need unique ideas to get a 25 foot rope over a tree limb high up.

nickg5
nickg5 used Ask the Experts™
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I have a hand powered high limb chain saw. It worked good on the largest limb and a small one, but did bind off at a point. The large one was over the roof and as the cut got near 50% it just limped down the roof for easy cutting and removal.
The other limbs are smaller but higher up.
I have a truck in which I can put a 12 foot step ladder. This still leaves me a long way from the higher, but smaller limbs. I'm not looking to cut the limbs from ladder-in truck, but from the ground.
I can not throw anything straight. The bean bag on the end of the chain saw rope was hard to throw up and out. I finally had to use a 10 foot piece of EMT pipe to get it over the limb.
Any unique ideas on how to get this rope over the much higher limbs?

Thanks.
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Very quick first thoughts: Use a piece of strong twine first, once that's over use it to pull the heavier rope over.
To get the twine over I'm wondering about a bow and arrow or a lead weight fired by a catapult.
Do you know any fly fishermen? they have competitions to hit a very small spot at long distances.

I fastened a bow saw to a length of wood which I extended to 15-20 ft by drilling two holes and fastening two pieces together. I think I bound the join with rope as well, but it was some years ago. The point is that the 15-20 ft piece of wood was strong and light enough to operate a saw so to extend further should be possible if all you are lifting is a rope with a weight on it.

I'm glad the hand powered saw worked for you, I want to get one myself now, they've always looked useful but I've never really had the excuse to get one.
The saw did bind off on both limbs. The instructions say you need to stand under the limbs so you cut on the top and the sides. This is not possible on a few of these limbs. Some will have to be cut from the side, as I stand on the roof.

The saw works good, but you got to keep it moving, at least on the black walnut. If I'd stopped, I'd have trouble getting it started again.

I have used a 1/2 inch EMT pipe for my saw and it is very light. I can probably get two sticks or 20 feet, couple them together, and from the ground or the truck, be able to raise the rope, straight up. Straight up should remove the weight of having to hold it to the side.

As far as throwing anything over the limbs, my aim will be off, unless it is something very small like a rock. I'd have to be standing way on the side and that won't be a place where I can easily throw anything to get a rope over the limbs. The straight up, perpendicular to the ground, will make the 20 feet of pipe be light.
Since it did bind off, the limbs and saw were left hanging. I had to improvise with my saw on EMT pipe. This might not be possible very high.

I could get into a situation where the saw binds off, or the limb does not fall, but hangs there, well off the ground, and I can not get close enough to finish the cut with my regular limb saw.
Then the limb would-could hang until it died and the wind blew it down and some idiot claim it injured them, when in fact they are lieing.
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Thanks for the updateI wonder if you had two people working the saw, you could stand some distance apart and not be underneath the work and the saw would only be over the top third of the branch rather than wrapped around about three quarters of it. There would be less chance of binding and you won't get quite so much sawdust in your eye.
That won't help you with your current problem though. I had to look up emt pipe, I know it as conduit, made quite a good toboggan out of some when I was a bit younger. That should certainly be strong enough to dangle a weighted rope over a branch, but you need a strong joint between pieces. Binding it with dry hemp rope over about 12 inches and then wetting the rope to tighten it further ought to be enough to join two pieces together. Maybe use a length of plastic pipe as a third piece at the top to get you your full 25 ft.
The only dangers I can foresee with this are balancing a 25 ft long tube and having very little control over where the end goes should it decide to fall if the wind blew, or of getting the weight only partially over and perhaps caught by wrapping itself around its own rope. If you are aware of these possibilities you should be able to avoid them or to deal with them if they happen.

EMT is a light weight pipe and I can hold a 10 foot piece, extended, parallel to the ground with one hand.
Very light.
They make a coupling for this electrical pipe and there are screws that hold the two pieces tegether. Cost is under $2.00 per piece of pipe.

One issue I have, is having to use my limb saw bolted to the end of my current piece of pipe. I need to apply some force to be able to cut a limb.
Or to finish cutting one that is just hanging there.
There is a limit to how much force I can apply in a downward but forward and backward, motion without bending this rigid and light weight pipe.

Each tree, sort of branches out at the top, into 2-3 branches, or limbs, about 3-4 inch diameter. I now know this rope-chain saw, will cut them with no problem, until the blades get dull. Supposedly it can be sharpened like a regular chain saw blade. My Uncle actually had one and had never used it and let me use his. I am glad I saw it before buying one. The blade is about 24 inches long but very slender. I can see why it can bind off. It is not near the size of a regular chain saw blade.
Northern Tools sells them for $29.95.

The way I'm imagining the binding is that you have a saw wrapped ... errm... ok, imagine a clock face.
If you are underneath then the saw will be wrapped initially from 9 o'clock right round to 3 o'clock which is a lot of wood to be cutting when a straight saw blade will only be cutting two thirds of this when it is at the thickest part of its cut. As the flexible saw begins to cut, the entry and exit points of the saw will move to 4 o'clock and 8 o'clock and some of the wood from the top of the branch will have been removed allowing it to start to sag and close the lower part of the sawcut. As the saw is now in the wood below the centre it will be in the tightening area of the cut and will bind.
With two people (or one and a lot of running about), if you get far enough apart, the saw will now perhaps only be in contact with the branch from say 10 o'clock round to 2 o'clock so all the contact will be in the upper part of the branch where the sawcut will be widening as the branch begins to droop.

>downward but forward and backward
Down should be easy, the pipe won't stretch. By the forward motion do you mean putting pressure on the saw to try to push it through the cut? This should be a very minimal pressure, you move the thing up and down and let the saw worry about cutting its groove, that's what the tool is for and what people mean by 'letting the tool do the work'. Very often people force saws, drills etc, all it does in the case of a power tool is make the end hot and blunt quicker. It's very noticeable with power orbital sanders, if you lean on it it sounds like its working harder, the motor is but the sandpaper just clogs and wears out quickly. Usually all that is needed is a coarser grade of paper and a lot less pressure, it will make loads of dust and the paper and the motor both last a lot longer.

By the forward motion do you mean putting pressure on the saw to try to push it through the cut?
.....remember I am standing on a roof, and cutting from the side, or even at an angle to the limb. It binds in the direction of the cut. The limb tries to fall or bend in the direction of the cut. I'm trying to get as many limbs as I can with either sawing method from the roof. Then attack the higher ones from the ground.

Yes, two persons on the rope would work alot better.
One problem is, as I stand on the roof and use the hand powered chain saw, and the limbs get higher, then my cutting is from the side.
So, the saw is cutting top-northwest-southeast from where I am standing.
Bind off is determined by which way the cut limb is leaning. Most of the weight is down, or down away from where I am standing, or down and toward where I am standing.

I may be able to attatch a rope to the limb and tie it off in a fashion that pulls the limb away from the cut. By extending my saw, bolted to a 20 foot pole, and the limbs getting higher and higher = cutting from the side = issues as I go higher, though the limbs are getting smaller in diameter.
I missed an ideal photo the other day because I didn't have a camera with me. There were a group of tree surgeons taking a forty or fifty foot tree down to a ten foot stump. The picture would have been of one of them up the tree standing on a branch with a running (idling)chain saw hanging from a rope from his belt. The best part was how they had the ropes tied and it was easy to see that as each part was cut off that it was held by the ropes and gently lowered to the ground. I really wish I'd had my camera with me.

I would think that tying the limb would limit the directions it could fall and so give you some control over that and over where best to cut.
When I took my tree down I just reached as high as I could, got some rope around and tied it at ground level to the base of another tree, I had to make sure it didn't fall into my neighbours side. I had two upright limbs so I used one to tie the other to and to use to lower the cut off branch. Then reversed the ties so that the other branch was shortened. With each cut I didn't need to be so far up the tree and things got a lot more stable.
The coupling that connects the two 10 foot pieces of EMT pipe is secured with screws. There is some play in the joint. I'm not able to go very far off vertical, to get the rope for the saw over the higher limbs. Though the EMT pipe is as light as I can find, without going to plastic which could-would bend, I may need some other way to get the rope over the higher limbs. No one but me should be on the house, and from the ground I doubt even a baseball player could throw the bean bag over the higher limbs.

I thought the two pieces were secure but extending the 20 foot piece, too close to parallel to the ground, caused one coupling to break. The pipe did not break or bend, but the weight of the 2nd piece broke the coupling.
I have to keep it vertical, or close to vertical, and also keep the two screws in the coupling pointed down. This prevents the 20 foot pipe from trying to bend and break in the middle at the coupling.





The compression couplings are working alot better.
Now, I have the bean bag, and the rope that attatches to it, trapped between the large limb I was going to cut, and a smaller limb. It's 15 feet up and I have no easy way to get it loose.
I may be able to use a new rope, and throw the other end of the rope that is trapped, over the top, and pull, and that may let it loose.
Can you splint the joint in the pipe with a couple of pieces of wooden moulding - the hardwood stuff they use to fill edges to cover unsightly joints. It's usually a quarter round so two pieces opposite each other will grip the pipe and you can bind them with twine or possibly tape. If the splints were about a foot or more long this should give the joint a bit of support.

wooden scotia moulding:http://www.sourcewoodfloors.co.uk/shop/solid-oak-scotia.html

Looks like that moulding is used a lot in flooring so a local flooring fitter might have some offcuts left over after a job.

The ideal would be to find a piece of pipe that either slips over the pipe or fits snuggly inside. I did find some when I was joining some pipes to make a curtain rail, I think it was because the 15mm copper water pipe is measured on the inside and whatever it was I stuffed down the middle must have been 15mm on the outside, it was a very good fit.

If you can extend your pole then some kind of V shaped hook like a small fishing rod rest (Piece of bent wire coathanger) on the end might help you lift the rope and un-jam it? Sounds like you will need patience with this, one of those arms-above-the-head jobs that you will need to rest from often and drink plenty of tea or coffee.

Just a possible idea to give a bit more support to the pipe. No guarantees, this is a 10' piece of 20mm plastic water waste pipe and very flexible. It's a bit like working a puppet, but with two hands on the apparatus it is almost possible. I had to use one hand to hold the camera.

BendyNoSupport.JPG
TBarPipeSupport.JPG
FlyingOneHanded.JPG
I am as high as I can go with cutting limbs. I've reached the maximum with 3-4 limbs left. So, two 10 foot pieces of pipe is the maximum.
I believe the compression coupling on the 1/2 inch EMT is going to let me finish.
I already bought a piece of 3/4 EMT and was going to, if needed, insert 6 inches of 1/2 inch EMT in the end of the 3/4, drill holes and add bolts for a solid joint.

I need something rigid that can extend outward at an angle of about 60 degrees from ground level, though I am on the roof.
I'm pretty much maxed out on this as the two 10 foot sections of 1/2 inch EMT is close to the most I can physically handle due to the weight. Also, trying to stay as far as I can from the edge of the roof.

I'm not clear on how you are controlling your 20 feet of plastic pipe.
With my existing pipe, due to the weight, the maximum extension has me hold the last 3-4 feet and fighting to control and balance the pipe.
Can you explain how I'd control the flexible plastic?


The trapped bean bag has been lifted over the limbs by using a small piece of string with a noose around the end of the pipe. Once the bean bag is over the limb I pull and turn the pipe and it slides out of the noose.

I can recommend this hand powered chain saw to anyone. I've cut several limbs from roof top and ground. I have 4 left and then these 2 trees will be limbless. One of the remaining limbs is the largest in diameter and more more vertical that the others that have been attacked from the roof top. This limb will fall on the roof and I have been debating how to do it for 2 weeks. I believe it will come down hard. It's got plenty of branches to soften the landing. The problem is that none of the previously cut limbs break off. They limp down to the roof, or if cut from the ground, just hang there. Further cutting is required. On this last big limb this one won't break off either. At that point, I am not sure how I'll get it down after that. It is 8 feet up and maybe 5 inches diameter. It will fall hard.

We had a storm a few weeks ago and a big tree in the back yard split. The branches hit the ground and the large section of tree just hung there. The leaves were green. Later they turned brown and the limb died. It's weight caused it to break away from the tree and it fell down. So, on the large limb that will fall to the roof, I might have to let it hang there some weeks until it dies.

Surely, I hope, a dead limb weighs alot less than a live limb (??)

The bean bag may contain sand.
I might be able to put a Y connector or the end of the pipe and push it up and over.
The Y formed by the large limb and small limb is literally a Y, and the rope near the bean bag is firmly trapped.
>I'm not clear on how you are controlling your 20 feet of plastic pipe.

For proper control it needs to be a more rigid pipe, used the plastic because it was available and because if I could hold 10' of wobbly plastic pipe I felt sure you could have some control over 20' of stronger material.

The idea grew from thinking of a single rope tied to the far end of the pipe and held high above the head with the pipe in the other hand 'doing the driving' which would support a pipe at a good distance. Then I thought of fastening an upright to the pipe to fix the rope to so that both hands could hold either the pipe or at least part of the rigid structure. When I came to tie it on I realised that there would be more lateral control if I had a bar above my head with two guy ropes so this is what I tried.
Because I am using a very flexible pipe a single rope would do little more than pull the end toward me, but with two ropes I was able to balance the pull as well as lift the pipe into a straighter shape.
It's laying on it's side in the second picture as I needed to be some distance away to show it properly.
The first pic is to show how flexible the pipe is without the ropes, and the third is just to prove that even this bendy pipe can lift a bow saw at this distance with only a couple of ropes for support.
With two hands I can hold the pipe with one hand and holding the T section at the join above my head I can at least get the saw into a position where I could use it if the pipe was strong enough for me to push as well as pull.
I used the saw as it's something you will be familiar with the weight of, and probably much heavier than the sand bag that you need to steer into position (or maybe the tool that you need to free it from where it is now.
Rope of that thickness is much more than necessary for this, some strong twine (sisal, parcel string) would have done, but I have lots of lengths of that rope around so that is what I used.
Now I understand your design.
I'm not sure how I could hold the pipe and the T section.
 
I went to Home Depot and looked around for a Y fitting, electrical or plumbing and never found one.
I looked at the 1/2 inch plastic pipe and put two pieces together and it was so flexible, I'm not sure I could use it on my roof. There is a tendency to feel out of balance, when looking up, while working on the roof.
It takes two hands for me to handle this 20 feet of 1/2 inch EMT. Very wobbly at the far end. The bean bag actually has a noose hanging there, but many tries to get the pipe into the noose have failed.  

I've got 4 limbs left. Three can be cut using the hand powered chain saw from the ground. None of them just fall off, they hang and require further cutting.
This is the problem with the 4th limb that extends over the roof. Once I get it cut and it limps (or falls hard) until the roof stops it, how will I get the remaining 8 feet down safely without roof damage.

This bean bag may be full of sand and could be punctured with anything pointed and then may never be able to be gotten down.
I got a plastic 90 degree elbow and will drill a hole in the back of the elbow so it fits tightly onto the end of the EMT pipe. Then put maybe a two inch plastic pipe in each side of the elbow to create a Y and try to get that under the bean bag and flip it back over the limb.

This 4th limb has me nervous, it is more erect than the others and bigger diameter. I'm taking many days - weeks to analyze it. I think it will fall hard once the saw has done enough work to get it to crack.

I'm not having to use my saw at the end of the 10 foot pipe to finish off any limbs. The rope saw is finishing them off, once I move and get directly under the cut.
I've had 2-3 others over the roof and one came down fairly hard. not the limp down, but the final cut. The heaviest end of the limb is what is left to be cut.
I'm running out of limbs to some how use a rope to support the cut portion and lower it down. I'm fearful it might do something unexpected like flip over, the heavy end down, and the rope comes off.

The cable company did say to just call them the day the trees are cut down and they will disconnect the cable wire. So, two trees and 4 limbs left and then they will be limb-less. One of the remaining limbs is the largest so far, and the worrisome one.

I'll post some photos of what these limbless trees look like, and a photo of a limb hanging after the cut.
bean bag down.
I looked up today and the bean bag was about 6 inches below the fork in the tree. Maybe the wind blowing the large and small limb worked it loose.
So, easy pull down with my 20 foot pole.

I'm starting a new thread on rope knots.
thanks
Thanks Nick. Good luck, stay safe and use lots of rope :7)
r u a rope knot person?
see my other question.
I can tie them together a bit, I'll have a look.
Usually I just use about three that I learned years ago in the boy scouts, reef knot, bowline and clove hitch. Add a square and a diagonal lashing and anything else is just decorative.

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