees and complacency I think also from Rico. I admit I have fallen for this one. Say Ive been on a job falling douglas at 160 foot, been doing it for weeks. Then Im asked to nip down the landing and tip over some squirt of a tree, and thats when its so easy to fuck it up.
This is an American forum with most if not all contributions American, thats cool. Just hope its ok to chip in with a UK perspective. Over here every cutter has to be liscenced, no ticket no work, full stop. To get your ticket you start with training on trees no greater than guid bar, say 18 inches. Once you've done mantainance and risk assesment then you start felling. An uprite tree with simple sink and back cut. Moving on to leaning in direction of fell, and finaly felling away from the direction of fell. Theres also snedding or what you call bucking I think.
As a trainer I would typicaly take 6 may be 8 guys into the wood and work a buddy system. A spruce plantation , trees at two meter spacings and perhaps forty foot tall. The idea is to cut out every fith row, the go for miles. There is plenty to cut and they do so for 5 days solid. I move through the wood watching and talking stumps with the guys, as the days pass I'm not looking for perfection it seldom happens. I'm looking to see who has grasped the princibles, and importantly whos has,nt. Sooner or later some one get one hung up and we all gather for a laugh and then discus the safest way to get it to the floor.
The following week an indipendant examiner comes into the wood and puts ech candidate through his paces for a competant pass or not yet competent fail. Ive been trainer and examiner. Newbies are nervous, understandable. So theres conversation to help the candidate eaz in. Lets supose he/she gets it on the floor in roughly the right place, however the hinge is a bit squify and the back cut aint quite right. It not nesseseraly a fail, You could ask the candidate what he thought of the fell and what he has lernt from the stump. If he can identify the erorrs, he can correct them. So have another go. With luck its a pass and the candidate gets his ticket, limited to guid bar only. He returns to his employer and consolidates his learning for a year or two untill ready to return to training and move up the scale to bar and a half ext. This period of consolidation is important and the hope is the fundementle priciples stick. An important point. No money passes between the candidate his trainer or the assesor/examiner. Thats all handled by City and Guilds, only right and proper. It can atke a trainer a couple of years to qualify as too examiners, and are required to demonstrate skills to a higher authority on a regular basis. Sorry if this has been long winded way of driving home the need for understanding the basics of felling, and building on that.
 
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