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The Begginners Guide to Tree Spiking

This file is intended for all you anarchists out there who, like me, wish there was something you could do to help our dying woodlands and our earth. This is the first of what will (hopefully) be a long line of Ecodefense files. All techniques described in the files of this series have been tested and are proven to work if done properly. I should probably say something to the effect of: “This file is for educational puposes only and none of the techniques described herein should be used at any time.”

“The author will not be held responsible for anything done as a result of this file. He does not reccomend the use of any of the techniques outlined in this file.”

And I say this, because well, I ain’t stupid. :) Excercise your rights, your freedom of speech, and your right to a clean planet.

Anyways, on with the file:

Q. “Why do we want to save trees? They’re just gonna die anyways! Why bother? THEY’RE USELESS!”

A. “Fuck off. We don’t need your kind of help. Take a look around, the world is dying because of people like you. Even if you’re not an environmentalist you should get a kick out of this, because it gives you a warm fuzzy feeling inside when you’ve done something that will cost someone a lot of money and time. Plus, you’re helping the Earth… So pay attention here!

Tree spiking is done to discourage the Freddies from chopping down a beautiful forest so that they can make a few bucks. The process involves driving a spike of some form (we’ll discuss metal here, other types later on) into a tree, either on a downward angle at the base, to stop the tree from being felled, or vertically somewhere further up the tree, to kill the blade in the saw mill.

Things you will need:

Single-jack type hammer (one handed sledge) 2 to 3 pounds

– connected to a lanyard so it can hang around your wrist

Several dozen 60 penny nails (60d) about 6 inches long

– these are the actual spikes. This is the largest “common” nail available. Remember when you’re buying these that a person buying 200 60-penny nails attracts attention…

Pair of small bolt cutters (14 to 18 inch)

– these should be connected to a rope in such a way that you can hang them around your neck and shoulders (like a purse.. heh.)

Brown felt marker

– one that will mark okay on metal. Should also be connected to a rope that you can hang around your neck (your gonna have more chains than Mr. T by the time we’re done!)

Smaller “carpenter’s” hammer

– not much to this item, if you don’t have one at your house… get get one from a friend.. Or buy it with your nails to reduce suspicion (heh heh)

Tube of caulk and caulk gun

– ya know, that silicon stuff for sealing windows.

Concealing clothing

– try to avoid solid colours.. Nothing flashy, earthy tones

Running shoes

– a good idea in case you get caught.

Backpack (Optional)

– good for getting to and from the scene with your equipment. Make sure you wrap everything in cloth if so that it doesn’t clang Green army ammo bags make great nail transports

Cheap cloth gloves

– keep finger prints off


1) Find a strip of forest that has recently been put up for sale or might be in the future. The sooner you spike a forest, the safer it will be.

2) Go out and gather all your stuff.

3) Use the silicon caulk to cover the ends of the nails. This will deaden your blows with the hammer, making stealth easier. *MAKE SURE YOU WIPE THE NAILS CLEAN OF FINGER-PRINTS WHEN THE CAULK IS DRIED!*

4) If possible, get a trusted friend to go with you. You can have him be look-out for you, or make him carry the hammer (MAN that thing gets heavy!)

5) Go into the forest. Don’t be observed going in, or coming out for that matter. Get all your gear ready. It’s nice if you have some large pockets on your clothing to keep the nails in there, so you don’t have to go digging for them. MAKE SURE YOU’RE WEARING YOUR GLOVES! 6) Okay, take your first nail. Decide where you want to put it. (Don’t get any smart ideas.. those things are sharp!) If you want to stop the tree from being felled, place the nail on a 45 degree angle downwards around the base. In doing this, you hope that the lumberjack might hit it with his chainsaw. This method is somewhat less effective because you’re not going to do any damage to the chainsaw that can’t be repaired in about 5 minutes, and you’d have to do it to a large number of trees before they’d loose any time. If you choose to drive it straight into the tree (to kill the mill blade), insert it at about eye level. (At least for the first one)

7) You’ve decided where you’re gonna put it, now drive it MOST of the way in to the tree. *DO NOT DRIVE IT IN ALL THE WAY!* Make sure about an inch is sticking out.

8.) With your trusty bolt cutters, clip off the head of the nail. This will prevent the Freddies from coming with their metal detectors and prybars and pulling out the nail.

9) Use the carpenters hammer to drive the now headless nail the remainder of the way into the tree. If you’re really ambitious, you can use a blunt piece of metal to push it passed the surface, but this isn’t REALLY neccessary, as long as it’s flush with the surface of the bark.

10) Take the marker and colour the end of the nail so that it doesn’t shine in the light.

11) Repeat steps 1 – 10 for every one of your nails, alternating the height at which you insert the nails (makes ’em harder to find). If a tree is smaller than 6 inches in circumfrence, don’t worry, just cut off more of the nail (so less is sticking in)

When to spike:

A general rule about spiking is “The sooner the better”. If you spike an area just before it is sold, it will be easy for the Freddies to find and remove the spikes. If, however, you spike an area YEARS in advance, nature will have time to cover the spikes, making it nearly impossible for them to be found.

Soooo… I say spike your favorite area of forest TODAY. In 5-50 years when it’s up for sale (and it WILL be up for sale.. Trust me), phone the company involved and tell them you’ve spiked it. They’ll have to spend valuable time and money to go into the forest with metal detectors to find the spikes. And if you’ve done your job properly, they’ll find ’em, but they won’t be able to remove ’em. Can you imagine the frustration? If enough trees are spiked, the Freddies will realize that getting a few bucks out of this land will be too costly to pursue, and abandon it.

NOTE: Be anonymous and call from a pay phone or divertor when you tip off the company!

Field Notes:

That just about wraps it up. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • If possible, work in a team. A team of 2 to 5 is best. Always have one look-out. Be wary of anyone, the forest industry has spent a lot of money on law enforcement lately. It’s better to be paranoid than sorry. You may want to invest in some walki- talki’s to aid in the look-out.
  • Wear a pair of goggles or glasses when cutting the heads off the nails. Those heads can REALLY fly.
  • Be careful when buying nails. Don’t go to the same store twice, or a store in your area
  • For really large trees, “Bridge Timber Spikes” are effective. They cost about .70 a piece and are much harder to find (therefore, more “incriminating”) They’re a foot to a foot and a half in length. They are also much harder to drive, a larger hammer would be used.
  • Work as high up on the tree as is practical. People tend to see things only at eye level.
  • Helix spikes are ideal for this job. They are long spiral spikes. The spirals make it difficult to get the spikes free, and next to impossible with the heads removed. Problem with this type of spike is that they’re somewhat difficult to find, and very expensive. You’ll have to call around. If you find a store that sells them, tell them you’re making a bridge up on a remote piece of land. You’ll need a heavier hammer with a longer handle, and therefore you’ll have to be in good shape.
  • Make sure your bolt cutters can handle the spikes BEFORE you get into the woods. (Seems obvious, but you’d be surprised..)
  • The best method for gaining access is the drop-off and pick-up. Have someone drive you to within’ walking distance of the intended target and then pick you up at a different location in about 3 hours time. NOTE: Time will vary depending on the number of trees you wish to spike
  • It’s not necessary to spike all the trees. Just enough in proper position to have a deterrent effect. The Freddies love money, and saw blades are expensive.
  • Be CAREFUL! Be careful to the point of paranoia. This is the ONLY sure way to avoid capture. Make sure you leave NO evidence.
  • Freddies seldom say it when an area’s been spiked. They hope that if they ignore the problem, it’ll go away. If, however you hear them talking about the crime, then you can be SURE they’re taking steps to find out who did it. So hide out for a while.
  • Avoid imported spikes, as they are generally of cheaper construction and might bend once the head is removed. Stick to the U.S.A. or Canadian brands (No, I’m not a patriot.)
  • Don’t be afraid to experiment. If you find a technique that works well, hunt down one of the ANON members and they’ll tell you where to find me. Any suggestions will make it to later revisions once I get a chance to try them out. In the past, nail guns have been used to drive spikes. I’ve even heard of a 50lb bow being used. Play around, but don’t get stupid.
  • Don’t get caught. If you do, don’t offer any info until you get a lawyer to advise you. This is not a light crime. People have been sent to jail for up to 6 months for this.

That’s it. Be smart, be safe, and be environmentally friendly. If you have any questions or comments, find me.. I’m in area code 905. If you know an ANON member, tell them, they’ll hunt me down.

I’d appreciate feed-back from any Earth First! members out there. I’m an avid fan and member. Gimmie a shout, I’m anxious to see how many others like us there are in the underground.

Working together for a blue sky….

Comments (10)

  • Ollie

    Hey there! i liked reading this would you email me with some other help on thi matter as the council are knocking down an entire woodland near me to build student flats and i wanna stopem!

    kitedj@yahoo.com Thanks!

  • Hannah

    I’m curious, do the nails damage the tree at all?

  • Pierce

    Your a dumbass if you think that killing the poor minimum-wage worker cutting down a tree is going to save the planet

  • J.R.

    Brilliant Article. Should consider a writing career.

  • Simon

    and what have you done to save the fucking planet?

  • Sligo

    Left one important piece of information out. Have your affairs in order, as my guys will convert you into compost here in Guatamala.

  • LOL

    You (writer) are a total douche bag like all the other environmentalists, peta memebers etc. As there are plenty of woods on earth your actions are just plain stupid and ignorant. Only case where it would be accepptable to destroy someones property would IMO be if some rainforest or such would be in threat.

    Best thing to save the planet would be killing yourself as people are the biggest threat to the planet as they consume directly and indirectly so much of earths resources – especially if you live in a 1st world country.

  • marika

    Do you know how many murders rapes and outrageous felonies occur in Africa, Asia and South America every protest?? Much more than what you thought. Know that, many peaceful activists such as priests and indigenous people were killed. their soul may find vengeance and rest.
    See Sligo??? His “guys” assuming their words, are none but a bunch of unscrupolous murderers, nothing compared to a broken chainsaws with 0,000001% of injury deals.

  • marika

    1Armed militia backed by foreign profiteers (primarily from China) descended on local villages and began soliciting workers for logging, issuing death threats for villages who opposed them.
    2 (Philippines) Two priests who
    tried to stop illegal logging in their provinces were murdered,
    another was sprayed with gunshots only days after he confiscated an
    illegal haul of logs.
    3(Madagascar)The local villagers have also suffered as tourism has declined sharply or ceased almost entirely. Some have resorted to working as loggers for minimal pay, while others have spoken out against it, often receiving death threats from the rosewood mafia in return.
    Brazilian authorities have fingered three men for the killing of environmental activist, Jos

  • marika

    The Brazilian Amazon remains a violent region. According to the Pastoral Land Commission some 393 people were killed in rural land disputes between 2000 and 2010, including 71 murders in Rondonia since 2001. Crimes are rarely solved.

  • Nick

    Most tree spikers get away with it. Also, crime or no crime, murdering people for attempted felony vandalism is a MORE serious crime. Even threatening murder is technically a crime if the threat is credible…..but I suppose its not a crime if you are just being a bullshit internet tough guy and the threat is not actually credible as I suspect.

    Tree Spiking is a crime…however, if you do it right you can avoid harming the workers and focus on harming the machines. This is very risky, but what about the fucking environment? Only 2% of the original ancient forests are left. People who think we should aim for 0% deserve whatever happens to them, even if they lose an arm.

  • Nick

    I am not against logging. I am against CLEARCUTTING ancient trees that wont replensih in our lifetime or even our great grandchildrens lifetime.

  • Drew

    Sparkling news, armed thugs, allegedly hired by loggers, have murdered environmental advocates. (as always, the wise men know)

  • klaire

    how do you make sure that the mining of th iron for the nails did not cause more environmental damage than what is possibly to protect?

  • thevoid

    Read Piers Anthony’s Geodesy Books. The spikes killing are very much exaggerated. Deaths that have occurred are from corporations cutting corners in safety gear for the workers, and inefficient equipment.

  • Anon

    Love it, and bless you!!!!!!!

  • Will

    I live near a paper mill…. Which takes away the beautiful forest I used to play in as a child. Now I have a way to make them pay!

  • Jared

    I am just now stumbling across this article and I have to say that you are a fucking idiot. Spiking a tree may sound like a good idea, but lets think about the repercussions. Imagine if there is a fire and the only way to save the forest is to cut down said trees. Well since the firefighters are ruining their chainsaws with every tree they try to cut, they are forced to pull out and let the your tree burn and all the others around it. People like you make me sick and don’t realize you are risking peoples lives along with the very trees you try to save.

  • Alex

    You misspelled a couple words in the text…as well as some grammar mistakes…not including punctuation marks because I am a hypocrite at that…. there is even a mistake in the title…. “begginners” should be “beginners”… How can I take advice on spiking trees from someone if they won’t even bother with checking the title. Sorry, just my 2cents. Cheers

  • larry

    pray I never meet you fools. If I ever catch any one of you morons doing this I will pour gas on you and set you and the rest of the forest on fire

  • Jake

    Okay. You’re not noble or righteous if your method of activism puts another person at risk. I know you *think* you’re doing something meaningful — you know, being some sort of Earth vigilante — but you’re just being a dick is all. It would be fine and dandy if spiked trees did nothing more than halt demolition, but if they go undetected, we’re talking exploding chainsaw chains and ruptured lumbermill saws. You know what happens to metal when it explodes? It’s called shrapnel, and it’s deadly. The dude going to work to make a living has value too. Frankly, by how sociopathically you raise the flag to hurt others in the name of nature preservation, that dude has more value than you do.

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