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  1. #1
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    Sep 2005
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    Default Stupid Human Tricks Pt 2

    I've always felt that one can learn from another's mistakes, so that is why I'm not shy about relaying my idiotic tractor exploits.

    Today was no exception. Was cutting some fir trees down, as usual in the woods sometimes they can hang on another tree. I'm not a professional so I have to then go get the tractor and chain drag the bottom of the tree away from the stump so it will fall.

    Was only able to pull it for a limited distance due to other trees, ground problems etc. I had the forks on the bucket as I was planning on cutting the tree in to 8 foot lengths and piling elsewhere. Decided to put the forks under the leaning tree and lift gently (just so it would drag going forward). Everything fine, just a few inches off the ground, was able to drive forward helping to free the top of the tree so it could fall.

    Hadn't been able to see (dedicated forks are better than on bucket!) don't know if it would have donned on me or not (will next time!). The tree had gone under the right fork and was on top of only the left.

    As the tree fell, the leverage on the forks was tremendous and pulled the right side of the tractor off the ground until the treetop hit the ground. I put the forks down and the tractor gently went back to four feet on the ground.

    I don't mind hearing screaming, as long as it's not coming out of MY mouth! [img]/w3tcompact/icons/crazy.gif[/img] I then of course nonchalantly looked around to see if anyone saw or heard me. [img]/w3tcompact/icons/cool.gif[/img]

    Moral of the story...6000 lb tractor no match for tree, leverage, and goofball operator!

    del


  2. #2
    Veteran Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
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    1,659
    Location
    San Francisco Bay Area California (CA)
    Tractor
    Kubota B7500

    Default Re: Stupid Human Tricks Pt 2

    <font color=blue>I then of course nonchalantly looked around to see if anyone saw or heard me.</font color=blue>

    We had a cat that used to do that all the time. Then when he saw you were looking (and maybe laughing[img]/w3tcompact/icons/laugh.gif[/img]). He would give you that look that said "I meant to do that!"

    <font color=blue>6000 lb tractor no match for tree, leverage, and goofball operator!</font color=blue>

    Lesson learned! Even though I'm about 3000 pounds short of that mark! [img]/w3tcompact/icons/smile.gif[/img]

    The GlueGuy

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Aug 2000
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    3,371
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    California - S.F. East Bay & Sierra foothills
    Tractor
    Kubota L2500DT Standard Transmission

    Default Re: Stupid Human Tricks Pt 2

    Del -

    I don't know whether to be comforted by the fact that I'm not alone in my inadvertent tractor stunts, or to be distraught that even experienced operators can have lapses. [img]/w3tcompact/icons/frown.gif[/img]

    I'm glad everything turned out okay (specifically, right-side-up), and I can certainly relate to what you just experienced. I have a natural dead leaner on my property that I've been a little afraid to tackle so far. It's hung up rather solidly in the 'Y' of a larger tree, so I'm not worried about it coming down on its own, but the experienced folk on this board (I actually thought you were one of them) have cautioned about the dangers of bringing down such a critter.

    I, for one, am glad you're willing to share such experiences. I am now armed with one more piece of knowledge of how not to do things. (I hope that doesn't sound disrespectful 'cuz I am truly thankful for that knowledge.) [img]/w3tcompact/icons/crazy.gif[/img]


  4. #4
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    Default Re: Stupid Human Tricks Pt 2

    Harv, I've seen professionals in such a situation try to climb the tree to put a rope up high so it can be pulled down with the leverage, or cut the tree in 4 foot pieces, making the tree drop each time [img]/w3tcompact/icons/crazy.gif[/img]. I've done that on VERY small trees, those that I could control with my arm, but nothing big. I've used the tractor many many times to just pull the bottom out so it will fall, this is the first problem that got the blood moving, and that won't happen again (at least from the fork problem!)

    You can get a long chain and pull from a ways away. Wrap the chain around low otherwise you can (even with the bad leverage position) pull the tree vertical and then on top of you. Been there done that with a small one that was nearly vertical. Hence the advise about a long chain for any tree that is near vertical where you can't see it going the wrong way and stop in time. I usually cut a notch in the tree around it to give the chain a place to ride without slipping off. Also, the lower you have the chain to the ground on the tree the less it will be able to start plowing. When it plows it can hit something and then go vertical so I really go SLOW.

    If I can get the tractor there I'll usually be pushing on the tree a little when I'm cutting it just to insure my bad falling aim and to "help" it get going so it makes it through other branches etc.

    That also can get exciting, cut one once, it fell fast, over a stump and the end near the tractor was under the bucket and lifted up my 1710 off the ground and put the front end a few feet away from where it was.

    All in all, it's rare that I go after the bigger stuff, I let a tree guy earn his money. It's the ones that don't appear to be a problem that can get you. I'm sure there's a lot of fellows on this board that have their own tree stories.

    Unfortunately they sell chain saws to ANYONE! Fir trees are very strong and forgiving. Our other natives, hemlock (weak) alder (dangerous) cottonwood (you'll be dead before you know it) are unforgiving due to their brittle nature. If a cotton wood tree, even a small one, or a branch, has a lean or is a wedged branch on the ground it can fire off like a gun as SOON as the chain saw touches it. Like if you put your weight on a standing pop can with one foot and bend over and tap both sides of the can with your fingers. You figure out pretty soon how to look at branches and fallen logs. If in doubt I put the tractor between me and the on-the-ground stuff. The most dangerous area for a novice (or anyone) I think is cutting up the downed stuff after they pay a professional to drop them. A big mismash of trees down can really injure someone.

    I have sometimes put a chain around the log and hooked it to the bucket and then cut. In that situation I go out the small end of the tree and slowly work in to reduce the stress on the leaning part on the ground. Trees that are windthrown can be even worse. I cut one once about 15 feet away from the stump. The remaining 15 foot section popped back up nearly vertical. It didn't go up as fast as a stressed log but I'm sure a pigeon could have flown into my mouth while I watched it go up!

    I used to get a copy of some state publication that had descriptions of all kinds of tractor and logging accidents, guys tripping and falling on their saw (too lazy to turn it off when going from place to place) etc etc. Pretty scary stuff, then on PBS there was a show just on logging accidents, showed all the dead guys. I got my mind right in a hurry.

    Most of the trees that I dropped myself I used a big excavator, nothing better for those dead ones, you just stick the arm out and gently turn and down they come. You're also holding on to it with the bucket and thumb and it's far in front of you.

    Also had a guy once with a big track loader, can't believe the trees he just pushed over with hardly any work. The dead ones...he would just drive into them, his machine was completely protected by cages etc, didn't care what fell on him.

    Go slow be safe.

    del


  5. #5

    Join Date
    Feb 2001
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    470
    Location
    Lyndeborough, NH
    Tractor
    Kubota L5030HSTC, Farmall SuperC

    Default Re: Stupid Human Tricks Pt 2

    Yowsah! Yeah, gravity has an unfortunate tendency to be quite persistant. Your cottonwood doesn't sound like much fun either.

    Keep Safe!

    Andy in NH

  6. #6
    Jag
    Jag is offline
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    Apr 2000
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    444
    Location
    Central Arkansas
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    Kubota /L2650/ LA450/B4690 -- John Deere 450 Dozer

    Default Re: Stupid Human Tricks Pt 2

    Harv, two other things you need to look up for when you are working in timber... I have my tractor in thick trees often doing one thing or another... Watch for large dead limbs on a tree that is just waiting to fall when you bump the tree. This is very true when backing up in tight places. I have dropped several big limbs this way... The other is a dead tree hanging up in the air. I have a 20 foot long 12 inch diameter part of tree that is hanging about 20 feet up in two other trees beside one of the forrest tractor trails I use.


  7. #7

    Join Date
    Aug 2000
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    3,371
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    California - S.F. East Bay & Sierra foothills
    Tractor
    Kubota L2500DT Standard Transmission

    Default Re: Stupid Human Tricks Pt 2

    Good post, Del! [img]/w3tcompact/icons/smile.gif[/img]

    I'm saving that one for future reference.

    That part about chaining to the bottom of a leaner and pulling with the tractor -- didn't somebody post a caution about that? Something about if the falling tree flips, bounces, rolls, etc., it could take you and your tractor with it?

    <font color=blue>Watch for large dead limbs on a tree</font color=blue>

    Excellent point, Jag! I've got widow-makers galore in my back forest, and I never thought about the dead branches that are just waiting to snap off. Accidentally bump a tree with my tractor? Nah... it could never happen. [img]/w3tcompact/icons/blush.gif[/img]


  8. #8
    Super Member
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    Sep 2000
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    9,945
    Location
    Triangle Of North Carolina
    Tractor
    JD 4700

    Default Re: Stupid Human Tricks Pt 2

    Harv,

    I had a contractor on my property last year a couple of times to bid on land clearing, driveway building, house site clearing, etc. I really liked the guy and he was highly recommended by several people but I never could get him to do the work for some reason...

    Anyway, he almost go killed a few years ago when a widow maker branch fell on him. He was in the hospital for a couple of weeks....

    I had another contractor bidding on the same jobs come out last fall. Same day the JD arrived as a matter of fact. I took him into the house lot and were standing in the septic field to be and I noticed that he was standing under a leaning tree that was about 15 feet above his head. The tree was leaning in from my neighbors lot and had been blown down in a big thunderstorm that had moved through a few weeks back. I got him to move.... [img]/w3tcompact/icons/smile.gif[/img]

    Some of my widow makers have been blown down in storms. Which is good. They get replaced with new ones unfortunately. Which is not good. I have lots of standing dead trees, leaning trees, bent trees, and oak tops that have to be cleaned up from storms and logging. Those leaning and bent trees scare the heck out of me. Some of the ones I have had to cut down where real, real, bad. I had one bent tree that when it finally fell off the stump it snapped to the side to fall down. That trunk moved so fast that if I had been in the way I only would have had time to say OH SH. I would not have finished the four letter word! [img]/w3tcompact/icons/frown.gif[/img] I don't think it would have killed me but I would have busted a bunch of ribs. I had thought about what the tree might do and thought some more before cutting it down. If I had not been thinking or thought wrong it could easily have gotten me.

    I guess all this rambling is to drive home how dangerous dropping trees can be. And has Del pointed out, what I have always heard, is that most of the accidents happen when the tree is on the ground. I wear chain saw paints, helmet with ear and face protect, and steel toe boots when I'm working with the chainsaw. I paid 175 dollars for the boots which is a lot of money. BUT they are excelent quality boots that will last a few decades and they had two VERY important safety features. One is the steel toe. But the steel in this toe covered much of the lower foot. Far more than the cheaper boots. The other safety feature is that it did NOT have the quick lace eyelets. Those quick lace eyelets are great for getting snagged in brush. When you are cutting up the top of a tree with branches on the ground, footing is bad enough without your boots adding to the problem.

    I won't get my tractor near a tree I'm cutting down. I keep it far, far away! [img]/w3tcompact/icons/smile.gif[/img]

    When I cut a tree down I plan a couple of escape routes. I clear out those escape routes if they look bad. Not only do I plan on WHERE I can run but where I can THROW the chainsaw BEFORE I start running! [img]/w3tcompact/icons/smile.gif[/img] I refuse to run with a chainsaw. Knife maybe. Chainsaw noway! [img]/w3tcompact/icons/smile.gif[/img]

    Enough rambling from me. This is my third 11 hour day in a row so I'm sure I'm rambling.... [img]/w3tcompact/icons/smile.gif[/img]

    Be careful in them thar woods!

    Later...
    Dan McCarty


  9. #9
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    Default Re: Stupid Human Tricks Pt 2

    dmmccarty

    Right on with that post, I was going to mention the throwing the chainsaw bit, but thought too many would think I was a wimp. I've done it a number of times when I thought I wouldn't have time to get it turned off safely. When I am cutting anything I keep the tractor away too, unless it is a small tree that really couldn't hurt the tractor if it hit it, and that's just if the tractor is "helping" make sure the tree goes where it should. My tree guy has told me lots of stories of people dropping trees on their truck, house etc. I tell him I like to cut trees at least twice the distance of their height away from anything I care about. Then I can do a precise fall plan, and when the tree goes 180 degrees the wrong way I can say..."Hmm, it's going that way...JUST as I planned!"

    My tree guy does all kinds of weird things where he cuts the tree funny, I've seen him take a LEANING tree and make it fall a different direction, the tree actually twists and rights itself, then falls!

    As I've posted before when I first got my Ford NH I was working in the woods and although I thought all the dead ones had been brought down there was one that you couldn't tell was dead (dense canopy). No signs on the trunk, (holes, unhealed wounds, fungus etc), backed into it and a BIG chunk of the top THUMPED down beside me. Needless to say I had a STRONG four post roof put on the tractor that puts the Kubota one on my L35 to shame. Probably does the CG no good on the Ford but if I ever hear a meteor is coming that's where I'll be, under the FOPS on my FordNH!

    del


  10. #10
    Gold Member TraderMark's Avatar
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    Feb 2001
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    367
    Location
    Southeast Georgia
    Tractor
    Ford 1720

    Default Re: Stupid Human Tricks Pt 2

    It's not just felling the trees guys......
    I've said before about all the oak saplings I"m trying to clear...... well, there are vines GALORE around here... some with thorns, some without but the tree canopy is covered in many places with vines. The largest one I've measured was just under 4 inches in diameter at chest height and stretched for almost 100 feet when I drug it down.
    Anyway.... I was looking back, speared a tree with the Brush Brute on the back of the tractor and when I started forward again, one of those vines about as thick as my finger got looped around my neck. I thought there was going to be a hanging before I could get my foot on the clutch and get that vine from around me. It all happened so quickly..... and the thing that amazed me was..... I was in second range, second gear at about 1000rpms so the tractor was hardly moving.


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