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Hand chain saws

 
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That's not the right word for those things... Can someone please tell me what is so I can change the title?

I'm thinking about the things that are a chainsaw chain that's not a loop, has a rope at each end and you cut branches off with it.

I need to cut some branches off a couple of maple trees. Not a lot of branches, not huge ones (maybe 4 inches, 6 at most.)  I have pole saws, I'm past my reach, and it hurts to saw that high up, really bad leverage. I'm trying to remove the low hanging stuff that is blocking the sun from my solar heater  ( Solar heater upgrading  )  and a lot of it hangs down from higher up than I can reach. I can pick at each low branch, or I can try to remove the branch that they are all coming off of.  

Have you ever used one? Are they worth it? What if I have someone else on the other end? Are there good and bad brands you can point me to?


Can you think of a better way that's cheap, I can get way higher than I can reach, that can be done without so much upper body strength?

I can get it over the branches, if I am not going for sawing leverage, I can add another 10 feet of PVC pipe to my pole saw extension and put a hook on it to place the chain where I want it. I would not be able to throw it, I throw like a girl and I know it :D

Thank you for any advice or suggestions!  

:D


EDIT: I ended up buying THIS saw  Hand Chain Saw for High Limb Tree Branch with 50 Inch Long Chainsaw 34 Blades on Double Sides and Two 5M Ropes    and I like it. Read on for pros, cons and what I learned.
 
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Pearl, maybe a wire saw???

https://www.sawtoolsguide.com/best-wire-saw/
 
Terry Byrne
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How high off the ground? Do you have access to a human helper or is it just all Pearl Power?
 
Pearl Sutton
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Terry Byrne wrote:Pearl, maybe a wire saw???

https://www.sawtoolsguide.com/best-wire-saw/



Nope. Not a wire saw. It's a chunk of chainsaw chain.
Wire saws are different animals. I have them, no way they'd cut branches like this. I use them for cutting plumbing with no clearance.
 
Pearl Sutton
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Terry Byrne wrote:How high off the ground? Do you have access to a human helper or is it just all Pearl Power?


I can't touch them with the pole saw with it's extension all the way up, so over 15 feet or so. But I could reach them if I added a 10 foot piece of PVC pipe to the pole saw.
Only human helper I would have is a female older than me. And I'm 59. I would be the strong one involved.
 
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They are a saw and they are a chain... I haven't used one myself, though I have been curious. All the reviews I have heard are bad. The ones I have seen in stores are quite cheap looking. Very dull teeth usually. These are not standard saw chains for power saws, though. I think I have seen some made from them, though. Your local Walmart probably has its saw chains on clearance right now like mine. You might find one cheap enough to cut and try to make one. You might put a a bungee cord or weight on one end of the rope to pull it back, so you can use both hands to pull it forward to make it easier.
 
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I always called them rope saws. They work pretty well once you get the cutting park up to the branch you want down. I've found that the chain binds less when you have two people working the saw (so the rope forms a teepee shape). https://www.amazon.com/High-Limb-CS-48-Chain-Saw/dp/B0000AX849

To get the rope up there, they usually include some small weight (red pouch in the amazon link) that you can swing around like a sling to get some really good height. It does take a bit of luck and skill to get the weight to go over the branch you want cut.

Here's a video on throwing the weight.
 
Pearl Sutton
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I'm under the impression chain saw chains have teeth that cut one way, and these cut both.

Please correct me if I'm wrong. Chainsaw chain is easy to find.
 
Pearl Sutton
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John Wolfram wrote:I always called them rope saws. They work pretty well once you get the cutting park up to the branch you want down. I've found that the chain binds less when you have two people working the saw (so the rope forms a teepee shape). https://www.amazon.com/High-Limb-CS-48-Chain-Saw/dp/B0000AX849

To get the rope up there, they usually include some small weight (red pouch in the amazon link) that you can swing around like a sling to get some really good height. It does take a bit of luck and skill to get the weight to go over the branch you want cut.



Hahaha, I'd take out car and house windows. I know my limits. There will be no sling throwing without a good 50 feet blast range around me  :D

So the concept is good, and two people is better.  Awesome. I'll check that link.
THANK YOU :D
 
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I have no experience with these saws, but I have taken down tall trees with very little in the way of tools.
I'm usually on my own so I use ratchet straps to control where things  fall and to keep the kerf open.
By putting strain on the branch I often only have to cut  it halfway before it splits.


Sometimes I nibble away at a branch , small bits to large, but other times the little branches and foliage slow and cushion the fall.

Angle and reach matter a lot, so I usually  work from top of the an 8' step ladder.
I am ridiculously comfortable there from my time as an electrician so I do a lot of "unsafe" things like straddling the top.
Even if you follow OSHA standards for use, a 6 or 8 foot ladder  can really help.
I will even do the cartoonish thing, leaning an extension ladder against the branch I'm cutting... so far I haven't made the cartoon mistake of cutting off the wrong part!

It occurs to me that a chainsaw chain that was sufficiently long, say 10 t0 15 feet could be more effective than the conventional rope saw.
You could tie one end to the line that you have over the branch, pull the chain into place and then tie the other end to the other end of your line.
Now that you have a loop, pull the chain over the branch in the direction it cuts in.
You will have a lot more cutting teeth to work with, and apparently, they are better quality.
My only concern would be getting it stuck.



Angle-of-the-dangle.jpg
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First-you-climb-on-this....jpg
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I have actually tried one of those chain saws. They don't work for (EXPLETIVE DELETED). And this was on a limb at eye level, pretty much the best conditions you could ask for. I am 93% confident that it won't work for you but there is good advice here if this is absolutely the only way. It won't hurt to try. I especially recommend 2 people. The only way I could get it to cut was but holding my arms out sideways, trying to make the "teepee" as earlier mentioned. Like with a pole saw, try to cut from the top as much as possible to avoid pinching.

I think attaching 10ft of PVC to a pole saw is definitely going to suck, but I really think it will be better than one of those goofy saws. Could you stand in the bed (or on the cab) of a pickup to shorten your length? Of course this depends on how safe you would consider that...

(As an aside I think hand chain saw is the right word. What we colloquially call chainsaws are actually power saws. I think.)
 
Pearl Sutton
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Dan Fish wrote:
I think attaching 10ft of PVC to a pole saw is definitely going to suck, but I really think it will be better than one of those goofy saws.


That would be just to get it into place. I'm REALLY good with hooky sticks of various types, I'm small and a dumpster diver. I can hook stuff you'd think couldn't be hooked, my dad used to laugh, say it was like I had another hand, very long, with a hook. I know I can put a rope over a branch if I can get a hook up there. And a chunk of PVC on the pole saw would be enough to get a hook over any of the branches I'm after.

And yeah, the saw is getting painful, it's straight upper body strength with bad leverage. Many strikes for me there. I was doing what William Bronson said about ratchet straps to add tension to the cut, that helped a bit, but only a bit. I was hooking the ratchet straps where I wanted them, and fastening them together up there, using a pole saw with a nail in it. But I agree, the saws suck, especially when it's right at the limit of my reach. Using the truck bed would take it down to I'm not quite at the limit of reach, now it's just upper body strength with bad leverage. This is the stage where I said there has to be a better way, that doesn't involve paying someone a lot of money to use a lift and a chainsaw.
 
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The rope chain saws are all garbage, the best I can tell. There used to be a good brand allegedly, but I never found it.

You could price the rental on a powered pole saw, but it might be too heavy and awkward for you at that reach.

The only other cheap option I can think of is to climb the tree (or use a ladder) and cut it off at the trunk.
 
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Is there anyway you could get higher rather than looking for a longer solution? Ladders, scaffold, painters platform? Something safe . . . Not like this
9B03BA5B-D4D3-4C73-BAA0-B83CD568EA3B.jpeg
[Thumbnail for 9B03BA5B-D4D3-4C73-BAA0-B83CD568EA3B.jpeg]
 
R Scott
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I might have found one

https://www.rei.com/product/199841/sol-pocket-chain-saw

No experience, but looks like what you were looking for
 
Pearl Sutton
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I spent an hour today, read a bunch on them, and ordered this one:
 Hand Chain Saw for High Limb Tree Branch with 50 Inch Long Chainsaw 34 Blades on Double Sides and Two 5M Ropes
I chose it because a LOT of people said they worked, but the things they hated most about them were:
1.Throwing the weight, I plan to use my hook, not throw, so that's off my radar;  
2. The blades being on only one side of the chain and you have to flip it to have the cutting side down. This one has blades on both sides.
3. The chain being short if you are using two people. This one has a long chain.

It was cheap enough to try it, so I am :D Will report back when it's been tried!  :D
 
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I took a small chainsaw chain and welded washers on the ends.
Tied ropes through the washers.

John is right.
You probably won't be able to stand below the limb, pull on each rope and expect it to work.
From my experience too much of the chain is wrapped around the limb and it grips too many places.
Makes it too hard to pull.
Having someone else on the other end with both of you far apart will let less of the chain contact the limb at the same time.
Having it cut in one direction is good because the weaker person can pull it back while the stronger person can do the cutting.

Tie a small water bottle to a string and practice kind of an underhand toss up into the tree.
I know you are going to look kind of silly at first, throwing straight up and running for cover, ha.
But you will catch on, I did.
I make my own tear drop throw bags. I got the leather from an old purse.
But throw bags and string are cheap,.. well Zingit static line is kind of expensive.
Throwing up a skinny line and using it to pull a larger support rope and the chain into the tree.

Even with 2 people far apart the chain can sometimes grab the limb so hard it can't be pulled.
On my chain I ground off the flats on the cutters on both ends for a ways up.
So there were only verticles cutting into the limb until the center flats would come along and remove the wood in the center of the 2 slots.
If the limb starts to come down it can pinch the blade and you won't be able to finish.
That's where taking the time to practice using a throw bag will help.
You can support the limb from another limb above it.
And have one rope to guide it down.

I took down a 60ft maple in my yard.
Well it wasn't just me, I think every friend in town got a "chance" to help.
Heard me say, "Hey wonna pull a rope?"
I had all the support lines tied so limbs wouldn't fall on a power line or something and was ready with the chain thrown into place,
all they had to do was pull the rope, then help guide it down.
Took us all summer.
 
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I trust that Pearl will make good decisions for her situation. For others reading this thread wondering about the problems with extending pole saws: They're awesome, but man is holding a long pole for a long time tiring. I love my 4 meter Silky, but it is a work-out to use.
 
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L. Johnson wrote:I trust that Pearl will make good decisions for her situation. For others reading this thread wondering about the problems with extending pole saws: They're awesome, but man is holding a long pole for a long time tiring. I love my 4 meter Silky, but it is a work-out to use.


Yes. The branches I cut with it were mostly right at the top end of my reach, my shoulder is still hurting from it. Bad angles for me.
I'm hoping this thing will work, I did read a lot of how to do it so it works best.
 
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Pearl Sutton wrote:

L. Johnson wrote:I trust that Pearl will make good decisions for her situation. For others reading this thread wondering about the problems with extending pole saws: They're awesome, but man is holding a long pole for a long time tiring. I love my 4 meter Silky, but it is a work-out to use.


Yes. The branches I cut with it were mostly right at the top end of my reach, my shoulder is still hurting from it. Bad angles for me.
I'm hoping this thing will work, I did read a lot of how to do it so it works best.



I trust you'll keep us all abreast of your experiences and thoughts, with it. My back, neck, and shoulders are giving me fits, and I've much cutting to do - both low and high, and our chainsaw is truly a pos. We can't even get it started, it's too heavy for me, and the pull start... well. It doesn't. Maybe if one of us was a very muscley, young man, but... well. Nope. And, I want something that doesn't require $$ input, every time we use it, and that can be easily hauled around our rough, heavily ravined property.
 
Pearl Sutton
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It just came. I unpacked it, glanced at it, that's all.

First impressions:
- I don't care for it's country of origin.
- Absolutely zero instructions.
- Came with zero weight or thing to hook weights on.  
- A fistful of S hooks with no instructions for use.
+ The chain looks good, some of them had a lot of links between teeth, this does not.
+ I like the double sided teeth.
+ Came with a sharpening file, that's cool. Looks like a standard 5/32 chainsaw file to me.
+ Decent rope.
+ Decent handles.

So, it looks functional, PROVIDED you know how to use it already, AND either need no weight or are cool with providing your own.
I think I can work with this. :D
 
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What are the weights you want it to have used for?
 
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Edward Norton wrote:Is there anyway you could get higher rather than looking for a longer solution?



It's too late as she already bought a saw, but I just remembered she did buy a bunch of trampoline parts a while back...
 
Pearl Sutton
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craig howard wrote:What are the weights you want it to have used for?



Most of the ones like this being sold come with a weight, or a bag they tell you to put gravel in to make a weight, then you sling that over the branch you want cut and pull the saw into place.

I just noted it in case anyone else reading this thread cared whether it came with one or not.

I don't want one, I plan to use a hook stick to get the chain in place.
 
craig howard
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A small 9oz bag and 1/8" string is what I use.
I wouldn't like to throw anything heavier than that.
Then I use that to pull the 1/4" line that is tied to the saw.

They do make slingshots for sending them into trees.
With a pole that's braced against the ground.

It's sometimes tricky to get the correct side of the saw facing the limb.

Like you, I bought my first one,..
but it didn't look like a chainsaw blade.
It was more flat.
That thing just went up and laid on it's side.
So flexible it was able to bend sideways.
That's one good thing about the chainsaw blade.
It won't bend sideways, it's either going to land on it's feet or on it's head.
 
Pearl Sutton
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craig howard wrote:
That's one good thing about the chainsaw blade.
It won't bend sideways, it's either going to land on it's feet or on it's head.



That's why I bought one with blades on both sides. It lands right side up either way.
 
craig howard
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Oh I see which one you got.
Having teeth on both sides will make it easier.
Especially for high limbs where it's hard to see how it's sitting.

I think having the cutters so close together isn't a good thing.
Too many cutters grabbing at once will make it hard to pull.

You might end up cutting a couple flats and sharpening the vertical pieces left,
like I had to.

Those S hooks look pretty weak.
Might want to grab something off one of those rubber bungi cords if it will fit through the hole.
 
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craig howard wrote:

Those S hooks look pretty weak.
Might want to grab something off one of those rubber bungi cords if it will fit through the hole.


Heh, you are talking to me... If I need sturdier, years ago I saw in a major intersection a bunch of hooks, all over the road, and their empty box. I proceeded to look proprietary and mess up traffic in the intersection until I had them all picked up. They are seriously sturdy!  Still have a bunch of them.

I'll look at those S hooks, see if they are wussy. Won't be doing this for several days. Won't have time till past Friday, and won't have help till Sat or Sunday.

 
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I bought one of the hand chainsaws you mentioned. It is an actual chain just like a chainsaw has but with rope and handles. I couldn't get it to work.  
 
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This is which saw I bought   Hand Chain Saw for High Limb Tree Branch with 50 Inch Long Chainsaw 34 Blades on Double Sides and Two 5M Ropes  

In theory I will have two teenage boys tomorrow to do the muscle work of the cutting. So yesterday I got the saw assembled, modified it, and tested it.

The S hooks are surprisingly tough, I'm going to keep using them. I don't think I did it the way they expected me to, with no instructions, I did it the way I want, regardless of their design. I only used 2 of the 6 S hooks it came with, I tied knots instead.

The ropes it came with were 15 feet long, too short for my uses. I knotted the two of them together for one side, and gave the other a piece of rope I had around that is smoother, won't bind up on the bark as the saw is being put into place. I'm using that side to pull the chain up into place.

I made myself a 25 foot long hooked stick, and got the rope over a branch. The chain slid into position nicely, no flipping it required since it has cutter heads on both sides.

Me and mom tested it, it works nicely. We were going for smoothness of stroke, without using much muscle force, and we cut about halfway through a 4 inch branch in a couple of minutes. Anytime we tried to use muscle force, it bound up. Keeping it moving smoothly cut easily.

We left it at half cut, to give the boys a branch that they can get their smoothness of stroke practiced before we move to the next one, so they aren't starting with the bark and the learning curve all at the same time. I suspect they are going to want to yank and use muscles, and I doubt that is going to work. I'm expecting learning curve with them.

At this point, I'm really pleased with my purchase, it seems to work well. More analysis after working with it! I'm hoping the boys show up, not holding my breath for various reasons, if not, it's pretty usable without a lot of strength. The hook stick being long and unwieldy is the hardest part, and I can do that part, so another person to pull the other side smoothly is all I require.  
 
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I use bamboo for my saw pole.  It is the lightest option for a really long pole by a big margin.  That makes it pretty flexible, but if I get in the right rhythm I can get more pressure on the cutting stroke, and less on the return.  Very little cutting pressure is needed because the saw is set at an angle to the pole, and the teeth are filed to a very aggressive shape.   More time sharpening in comfort means less time looking up and working hard.   I also added a sharp hook that can cut small branches, and haul down big ones that get tangled.  
 
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I have one that I use for cutting roots and whatnot. It works well for what it is. I haven't used it on anything larger than three inches in diameter. It tends to bind, but I thread it under a root and cut from above. Since you are going to be cutting above the branch, you shouldn't be having that problem. The one that you purchased sounds better than mine.
 
Pearl Sutton
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A lot of branches are down!!
Biggest one was about 8 inches.
Keeping it moving slow and smooth kept it from hanging up, the only time it got stuck was when one of them tried to pull too hard or too fast. Slow and smooth works perfectly.
One of the boys pitches baseball, on some branches where it would work easiest, I'd tie a roll of heavy tape to it and he'd throw it over the branch. The rest of them we used the long stick.
Having the hook stick (which I changed to a huge nail, leaving the point and the head both being able to be used as needed) on hand made it MUCH easier. Besides putting the rope over the branch, we used it to position it, especially if the branch partly broke and we needed to move the cut point, and when it caught too badly, I'd lift the chain up out of the crack and unbind it.
The branches we cut were all about 25 feet up. The wider apart the pullers were, the less it bound up. The slower and smoother the strokes, the less it bound up.

All in all I'm VERY pleased with the purchase. It did what I needed quite well.
I'd recommend it, but be aware it doesn't do well yanked hard, or forced. And that particular one had zero instructions.

Woot! My solar heater will see the sun now!!  :D
 
Pearl Sutton
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Pile of branches! Up to 8 inches diameter, and over 30 feet long. The picture doesn't do it justice at all.
Cut by THIS saw:   Hand Chain Saw for High Limb Tree Branch with 50 Inch Long Chainsaw 34 Blades on Double Sides and Two 5M Ropes  

Pile of branches cut with Hand Chain Saw


 
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Pearl Sutton wrote:

Keeping it moving slow and smooth kept it from hanging up, the only time it got stuck was when one of them tried to pull too hard or too fast.  

There are a lot of things like that - I wish it was easier to convince the BSB's* I live with of that fact!

At least you didn't give up and do what Hubby did - skid on the forks of the tractor at maximum height and an 8 foot step ladder on the skid. I decided I was better off *not* watching!

*BSB = Big Strong Boy
 
Pearl Sutton
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I was thinking about how I can do this without help.
The first thing that came to mind was the Log Splitter from the low tech forum The Best Log Splitter EVER

But  that led to more thoughts...
I think I could make this work alone with a classic teeter totter, with a weight on the other end of it. The movement is slow and smooth enough. If one end of the rope is fastened to the far end of the teeter totter, with the weight, and the other end is held by me and me and the weight go up and down, I believe I could cut smoothly. I would want one end in my hand, not on the machine, because if it binds up it needs fast reaction to keep it from being a mess.
 
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Pearl Sutton wrote: I think I could make this work alone with a classic teeter totter, with a weight on the other end of it.  

You must have been more successful at teeter tottering than I ever was. I would do better if there was some sort of spring involved. This may be because of bad memories. I think people didn't realize just how light I was as a kid - I only weighed 25 pounds when I entered kindergarten, so just about any kid on the other end was at least twice my mass and a key principle of effective teeter tottering appears to be keeping the mass on each end within a narrow gap.

The question will be, will the T-T end with the rope attached, pull down on the rope based on just the weight on the T-T? I think that's what you're planning.
So, will you be pulling that weight back up from the other end of the rope? Or will you be pushing down on the T-T at the same time as pulling the rope? If it's this second one, it seems to me you'd do better with a *really* long T-T.
 
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I think I'd put work into getting the balance right to work with my weight. I can shift up or down as needed to mess with the balance. Remember the ons that had a stirrup type thing to hold? Using something like that to shift my center of gravity so I balance more and less than the weight would make sense.
Part of why I hesitate to use a spring is I'm thinking it has to be very moveable, each branch has to be cut from an exact spot.
Might make it hard to doge falling branches though.
Hmmm.
 
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Pearl Sutton wrote:Might make it hard to dodge falling branches though. Hmmm.

That's why I said you'd need a *LONG* T-T. And wear a helmet and safety glasses!

How about putting a sawhorse or two in a line perpendicular to the direction the saw needs to go. Rest a *really* long pipe on the sawhorses with clamps that allow the pipe to slide back and forth, but don't allow it to shift out of alignment. Attach the rope to each end. Think if it like a ginormous "Bow Saw" but with the blade up the tree? First you pull the pipe, then you push the pipe and the saw goes back and forth.  

Does that make sense?
 
I agree. Here's the link: https://richsoil.com/wood-heat.jsp
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