We spent a couple of days figuring out if this tree would try to kill us when we took it down, because it was rotten and hollowed out at the stump. I’ve watched my father and his brothers, who shared the experience of clearing a good thirty to forty acres of old secondary growth timber, drop trees like this on each other’s homes, or in my father’s case, across his own legs.

He was very lucky to suffer a few bruises and the embarrassment of having uttered the phrase “It’s not going to fall that way” before it fell that way.

I can still count the large trees I’ve cut down on one hand, and I’d like to keep that hand, and the other one, and both legs, while also avoiding being frog-gigged by a tree that skids backwards from the cut.

So I meditated on this tree for awhile, and decided to take it down at chest level, above the hollowed out part. The best solution would have been dynamite ignited from a dugout some distance away, but the only people I’ve known with experience with dynamite tend to tell sad stories of lost ones, or amputations, or violent recurring headaches. Or in my father and his brothers’ cases, damaged buildings, extensive window replacement costs, second degree burns, mayhem, and jail.

I was hoping to avoid wedging it against another tree, which I did anyway, as you can see in the above image. But despite creating a freshly dangerous situation, it’s not as bad as having it drop unexpectedly. I cut a hinge (incorrectly) in it with the chain saw, and then battered it with a decorative axe I purchased at Lowe’s until said axe flew into pieces (do you have any idea how much a real felling axe costs these days? Around two hundred bucks!)

The idea was to avoid having it fall while I was otherwise occupied trying to avoid a thoracic injury with the chainsaw.
I had to finish slicing it with a Swedish bow saw. Once I cut the hinge to about 1/8 of an inch in width and the tree still didn’t move, I walked backwards and stood behind a large double oak and wondered what the fuck was going on. Then, after a full minute it leaned over.

This shit is dange-iss.