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Author Topic: Can someone teach me lumberjacking?  (Read 5398 times)

elkingrey

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Can someone teach me lumberjacking?
« on: March 31, 2014, 11:54:12 pm »

Mods, please move to correct board if this isn't it.

I live in North Country. I rent a house on 12 acres. It's heavily forested and the owners have told me I'm perfectly welcome to fell trees for firewood. A couple of summers ago I did just that. The house came with lots of the owner's tools, including a chainsaw, which is great.

Anywho, I went out and bought myself some chaps, helmet, etc. so that I'd be doing things as safely as possible. Years ago an arborist buddy of mine let me use his chainsaw to buck up one log. That was my first and only experience with a chainsaw. That was in California. I was going to be on my own this time, so I watched some youtube videos to get an idea of how to do things. Then I proceeded to fell three trees. They were about, ohhh, 12 inches in diameter. Long story short, I had a hell of a time on a couple of them. I was getting my bar pinched a lot and it was overall an unpleasant experience. I'm sure if I knew what I was doing it would have been a lot of fun and taken about 1/10th the time it took me. Then I limbed the trees and bucked them up, making mistakes that caused me to resharpen my chain several times. It was amateur hour for sure.

After three trees worth I gave up. I had collected a few weeks, at most, worth of firewood. I knew there was no way I was going to split greenwood. Actually, the year before the landlord left me a ton of bucked up woods that was slightly cured, which I split myself before throwing into the stove. I've gotten somewhat proficient at splitting wood with a maul and sledgehammer.

Anywho, I write all of this because this last winter I didn't run the stove at all, instead using heating oil. It was extremely expensive. Furthermore, I prefer the ambiance of having the stove going. I'd really like to collect enough firewood so that next winter I can use the stove again instead of the heating oil. Yes, yes, I know I could buy wood, but that's no fun. I'd rather learn how to do it myself. The problem is, I need help. I need somebody to teach me. I'm sure out of the 1500 of us in New Hampshire, there are several that could, but they probably live in So. NH.

Ideally, a free stater would live near me, come up to my place, help me spend a few days felling and bucking up enough trees for me for next winter, and also fell and buck up enough trees for them for next winter too. We both use our labor. They provide some education to me, and I provide some free trees for them, instead of having to fell their own trees or purchase firewood.

If you, or somebody you know, would be interested in something like this let me know. It would be fun for me. I'll probably have to wait until more free staters move to North Country, though.

Edit: Also, I'd like to learn how to fell trees with an axe and with a regular saw. Also, some good stacking techniques in order to dry the wood quicker. Again, general lumberjacking skills would be awesome.
« Last Edit: March 31, 2014, 11:58:02 pm by elkingrey »
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Luck

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Re: Can someone teach me lumberjacking?
« Reply #1 on: April 01, 2014, 09:55:01 am »

What's your location? If you contact Free Staters by phone, some of them can help get the word out to come up and help you fell some trees etc. If you're anywhere near Lancaster, you could probably persuade a few to come over and teach you during PorcFest. They might even help you cut up much of what you need for next winter.

Have you considered building a Russian fireplace?
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KBCraig

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Re: Can someone teach me lumberjacking?
« Reply #2 on: April 01, 2014, 10:00:30 pm »

I'd be glad to help. We live reasonably close. I'm currently without chainsaw, but I do have a truck, a splitting maul, a teenager who also needs to learn, and a ton of experience felling, limbing, bucking, and splitting wood. We didn't burn as much wood in Arkansas when I was a kid (just 1-2 cords per year), but it was our primary heat source.

I only check this forum once or twice a week, so PM me for contact info. Or, your mom is a FB friend, she can always reach me.
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politicalGRAFFITI

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Re: Can someone teach me lumberjacking?
« Reply #3 on: April 01, 2014, 10:22:15 pm »

Good on ya KB.

I was going to add to elkingrey...
Got to pay your dues to sing the blues.  ;D Kidding aside. The mistakes, that you survived, are the beginning of you learning the skills. Good to hear that you got the chaps and helmet... mine have saved me a few times.

Keeping the chain sharp is at first tedious, but it makes a big difference. I've found the Stihl files to be far superior in how well they cut into the teeth... those Germans know their stuff.

Experience will make you get the bar pinched far less, but even the best lumberjacks benefit from a second saw at the ready. I also use a come-along winch, chains and a cable to help in certain situations. Wedges are pretty amazing when you learn how to use them well.

Working on my knees when bucking the logs helps save my back. Working at a steady pace, not powering my way through the work makes me able to go longer.

Good luck, be safe and think about what you are doing. It's only firewood, ain't worth dying over.

Here's some fun stuff my son and I did.  (Don't follow my techniques shown, I already got lectured by my friend, a real lumberjack  ;D  )
Firewood Pirates, part 1

Firewood Pirates, Part 2
« Last Edit: April 01, 2014, 10:28:24 pm by politicalGRAFFITI »
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John Edward Mercier

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Re: Can someone teach me lumberjacking?
« Reply #4 on: April 02, 2014, 05:23:23 pm »

Most likely your cutting your notch either too deep (pinching on the notch side) or too shallow (allowing the tree to sway back and pinch on the back cut).
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KBCraig

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Re: Can someone teach me lumberjacking?
« Reply #5 on: April 04, 2014, 12:11:42 am »

When deciding which way to fell a tree, the key thing is to look at which way the tree naturally wants to fall. Then, just make your cuts to help it go that way.

You can't beat gravity. Well, you can, but it takes ropes and winches and sometimes wind (but the wind works against you as often as not).

I'm sure there are scientific calculations for judging a tree's center of gravity, which you can then compare to external factors like wind, but in the end you just have to learn to eyeball it.
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