Chainsaws and Cutting Down Trees

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by Mr. Anderson, Nov 12, 2005.

  1. Mr. Anderson Moderator emeritus

    Mr. Anderson

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    Nov 1, 2001
    Location:
    VA
    #1
    I spent several summers while going to school working for a local tree company in my home town back in the mid 80s. I still have my climbing gear and cut down trees for firewood these days. Well, living in Indiana now, I've already had to cut down a several for neighbors, but until this morning I never actually owned a chain saw.

    I went and bought a Stihl 180 Mini Boss, not too big, relatively powerful and something I can climb with if I need to. But what was great that I had to go to a neighbors and help him take down 5 60' dead trees. I now have so much wood I'm thinking the next bonfire we have is going to have to be huge. I left all the wood in 3'-5' lengths so it would be easier to move to my house and then down to the lake by the fire pit. I'm going to build the bonfire with these logs :D

    So has anyone built a big bonfire before with logs this big? Any suggestions?

    I'll take pics when its built. And I know there are traditions at some schools where they have huge bonfires constructed for homecomings, etc. But this is for the backyard, so its not going to be at that level. Still it will light up the lake, I imagine.

    D
     
  2. Dont Hurt Me macrumors 603

    Dont Hurt Me

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    Yahooville S.C.
    #2
    My suggestion is to use very very long sticks to roast your marshmellows:) The easy part is burning that wood as long as you use a lot of smaller stuff to get it going, the real bitch is doing something with the stumps! I have been Burning out a stump now for 3 days and figure i have at least another day to go.:(
     
  3. Mr. Anderson thread starter Moderator emeritus

    Mr. Anderson

    Joined:
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    Location:
    VA
    #3

    The nice thing here is that it was all trees from my neighbors down the street. I get all the wood, he gets to keep the stumps :D

    We joked about the bonfire being a marshmallow incinerator.

    And I have no problem starting fires - I was wondering if anyone had any experience in building them with large logs. I'll do a search later and see what I come up with. I'm wondering what construction method to use here - teepee or log cabin.

    Teepee might have the better odds since it will collapse on itself, but won't burn as big since you can't get as much wood on there as a log cabin. I might end up doing a combination of both.

    D
     
  4. Thomas Veil macrumors 68020

    Thomas Veil

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    Reality
    #4
    The biggest problem with starting a fire is waiting a year for the wood to season.
     
  5. mpw Guest

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    Jun 18, 2004
    #5
    My brother just bought a place with 3acres of forest/woodland that needed clearing he's felled ~250 decent sized trees in the last year....and only lost one tractor, a section of fence, a section of vine and access up his drive for a couple of days(on the day his mother-in-law came to visit:D). He also cam with in a few feet of losing his kitchen and wife.

    Take care. Of course it sounds like your experience, and he's an idiot with a 'Farm Boss'.

    Unrelated to the chainsaw he's also chopped the tail off his dog, the end of a finger off his wife, poisoned the same dog, crashed two ride on mowers, ran himself down with his own tractor and spent a night on his brother-in-laws front step due to two slipped disks. All in the last year.
    :eek: :D
     
  6. OutThere macrumors 603

    OutThere

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2002
    Location:
    NYC
    #6
    True that...keep it dry.

    Otherwise, I've never built a huge scale bonfire like you're talking about, but I've built some, and watched people build, some big outdoor fires...the key is in the balance of wood sizes. Obviously you'll have the big stuff, but the fire should start with the finest tinder, move to small pieces of (barkless, preferably) wood around a centimetre in diameter, then on up through the sizes.

    I've also seen people who are using a log-cabin style fire structure cut all of the logs about halfway through in the middle, so that they collapse uniformly and don't kill people on the way down, but I can't vouch for how well this works, or whether it's actually safe. :p
     
  7. JesseJames macrumors 6502a

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    How'd I get here? How can I leave?
    #7
    My God man, all that wood and waste it like that?
    Let it season and sell it off for cheap. Better than just wasting all that energy especially with heating oil prices the way they are.
     
  8. watcher2001 macrumors 6502a

    watcher2001

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    38° 12'47.72" N 85° 31'54.63" W
    #8
    I think he mentioned that the trees were dead to start with so seasoning should not be an issue.



    What lake do you live on, I am going to be in Ft Wayne on the 19th for a buddys thanksgiving turkey fry/lan party and might be able to swing by.
     
  9. Kobushi macrumors 6502a

    Kobushi

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    Right behind you.
    #9
    The ones we used to build for high school homecoming were about 10' tall before being lit. We used the teepee method as that always seemed more structurally sound. (nothing worse than giant flaming logs falling on you) Enjoy, and be safe.... keep hoses nearby and at the ready. Things in my parts are really dry this time of year and can still combust with the slightest wind carried spark.
     
  10. highres macrumors 6502a

    highres

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    #10
    haul it, cut it into smaller sections, rent a splitter and split it, stack it, dry it and then burn it in normal batches. No sense in burning it all up at once, depending on what type of wood it is, you will have enough seasoned, dry, wood for a couple of winters...You may have enough to have a large "white man" bonfire as well as wood for a couple of seasons...:D
     
  11. highres macrumors 6502a

    highres

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    #12
    I remember seeing video footage of the Aggie bonfire disaster when it happened, and apart from the tragic side of it, my next thought was, "what a bunch of idiots". :rolleyes:
     
  12. Chip NoVaMac macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2003
    Location:
    Northern Virginia
    #13
    My first thoughts given the energy prices for "gas", you might want to cut them down further and split them for yourselves. If you re comfortable with your lot in life, then open those that might truly need the wood for comfort to take what they need.

    Some could be saved for a Holiday bonfire. The Yule Log comes to mind. But the area you are now living in may have a greater need for honest alternatives for that wood.
     
  13. SurfinSHELL23 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2004
    Location:
    Aberdeen, NJ
    #14
    Hey - my dad's an Aggie! Seriously though, he apparently didn't do the actual tree hauling (the corps of cadets did that part apparently) but he and others brought water in these large trash cans out to those who were doing the hauling. It was a kind of dumb idea, but the place is kind of tradition-based.

    And also apparently Princeton Univ. does bonfires - they would have had one if they beat Yale today, but they lost. They beat.. Harvard (?) earlier in the season.
     
  14. Mr. Anderson thread starter Moderator emeritus

    Mr. Anderson

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2001
    Location:
    VA
    #15
    Its November, remember and its dead wood - some is even a bit rotted out - so it won't last long outside over the winter very well. Even building a bonfire we're going to have a lot left over.

    The other thing to remember, is that there really aren't a lack of trees for firewood around here. Across the street, in the woods, is a 200+ y.o. oak tree that had one branch fall off last year. This oak "branch" has more than 5 times as much wood as the pile I made today. I just have to talk to the owner to get permission to cut it up.

    I don't think I'll be getting cranes down to the lake to assemble my bonfire, so its not going to be as big as the Aggie one :D

    I'll post pics when I get it built and burning.

    D
     
  15. highres macrumors 6502a

    highres

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    #16
    No offense intended, it's just large crowds of people+alcohol+huge fires don't usually mix...12 people died? A little thought towards crowd safety would have saved a lot of lives, as an ex firefighter/medic the Aggie fire was tragic because it could have been prevented...

    Oh and Mr. Anderson if it is mostly rotten then burn away and get your hands on some of that Oak across the street, that's the good stuff. Not sure what a cord of Oak is going for these days, but it isn't cheap. Oak and Madrone are like gold now.
     
  16. mpw Guest

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2004
    #17
    Not that it wasn't tragic but they deaths occurred during construction so you can't assume their crowd control or safety arrangements were lacking. Construction accidents happen all the time and yes they're avoidable but construction is inherently dangerous.
     
  17. Mr. Anderson thread starter Moderator emeritus

    Mr. Anderson

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    #18

    I plan too - the guys in the neighborhood who cut wood back there are a little particular about *sharing* the wood, but having climbing gear and tree climbing experience, I'm going to be the only one able to get at most of it :D

    Later this week, I'll be going to get the logs...hauling them down to the lake it is going to be a pain, but I think it will be worth it.

    D
     
  18. ejb190 macrumors 65816

    ejb190

    #19
    Hey Mr. A!

    As windy as it was today, I'd hold off for a bit. Someone's trash fire burnt across a corn field and came really close to burning our church this morning - we ended up clearing out because of the smoke.

    My cousin in North Manchester builds a heck of a fire for his Halloween/Fall Party. He harvests trees and mills logs for a living. His fire is a stack of seconds and scraps doused with a good bit of gasoline! On my way there, I spotted that fire from 3 miles out!
     
  19. Mr. Anderson thread starter Moderator emeritus

    Mr. Anderson

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2001
    Location:
    VA
    #20

    Yeah, way too windy for a fire today - we're planning on this up coming Friday or Saturday - I just hope the weather cooperates.

    And no gasoline here, that's cheating :D

    I've been to N. Manchester a couple times now, I play ultimate with a group of guys from there and we've had a game or two down at the college.

    D
     
  20. Nuc macrumors 6502a

    Nuc

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2003
    Location:
    TN
    #21
    I wouldn't use gas it's far to unpredictable. I would use kerosene/diesel it's a little more controllable. Best thing to do is use one of those sprayers were you can pressurize the tank. Spray the diesel all around the base and more to the center of the pile. Light a rag or something and throw it in.

    This is what I have done works good.

    Since you don't want to use gas then use the old indian trick of using a bow, stick, and dry grass :D

    Nuc
     
  21. Mr. Anderson thread starter Moderator emeritus

    Mr. Anderson

    Joined:
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    Location:
    VA
    #22
    I have a bunch of kiln dried oak floor board pieces left over from when we added some wood floors a couple months ago. I put some kindling on first, then the dried oak (no piece is larger than 6"x10") and then the logs around the outside, I won't need any gas, kerosene, etc.

    A match or two and some paper to get the kindling going and we'll be smelting iron in no time :D

    D
     
  22. whocares macrumors 65816

    whocares

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    #23
    Don't forget to post pics :D
     
  23. Mr. Anderson thread starter Moderator emeritus

    Mr. Anderson

    Joined:
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    VA
    #24

    I still have to move all the logs from the neighbors house and then down the hill to the lake - that's going to take a while - but I'll definitely post pics.

    D
     
  24. belvdr macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2005
    #25
    Mr. A,

    I see you are in Warsaw, IN. My wife was born there, but her family moved before she grew up to remember it.

    We're planning on driving up sometime next year, and was curious about what we can do there. If you have any ideas, would you mind PM'ing me?

    Thanks,

    belvdr

    ** We now return you to your regular thread, already in progress.. **
     

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