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Old veteran requests supervision

Discussion in 'Arborist 101' started by EZ1, Jul 22, 2018.

  1. EZ1

    EZ1 ArboristSite Operative

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    A huge leaning pine is trying to push over my shop and has trapped my travel trailer. Because of the danger to the shop and trailer, removal estimate was many thousands of $, no doubt worth every penny. Though 74 years old I am determined to do this myself, not because I intend to become a professional arborist, but because I cannot afford to have it done and because of my concern for my 1967 Silver Streak trailer which, while no cherry, I wish to protect.

    My plan is to purchase the equipment I need, mostly used, and resell it when I have finished in order to recoup most of my expenses. To that end I have purchased a Weaver Cougar saddle (no plan to add spurs), a 4:1 tackle for my bosun's chair, various carabiners and webbing straps, a 28' extension ladder, a small pruning saw, a throw bag & line, a Harbor Freight electric pole saw. Years ago I had purchased a new Poulan Pro 18" electric chainsaw to remove from this very tree huge limbs which were damaging the shop roof and whose weight was threatening to pull the tree down, perhaps a pickup truck load of firewood, besides the branches. Also already owned chaps, a manual pole saw, lopping shears, manual chainsaw sharpener, various high capacity snatch blocks and braided lines (from my sailboats), along with the bosun's chair.

    My electric chainsaw is pretty heavy and awkward for climbing, and so I thought I might pickup a Stihl ms201 top handle to give me a slight edge. (I have posted an inquiry in the 201 modification thread) As it is, I can only work for short periods before tiring to a limit beyond which I don't feel it would be safe to continue. I am a boat builder, with knowledge in operating tools, machinery, even heavy equipment. Though I am slightly handicapped, having fractured my pelvis, both ankles and wrists, and suffer from arthritis.

    Attached are photos of the tree, which is about 50' tall and has a girth of close to 3' at its base. I am leaving those branches til last that protect the trailer from falling stuff; there is fortunately quite a network of them, which I have attempted to photograph. Also I have placed some plywood on top of the trailer to further protect it.

    Most of you will figure, no doubt rightly, that I am a dxxxxd dangerous old fool for attempting to do this, especially with no one else to help. I admit it even sounds foolhardy to me, and a challenge in the greatest extreme. But I am determined to take this to its conclusion, or as far as I can, because I really have no choice. It would be extremely kind of some of you experienced guys to offer advice, even when it appears I have my own reasons to take it or not. That will be sincerely appreciated. And all comments are welcome.

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  2. benjo75

    benjo75 ArboristSite Operative

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    I would make sure your affairs are in order first of all. Secondly, sell all the climbing gear. Take that and the $700 the 201 will cost and rent a towable lift that will easily reach the highest point of the tree. Take the Cougar saddle and do a Liger mod so it is safe to wear and a lanyard. Remove tree from the lift. Safe for you and less damage to your camper.
     
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  3. EZ1

    EZ1 ArboristSite Operative

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    75--thank you for your reply. Found this post on your referenced Liger mod, which I will look into; makes sense.
    http://*********************/showthread.php?15579-Liger-Weaver-Cougar-Modification

    Forgot to mention that I also own, and am presently using my sailing safety harness with tether. Looks like this.
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    Wish I could afford to spend money on a lift rental. As the work will be done over a period of weeks, due to my own limitations, I'm afraid the rental fees would far exceed my resources. Was thinking the cost of a used 201 could easily be recouped once I am finished with it, unlike rental fees, which are simply gone.
     
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  4. benjo75

    benjo75 ArboristSite Operative

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    I have a Cougar. Bought it new. After the 2nd recall I got nervous and done the Liger mod. Now it's a much more comfortable and useful saddle. I would be cautious of a used Cougar. After replacing my bridge after only a year I was surprised at what I saw. Once you install the rigging plates you can change out the bridge for 3 or 4 dollars and be confident about climbing in it.

    You can buy a 201 and probably recoup most of your money. The Echo 2511 T is a good saw at half the price. I keep one in each bucket truck and use them regularly.

    I can't really help with the climbing and rigging part. There are plenty of YouTube vids that show what not to do. And most of them involve a ladder. I've never built a boat but I know I wouldn't try to sail around the world in the first boat that I would build.

    If you leave the ground be sure there is always someone there with a phone and your address in case something goes wrong. If it does you'll have less that a few minutes for help to arrive and rescue you.
     
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  5. BC WetCoast

    BC WetCoast Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Youve easily spent the cost of a man lift rental on all this equipment that you will be challenged to sell. The secondary market for used climbimg equipment is small because those who know arent confident the gear hasnt been stress loaded.

    You will be able to do this much faster with a manlift than climbing because youre spending no energy to get in the tree. The way youre talking, by the time you get in the tree you'll need to come down for a rest.

    I could have the foliage stripped out of it in a couple of hours with just a handsaw. Then itsnjust a matter of cutting and throwing firewood size pieces until you her to the big wood.

    Then you can rent some scaffold cheap for the big stuff.

    We can tell you the most efficient and safe way to do it, but you sound like a stuvborm old coot who is going to do it your own way regardless of consequences
    If you're looking for approval, youve come to the wrong site
     
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  6. EZ1

    EZ1 ArboristSite Operative

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    BC--everything you say is true. If I had your skill, experience, ability and equipment I'd probably do it just like you would, safely and efficiently. And just add the cost of the man-lift rental to the customer's bill. This whole thing is a much greater challenge for me than will be simply trying to get most of my gear cost back. And each day I work on it I wind up not just tired but in some degree of pain. Wait til you see what 74 feels like!

    Been chipping away at it and piling the branches out of the way for later reduction through a chipper, I figure, while stacking the firewood size stuff separately. At first I got what I could reach from my landlady's nasty old 1/2 of an extension ladder with a missing step, maybe 16' or so. Then I began removing what I could reach from the first convenient position in which I could place the 28' ladder, partially extended.

    The electric pole saw has been virtually useless to me--it is so heavy and awkward, not even extended. Got it jammed in a cut on an outer branch about 18' up and exhausted myself getting it out, finally just working it back and forth in the cut by swinging it back and forth on its tether from the ground, let it fall to the ground undamaged; cleaned and lubed the chain. Then took an afternoon to manufacture an adapter to mate the Samurai Ichiban blade to the manual Fiskar pole saw, whose blade was plain useless and refused to cut, so I could finish the cut on the hanging branch that had trapped the pole saw. The manual pole saw is now a miracle worker on these smaller branches!
     
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  7. EZ1

    EZ1 ArboristSite Operative

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    A photo of the adapter I mentioned making in the previous post, in case someone would like to copy it. I had some 1-1/2" diameter aluminum bar which I cutoff at 4-1/4" long, turned down to 1-1/4" diameter, bored a hole 2-1/4" deep to accept the 1" diameter inner sliding tube of the Fiskar pole saw. Using a fly cutter I milled 3/8" off each side of the blade mounting area to reduce weight and allow me to reuse the screws from the Samurai Ichiban saw. Then I slit it on the bandsaw, match drilled the blade mounting holes, and then the hole to also match the retaining bolt in the tube on which it slides. The flexibility of this extremely thin blade is much more noticeable with it mounted to a pole, but it cuts like butter.

    Another photo to show how far up the tree I've trimmed. In the upper left corner can be seen the power line, well away from the work area. To the right, just above the shop roof can be seen phone and cable lines, which are vulnerable to dropping even small stuff. I've been snugly securing my safety harness to the branch on which the ladder rests, while I work with mainly pole saw and Bahco bow saw, which I had forgotten to list among the equipment I had to work with. A great tool for little money, I'd bought it when I performed the first surgery, years ago.

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  8. Philbert

    Philbert Chainsaw Enthusiast

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    Philbert
     
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  9. EZ1

    EZ1 ArboristSite Operative

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    P--thanks for posting that. Seems that none of the "victims" thought to wear a safety harness or lanyard. Some of these guys didn't even wear eye protection!

    One thing I took away from it was regarding V-notching from beneath, rather than just kerfing, anything over 2"-3" diameter prior to cutting from the top.
     
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  10. EZ1

    EZ1 ArboristSite Operative

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    Today I focused on acquiring the barely used MS201t chainsaw from the seller who was located about an hour's drive away from me. Claimed to have been purchased a few years ago and used one day for about 4 hours; its condition makes me think that's probably true. Started on first pull. He included with it the original manual, 5 small bottles of 2-stroke oil, a new electric chain sharpener, a brand new spare chain (in addition to the original, which looks to be in excellent condition) and the chain bar scabbard. Serial #1775586xx. I thought it was quite a good find for $470, but would welcome hearing from the pro's.

    It is so light! Haven't cut anything with it yet, but am very pleased with this choice.

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  11. EZ1

    EZ1 ArboristSite Operative

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    A few photos to show some progress I've made. Got about all the foliage I could reach from the ladder where it is positioned, and from the roof, using the pole saw. That pole saw mod was well worth the trouble.

    One day I built a small staging area from which to setup the ladder for the next level. I had some long 4x8's, which I supported off the tree crotch, the shop roof and the trailer roof, and leveled. This was hard, working alone. Then I added a 2x6 and some 2x4's to create a small platform ~9' off the ground. This platform will help protect the trailer, besides creating a stable base for the ladder.

    Also picked up a Rock Exotica Transporter for the saddle.

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  12. no tree to big

    no tree to big Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Seems that finding a guy to climb for a day as a side job would be well worth the 3 or 4 hundo... jus saying

    Sent from my SM-G930T using Tapatalk
     
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  13. Philbert

    Philbert Chainsaw Enthusiast

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    Sorry @EZ1 , but the photos are looking more and more like the Darwin Award posts, or the Tree Cutting FAIL! posts. That is a very complex and dangerous tree.

    Philbert
     
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  14. Ted Jenkins

    Ted Jenkins Firewood by TJ

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    From here it does not look difficult at all, but I am only 66 and have taken down about a hundred of them over or next to Edison lines. For me I never would have bought a 201 although they are definitely a nice saw. Then again I have about a dozen. I have two or three complete sets of spurs and saddles, but only use them once and awhile. When I come onto a tree that is not very high ladders are so much faster for multiple trips. For me every setting gets the ladder strapped down well so it will not move if anything shifts or twists. I use a sling shot with a rope saw for stuff that seems very dangerous to access. One thing that age can bring is patience which will prevent premature death or being crippled. Last fall I had a difficult Oak to bring down that was leaning over a fence and road. It took at least two full days to get the rigging right. Then another day to set up my come a longs seven of them. Finally a half of a day to pull it down. I wanted to climb it so bad, but thought it might be dangerous so did not. When it came down it broke into about 10 pieces. If you are going to lower the branches you should have some decent line to do so as they can be very dangerous themselves. As far as poles saws I use an assortment of them. One of mine is 14'. Secure the limb then whittle away at the base. Expect the saw to get bound near the end of the cut so that is when the attached line is handy to moving it around until the branch breaks or falls. If you do not use wise judgement for every step then Philbert is exactly right it could bite back. Thanks
     
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  15. EZ1

    EZ1 ArboristSite Operative

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    Thanks fellas. Appreciate the concern and the help. It's not that I don't think a pro would be worth the expense. If I had the money to spend I certainly would hire it out.

    My progress is slow because I am sometimes too tired to work more than an hour or two, with the strain of working from a difficult position. Some days I get nothing at all done because I am in too much pain. (I have hardware in one ankle from a shattered heel bone, and other issues that sometimes interfere). Heavy boots help when working from the ladder. And I am taking my time to secure the ladder and myself to prevent an accident. The 28' 300-lb rated ladder is extremely heavy and awkward for me to move around by myself, and requires careful pre-planning.

    I have ordered a safety helmet/face-shield/hearing protector. And I have a good assortment of braided Dacron lines from which to choose, as well as snatch blocks, etc, from my sailboat. There is a Youtube video on tree rigging that has been very enlightening to me, that I'm watching over and over. Really find it fascinating and useful!

    Though it shows a trained crew I will adapt it to my needs, aware of the dangers present if you don't have someone to let the line run immediately following a cut. No doubt I will discover that some of this simply cannot be done safely while working alone, and will need to find some help for those tasks.

    It's going to be a huge job to clean up once the project has been completed. Found that denatured alcohol will remove pine sap, if I don't wait too long. Anything else that can be recommended?
     
  16. no tree to big

    no tree to big Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Recommended to remove pine sap?
    Lighter fluid or gasoline works wonders

    Sent from my SM-G930T using Tapatalk
     
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  17. KenJax Tree

    KenJax Tree Terraphobic

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    WD40 works good too
     
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  18. EZ1

    EZ1 ArboristSite Operative

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    Huh, lighter fluid, gasoline or WD40. Thanks fellas.
     
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  19. sundance

    sundance ArboristSite Operative

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    Gasoline is likely the cheap alternative. Wash up well after use!
     
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  20. jomoco

    jomoco Tree Freak

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    Don't listen to these cruel barbarians EZ!

    Gojo mechanics soap n water'll melt pine sap right off yu.

    Wish I was closer to yu!

    So I could save yur life!

    Yu got me so worried I'd do it for free now.

    Jomoco
     
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