Logging/Wood Cutting Hazards and "Widow Maker" facts?

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SpyderEdgeForever
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Logging/Wood Cutting Hazards and "Widow Maker" facts?

Postby SpyderEdgeForever » Thu Nov 15, 2018 12:11 am

Tell me what any of you know along these lines, please: I was talking with an old woodsman/forester type and he told me about "widow makers: pieces of branches and other wood sections that fall on a person if logging or cutting wood, at times fatally. He said this is why most modern loggers wear head protection, and said there have been some harrowing and horrific accidents out there.

A friend of mine who was a professional carpenter showed me a section of missing finger that he got from a saw accident, but thats a whole other topic.

I am not wanting to be gruesome but it is good to know as to how to avoid such things when out cutting and harvesting wood, both for professionals and for sporting such as camping , hunting, and outdoor activities.

When I asked what are the three main reasons aside from human error for logging dangers, his answer was: The intense weight and momentum of the wood and the terrain; it is often times irregular and there is always the risk of slips and falls.

Here is a related question: If you are out in the woods and you need to cut wood fast, for say a camp or cooking fire, or, to build a shelter, would you prefer to have a powered chainsaw, or, a more traditional hand-powered saw, if you had a choice?

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Re: Logging/Wood Cutting Hazards and "Widow Maker" facts?

Postby The Deacon » Thu Nov 15, 2018 4:15 am

Even I, who have rarely ever camped, know that green wood does not burn easily. The wood I'd want for a camp fire or cook fire would be dead wood, as dry as possible. Cutting dead wood from fallen branches and downed trees is far less dangerous than working on live trees. Lazy old fart that I am, I'd opt for a chain saw, but I don't see most wilderness campers wanting to lug one into the woods.
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Re: Logging/Wood Cutting Hazards and "Widow Maker" facts?

Postby MichaelScott » Thu Nov 15, 2018 9:14 am

I spent a year in the Colorado mountains cutting wood for a living. It is a dangerous profession especially if you are casual do not take it seriously. Chainsaws can really hurt you. You have to wear protective clothing and pay attention. All of the time.

When cutting larger dead trees which we did bunch of, you have to be aware of any dead larger branches above. I’ve never had one fall near me but it can happen. You have to be aware of the terrain on which you are working because if you need to move quickly it can inhibit you and cause injury. You also have to be very aware of where and how do you think the tree is going to fall. It is not always obvious having to do with distribution of mass, any wind at all and the terrain and surrounding trees. You have to be able to cut it correctly so that it falls in the general direction you want.

Cut and falling trees do not always act as you may expect. They may twist and fall differently. They may kick back as they go over. It is an unpredictable and dangerous exercise which you have to approach with knowledge and caution.
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Re: Logging/Wood Cutting Hazards and "Widow Maker" facts?

Postby ChrisinHove » Thu Nov 15, 2018 9:20 am

“Summer branch drop” on broadleaf trees is also a hazard to the unwary camper. To the best of my knowledge this is where seemingly healthy, large limbs - just drop off!

I don’t get why campers often camp under trees, anyway, what with all the sap, leaves and bird mess, but the prospect of ton of falling lumber sways the issue for me.

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Re: Logging/Wood Cutting Hazards and "Widow Maker" facts?

Postby Tdog » Thu Nov 15, 2018 12:24 pm

Always leave yourself an out. Use the right saw for the job. Keep your chains sharp. When appropriate tie off or use good ropes to aid in falling. NEVER loan your chainsaw, most people would hurt themselves or tear up your saw. Same goes for cast nets. ;)

Edit to add: as with driving, alcohol and chainsaws don't mix. Fatigue and heat plays a large part in accidents/getting hurt. Over the years I've come close twice, once grazing my leg with the saw and the other falling almost into the saw when limbing, both because of heat and fatigue. I've learned to take breaks and keep hydrated. Safety isn't an accident.
Last edited by Tdog on Fri Nov 16, 2018 11:33 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Logging/Wood Cutting Hazards and "Widow Maker" facts?

Postby Crux » Thu Nov 15, 2018 12:33 pm

Image
Can you find it and can it cut? :eek:

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Re: Logging/Wood Cutting Hazards and "Widow Maker" facts?

Postby JD Spydo » Thu Nov 15, 2018 1:06 pm

Michael is 1000% correct in saying that chain saws are extremely dangerous tools and way too many people are way too careless in using them. I made my living with chainsaws for about 12 years and I saw a couple of very nasty accidents done with them. The only accident I ever had with one is when a fellow worker accidently was pushed into me and it caused me just to tap my right thigh with Stihl chainsaw with a 24 inch bar. It put a surface cut on me about 4 inches long and it hurt like hell for about 2 weeks while it was healing. Thank GOD above I had on very thick clothing that day. I still have a scar from it and it is a grim reminder of how fast you can potentially lose a body part or even your very life with a chain saw even with just a very brief distraction. I think it should be mandatory to be educated in the use of a chainsaw before ever buying one. Even small arborist models like the STihl 020T could take your hand off very quickly if you slipped or lost your balance at the wrong time.

Another hazzard I shared with SEF was the potential, horrible danger of climbing equipment. I was absolutely furious when I started seeing climbing spikes/gaffs being sold in these "deer hunting catalogs". And they were cheaply made units at less than $100 :eek: A real set of climbing spikes must undergo very rigid inspections and have to be heat treated to perfection which is why the real climbing spikes are $300 to $400 + in most cases. You get about 20 feet up an oak or hickory tree and have a gaff snap or break on you the results can be fatal in many cases. Those fake climbers should absolutely be outlawed in my opinion.

Any type of tree work or logging work is very dangerous and the equipment involved is extremely critical for safety as well.

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Re: Logging/Wood Cutting Hazards and "Widow Maker" facts?

Postby Bloke » Thu Nov 15, 2018 2:39 pm

MichaelScott wrote:
Thu Nov 15, 2018 9:14 am
cutting wood for a living.
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Re: Logging/Wood Cutting Hazards and "Widow Maker" facts?

Postby Bloke » Thu Nov 15, 2018 2:42 pm

ChrisinHove wrote:
Thu Nov 15, 2018 9:20 am
“Summer branch drop”
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Re: Logging/Wood Cutting Hazards and "Widow Maker" facts?

Postby Bloke » Thu Nov 15, 2018 2:51 pm

Tdog wrote:
Thu Nov 15, 2018 12:24 pm
use good ropes to aid in falling.
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Re: Logging/Wood Cutting Hazards and "Widow Maker" facts?

Postby Bloke » Thu Nov 15, 2018 2:57 pm

JD Spydo wrote:
Thu Nov 15, 2018 1:06 pm
deer hunting
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Re: Logging/Wood Cutting Hazards and "Widow Maker" facts?

Postby MacLaren » Thu Nov 15, 2018 5:27 pm

LMAO, Bloke has pretty much covered it!

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Re: Logging/Wood Cutting Hazards and "Widow Maker" facts?

Postby MacLaren » Thu Nov 15, 2018 5:36 pm

Seriously though, widow makers are dangerous. If falling a tree, at least wear a hard hat. Cover that noggin. What worries me more than anything when I'm cutting wood is kickback from the saw. Especially when using a big powerful saw.
Felling trees, cutting firewood, clearing trees and brush is all just dangerous. Just need to really know what your doing and be careful. Living in the highest elevation east of the Mississippi, in the Blue Ridge Mountains, we have burned firewood most of our lives. We are lucky to be eat up with hardwoods. Nothing like good dry locust to use as fuel. My dad was the best free feller I've ever saw. Lol, we've cut a many over the years. And, it's been dangerous too. Got to know what your doing. I remember him cutting his knee with the saw once. I think the saw kicked back on him. It was a clean cut, but man it's a nasty cut. You should've seen the wood chips and saw dust boil out of the cut, when he layed the hydrogen peroxide to it. Nasty.
And, btw, ain't NOTHIN cuts like those big Huskys :D
Actually, he used a Jonsered 2094 on the big trees ( Jonsered is pretty much the same as Husqvarna)

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Re: Logging/Wood Cutting Hazards and "Widow Maker" facts?

Postby Skidoosh » Thu Nov 15, 2018 11:09 pm

I've done a lot of camping in the woods. Every time we set up camp we make it rule to look around to see what "widow makers" are around. Its not uncommon to have them come down in light winds. There are a great deal of rotted trees in the forest, its just part of the ecosystem.

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Re: Logging/Wood Cutting Hazards and "Widow Maker" facts?

Postby Vivi » Thu Nov 15, 2018 11:25 pm

I do a lot of hammock camping, and I'm always on the look out for dead trees that look like hazards, as well as storm damaged live trees.

I've never had a close call, but I've watched enough branches fall from storms etc. to know it's something to look out for.
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Re: Logging/Wood Cutting Hazards and "Widow Maker" facts?

Postby SpyderEdgeForever » Fri Nov 16, 2018 8:02 am

Vivi wrote:
Thu Nov 15, 2018 11:25 pm
I do a lot of hammock camping, and I'm always on the look out for dead trees that look like hazards, as well as storm damaged live trees.

I've never had a close call, but I've watched enough branches fall from storms etc. to know it's something to look out for.
Thank you all for the great answers, it helps alot.

Vivi and everyone, I was looking at some of the stronger-made hammocks for camping, especially the covered ones; some of the stores claim they are made fit for military use and survival use. Any suggestions as to brands and models? One good reason I can see for a Hammock Tent over a ground tent: Keeps bugs and snakes away from you?

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Re: Logging/Wood Cutting Hazards and "Widow Maker" facts?

Postby Vivi » Fri Nov 16, 2018 12:14 pm

My setup is geared more towards ultralight camping than ruggedness and durability. I use an Eno sub 6 hammock, their guardian bug net, and a small tarp.

They're nice when it rains, I find it easier to keep dry. Bugs are less of an issue, but you'll still want netting during the hotter parts of the season.....especially near lakes.

I find them more comfortable than tents, though I do use tents from time to time.

I'd take a look at the Eno double nest if you don't mind carrying a few extra ounces for more ruggedness.

Grand Trunk also makes some nice hammocks.
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Re: Logging/Wood Cutting Hazards and "Widow Maker" facts?

Postby Tdog » Fri Nov 16, 2018 9:18 pm

Bloke wrote:
Thu Nov 15, 2018 2:51 pm
Tdog wrote:
Thu Nov 15, 2018 12:24 pm
use good ropes to aid in falling.
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ha, too funny. You can tell they are professionals from their shirts :p This guy would be better off in the circus. He flies thru the air with the greatest of ease.

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Re: Logging/Wood Cutting Hazards and "Widow Maker" facts?

Postby SpyderEdgeForever » Sat Nov 17, 2018 8:08 pm

If you wanted to set up a tent in a camp site beneath trees in the forest could you first build some sort of thatched wooden or other material mesh, like a roof, to cover over your tent and sleeping area, and if it is strong enough it would catch any falling branches?


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