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Spruce Pirate

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Everything posted by Spruce Pirate

  1. Spruce Pirate


    I've done quite a few of these over the years for different folks. Have used oak, lime, sitka, larch and possible ash, but can't remember for sure. I tend to cut them a few days to a week before they're needed as it lets the fresh smell disipate a wee bit, but keeps them from cracking too quickly. Most folk only want them for single use anyway so if the split in the long run its not a big deal. The spruce ones were for the community council for some event and are stored in our shed, they've stood up surprisingly well with very few split after over a year, they're only about 6" diameter so that might make a difference. Have done some up to about 2' diameter for cake stands, not sure how well they stood the test of time.
  2. It's something that I've often heard quoted Gary, but I've never quite understood as clearly trees have been growing quite happily by themselves for a very, very long time. I think the theory is that by notch planting the roots are put into the ground deeper to start off with but self seeders tend to spread out on the surface more. It is fair to say that this is in the context of conifers rather than broadleaf's. It also assumes that the trees are planted right!
  3. A few thoughts..... Nat regen is generally unreliable for tree crops as seed fall, conditions, germination rates and spacing are all unpredictable. None of these are insurmountable problems, especially if you are wanting to establish an amenity woodland rather than a commercial crop. Bad Points: Timescale can be highly variable, you may get a good crop quickly, but it might take a prolonged period of time. This can be problematic if grants are being claimed or if the landowner wants to see results. Spacing again can be highly variable, you may have areas of a site with 10K+ stems per ha and others at sub 1K / ha meaning you spend a lot on either enrichment planting or cleaning. Species can be unpredictable, almost bound to get birch, other species can be less reliable. Shallow rooting, generally considered that self seeders do not root as well as planted trees (although quite how natural forests have managed to survive quite so well if this is the case has always puzzled me). A lot of the savings are simply not there - if you're talking about doing ground prep to encourage nat regen then you might as well plant (cost not that much more for a more guaranteed result); if you're talking about having to stake and tube any planted trees then the nat regen is also going to need some form of protection. Good Points: Saves you buying and planting trees. Minimal ground prep. Spacing and size class more variable over site (if this is what you want). Trees grow from local seed (phenotype??) better environmentally. You can always go back and do enrichment planting later if you have/want to. Not sure of soil conditions on your site, in my experience birch will regenerate almost anywhere from dry to wet, cherry a little bit more unpredictable. Bramble is a problem for all large mamals moving through, this is a nightmare for those of us who have to work in these places, but it will also keep the nibblers largely at bay. Bramble can suppress trees and cause poor form as a result, again this needn't be a problem if it isn't going to be a crop. If it's only 4.5 acres that's roughly 2 ha so you're not really looking at that much planting, albeit if you can save yourself some planting that's probably a good thing. What's happening in the 4.5 acres being thinned, are you looking for regen under the remaining crop? If so would it be worth fencing the whole thing as opposed to using tubes on the clearfell? I've never heard of anyone broadcasting seed as a form of establishement, but this doesn't mean it doesn't happen. I have the feeling that you'd end up paying a seed collector or nursery a lot of money for seed to get a result which isn't guaranteed and would be slightly pointless if you've got seed trees on site which would give the same result.
  4. Spruce Pirate

    Horse logging on peat

    It's a mini-skidder. Czeck machine, imported by RIKO. Winch rated to pull a ton, can pull a wee bit more, but not much (1.2 is the record so far. Pretty mobile, easily transported, good for small scale stuff.
  5. Spruce Pirate

    Pole saws

    I use two Quick Fists. (Google Quick Fist). Could be mounted either vertically or horizontally, or anywhere in between for that matter.
  6. Spruce Pirate

    Horse logging on peat

    Got one of these if you're interested. Low ground pressure, crosses soft ground pretty well. Could travel to the islands if necessary, drop me a PM if you're interested.
  7. Spruce Pirate


    Know a few folk who've done it with these. Supposed to be pretty good and do courses all over the place so relatively easy to find one. https://www.cafirstaid.co.uk/about-us/
  8. Spruce Pirate

    Hazard Tree take downs

    Ah, the dulcet tones of a rock breaker! My favourite time working on roadlines is when they stop pecking and go back to stripping. Scenery and tree size here not quite as impressive as yours but the soundtrack is similar.
  9. Spruce Pirate

    Which Forestry Safety helmet ?

    I had a lot of bother with the ear defender popping out when I first got the Husky Technical helmet, then one day it just popped back in perfectly and been fine ever since. Not sure what I did differently, it looked alright, but was forever popping out. Must be something subtle I'd missed.
  10. Spruce Pirate

    Signs you're approaching middle age....

    Barber trimming the eyebrows for the first time was a definite sign.
  11. Spruce Pirate

    In days of old when woodcutters were bold

    I've heard it suggested that modern two-stroke oil is good enough that you could actually mix it at 100:1 and it would be fine. I'm not about to try it out, but it does suggest that the oils themselves have developed.
  12. Spruce Pirate

    Wind blown trees

    Wow! This thread grew legs since I last looked at it. Can only find one picture of serious blow on the computer, taken by the harvester driver. I'm the little orange blob in the middle of it. Serious blow is best described as "challenging" and it seems a lot of people are worried this is what you're getting yourself into. By the sounds of it you're not actually going to be dealing with any serious windblow events - the landowner will do that, so you're really looking at single and a few trees down at a time which should be bread and butter to your cutters if they are experienced enough (no need to post a cv, I'll believe you have access to proper cutters). FISA guides, as I think I said before, are a pretty good starting point for generic stuff, and available for free from the FISA website. Other than that, as said before, shut the trail first, keep it shut until the hazard is removed. No lone working. Cutters to be fully PPE'd up. Saws and equipment to be in good working order. Emergency access agreed - location, type of access (4*4? Mountain Rescue? Helicopter), nearest hospital etc. Assess tension in stems before and during cuts. Restrain root plates with winch if required. Re-evaluate after each cut. Banksman/woman may be required. All these in no particular order.
  13. Spruce Pirate

    Wind blown trees

    Why aren't your cutters doing this for you? Sit down with them and the relevant FISA guide and you should be able to knock something up as a generic. Leave plenty of space for writing up the job specific details as each tree could be very very different depending size, species, location etc.
  14. Spruce Pirate

    Advice on woodland planting

    I've seen some extremely clean harvestable Nothofagus round here, round about 100' after just over 30 years, not sure about millable timber from it though. I'd guess it's a bit too fast to be strong? From memory it was quite a good free draining soil too so maybe not ideal for you. Don't discount Norway, the edgers might be pappy but it can produce some good timber too on the inside. Stress grading similar to spruce (proper spruce that is - Sitka) so the sawmills like it. Getting a proper consultant who knows the area is always going to be best as they'll know the local Woodland Officers and also what grants may be available. As far as knowing about planting, it's pretty easy - green bit up, brown bit down. Can't go wrong!
  15. Spruce Pirate

    Small planting job near Taunton

    Not volunteering as such, I reckon I could probably do it for about £5000 / thousand though!
  16. Spruce Pirate

    Advice on woodland planting

    My thoughts would be that clay might be a bit heavy for Douglas? Tend to think of Dougals growing in lighter soils. Norway spruce? Would Corsican pine grow? Not totally sure of the CP, rarely see it round our way. What about short rotation broadleaf? Poplar? Southern beech (Nothofagus)? Eucalyptus? All pretty much well out of my sphere of knowledge soils wise, but mostly pretty harvestable with a machine and you're pretty far into the tropical south down there. The thinking down the road forty years is a difficult game to play, in 1979 few people would have imagined the technology available to us today. I'd imagine in your part of the world that there is probably a big shortfall in softwood timber in the future so might be a good idea to plant some, but the flip side of that is that there might not be a ready market for it. Experience would suggest that whatever you plant will sell if it's good stuff. Keep it clean and straight, which is to say plant at the right density, keep the vermin out and weed and prune if necessary. Even the best of timber species are just firewood if they've got a lot of poor form and rot in them.
  17. Spruce Pirate

    Small planting job near Taunton

    I'll do it if you pay the diesel and put me up in some swanky digs!
  18. Spruce Pirate

    nptc cs 44

    Excuse my stupidity..... but what does this actually mean? I've read it three times now and I still don't understand.
  19. Spruce Pirate

    Husqvarna 365

    20" is fine, I've always found they'll pull a 24" alright, but wouldn't go as far as 28. Always found them good reliable saws.
  20. Spruce Pirate

    Rewilding in the UK: What is it and why is it Important?

    Woods and forests haven't seen a sharp decline over the past years. Been steadily increasing since 1919!
  21. Spruce Pirate

    Starting out in forestry

    Dunno, I'm just a woodcutter, not a statistician.
  22. Spruce Pirate

    Starting out in forestry

    I'll be less gentle: Forestry is brutal, your back will hurt, your hands will hurt, your knees will hurt, you'll be too cold, too wet, to hot, you'll get scratched, cut and bitten. You need a lot of knowledge on specs, trees and treatments, you'll have unreasonable people making unreasonable demands of you. The money is often not great, sometimes still on piece work so you really have to go to make your wage. If you do it for long enough you or someone you work with / have worked with is almost certain to have a fairly serious accident and you have to deal with that. It is certainly not for everyone. I have folk looking for work from me on a fairly regular basis, they all have to pass a few subtle tests to get a chance - not that I think I'm special and like putting people to the test, but it's a waste of both our times to have someone who thinks that commercial forestry is going to be all swanning about a wood like Winnie the Pooh looking at butterflies and bluebells (you can of course find ways of doing this if it is your thing, either recreationally or professionally). New starts always get the crappy, repetitive, monotonous jobs (stacking, banksman, re-spacing, clearing ditches, the list is practically endless!) - if you can cope with that you're worth developing, it's normally an excellent way of learning the whole job from the bottom up, it also makes most people far better at doing jobs further up the chain as they have a decent understanding of the work and a certain empathy with anyone who you may later be asked to look after / supervise. If after a day you've decided it isn't for you then it probably isn't. If you decide to go back then take the time to think about the job and ask questions. How much is the chip actually worth? How much will be chip produced? What other markets are available for that size and species of timber in the volume it will be produced in? I'd be very surprised if it turned out to be a waste of money. If you've got this far I'd stick with it, you never know you might be one of the perverse bunch of people who actually enjoy forestry work. If you don't you've only lost a week or so out of your life, shame to give up after the first day though.
  23. Spruce Pirate

    Starting out in forestry

    Forestry work is normally pretty brutal, he probably figures if you can make a go of three days stacking and still able to hack it and willing to stick around then you're worth something. If after three days you've had enough and want to jack it in then you'll both have learned something.
  24. Spruce Pirate

    Echo CS281-WES melted exhaust cover.

    I had exactly the same problem. Hot day, put the saw down, think it got knocked over onto the side so it was resting on the plastic, seemed to be enough to get the plastic to contact the exhaust and melted. I'd had the saw a fair while, just assumed it was an unfortunate incident. Plastic cover is now off, saw runs fine - just got to be careful to not touch the hot exhaust against anything. Should probably get a replacement cover really.


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