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Wire Chewer
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I want to try to brace a tree that is splitting by drilling a hole through it and then putting threaded rod and washers. For some reason I just can't seem to get a hole to drill through.

Tried an auger bit, but I never have any luck with those. After a while it just stops drilling, and spins freely. I barely even made it through the bark.

So I bought some spade bits, those I usually have better luck with. This time I made it a little further but then it just jammed itself so good in there I will need an angle grinder to just cut it out and consider it a write off.

Is there anything else I might be missing that I could try?


Pic of tree: http://gal.redsquirrel.me/images/other/random/img_20200620_1243061.jpg
 

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Wire Chewer
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I was thinking some kind of straps but not really sure what to use exactly. I don't imagine a ratchet strap is going to be strong enough. The tree is kind of on the verge anyway so this is kind of a last ditch effort before I decide to cut it. I just find it odd that drilling a hole is proving so hard.
 

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I think the problem is that it is green wood, and the sawdust binds up in the bit. You have to drill as far as you can easily, and once it slows down, you pull it out and clean off the bit. Repeat the process. Don't just keep going at it if it isn't making progess, as all you are doing is heating up the bit to the point that it can lose its temper.
 

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As Marson said it is an in and out process to keep clearing chips and make sure the fibers are not accumulating on the bit.

How thick is the tree? A long sharp auger bit should have no problem working its way through. A spade bit needs the hole cleared more often as it does not feed the waste out as you drill.

Bud
 
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If you do decide to continue to drill though the limb, make sure that it is not much wider than the long bolt you want to put though the limbs. I have also heard that using original listerine and pouring that through the hole will help prevent any issues.

After all, people do drive nails, screws and other things into trees all the time and the tree just grows around it.

I would check with an arborist to see what they suggest as well.
 
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JUSTA MEMBER
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There are metal bands for mobile home tie downs.

I would get one of those and wrap around the tree, and then start tightening the band.

It might take more than one band to pull the thing back together, but it's much easier than drilling green wet wood.

ED
 

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Wrapping a band around the tree cuts off the 'circulation' in the bark, and will likely kill the tree. The OP's original idea - drilling through and pulling it together with all-thread is the least harmful way to do it.



I used a set of extended length twist drill bits to pull my cedar tree back together. They worked great. As others have said, though, you have to drill a little and back it out to clear the cuttings and then drill a little more.
 

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Wrapping a band around the tree cuts off the 'circulation' in the bark, and will likely kill the tree. The OP's original idea - drilling through and pulling it together with all-thread is the least harmful way to do it.



I used a set of extended length twist drill bits to pull my cedar tree back together. They worked great. As others have said, though, you have to drill a little and back it out to clear the cuttings and then drill a little more.
So those trees we see with those cables and guide wires wrapped around them are killing the trees, instead of straightening them to grow straighter?

Imagine that , arborists are damaging the tree rather than helping it grow better.


ED
 

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There is a difference between straightening cables, and tightening a cable around the trunk of a tree to pull it back together. Friction from rope/cable causes damage to bark and allows infection and bugs into the delicate core of the tree. Can also "choke" the tree if it blocks the resource paths just below the visible bark.

If you look at straightening cables they usually have rubber/silicone where it touches the tree bark sometimes even padding and foam to protect the bark. Also they're not left on for long periods of time; not as long as is required to repair the crack in OP's tree trunk.

I think you can't leave straightening cables on for very long without damage to bark. Have to move them around during growing season.
 

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Very Stable Genius
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Other comments about cleaning out the hole/bit make sense, but I suspect
your auger bits may be less than perfect as well. I keep mine sharp so they
pull through the work with little effort from me, except at the start and again
at the end when the spiral tip is no longer in the wood.
Note that I've seen many auger bits improperly sharpened which can make
them worse than dull bits as it can reduce the diameter of the cutting portion
ensuring the remainder of the length will bind.
 

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Wire Chewer
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Yeah was going to go in and out with the spade, but it got stuck pretty much as soon as the spade part made it in so never even got a chance to pull back. For the auger, I never had good luck with those and stopped using them. Even with electrical to go through 2x4s. More than half the time they just stop digging about half way through and I have to make another hole from the other side of the 2x4. Is there a trick to using those? Tried regular drill, tried hammer drill, tried slow speed, tried high speed. Only thing I did not try is my SDS boschhammer as it's not the right kind of shank.

Maybe I need a hammer drill with a bit more chooch?
 

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So those trees we see with those cables and guide wires wrapped around them are killing the trees, instead of straightening them to grow straighter?

AS Mystriss said, straightening cables have cushioned pads where they contact the tree, and they're not under constant pressure.



One of the ways to kill a tree is "girdling", where you cut the bark off of a ring around it. Wrapping a strap around it tightly, with constant pressure on it, will accomplish basically the same thing, just not as quickly.


If you're very careful to use straps that are wide enough to spread out the force and not put too much pressure on the bark, straps can work; I'm not saying they won't. However, the simpler and safer method is to drill a small hole, pound an all-thread through, put a fender washer and nut on the back side, and use that to pull against. I have a couple of them holding the trunks of my cedars together,that have been there for years, and the trees haven't suffered a bit.
 

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Red Squirrel, how big of a hole are you trying to drill? You can put thousands of pounds of force on a 1/2" all-thread, and the hole doesn't need to be bigger than a 1/2". It's better for the tree if the hole is just big enough for the rod.
 

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Wire Chewer
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Hole is fairly large maybe 3/4". It needs to be big enough for the drill extension bit to fit through as the connector pieces are larger than the actual bit.

I have a long thinner bit that is a more traditional drill bit, but it is not long enough to go all the way and it would be near impossible to try to meet the hole from the other side.

Next time I have a day off I will try to see if I can start the hole with that bit then use the spade to finish it, then put the long bit on the extension and I think I should make it through without needing to enlarge the hole all the way.

Another thing I'm almost curious to try is to find a way to fasten a bit to the actual threaded rod but I can't think of a way that would be strong enough. The spade bit got stuck enough to completely stall the motor of even a plug in drill.

I almost wonder if I will need to move into SDS bit territory and use my Boschhammer drill. Problem is the drill extensions won't work with that.
 

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@Red Squirrel, nice to meet you!

I'm in California now, but used to live in Cleveland Ohio, across the lake, so I know a bit about the flora there, too.

Bless your heart for trying to save your tree!

But, be warned that even if you strap or otherwise brace it, that tree is likely to be permanently weakened no matter what you do. Worse, that weak spot will become a bigger and bigger problem as the tree gets heavier and taller.

I hate to say this, but I think the best and safest thing to do is pull out the chain saw and cut it down, and, if need be, plant a new one.

The HUGE problem is that tree wood does not knit when broken then braced like human or animal bones do. In other words, if you break your leg, even a compound fracture, if it's set correctly, new bone forms to knit everything back together. Miraculous, when you think about it. When I was a little kid, I broke my arm badly; 50+ years later, all knit, none the worse for wear.

But busted, split or cut tree wood, even "live" wood in an otherwise healthy tree will not grow back together and will not regain lost structural integrity. Your attempts to fix it will only create avenues for more trouble.

The bigger the tree, the worse the problems.

Sometimes you can save a young tree, that still has plenty of growing to do. But a bigger older one, forget it. Dry tears, dry the wood and have a nice fire in season.
 

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AS Mystriss said, straightening cables have cushioned pads where they contact the tree, and they're not under constant pressure.



One of the ways to kill a tree is "girdling", where you cut the bark off of a ring around it. Wrapping a strap around it tightly, with constant pressure on it, will accomplish basically the same thing, just not as quickly.


If you're very careful to use straps that are wide enough to spread out the force and not put too much pressure on the bark, straps can work; I'm not saying they won't. However, the simpler and safer method is to drill a small hole, pound an all-thread through, put a fender washer and nut on the back side, and use that to pull against. I have a couple of them holding the trunks of my cedars together,that have been there for years, and the trees haven't suffered a bit.
Where did I say to leave the band on permanent?

Besides that the poster stated that this is a last ditch effort, before cutting it down anyway.

Trees do grow over anything wrapped around it.

I once was asked to fell a large tree, I got 4" into the thing, and ran into a chain link fence wrapped around it by someone from long ago.

Talk about a sudden JOLT, when your chainsaw grabs a fence wire.



ED
 

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I say again, cut er' down.

A weakened tree is a ticking time bomb as I know too doggone well.

Pictured below is a palm tree that fell over in February 2019 and smashed a truck, ripped out the intake line for electricity to my house, and cut power to the whole 'hood. That trunk weighed a couple tons, and was about 18" across. A tree like a maple, oak or pine will be even heavier.

It is true that palms are different in many ways. Trouble is, if you have an already large tree that's weakened and cracked, it won't grow to regain its structural integrity, and it will be, for practical purposes like my late palm.

That said, the problem is not so critical if your tree is in "the back 40" and won't hurt much or anything if it falls.
 

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