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Using a wooden wedge

Discussion in 'Forestry and Logging Forum' started by newforest, Jan 8, 2017.

  1. newforest

    newforest ArboristSite Member

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    So the other day I cut a 14" Oak that should have been a simple drop. It had a pronounced lean and nothing that could impede it's fall straight with the lean, in the surrounding canopy. Nothing for it to even land on either.

    It was, however, one stem of a stump sprout colony.

    I made a nice open face notch on the falling direction, and a perfectly lined-up back-cut with a good hinge left, though the hinge was as small as I wished to go with it. down a little below 1" probably.

    But with all that weight of 14" Oak and a solid lean, the tree wouldn't fall. No branches were tangled in the canopy, but it looked like one might be frozen to another above it on one of the other stems in the colony, just enough to keep the hinge from breaking.

    I didn't have a wedge with me, right there. It was about 200 yards away, down a steep, slick, snowy slope. And I couldn't push the tree over by hand, or with a push-pole either. I thought, however, that a wedge would surely loosen that frozen branch.

    So I cut an angled piece off a 2" Oak stem laying near-by, and a nice 12" piece to be the hammer. I tap-tapped it into the back cut and the first solid WHACK on it drove the improvised wedge in and popped the frozen branch and down it went.


    A couple hours later, I had to cut a 10" Black Gum. It had an almost perfectly straight bole, though with one slight curve conveniently out towards the easiest falling direction, and a slight preponderance of branches on that side, since that was where it could get the most sunlight. Plus, there was a slight but steady breeze conveniently blowing in that same direction.

    Everything seemed to go according to plan except I tried a bore cut with an immediate exit out the back. And as I was doing it the wind completely died. And I left just a little too much hinge wood, perhaps 1.5". Again I couldn't push the tree over and given how straight it was, I didn't want to be standing in the direction of the back-cut if a wind were to start up from another direction.

    So I thought I would try the wooden wedge trick again. I used the piece from the open-face notch, and another short piece of Oak for a 'hammer', though I cut it from a thin stem not big enough for a faux wedge. But this didn't work. The piece of Gum wood (somewhat frozen) would disintegrate and chip as fast as I hit it and it would not really push into the back cut.

    I could have walked back to cut an Oak wedge off another piece but I decided to just carefully put the saw back in the cut, reduce the size of the hinge, and favor one side though it might create a hang-up as it fell that way (and it did).


    So, just wondering if anyone else has tried this trick when a wedge wasn't handy. I'm thinking some species of wood will work better than others.

    And I also realized that nifty pocket on my new Husqy 'Technical' chaps should have a wedge in it at all times, even for cutting just 'small' trees. I have always thought I needed to get an accessory belt for those and am not used to carrying one on me all day as I so rarely need one, nor having chaps with a pocket.
     
    SeMoTony and Gypo Logger like this.
  2. newforest

    newforest ArboristSite Member

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    I don't, however, have an easy way to carry a felling axe until I add more of a tool belt. And I can usually go an entire day or even a week without needing a wedge anyway.

    But I think species of wood will come into play on cutting a temporary 'hammer' as well.
     
  3. Gypo Logger

    Gypo Logger Timber Baron

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    Woot! That's a long post and I'll read it in its entirety when I'm not so much half in the bag.
    But, yes I have cut my own wedges, but mostly from rock maple and ironwood. When pounded hard, they tend to crack along the longitudinal grain rendering them a one time use, but come handy in a pinch.
     
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  4. bitzer

    bitzer Bullshit Timber Expert

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    I have but rarely. They don't hold up well when making them in the woods. I've used them for blocking to hold my tree up as I knock my good wedges out to move them to a different spot on real stubborn trees. By the way a 14" oak only needs about a 1/2" hinge and when it's already committed but limb locked you can snip one side of the hinge off and it will roll out. Also bore cutting is a general waste of time.
     
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  5. milkman

    milkman Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Dad used to make them out of Dogwood. They're really tough and we split many Locust posts with them, iron wedge in the end and then work down the length with the gluts.
     
  6. sledge&wedge

    sledge&wedge ArboristSite Operative

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    Between Dead Horse Holler and Yellowbank... Rhodelia? I'm not familiar with the area or from anywhere too close to there but I work for a utility company and have heard of those places before.
     
  7. Jeff Lary

    Jeff Lary Addicted to ArboristSite

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    I had a 4"x6"x12" of Horn Beam that my grandfather cut maybe 50 years ago in my barn. I did not want to use it in the woodstove and have hung onto it since I moved in here back in 81. So I put it across the table saw and made up a few wedges(4) I think I will try them this winter.
     
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  8. milkman

    milkman Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Close.
     

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