Chainsaw newb

Old 02-25-21, 02:52 PM
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Chainsaw newb

I'm debating on attempting to cut a tree down myself (first time). I see in the outdoor section there is a "no power equipment" label.

This forum is specifically for power equipment.

So my question is around a leaning tree and if it is easy enough of job to tackle myself or if I should just bite the bullet and hire a professional. I don't want to post in the wrong place so before I post photos I wanted to make sure this is the right area of the forum.

thanks in advance for the guidance!
Old 02-25-21, 03:28 PM
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Your thread is about cutting down a tree, not about repairing a chainsaw, so I think it needs to be here. Please post any pictures you want to this thread.

I will tell you that hiring a pro to cut down a tree will easily cost you over $1000. If you have enough room to drop the tree safely then you can save yourself a bunch of money. If you have to thread the needle dropping the tree then you might be better off hiring a pro.
Old 02-25-21, 07:12 PM
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Tell us how large is the tree? Height? Trunk Dia?
If a tree is leaning over your home, a pro may be be required to remove it from the top down. If it's leaning so it won't damage anything, go be a Paul Bunyan.
Old 02-25-21, 08:26 PM
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Youtube is full of cringeworthy videos of chainsaw failures. Trees falling on the house, trees crushing the car, limbs pivoting down and knocking the ladder out from under the "arborist". There are also a number of good how-to vids (search "stihl fell tree") that are safety oriented, and explain how to direct the tree based on which way it's already leaning. You *can* DIY this- but it's gotta be done right, and safe. Can you practice on a small tree, before you take the final exam? Do you already own a saw?
Old 02-26-21, 02:48 AM
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So my question is around a leaning tree and if it is easy enough of job to tackle myself or if I should just bite the bullet and hire a professional.
A picture REALLY is worth a thousand words in this situation.

It really depends on the size of the tree- if it's big enough to do damage to a structure, get snagged in other trees, or is near wires, you probably want to hire a tree service. However, in many cases, you CAN get a really cheap price if it is possible for the tree guy to just drop the tree without having to climb, and you do the cleanup and cut up the log for firewood.

We I worked with an arborist, we'd occasionally get "stop and drop" jobs, which we loved doing. Generally the tree was too big to drop with a homeowner sized chainsaw, or it was leaning and needed a rope and hand winch and the homeowners (usually the wife) didn't think it was a good idea to DIY it.

There's a standard formula for dropping a leaning tree against the lean
1) you trim off all the branches on the "leaning into" side, and leave all the branches on the "leaning away" side. This helps shift the center of mass of the tree back towards / back over the center of the tree.

2) For a small leaning tree, you generally connect a rope and pull it over and away, and make your felling cut higher up, about 4-5 feet above the ground, that way you only have to winch over that segments of the tree, not the x-hundred pounds of trunk below that.

3) For larger trees, you get a hard hat, a pole saw (pruning saw or chain-saw-on-a-stick) and drop all the limbs, then climb up and 'chunk' it into firewood sized pieces.
Old 02-26-21, 02:51 AM
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Pics of the tree and surrounding area would help us judge whether or not you could safely diy.
As noted above it's best to start out small and graduate to bigger trees.
Old 02-26-21, 04:56 AM
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Yes, pictures please!

A single leaning tree out in the open all by itself where it can fall cleanly to the ground is certainly doable for a first time if you pay attention and do a little thinking. A leaning tree with a house underneath, powerlines nearby or other trees it can hang up on greatly ups the level of difficulty.
Old 02-26-21, 04:59 AM
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The two most important things to learn

1) different types of wood react- very differently as you cut them - some species of tree are very strong and flexible and will bend, others are brittle and will break.
For example, I'd be perfectly comfortable tying off to a 2" thick pin-oak branch. In comparison, a 3" willow branch would be likely to snap off where you tied, and a 3" poplar branch would likely tear out where the limb meets the trunk.

2) When you cut limbs, the direction and speed they fall with depends on the "hinge" that is left. Each limb falls in VERY different ways depending on how many cuts you make, 1(flop), 2 (pop) or 3 (hinge).
Also matters whether you cut horizontally (up from 6 o'clock then down from 12), or vertically (from 9 o'clock then back from 3).
A good arborist about 25' up can reliably send a branch to anywhere within a 40' radius of the tree.
A slow single cut down will cause a branch to bend and flop tip down. A double cut such as a vertical up-cut followed by a full power down cut will cause the branch to stay level and drop straight down. A triple cut with a notch cut allows you to pivot the the branch around the tree and send it behind you. If you're higher up, a horizontal notch cut lets you choose whether the branch does a flip and lands behind the tree branches first, or a full flip and lands butt end first. If you've got a "springy" species of tree like a pin oak, you can land a branch at an angle from about 45 to 90 so it will flex on impact then spring back and hop another 5 to 10 feet. That's just from simple cutting and gravity.
"Next level" is swinging the saw and knocking the butt end of the branch to toss it where you want.

Tangent- For really small branches, if you balance them on top of the chain saw bar if you get the center of mass; when you rev the chain saw it throws the branch like a lawn dart, good for getting the attention of the ground crew.

Last edited by Hal_S; 02-26-21 at 07:16 AM.
Old 02-27-21, 01:32 PM
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FYI, I have had 5+ licensed and insured (w.comp also) arborists over to bid on SAME large tree to come down. Bids ranged from $1800 to $6000. If you hire out, get written bids and pay nothing until job is done....and cleaned up to your satisfaction.


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