I am cutting down a dying spruce tree the old way with axes and are using a technique that most likely was one of the most common doing the viking age. Open the full video description and the website for more information.
This is the first video from a property I bought specific for making youtube videos – very tiny, 0.2 acres, hard wood forrest next to big lake. I will turn it into a home and show all of it.
Here can you see all videos from the property https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wDtPsl7EwYM&list=PLwMRed9dogc7w4VqdhN22cJJ_DURywWmP
Date: 18-11-2019 to 22-11-2019
Day: 8°C (46.4°F)
Night: 4°C (39.2°F)
Location: Denmark – hard wood forrest, sea and clay etc. A lot of wildlife – no bears, only a few wolves and in genereal noting dangerous. A lot of people in Denmark, so limited how remote it gets. If you want to do the same in Denmark do you need to be the owner or get the owners permission first. I am on my own tiny property somewhere in North Jutland.
The tree was leaning in the wrong direction and because of that did I take all precautions – rope and off camera cutting off the side branches (the side branches was mainly pulling the tree in the wrong direction). Free climbing.
The key with all tree felling is to use a technique that gives you the time to cut the tree almost all the way though before it falls. If not is the log a lot more likely to get damaged and where the tree is falling becomes a lot less predictable and can be extremely dangerous – in one of the worst cases does the log split in half in the air kicking back and hitting you…. The bigger the tree are the more critical.
Of course safest to keep clear from where the tree is suppose to fall at all times and to use a rope that is a lot longer than the tree especially if you want to pull the tree into falling.
First time I try this technique and in general first time I cut this size tree with an axe… Worked out alright but in case of a next time will I cut the hole for the wedges a lot longer (as long as possible without risking the tree falling) so I can place the wedges a lot closer to the edge of the stump – making the wedges a lot more powerfull and giving me more control.
A few questions:
1. Why remove the bark?
Trees with thick bark and a lot of gabs have offen collected dirt and it can dull your cutting edge… Removing the bak can be time well spend – though not a big deal.
2. What axes are you using?
Homemade – designs dating back to at least the viking age. The cutting edges is recycled leaf springs and the handles ash from Denmark.
3. Why use rope?
It gives you a lot of control and also a bit more safety. The key is to get the rope as high up the tree as possible creating a lot of leverage. You don’t need to use a rope, but it is very useful especially in a case like this with a tree leaning in the wrong direction. You can throw or shoot the rope up in a tree – though did I in this case just free climb to the top for attaching the rope.
4. Why cut down the tree? And what to turn the wood into?
You don’t want a dying tree so close to where you are going to build a home – sooner or later will it fall in a storm, too dangerous. Not dead standing yet – only dead in the top section and the rest is fresh and fine for splitting into boards and roof shinkels etc. All the other a lot smaller trees on the tiny property will also benefit from the extra sunlight and also will I for growing food. The stump will be used as a table for now and later be used as a fundation for a tiny log cabin – similar to the “njalla” used by the Sami people for storagre food and other things.
5. Why not use bigger axe?
Relative light axes makes the job take a bit longer but also make you able to work for more hours before getting tired arms. Takes less energi to make a short cutting edge go deep enough into the tree to split out chunks. I currently only own two homemade axes, so limited options – though do I personally find the collared axe in the video about the ideal for this kind of work, but a bit longer handle would be an improvement. All kinds of felling axes and general purpose axes will get the job done just fine.
6. Is it tree sap collecting on the stump while you’re chopping?
No – just rain water.
7. How long did it take to cut down the tree?
About 6 hours of chopping I guess if not counting breaks and time spend on camera stuff. Including all of it about 4 days because of bad camera weather and in general short days this time of year in Denmark.
8. How offen did you resharpen the axes?
Only one time.
Website including gear list, most asked questions and all other basic information https://www.runemaltebertramnielsen.com
Video gear: Canon EOS RP, Canon 50 1.8, Røde videomicpro+, Zoom h2n, iMovie.