Cutting a tree using a chainsaw is not just about driving a chainsaw perpendicularly through a tree trunk. There are some who do it that way, but we know that’s a practice fraught with danger, with frequent instances of trees falling any way they wish. That technique can cause injury, loss of property and disruption of roads, streams, and entrances, apart from the danger of loss of life.
The proper way to go about felling a tree is to control its drop and direct it to a direction where it won’t hurt anyone. The technique is a bit elaborate, and we’re here to guide you through it. However, we recommend you get a seasoned (or at least trained) arborist to cut your trees for you.
First, let’s talk about some safety requirements.
Safety to keep in mind while felling a tree using a Chainsaw
Your tree is very heavy. Lifting it is not going to be easy. So it is best not to risk someone, or something precious coming under it. Move your cars and trailers. Keep your pets far from the wake of the tree. Children should be near their parents at all times!
A chainsaw is pretty sharp itself. Imagine the damage it can do when those blades are spinning that fast. I mean, it literally cuts through wood like it’s its job! It is important to hold the chainsaw properly at all times, and switch it off when you’re done using it, and between applications.
There are clothing materials that are really essential when felling a tree using a chainsaw. They are designed to withstand the effects of a chainsaw and hopefully protect you from any accidents that might occur due to clumsiness or forgetfulness. Keeping your ears covered protects you from the noise which can result in ailments like tinnitus. The eyes and face need to be covered too, since there will be a lot of debris and chips flying in the air right along with dust and other unwanted stuff.
If cutting a tree close to a road, it is important to put a careful sign, if you cannot have the road shut down for the time being altogether. Your local government body can help you with this. Paying for someone’s damaged car or their hospital bill is not going to be a very comfortable deal.
Keep your chainsaw sharp and well oiled. Not only is it going to reduce chances of a mishap, it is also going to help you through the task by making the cutting easier.
Once you have taken care of these safety measures and put proper precautions in place, it is time to actually get down to felling the tree.
How To Fell a Tree Using a Chainsaw?
Felling a tree is serious business. You only get one chance at each stroke. That’s why it is essential to get each of them right. Here are the steps you need to follow to fell a tree properly with a chainsaw.
1. Get things in order
Take care of the preliminaries. Get people out of the way you’re trying to fell the tree. Put on proper gear for proper protection. Sharpen your chainsaw if it isn’t already adequately sharp.
2. Survey things
Trees usually have a natural bent. It’s going to be easy to fell the tree in that direction. But in case that direction is not feasible to try, you need to make sure what direction will be appropriate. See if some branches need removing, or if there are intertwined boughs or vines that can prevent the tree from being felled properly. If there are too many of these boughs or vines, they can even have your tree stay suspended midair, which is a very dangerous deal since all planning and effort can go to waste as the tree decides to go in a direction it pleases.
3. Plan the cut
Once the survey has been done, decide the direction in which you’re going to fell the tree. Clear the place of people, animals, and valuable property. In the direction of the fall is where you’re going to lay your first cut. You want to take out a hinge of wood in the direction so that the tree falls effortlessly in that direction. The other cuts are going to be behind from where you will then drive in wedges to lift up and eventually tip over the tree to the other side.
4. Lay the first cut
If you want the tree to fall to the East, say, the first cuts you want to make are at the eastern face of the trunk. The cut is not going to be horizontal, but in fact more close to the vertical. Taking an angle of 70 degrees approximately, bring down the chainsaw from the trunk. How long you want to make the cut depends upon how big the tree is.
This should leave you with a trunk that has a parabolic cross section on it with the plane of the cut lying at 70 degrees from the ground. You want to take out this bit of wood. Use the chainsaw horizontally at the base of the tree to meet the first cut and take out the segment of wood. So far so good.
5. The Tree Separation begins
Now you want to be careful to make the next cuts at the level of the horizontal cut in the last step. You want to keep only about an inch of space between the first cut and the ones you are about to make.
Use the chainsaw to make a cut into the trunk perpendicularly inside. Be sure to make the cut parallel to the line of the previous cut. Once the chainsaw is inside, bring it in an arc slowly to make the cut longer. Feel free to help things along by moving the chainsaw forward and backward as needed. Once you’ve made a proper enough cut, put in a wedge. This will keep the cut visible and help you in the next step too.
The final cut
Repeat the perpendicular cut on the other side. Bring the cut to the other side to meet with the second cut you made. Drive in another wedge. You’re done with your chainsaw. You can switch it off and keep it aside.
The tree is now effectively standing on a strip of wood that’s about an inch thick. It is strong enough to keep the weight in place but also easy enough to tip the tree over.
Making a final check to see that no one and nothing on value is in the way, begin pushing in the two wedges. You may use the blunt/flat side of your axe for this, or a proper hammer.
In moments, the strip of wood will break and the tree will fall in the direction of the first face you cut out from the tree.
Do watch out for electrical lines that might be going overhead, and for birds nests which have eggs in them.