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wayne busse
wayne busse's picture
Felling trees safely
Iv'e been dropping trees for forty years without so much as a scratch. I've always made sure I had an escape path, the bigger the tree the wider and longer path. I've dropped huge black oaks with 72 butts and never came close to an injury. On January 5 I had a house full of company and was running low on firewood so I road down to the woods to cut a quad load and get back to the house. I found a little 8'' dead ash on the edge of the pond and waded into the briars and bush honey suckle to drop it and in a rush I didn't clear an escape path. When the tree went down the butt came back off the ground 4' in the air and came back down at me. I couldn't back up and the butt hit me square in the nose, shattering my septum, nasal bones and broke my facial bones from my eye sockets on either side of my nose down through my pallet, driving them 1/8'' inward. The surgeon said I was lucky I didn't pass out as I would probably chocked to death on all the blood, a nose bleed to end all nose bleeds. I managed to make it back to the house on the quad and we drove to the hospital which was only five minutes. With covid, I had to wait four miserable days at home before they could do the surgery to pull my facial bones and pallet back out and use screws and plates to hold it in position. After the two hr surgery I woke up with my jaw wired shut and they sent me directly home, again covid protocol. I struggled to breath for the first two days as my sinus was swollen and plugged with blood clots. Every time I fell I would wake gasping for air between my tightly closed teeth. I finally went to the wood shop and cut a 2'' piece of 1/2'' cpvc to hold my swollen lips open to get air through my missing back molars. A week later I went back to the hospital to fix my septum and nasal bones. Again more swelling and blood clots plugging my sinus. I get the plastic splints out of my nose next week and my jaw has to be wired shut for a total of six weeks. I've lost 15 lbs on a liquid diet and still have four weeks to go. All this could have been prevented if I would have taken two minutes to cut an escape path.
eddiemac
eddiemac's picture
I am so sorry. Let your story be a warning to all of us - always imagine the worst thing that can happen and take appropriate precautions. There's a reason logging is one of the most dangerous occupations. Wishing you a satisfactory recovery.
Bill
Bill's picture
Sure sorry to hear your terrible incident Wayne, I can only imagine the suffering and pain. Wishing you a speedy recovery. Thank you for sharing and the reminder to all of us to never let out guard down.
DavidM
DavidM's picture
Very sorry to hear about your injuries! It’s so easy to let your guard down and it happens so fast. Without you sharing it could happen again to one of us, but hopefully we have our guard up now. Hoping for a good and speedy recovery for you - will keep you in our thoughts.
eddiemac
eddiemac's picture
Does the response to this very tragic circumstance also serve the purpose of showing who is left among the Norwood Forum faithful - we who are not internet robots, who actually saw logs and make boards? If you are not a robot or someone who wastes other people's time for unimaginable reasons, please respond to this very serious thread if you have not done so already.
DavidM
DavidM's picture
Yes I believe that you are correct - I have been answering posts whenever because some people are legitimate forum users and there’s not anyone who’s got umpteen years operating a sawmill of to reply to their questions. I don’t know if Norwood understands the advantage that this forum gives sawmill owners! I used the experience of others to get started - I still do when I run into something I don’t understand.
wayne busse
wayne busse's picture
I got discouraged after all the photos I had posted on the forum were deleted not once but twice. I hadn't visited the forum for a couple years. Having nothing but time on my hands after the accident I visited the forum a couple weeks ago and was shocked at what I found. All the latest comments on threads had nothing to do with the topic or anything to do with milling. Several had links to escort services, what the hell. I'm glad to see some of the old crew of serious sawyers are still here. My hd 36 is still going strong and my younger son bought a building in our local downtown and built a large wood shop in the rear with a large showroom in the front. He can't keep up with cutting boards and epoxy tables and had to put a hold on any new commissions for the near term. We built a de-humidification kiln here on the farm and are planning to build another. I've been building boxes from walnut and cedar and ash desks for the showroom. We bought a 880 stihl and chainsaw mill to slab some of the monster oaks I cut from building sites and even bought a couple loads of walnut logs for a great price. This accident sure put a halt to all my projects this winter, book matched kiln dried elm for tables and by the time I get my jaw un-wired it will be time to start up the green houses in March. I hope everyone has been doing well in my absence. My cancer has been in remission for three years now.
DavidM
DavidM's picture
Glad to hear that you’re in remission! As far as things go on the forums there’s still a of the old timers “lurking in the background” so when I see their names pop up I jump in and see what they have to say. My HD36 is still running/operating very well and I enjoy it more today than I did when I started. Folks at Norwood told me that they are doing a complete overhaul of the forum platform so hopefully they’re going to have it up and going soon. Good luck and keep healing - a couple of years ago a friend of mine in Ohio was cutting down a dead elm try and he followed all of his safety precautions but when the tree started to fall an 8” branch in the top of the tree caught on another tree and broke off. He had backed away and was watching it come down so he never saw the branch come in under his hard hat and was unconscious when he face planted into the frame of his skid steer. He was lifeflighted to the hospital but brain damage was so severe that he never woke up. As we all know this is a dangerous job.
Bill
Bill's picture

Made a few things this winter don't feel like logging . Seems one of these deer came down to the house to spy on me in my office.

DavidM
DavidM's picture
By the way Bill - I think that you have a peeping Tom in that picture lol.
DavidM
DavidM's picture
I love the pictures Bill. I really love the benches! I cut a bunch of curved pecan trunk but haven’t done anything with them yet - I might copy your legs.
Bill
Bill's picture

Another view for you David.

eddiemac
eddiemac's picture
Nice benches!
wayne busse
wayne busse's picture
I like the design of the legs. I'm going to steal your design on some of my benches.
DavidM
DavidM's picture

DavidM
DavidM's picture
Doctor let me graduate from a walker to a cane a couple of days ago - I immediately went to the wood shed and selected a piece of spalted sycamore and made my own cane. I love owning my own sawmill. 😊
DavidM
DavidM's picture

DavidM
DavidM's picture
Knee is healing great and physical therapy is proceeding better than I expected.
eddiemac
eddiemac's picture
Good to hear. Nice cane, but doesn't spalting weaken the wood?
DavidM
DavidM's picture
Ya spalting does weaken the wood - but it’s gradual. I managed to cut this while relatively intact, but with some marking. It has held up really well last few days so I guess it’s going to work.
RW Moore
RW Moore's picture
Wayne, I am a bit late responding but do hope you are in full recovery. I would guess most of us have had our share of near misses and close calls. I do hope Norwood follows up with cleaning up the forum. I am rarely browse the site anymore as the click bait is irritating as hell. To all the rest of you, hope everyone is well and hopefully the next few months will see a return to some degree of normality.
KylerLaird
KylerLaird's picture

I grew up with chainsaws but I just use them for brush trees. For serious trees, I use a Marshall Tree Saw. You might want to consider one; it feels good to be in the cab when big trees are crashing down.