Wulf's Webden

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Felling Trees

Today’s Green Gym session involved taking down some birch trees at Outwoods. Birch is a lovely tree but relatively short-lived and wide-spreading, so this will make space for other native trees to grow up strongly.

I’ve taken down some small trees before but these were the largest I’ve done to date with a handsaw. The trick is to start with a cut that they referred to as a ‘gob’. You make a straight cut up to a third of the way in on the side you want the tree to fall towards (worked out from where the weight seems to lean towards and where there is a suitable gap for it to land) and then a 45° cut to join it, popping out a small wedge. Then, double checking that there is no-one in the danger zones (in front and behind) and everyone nearby is alert, you put a straight (felling) cut from the opposite side, aiming about a third up the gob cut.

All things being equal, it neatly falls exactly where it wants. In practise, the aim is hard, it can get caught up in the branches and often needs a helping hand. Still, I can now say that I’ve felled some trees by hand. Lumberjacking for the win!

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