Chain sawing wet conifer roots.

Discussion in 'Tools And Equipment' started by Palustris, Nov 1, 2019.

  1. Palustris

    Palustris Total Gardener

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2005
    Messages:
    3,112
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Retired
    Location:
    West Midlands
    Ratings:
    +2,176
    We are in the process of removing where possible some large conifer stumps. My chain saw just will not cut through the roots even with a brand new blade. We think it is because the roots are wet with being underground etc and they just clog the teeth on the blade. Even when we have cleared the soil away from the stump and exposed the roots they still ooze 'water' when cut.
    Anyone any tips on how to overcome this problem?
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • pete

      pete Growing a bit of this and a bit of that....

      Joined:
      Jan 9, 2005
      Messages:
      27,508
      Gender:
      Male
      Occupation:
      joinery
      Location:
      Mid Kent
      Ratings:
      +27,807
      As far as I know chainsaws cut wet timber much better than dry timber.
      Is the blade getting enough oil?
       
      • Agree Agree x 1
      • Perki

        Perki Super Gardener

        Joined:
        Jun 2, 2017
        Messages:
        823
        Gender:
        Male
        Location:
        Lancashire
        Ratings:
        +2,667
        Soil anywhere near a chainsaw will blunt it , if its not cutting its blunt or the chain been put on backwards . When I cutting ctumps down to the floor its always the llast job because the risk of blunting the saw is high.

        Sap shouldn't slow it down
         
        • Like Like x 1
        • Agree Agree x 1
        • Jiffy

          Jiffy The Match is on Fire

          Joined:
          Aug 25, 2011
          Messages:
          7,608
          Occupation:
          Pyro
          Location:
          Retired Right Next To The Bonfire in UK
          Ratings:
          +15,778
          Soil will blunt the chain and clog the guide bar don't use in soil and if use a lot will damage the slip clutch
          Roots can be fibrous and will hang on the chain and slow it down which will put more stain on the slip clutch, willows trees can be a pain to cut when wet with the fibre's!
           
        • Palustris

          Palustris Total Gardener

          Joined:
          Oct 23, 2005
          Messages:
          3,112
          Gender:
          Male
          Occupation:
          Retired
          Location:
          West Midlands
          Ratings:
          +2,176
          No soil anywhere near the blade and if the amount of oil I have to put in the reservoir is anything to go by then it certainly gets enough oil. The blade will only fit on one way and I have no trouble cutting up logs with the same blade a few minutes after it failing to cut the roots.
          We are not talking damp wood here, it is sodden. When I drilled holes in the roots, the holes filled up with water almost immediately. Oh and they blunted a brand new wood drill bit in next to no time.
          Should also mention that my brand new pruning saw which is supposed to be able to cut anything just goes so far then stops cutting and just goes back and forth without making any further impression on the wood.
           
          Last edited: Nov 1, 2019
        • Sheal

          Sheal Total Gardener

          Joined:
          Feb 2, 2011
          Messages:
          29,723
          Gender:
          Female
          Location:
          Beauly, Inverness-shire
          Ratings:
          +34,839
          I'm wondering if a good old fashioned axe would work, but being root it may just rebound.
           
        • Mike Allen

          Mike Allen Total Gardener

          Joined:
          Jan 4, 2014
          Messages:
          1,426
          Gender:
          Male
          Ratings:
          +2,486
          Thinking that a chainsaw has a chain and not a blade. Accepting as you say, no soil close to the cutting bar and chain. Have you checked the chain is fitted the correct way around???????????
           
        • Jiffy

          Jiffy The Match is on Fire

          Joined:
          Aug 25, 2011
          Messages:
          7,608
          Occupation:
          Pyro
          Location:
          Retired Right Next To The Bonfire in UK
          Ratings:
          +15,778
          There are different types of teeth on chains, may be better to try a different chain
           
        • Palustris

          Palustris Total Gardener

          Joined:
          Oct 23, 2005
          Messages:
          3,112
          Gender:
          Male
          Occupation:
          Retired
          Location:
          West Midlands
          Ratings:
          +2,176
          Boy does an axe rebound. Tried that one. Trouble with all of the normal non-mechanical methods is the state of my body. Tendinitis in my elbow makes sawing with a bow saw very very painful. Arthritis in my hands makes using an axe a bit difficult as my grip has gone.
          I think we will probably just re-bury the roots and plant in between them. They will rot eventually.
           
          • Friendly Friendly x 2
          • Palustris

            Palustris Total Gardener

            Joined:
            Oct 23, 2005
            Messages:
            3,112
            Gender:
            Male
            Occupation:
            Retired
            Location:
            West Midlands
            Ratings:
            +2,176
            Used the chain saw this morning to cut up some logs. The chain which would not cut the root went through the dry logs like a hot knife through butter.
             
            • Like Like x 1
            • Mike Allen

              Mike Allen Total Gardener

              Joined:
              Jan 4, 2014
              Messages:
              1,426
              Gender:
              Male
              Ratings:
              +2,486
              Have you tried inserting a wedge above the cut. This will prevent the cut closing.
               
            • Palustris

              Palustris Total Gardener

              Joined:
              Oct 23, 2005
              Messages:
              3,112
              Gender:
              Male
              Occupation:
              Retired
              Location:
              West Midlands
              Ratings:
              +2,176
              The cut does not really close as such, the chain saw just stops cutting, as does my pruning saw and a cross cut saw which I tried.
              As I said, I am going to bury the roots and wait!
               
            • Sandy Ground

              Sandy Ground Total Gardener

              Joined:
              Jun 10, 2015
              Messages:
              1,915
              Gender:
              Male
              Occupation:
              Retd. D&D Engineer
              Location:
              Scania, Sweden
              Ratings:
              +4,287
              A few years ago, I removed a number of conifer stumps from my garden. 16 of them if I remember correctly. It took just a couple of hours using a hired stump grinder. Thats the best method, especially if health problems are involved. It ends up being cheapest, quickest, and easiest.

              In reality, its probably the only way to do it easily. As has been found out already, chain saws have a tendency not to work, unless they are the bigger ones. Bow saws dont work either, the blades are to fragile. In some cases what I call a "Root Saw" can be used. These are heavy saws that are kind of curved and have thick (6mm plus) blades and work on the pull stroke only. Good ones are horrendously expensive, and pointless to buy for just one job. Which brings me back to the stump grinder being the best method both time and money wise.
               
              • Informative Informative x 1
              • Retired

                Retired Some people are so poor all they have is money

                Joined:
                May 30, 2019
                Messages:
                527
                Gender:
                Male
                Occupation:
                Retired.
                Location:
                Huddersfield
                Ratings:
                +1,685
                Hi,

                Lots of excellent advice already given. :yes:

                My 20" petrol chainsaw has seen a lot of action in our gardens and has paid for itself many times over. You say you have arthritis in your hands Palustris; a chainsaw is extremely dangerous and needs to be kept strictly under control at all times so please be careful.

                Saw Chain Families | Oregon Products

                I've always used Oregon chains and never been disappointed; as has already been stated a number of times soil rapidly destroys chains; I've also run into embedded stones which kill chains; I never bother sharpening my chains; they are cheap enough to replace when blunt and if looked after a chain will do a lot of cutting before becoming blunt. I always cut across a root at 90 degrees to it otherwise the chain tends to slide rather than cut.

                I too have recently been removing many conifer stumps/roots. My prefered method is to dig allowing either my bottle or trolley jack to be positioned under a strong root then jack as for as the jack will extend; this sinks the jack into the soil but then allows wooden packing to be installed under the jack to spread the load; it's hugely satisfying listening to the roots cracking. This locates the roots and then I clear around ensuring the actual root is clean before using the chainsaw; on smaller stumps I have a 5' long heavy wrecking bar to lever them out; many years ago we had a 42' long privet hedge to the bungalow side; I removed the top down to stumps then popped the stumps out by levering with a 12' long heavy scaffolding tube; it saved a great deal of work.

                A couple of years ago I disposed of an 80' long x 8' tall Leylandii hedge but as the stumps aren't in the way they remain.

                I've also used a Sabre saw with a coarse blade but it's nowhere near as good as using a chainsaw.

                Good luck and play safe.

                Kind regards, Colin.

                Stumps_0001.JPG
                Recently clearing lots of conifers and a huge hebe from our front garden; these were planted 30 years ago so were well established.

                Stumps_0002.JPG
                The hebe put up a fight.

                Stumps_0003.JPG
                One of the conifers covered in ivy; these were a real pain to remove.

                Stumps_0004. (9).JPG

                One of the 80' tall firs I felled and disposed of; the stump was cut level and remains; I've no intention of digging stumps of this size up. My 20" chainsaw just went through this; just to add to the fun it hung up between a big willow tree and an 80' tall conifer; a neighbour was at the very top of the garden on the end of the rope as I did the cutting.
                 
                • Like Like x 1
                • Palustris

                  Palustris Total Gardener

                  Joined:
                  Oct 23, 2005
                  Messages:
                  3,112
                  Gender:
                  Male
                  Occupation:
                  Retired
                  Location:
                  West Midlands
                  Ratings:
                  +2,176
                  The 50 odd feet of Leylandii stumps came out very easily. We were able to leave enough of a trunk to use as a lever. Sadly the stumps I am dealing with had 1 yard wide trunks so the weight of them was just too great to do that sort of thing with.
                  I don't actually have a jack so that idea is out.
                  Hiring a stump grinder for one thick root seems a bit excessive.
                  As I said I am going to leave the other two stumps in. They are not in the way which the one we have removed was. There is just, as I said, now, one thick root which needs to come out as it is under the lawn which we want to keep.
                  Thanks for the input folks.
                   
                  • Like Like x 1
                  Loading...

                  Share This Page

                  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
                    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
                    Dismiss Notice