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Associate

Join Date: Feb 2005
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Moment Diagram for Christmas Tree..first casualty of Christmas

12/09/2015 10:19 AM

Just sharing a new Christmas story to get everyone in the spirit. i think all of us seasoned guys have been through a few of these events... So it was a long day and we just finished up the events and errands for the day. Its 10pm and "crash" from the other room. What the bleep was that? yup it was our 10' tree laying on its side. Glass is everywhere. Wife is about to flip, and I'm like no way. The tree was evenly balanced, properly installed in the stand, the cat was outdoors and the dog was upstairs.

So what happened?

The stand has a unique mounting configuration, it has a vertical tapered pin that gets inserted in an interference 3/8" hole drilled in the bottom of the tree.

The tree was fresh cut 2 days earlier.

Have used this stand for the past 10 years.

Upon further review i found a vertical split that extended from the base of the tree up four feet. It appears the interference fit of the pin was just enough to propagate a massive split that brought it down.

My fix was a 8" steel c-clamp as shown below, a dozen 2" screws trying to keep the trunk together and two new lashing lines securing the top of the tree to the wall.

1am + and the tree is back. Looks a little warped. I'm hoping it is still standing when I get home from work today.

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#1

Re: Moment Diagram for Christmas Tree..first casualty of Christmas

12/09/2015 11:03 AM

It will be interesting to see how that works out. I suspect the tree will dry out much faster than if the trunk did not split. All the needles are likely to still be in the house when you remove your tree after Christmas....Good Luck! and Merry Christmas!

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#2

Re: Moment Diagram for Christmas Tree..first casualty of Christmas

12/09/2015 11:11 AM

I used, and liked, that kind of tree stand for several years. Then Mr. Best in Show came on the scene, and I moved away from the place that drilled the hole in the tree. When I put up my tree by myself, fitting the spike in the hole and then standing the tree upright was easier than mucking about trying to adjust properly the four screws on a traditional stand.

Why would a fresh tree split so easily? I could see this happening where the trunk was dried out ... was there a pre-existing weakness in the trunk?

Hope all is well when you get home. At least this wasn't quite the size of the Rockefeller Center tree .

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Guru
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#3

Re: Moment Diagram for Christmas Tree..first casualty of Christmas

12/09/2015 11:28 AM

I might suggest sealing the crack, as Massey pointed out - it's going to dry out exponentially faster.

Also maybe add some Worm Gear Hose Clamps:

http://www.mscdirect.com/product/details/48710057

as the wood around the screws might loose integrity as the tree dries.

And, Welcome to CR4, by the way.

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#5
In reply to #3

Re: Moment Diagram for Christmas Tree..first casualty of Christmas

12/09/2015 12:07 PM

Delayed Edit - I miss-read your number of GA's as your number of posts... but welcome back anyway ;-)

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#28
In reply to #3

Re: Moment Diagram for Christmas Tree..first casualty of Christmas

12/11/2015 10:16 PM

In addition to the sealant, I would recommend Duct Tape prior to the clamps.

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Guru
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#4

Re: Moment Diagram for Christmas Tree..first casualty of Christmas

12/09/2015 12:04 PM

This happened to us before. I thought I had a photo but can't find it now. Anyway, it was the type of stand with the 4 screws, and it just tipped over in the night. It had a slightly crooked trunk which seemed to be the cause.

Either way, no fun!

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#6

Re: Moment Diagram for Christmas Tree..first casualty of Christmas

12/09/2015 12:31 PM

Congratulations on being someone who uses a real tree to celebrate Christmas.

Years ago, when I still lived on the family farm, my sister, brother and I would scour the farm for the best Cedar Tree we could find every Christmas.

Now, 60 years later, and raising 3 adopted boys, two pre-teen and one teenager, we go the nursery every year and they pick out their favorite tree, after some negotiation among them.

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Associate

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#7

Re: Moment Diagram for Christmas Tree..first casualty of Christmas

12/09/2015 12:57 PM

Thanks for all your kind responses and Christmas Greetings! Same to you all..I shall never give up on a live tree..and I think I will pick up a few hose clamps and some sealant on the way home tonight.

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#8

Re: Moment Diagram for Christmas Tree..first casualty of Christmas

12/09/2015 1:29 PM

Wow, never seen that happen....almost like the trunk was frozen or something...but then again I don't think I've ever used the type mount you describe....always the ones with the triangle blade or spike on the bottom to hold the trunk steady, and the positioning screws to keep the tree vertical...I have had to wire the tree to the wall to keep it balanced though...now I just use them all the time since I'm setup for it....screws in place behind a picture that hangs off season...

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Associate

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#9

Re: Moment Diagram for Christmas Tree..first casualty of Christmas

12/09/2015 2:55 PM

Latest update... Tree is still standing... spoke to the owner of another tree farm... there is more to the story... apparently over the past few years fresh trees are becoming much more popular, so much that the farms can't keep up with the demand if the trees grow naturally. Apparently some farms (including the one I cut at) have begun to heavily fertilize the trees. This makes them grow much quicker and it is believed some density and overall strength is lost. I'm thinking the combination of lost density and the type of tree stand being used is what lead to the crash. Think I might have to go further north next year to get a tree.

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#15
In reply to #9

Re: Moment Diagram for Christmas Tree..first casualty of Christmas

12/10/2015 1:55 AM

That explanation makes sense. When I was young, I asked my dad why did we use Oregon pine (that's the colloquial name here) for floors and furniture, when we have massive pine plantations locally (mostly in semi-tropical or high-rainfall areas). He explained that due to us not really having cold winters here, with plantations in high rainfall and high temperature areas, our pine grows a lot faster than overseas, irrespective of the species, and is therefore much softer than imported pine from colder climates that grows more slowly. That was later confirmed to me by a forester in our Lowveld area. South African pine is mostly used for roof trusses, cheap furniture and cladding, and paper. Even our pallets are not as long-lasting, I suspect! So to me, your "augmented growing" explanation makes sense.

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Guru
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#10

Re: Moment Diagram for Christmas Tree..first casualty of Christmas

12/09/2015 3:09 PM

Number 12 on the list of reasons why we have an artificial tree.

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#12
In reply to #10

Re: Moment Diagram for Christmas Tree..first casualty of Christmas

12/09/2015 4:01 PM

It's a lump of coal for you!

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#13
In reply to #12

Re: Moment Diagram for Christmas Tree..first casualty of Christmas

12/09/2015 4:37 PM

Hey - when you're in your 60's and both myself and my wife work a lot more than 40 hours weeks, there is no time for a real tree, or hours decorating. Just get the bagged decorated tree down from the attic. Reason number 1 and 2.

(I've had 3 days off since the start of November, one of which was for a funeral.)

Cats haven't ever tried to climb the artificial tree, and we have two cats. Reason number 3.

Should I continue.....?

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#14
In reply to #12

Re: Moment Diagram for Christmas Tree..first casualty of Christmas

12/09/2015 5:11 PM

You just can't burn it though . . .

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Guru

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#18
In reply to #14

Re: Moment Diagram for Christmas Tree..first casualty of Christmas

12/10/2015 7:54 AM

tcmtech could!

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#11

Re: Moment Diagram for Christmas Tree..first casualty of Christmas

12/09/2015 3:38 PM

Came here for the duct tape story.

/Leaves disappointed...

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#16

Re: Moment Diagram for Christmas Tree..first casualty of Christmas

12/10/2015 3:09 AM

Jingle flippin' bells!

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#17

Re: Moment Diagram for Christmas Tree..first casualty of Christmas

12/10/2015 5:48 AM

I feel your pain. I did an article on this problem back in 2007. It still hasn't been solved but the attempts are entertaining. Or annoying.

Merry Christmas!

jhammond

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#19
In reply to #17

Re: Moment Diagram for Christmas Tree..first casualty of Christmas

12/10/2015 8:33 AM

OMG!

"Automatically vacuums up dropped needles."

"Includes a cup holder."

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#20

Re: Moment Diagram for Christmas Tree..first casualty of Christmas

12/10/2015 10:33 AM

Good solution. You might want to seal the vertical crack on both sides of the trunk with some clear silicone RTV.

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#21

Re: Moment Diagram for Christmas Tree..first casualty of Christmas

12/10/2015 12:38 PM

As an owner of a Christmas tree farm; how can one have a real Christmas with a fake tree? We don't use the "f" word (fake) around our place.

A better stand is the kind that has a short chain that wraps around the trunk, as high as the ropes will reach, and then has 4 tent-type tightening ropes (light gauge) that is very easy to put up. We call it our marriage-saving tree stand. There are a couple of different sizes you can use. One is trees up to about 7' and has a plastic base that holds the water and the stump of the tree. The other kind is a steel frame with a wider circumference that will hold a tree up to about 10-11' tall. There is a plastic bucket that the stump sits in an holds the water.

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#24
In reply to #21

Re: Moment Diagram for Christmas Tree..first casualty of Christmas

12/10/2015 9:24 PM

I agree! Give me a fresh cut tree every time and I'll be happy!

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#22

Re: Moment Diagram for Christmas Tree..first casualty of Christmas

12/10/2015 8:21 PM

With the price of trees today, and the quality another commenter noted, haven't had a live (actually dead) tree in over 60 years. Dried needles and electric lights didn't make for a good combination.

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#23
In reply to #22

Re: Moment Diagram for Christmas Tree..first casualty of Christmas

12/10/2015 8:33 PM

I love a fresh cut tree too, but by God, keep them watered. Here is what happened to a family here in Annapolis that didn't properly maintain their tree. The fire was started by a faulty outlet or cord, but once it spread to the tinder-dry tree, it went up in a second. The smoke detectors all worked but the intense heat that spread so quickly throughout the house killed all occupants. So very tragic.

Google Search Annapolis Christmas Tree Fire

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#25
In reply to #23

Re: Moment Diagram for Christmas Tree..first casualty of Christmas

12/11/2015 8:31 AM

That is tragic when things like that happen.

A fresh tree won't burn. Don't buy a tree from a retail lot where you may or may not get a fresh cut tree. Go to a tree farm and cut your own. It's a great tradition and the tree will be supple for weeks, even it isn't watered.

A tree from a tree farm will probably be put on a shaker to get all the dead needles out, netted and then tied on your vehicle for you.

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#26
In reply to #23

Re: Moment Diagram for Christmas Tree..first casualty of Christmas

12/11/2015 1:10 PM

I set one on fire as a demonstration for our boys once.

It amazed them how quickly it burned.

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#27
In reply to #26

Re: Moment Diagram for Christmas Tree..first casualty of Christmas

12/11/2015 10:05 PM

I did the same thing one year with our old tree after it sat outside unwatered for a couple of weeks or so. That was an eye-opener for my kids. I will only buy a tree that I cut for the same reason. If we can't cut a tree, the artificial one comes out of the basement. Retail trees often times were cut in October, and some even late September. That's a recipe for disaster, especially if not kept watered well.

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