Essay on Felling: Axe and Forest Works

Submitted By daa5166
Words: 1385
Pages: 6

If not done correctly “Cutting down trees can be dangerous work, especially in yards with buildings and power lines nearby” (Margolin, Malcolm “Felling”). That is why knowing how to properly fell a tree prior to doing so, is so important. Not everyone will fell a tree in their life time, but many home owners or outdoor enthusiast may need to do so at some point. This is a step by step guide of how to correctly and safely fell a tree using a chainsaw. Before you can start the work of cutting down a tree you must first make sure you have all the correct equipment. The most important of your equipment is your safety equipment. You will need a hardhat that meets SAI Global standard of safety and that is a class G or higher. An example of this can be seen in figure 1. The hard hat will also need to be equipped with ear protection rated for a minimum of 28 decibels, and a face shield made of either hard plastic or wire mesh (Forest works 7). Besides protecting your head, you will also need to protect your hands, legs, and feet. You will need a pair of cut resistant gloves such as ones made of kevlar, a pair of steel toed work books, and a pair of cut resistant leg covers (Forest Works 7). These items will not only protect you from the saw, but from falling and fallen debris. Now that you have your safety equipment, you will need the equipment that is used in the actual felling of the tree. This includes a chainsaw, axe, felling wedges, and gas (Tacke, Bob). It is important that all of equipment is in good working order. Your axe needs to be sharp, and the handle needs to be free of defects such as cracks and splinters. The chainsaw must also be sharp to provide a straight and clean cut. Once you have inspected your equipment it is time to make sure that your saw is filled with gas. This will prevent you from running out of gas during a cut which can be extremely dangerous. You are now ready to head to the tree that you are planning to cut. This is when you will plan your cut plan. This means to decide where you want the tree fall, and plan emergency escape routes. Although nothing should go wrong, it is always important to be prepared. Figure 2 seen below, shows the axe handle trick (Tacke). “Hold your axe handle at arm's length, close one eye, and back away from or move toward the tree until the top of the axe is even with the treetop and the bottom even with the base. Your feet should be about where the treetop will rest after falling” (Tacke). If there is something near you at this point it is always best to overestimate distance rather than under estimate, and lose your shed or garage.
Next you need to plan an escape route. If you think of the tree as a 360º circle, divide that into two halves the fall half and the cut side (Margolin “Felling”). You will be standing on the cut side, while cutting, so this is where you will want your escape routes. The paths or routes should be at 45º and 135º. This can be seen in figure 3 (Tree Felling). You will now need to clear this area from debris and tools. This will give you a safe path to retreat to when the tree starts to fall. It is now time to start cutting your tree of choice. Your first of two cuts will be the notch cut. This is what will determine which direction the tree will fall. With the chainsaw against the bark of the fall side of the tree find a comfortable work height, this is where you will be cutting the notch (Harvesting Operations). “You will be cutting a 90º notch out of the tree. It needs to be angled, so that there is 60º above and 30º” below where you decided to rest you saw (Tacke). The depth of the cut needs to be one-fifth the thickness of the tree. Make sure that when finished that the back of the cut is level and clean. If uneven, the tree may fall in an unwanted location. The easiest way to check this is with your axe handle. Malcom best describes this process, “put the axe in the cut, up against the back,…