Saturday, 29 November 2014

First attempt at tree felling

I've been with my employer for the best part of thirty years and I've qualified for a long leave reward of a paid six months off in one hit which I've booked for 2016. When I found out that a neighbour was looking to clear his garden with a view to moving I quickly offered to take some straggly ash trees down. I saw a quick hit of firewood for the six month sabbatical!

This neighbour is at the back of our house across a path and I said that,as I had two ladders, that I could hop over the fence and not disturb him. So in out and job done...

He said it was a little overgrown...I hadn't quite anticipated a wall of brambles which I had to clear to even get to the trees, and then clear around the bases. This set the tone for endless annoying stumbles on 'tripwire' brambles and indeed a multitude of hidden obstacles.


Sometime ago I made this bucksaw based on this particular design and despite the fact that it is loaded with a dry wood blade it is a new Bahco blade and was effective. Now the problems that presented themselves to a rookie tree surgeon like me was that there were two fences, a dividing trellis fence, a shed, a greenhouse and as I discovered an active bumble bee nest in a pile of garden debris, coupled with the fact that some of the trees were say 25 feet or so tall I was wondering if I could defeat these trees and land them in a 45 degree safe zone.

The right hand side bucksaw blade picture above shows one of the smaller trunks in both height and girth which I took down with two diagonal sections removed front and back which was good to get the confidence up and my eye in (both of which were protected with safety glasses). I decided that the larger trees needed to come down in two sections for both my safety and the continuing viability of the breakable structures around me.


I scaled a ladder to the side of the trees and before proceeded to cut the two diagonal sections front and back I tied a good length of paracord 550 as high as I could using a timber hitch and then chucked the remaining length as far as I could in the direction of projected fall. I left the two wedges in place and climbed down the ladder, flicked the front wedge out (leaving the rear one in place for safety) and then arced round to take the strain on the paracord. A quick tug saw the upper parts come down with a satisfying crack which could be felt through the paracord. Once down the lower section could be taken down easily.


As the lengths piled up I kept an eye out for useful pieces and I have squirreled away good straight lengths and the raw materials for everything from a pot hook pieces to a Lester spear tip. Just add spare time and boom! Once finished there was a definite improvement to the garden access and I have a large supply of wood to season, and chop still for that matter.

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