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How would you go about safely and quickly removing a wooden structure on four legs with a chainsaw, such as an elevated hunting blind? Here you can see a few examples of such structures.

My idea was to bring the entire thing down by cutting one leg at a time, but I'm thinking this might be unpredictable, particularly if the structure starts twisting as it falls. A second option is to actually enter the structure and work from the top, removing bits to bring the total weight down to a safe level. Does anyone have experience with this?

Before anyone asks, the removal is legal and will be supervised by the police. The person operating the chainsaw (myself) has a sawyer's licence, but I've only worked with trees up to now.

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    "Safely", "quickly", and "chainsaw" don't fit together very well. The question description is internally contradictory. The structure should be disassembled from the top down. – isherwood Aug 28 '17 at 14:22
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    Safety is of course the main concern. "Quickly" meaning only that the structure won't be reused and can be completely destroyed in the process. – pogonomyrmex Aug 28 '17 at 14:54
  • You're likely going to have to reduce the structure to smaller pieces, before you can dispose of it. So why not work from the top down, and reduce the structure to small pieces as you tear it down? Or are you hoping the structure will be reduced to small pieces when it falls? – Tester101 Aug 28 '17 at 15:14
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The typical current-era approach for "demolishing unsafe structures" of moderate size is to use an excavator, not a chainsaw.

If the thing is not accessible to an excavator:

Depending on the specifics of the construction of the actual one you need to fell, simply attaching a rope or cable to the top and pulling it over might be the easy method to make it safer to cut up. If not anchored or poorly anchored to the ground, it may pull over quite easily.

Or, you could have the local fire department use it for a training exercise (and end up with it burnt.)

Another option that comes to mind is using a "manual chainsaw" of the sort sometimes used for limbing - a couple of feet of saw-chain attached to ropes, allowing you to be well-clear of the structure while cutting it.

  • Thanks for your answer. The structures are in a marshland in shallow water (likely waist deep), so they most likely won't be accessible with an excavator. Also, due to the risk of the reeds catching fire, controlled burning is also unfortunately out of the question. Where it is feasible, we will try simply pulling them down and try carefully cutting with the saw when they are already on the ground. – pogonomyrmex Aug 28 '17 at 17:54
  • On a "structure" like in the photo a strap around 2 legs with a come along attached to a tree should pull it down. Given you can't get any equipment in there. – Ed Beal Aug 31 '17 at 16:49
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  1. On a day with calm winds, cut 3/4 through each leg, near the ground, with the cuts all starting from the same compass direction. Post an observer to watch for movement in the upper portion of the structure and warn the sawyer.

  2. Pull the structure down with human, animal, or machine power using suitably strong and long straps in the opposite direction as the cuts. The legs will crack together. A crowd-pleasing crash will result.

  • Thanks for your reply. I will try to first bring down the weight somewhat by removing the roofing and anything not structurally crucial, either by using a hammer and crowbar or saw. Then I will use your advice, cut partially through the legs and pull the remainder down. – pogonomyrmex Aug 28 '17 at 18:45
  • You're welcome. Please upvote any helpful answers and select one if it meets your needs. – isherwood Aug 28 '17 at 18:46
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    Upvote for "crowd-pleasing crash". – dex3703 Aug 31 '17 at 20:52
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How are you going to remove the carcass? I see two ways, #1 burn barrel, or #2 hump it out of there and then into dumpsters. Either way, large jagged chunks will be unwieldy. Reducing it to smaller parts on the ground with a chainsaw will be hazardous because of nails and screws.

If it's viable to enter the structure, I would go to town with wrecking bar and hammer and deconstruct it, in reverse order of construction.

  • I will have to carefully cut it into manageable chunks once it is down. I realize that nails might be a problem. Since the blinds are used for illegal hunting in this location even leaving the carcasses behind is preferable to leaving the blinds operational. – pogonomyrmex Aug 28 '17 at 18:40

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