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tomf
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Big project we are doing!!!

I have been thinning an area not far from the house; I am cutting out trees that are not Douglas Fir in this area, and some small Douglas Firs. The trees were so thick that they were blocking the light to trees I want to encourage, and this also reduces the fire hazard. So far I estimate I have hundreds of them down, limbed and cut into logs.
As this is a thinning operation some of the trees get hung up in other trees and have to be pulled down with a logging cable and the tractor. We have started pulling a handful of logs and decking them, but the big job of decking logs and pulling brush is ahead of us. Over Christmas the ground was frozen so it was a good time to pull logs as hard the ground did not turn into mud.
I have a brush rake that will clamp onto my tractor bucket on the way, this will make it easier to push the brush; it should be here this week.
Here are some photos of the area, you will see some Alder trees still in the area, they have been cut down for the most part.
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Last edited by tomf on Tue Jan 05, 2016 10:34 am, edited 1 time in total.

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tomf
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Re: Big project we are doing!!!

Some more photos.


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catgrass
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Re: Big project we are doing!!!

A lot of work going on there!

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Big project we are doing!!!

A ton of work, but I'm not sure I understand what you are doing.... turning this piece of your woods into a Douglas fir monoculture? So the firs left can get bigger? Is this for sale?

I get the reducing fire hazard part by clearing some brush, but I'm not sure about the rest. Just trying to understand.

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tomf
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Re: Big project we are doing!!!

Sort of in this area I am encouraging the Douglas fir trees, the other trees that I cut out of this area were Alder and they grow fast and tall then die and become dangerous. Alders are junk trees. This area I am thinning is only a few acres and most of our land is left alone, we are trying to get roads to other parts but will not do much more there.

gumbo2176
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Re: Big project we are doing!!!

So, are you having a huge bonfire or planning on utilizing all that wood in some way? I see it can be used for smoking, but to make lumber out of it is likely more trouble than it's worth since it is a relatively soft wood and doesn't grow very large, so less useable lumber per tree is available. Either way, hell of a project and a lot of work.

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applestar
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Re: Big project we are doing!!!

I can't help but to marvel that your land is like a nature park/preserve and you really need the big machinery to help you maintain everything. Do you have the big trailer chipper like the power companies and tree companies use when cutting down trees and trimming limbs and branches?

My first thought was alder chips mixed with hardwood chips are supposed to make good mushroom substrate.... 8) But I'm imagining that you don't have to go out of your way to grow mushrooms.

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!potatoes!
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Re: Big project we are doing!!!

I'd be using some of the alder, at least, to start some mushroom logs. shiitake grows on alder, I bet other things do too...for that matter, phoenix oysters can grow on doug fir...

hmmm....I'll be cutting a few trees down this winter, too...

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tomf
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Re: Big project we are doing!!!

First when the trees are thick and close to gather the fire can jump from tree to tree easier. The big issue with the alders is the block out the light on the trees one does want and have already killed a number of trees by blocking out the light. I also will trim up some branches. I do not like to burn, I have a brush mower that goes on the back of the tractor and I use that to chip the brush. By chipping the brush I put the organics back into the soil. I use the logs for fire wood, although I think I will have way more than I can use.

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Big project we are doing!!!

Do you burn wood for heat? In your situation you would be ideally suited for that.

The modern wood burning stoves are very efficient and pollute very little:

https://chimneysweeponline.com/wscompe.htm

or the traditional Scandinavian ceramic stove:

https://www.ceramicstove.com/

Modern wood stoves burn the wood slowly for a long time and reburns the effluent. The ceramic stove burns the wood very fast and very hot and heats up all the ceramic thermal mass, which stays warm for 24 hours.

Otherwise, you could use some of all the wood for hugelkultur beds and of course chip it up for mulch....

Not that you don't know all this, I'm just thinking out loud....

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tomf
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Re: Big project we are doing!!!

Yes we mostly heat with wood, for us it is a renewable resource that we will never run out of. There are two wood stoves in our house, one on the east side and one on the west side. we use the stove on the west side and keep that part of the house warmer as it is the side we mostly live in. There is an oil boiler that is rather industrial looking, but we only use it to keep a minimum temperature in the house, mostly the east house.
The place was a sort of orphanage and they had 20 kids living here. the house is 4600sq, 7 bed rooms, with 18 rooms. It needed some work and I have done most of the important work so far. I reshaped the roof in places and put on a metal roof for one. I think the 30 by 30 foot main room sold it, that became our music studio room. One of the bedrooms became a library and art storage room, one became my wife's art studio, one became a hobby room with my electronics bench, three more bed rooms are guest rooms and we sleep in the master bedroom. It is a lot of house for two, we did have her dad for a time although.
The Buddhists wanted to buy this place and turn it into a retreat, but they needed to change the tax status on it first, and that was not working for them.
Any rate we got a very good deal on it. but one needed to be able to do everything a house could need to fix it up.

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Re: Big project we are doing!!!

If I had the land and ready source of wood, I would love to have a clay studio and wood fired pottery kiln. Maybe glass art, too.

As it is, one of my bottom priority Wishlist item is a tiny electric kiln and a space to set up -- maybe a corner of the garage. I sometimes dream about a DIY raku type backyard kiln, but I'm too inexperienced and am afraid of the lengthy drought we have here to muck around with open fire.

I think you said you do fireworks and stuff, right? So you probably would have no problems.

HoneyBerry
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Re: Big project we are doing!!!

Nice property. We used to have a lake cabin with acreage and douglas fir trees. Looked just like your pictures. I loved just being in the woods when we worked at falling trees for firewood. One time we were working and a herd of 2 dozen baby pigs ran by us. I think they must have escaped from a pig farm somewhere, but we had no idea where.

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Re: Big project we are doing!!!

Some of those alder logs would be very welcome down here in AZ. A few decades ago I took a couple of woodworking classes at the local community college. They considered alder a hardwood though softer than something like hardrock maple of course. It was the cheapest of the woods to buy, and one of the easiest woods to work with for making furniture. I really liked the texture and color of the wood too. Kind of a pleasing honey colored wood with a nice grain.
You could probably make about 10,000 kitchen cutting boards with that much alder!

gumbo2176
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Re: Big project we are doing!!!

Taiji wrote:Some of those alder logs would be very welcome down here in AZ. A few decades ago I took a couple of woodworking classes at the local community college. They considered alder a hardwood though softer than something like hardrock maple of course. It was the cheapest of the woods to buy, and one of the easiest woods to work with for making furniture. I really liked the texture and color of the wood too. Kind of a pleasing honey colored wood with a nice grain.
You could probably make about 10,000 kitchen cutting boards with that much alder!

I do a lot of woodworking projects with our indigenous cypress and it too is one of the "softer" hard wood varieties. What I like most about it is how easily it works, especially when shaping it on a router table. Many times you can make the entire profile without worrying about scorch marks or dulling router bits. Early last year I bought 50 pieces of 1 x 6 x 8 boards that have been air drying in my shop that I've just started to use to build an entertainment center for my man cave. This is about the 10th piece I've built for myself over the last few years including a dining room table, china cabinet, large bookcase, queen size bed frame with headboard and footboard, outdoor furniture and re-facing all my kitchen cabinets.

The only issue I, and others, have is when staining, it is best to use 1 part shellac cut with 2 parts denatured alcohol (lovingly referred to as a Piss Coat) applied to the wood, then sand with 220 grit to help the stain take more evenly in the different grain of the wood. Miss that step and the stain has a way of looking very splotchy and uneven between the softer and harder graining of the wood.

If the alder works as easily as the cypress, I don't think it would make a very good cutting board surface. I'd prefer to use a much harder grained wood for something like that.

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tomf
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Re: Big project we are doing!!!

I also cut down some good sized maple trees, if I had a mill I would love to make boards out of it. Some of my neighbors had trees from their land milled, on brought in a large portable mill and milled some big logs; he used them for his new house. The other had them sent to a mill and used them for a large barn.

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tomf
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Re: Big project we are doing!!!

This is the neighbor's barn he built with wood from his land.

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Big project we are doing!!!

Wow! So beautiful!

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Re: Big project we are doing!!!

Some of the first things we made in wood class were cutting boards. They're easy and fun to make and use small scraps of whatever wood is laying around! I made several using black walnut, oak, maple, and alder laminated together in alternating one inch (approximately) strips. The contrast between the different woods make a really beautiful piece. Yes, I guess a board of just alder would probably be pretty soft. Maybe there are different varieties of alder too, don't know.
That is really beautiful country up there, Tomf. If you don't mind my asking, in what part of Oregon are you located? Like, what is the nearest town? Is that considered to be a rain forest environment?
This house which we recently purchased is older, county records say 1939, but my electrician some parts of the house could go back to the 1890's because of some things he saw there. Coincidentally, the floors are all old Doug fir, and on the underside it's stamped: "West Oregon Lumber Co., Linnton Oregon". We refinished the floors instead of covering them up, they look very "rustic", not perfect, but pleasing to look at!

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tomf
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Re: Big project we are doing!!!

We live in a town called eagle Creek, it is a nice small town outside of Portland. Sandy is the closest town you can shop in. Eagle Creek is between Portland and Mt. Hood.

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tomf
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Re: Big project we are doing!!!

I am thinking of saving some of the maple to make chainsaw art out of.

Taiji
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Re: Big project we are doing!!!

Maple and all the hardwoods are worth their weight in gold down this way.

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tomf
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Re: Big project we are doing!!!

We are getting close to all the trees we need to cut down this year. I cut a bunch in the field in some of the photos to open it up, and to give us a better view of the other side of our land.

This tree was to big to get it all in the photo.
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A branch from the big tree.

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many of the trees are this size.

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tomf
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Re: Big project we are doing!!!

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This is a hill side I thinned to let the confers grow and to open the view.

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I have hundreds of logs to pull out and a ton of brush to clean up, it will take me some time and work. When the area I opened up is done I will plant grass, much of that area the grass gets killed every year from the leaves falling, now it should do fine. It will also be a nice place to look at the stars.

Some of the tools of the trade, I got a brush rake that bolts on to the tractor bucket, it work real well at picking up or pushing brush.

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View from the top you can see the other side of the land now the ridge in the distance.

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tomf
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Re: Big project we are doing!!!

Well in another area I had some dead trees that were probably over100 feet tall, so I took them down before they became dangerous. Then I decided to drop a few more trees, I am thinking of about 4 more 100 footers. It was a scary day today, I tried and hurt my arm and shoulder not bad but it does hurt. Then I was pulling a tall tree with a long cable, cable was not long enough although and it was coming down on me and my tractor. Lucky it fell slow and I was already in a turn to get out from under it. From now on I use pulleys and long cables.

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imafan26
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Re: Big project we are doing!!!

Are planning on doing something with the land or are you just thinning the trees. They are lovely trees. I hope you do find a use for the wood. It would be a shame to waste it. Here whenever someone has a koa or monkey pod to cut down the woodworkers want the wood.

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tomf
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Re: Big project we are doing!!!

Alder is not good for much, the maple is good hard wood but there is not as much of it. I will clean the areas up, put in native plants and landscape most of it. The wood I will just keep healthy. Anyone wants some free firewood come on by.

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applestar
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Re: Big project we are doing!!!

That's a LOT of work! I guess you want to get it all done before all the spring growths start?

I know even on my tiny scale by comparison, it's harder to cut down and clear overgrown areas later in spring and particularly during summer and fall while everything is growing. For me, in the winter, it's also easier to spot praying mantis ootheca/egg cases and other wintering pupae to save, and I know most of the beneficial insects, butterflies and caterpillars aren't here yet.

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tomf
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Re: Big project we are doing!!!

Yes I want to bring them down before then, I will have the spring and summer, maybe even fall to clean it up and plant grass and plants. I think I have 2 more big trees to go.

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tomf
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Re: Big project we are doing!!!

Alders a considered weeds out here.

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tomf
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Re: Big project we are doing!!!

I may be about done dropping trees, all I have left might be some small ones.

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Using cables and a bully to bring down a hanging tree, I pull the cable with the tractor.

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gumbo2176
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Re: Big project we are doing!!!

One Thanksgiving the family got together in the country at my now late father-in-law's house for a 4 day weekend of feasting. While there, three of my brother-in-laws decided it would be a good time to drop a tree that was next to one of the houses that one of them used when visiting.

I was in the kitchen of my father-in-law's house cooking a big pot of gumbo and all of a sudden the whole house shook and I heard one of my sister-in-laws scream "Oh my God, the cars". So I run outside to see this huge gum tree laying across the roof of the house next door and the branches dangling precariously close to 3 cars parked in front of the house.

Needless to say, they were from then on dubbed "The Three Stooges" of lumberjacking. It took them the better part of a day to clear that tree off the roof and repair the damage to the structure.

There is an art to felling trees, especially when close to a structure and not one of the three were exactly Picasso in that respect. We've gotten a lot of miles out of that fiasco in humor.

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tomf
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Re: Big project we are doing!!!

Funny story, it is an art, and a compromise between where the tree wants to go and where you want it to go.

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tomf
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Re: Big project we are doing!!!

I am done cutting trees down for now, I have hundreds of them to deal with now, I have a big clean up job ahead of me.

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tomf
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Re: Big project we are doing!!!

A guy at work wanted some advice about cutting down a tree. He told me he had a big tree he wanted to cut down that is 3 feet away from his house, he lives in the city. A big branch is hanging over his roof and he said he was going to put a rope on it and tie the rope to his car and cut the branch part way then pull it off with his car. Then cut the tree down in the spot between his house and the one next to him. I can see it now, one or more houses damaged, a totaled out car, and a trip to the ER or worse. I told him to hire a professional.

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tomf
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Re: Big project we are doing!!!

To go along with the story above here is a guy who did it right, or got lucky anyways.

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tomf
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Re: Big project we are doing!!!

I have been doing some more clean up of brush and logs, it has rained so much that I can't get the tractor in most places with out making a muddy mess.
Some of the logs and stumps are so big that the biggest saw I had was too small so I went and got an even bigger saw it will run a 32" bar but I got a 28" bar on a Sthil 461R as that may be all I need. I have a 25" bar from another Sthil a 310, the 310 will cut with the 25" but it is under powered in my opinion, it is a chip tossing monster with a 20" bar although. I also have a 210 16" and a 250 18" Sthil. I have some non Sthil saws but they are wimpy in my opinion, I have to much to do to use any tool that does not get the job done fast.

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tomf
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Re: Big project we are doing!!!

I tried to use a brush rake that clamped onto the front end loader bucket but it is not strong enough to do the job and bends. Now I am looking at getting a Grapple for the FEL. It replaces the bucket and I still can change back to the bucket when needed. This is the one I am thinking about. It will be well worth the expense I think as it is the tool I need to do the job.

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tomf
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Re: Big project we are doing!!!

So I went to the dealer to order it and he said that they do not make them to fit my FEL without having a quick change skid stear system in it. So this is going to add to the cost as I have to also get a new bucket that uses the quick change system. Oh well looks like I will need to put in a little more over time at work. The good part is it will be easy to change out from a bucket to a grapple.

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tomf
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Re: Big project we are doing!!!

This is the grapple and here is some log piles as they are so far, I will have many more and some will be bigger than the big one. this grapple is the tool I needed to save my back and get the job done.

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