Log In

Come Join Us!

Are you an
Engineering professional?
Join Eng-Tips Forums!
  • Talk With Other Members
  • Be Notified Of Responses
    To Your Posts
  • Keyword Search
  • One-Click Access To Your
    Favorite Forums
  • Automated Signatures
    On Your Posts
  • Best Of All, It's Free!
  • Students Click Here

*Eng-Tips's functionality depends on members receiving e-mail. By joining you are opting in to receive e-mail.

Posting Guidelines

Promoting, selling, recruiting, coursework and thesis posting is forbidden.

Students Click Here


Why chip the whole tree?

Why chip the whole tree?

Why chip the whole tree?

For much of the past year, I've been living at my son's house in an older, quiet neighborhood in Eastern Pennsylvania. During that time, a small number of very large trees have been removed, some because they were just scary big, and one because it leaned over against my son's house during Hurricane Sandy.

These trees were all more than 50 feet tall, and one trunk was so thick that a chainsaw with a four foot bar could just barely reach its center. They were topped and delimbed, and all of that stuff went directly into a really big chipper. Lots of mulch and animal bedding, etc.

Then they used a crane to support the trunk at the top, and cut it into short pieces that were trucked away. That's the part that puzzles me.

Several big slices were taken from the base of the trunk, obviously destined to become tabletops, but most of the trunks were cut into short pieces, maybe four feet long at most. I.e., you might get a chainsaw sculpture out of each piece, but they weren't long enough to saw into structural timber or boat planking, and of the upper parts of the trunk, whatever would fit into the chipper, went into the chipper.

It just sees like a waste. Is mulch worth more than lumber? Or is timber harvested from residential areas just too diffuse a supply to bother transporting to a sawmill?

Mike Halloran
Pembroke Pines, FL, USA

RE: Why chip the whole tree?

Diffuse describes it, I think. Like with most everything else, economics rules. Another thing is that sawmills don't like logs from non-forest sources due to the danger of metal inclusions.

RE: Why chip the whole tree?

What kind of tree was it? Many are "junk" which have no value other than chips!!

RE: Why chip the whole tree?

Sandy's victim was a pine, remarkably straight, maybe 65 ft. tall, mostly knot-free for half its length.

Mike Halloran
Pembroke Pines, FL, USA

RE: Why chip the whole tree?

Does seem kind of dumb??!!

RE: Why chip the whole tree?

My guess is that it probably cost more to hire a logger, cut down the tree (without breaking the log or adjacent buildings), limb it and haul that one log to the nearest sawmill than the log was worth.

RE: Why chip the whole tree?

That seems sensible. They'd need a higher capacity crane than they brought to get one of those giant trunks off the stump in one piece, and they'd need a much bigger truck than they brought to carry it.

Still a shame.

Mike Halloran
Pembroke Pines, FL, USA

RE: Why chip the whole tree?

Could have been worse, you could have lived across a tree marked for removal from the town only to have them come at 7:00 am the next day after Hurricane Sandy when you had no power and nothing to do but sleep and have them cut the tree down.

RE: Why chip the whole tree?

Regarding the four foot long chunks, some wood pulp processing mills use the four foot lengths in their processes.

Mike McCann
MMC Engineering

RE: Why chip the whole tree?

Out here (Tacoma, WA) it is usually the homeowner's choice. Chips, sections for firewood or logs. As was mentioned logs can be expensive because of the size.

Sometimes chips for paper are worth more than lumber. However paper people are very fussy about their chips and I wouldn't think that was the case here.


Thomas J. Walz
Carbide Processors, Inc.

Good engineering starts with a Grainger Catalog.

Red Flag This Post

Please let us know here why this post is inappropriate. Reasons such as off-topic, duplicates, flames, illegal, vulgar, or students posting their homework.

Red Flag Submitted

Thank you for helping keep Eng-Tips Forums free from inappropriate posts.
The Eng-Tips staff will check this out and take appropriate action.

Reply To This Thread

Posting in the Eng-Tips forums is a member-only feature.

Click Here to join Eng-Tips and talk with other members!


Close Box

Join Eng-Tips® Today!

Join your peers on the Internet's largest technical engineering professional community.
It's easy to join and it's free.

Here's Why Members Love Eng-Tips Forums:

Register now while it's still free!

Already a member? Close this window and log in.

Join Us             Close