high winds took out the top of an aging pine tree near the house and dropped it in the only place where it wouldn't do any damage. It left a 35 foot sentinel standing just outside my shop door that has asked repeatedly over the years, in its silent way, whether I was going to trust lady luck again to guide its final fall or whether I was going to be a little more proactive and attempt to drop the big sucker myself.
Well, I knew it should be the latter but I procrastinated the task a long time because this shit scares me. I have taken down a fair number of trees in my day but been wrong in my judgement of their lean and fall just enough times to doubt myself. And I didn't have a proper length of chain. Last weekend I purchased a 30' length for another project so let's do this.
Here's the plan. Fasten a chain a good ways up the trunk using an extension ladder, then to a come-a-long fastened at the base of another tree in the direction of the desired fall. Cut the wedge in the trunk, begin the back cut, and add some tension with the come-a-long. Someone more experienced probably could have done this with just wedges to guide the fall but I was glad to have this set up. I cut the back cut within an inch of the wedge and still the tree stood. Back to the come-a-long and pull the tree down right where I wanted it.
Oh happy day. It worked.