How To Cut A Tree With A Chainsaw

Cutting a tree with a chainsaw may seem like a simple task, but if it is not done correctly it can end up being a problem, especially with regard to safety.

One of the most common tasks for which we use a chainsaw is the cutting of trees. A task in which it is essential to be clear about the procedure that we must follow, in order to prevent the tree from falling where it should not or that a lost branch ends up hitting us. So that you have more clear how to proceed to cut a tree safely, we leave you some tips on how to proceed and gain in security, when doing this type of work.


Choosing the chainsaw

Although it is not a work proper, as far as the cutting process is concerned, the truth is that having the best chainsaw according to the calibre of the cut that we are going to do is something fundamental. We are going to go into detail, but as a reference, we should know that experts recommend that the chainsaw’s sword be 20% larger than the diameter of the trees we are going to count. This means that a chainsaw of about 20 centimetres of the sword would be enough to cut trees 18 centimetres in diameter, while a 45 cm sword would be suitable for cuts up to approximately 37.5 centimetres.

Anyway, if we use the appropriate technique it is possible to cut trees up to twice the size of the sword, although for the work that we will normally carry out in our garden this may not be necessary. But it is always good to know that we have this possibility.


Calculating the fall

One of the most important issues when preparing the tree cutting process is to calculate where the trunk will fall. Something for which we must take into account various factors, related to the shape of the tree, the orientation of the tree and the distribution of its branches. Specifically, the tree will tend to go to that area where the greatest number of branches and weight is, as well as the area to which the tree itself is oriented, which rarely grows straight.

Worst of all is that this fall zone is usually difficult to modify, so unless we make a shedding, the tree will fall practically in the area where it naturally has to fall. Something that forces us to take precautions in this regard, as well as to verify the safety when throwing it away, as we will see below.


Preparing the drop zone

In order to avoid problems during the fall of the tree, it is necessary to check that there are no elements that the tree can drag during its fall. Among these elements, we have electrical or telephone cables, street lamps, fences, antennas or any other element that may end up being a problem.

Something similar occurs with the fall zone, from which we must eliminate everything we can, in order to prevent these objects from breaking with said fall. A precaution that we must also extend to the area adjacent to that of the fall since it is very likely that the branches that are part of the tree will split and can shoot in any direction. So the fewer risks, the better.


Latest security measures

To top off security measures, we have a couple of steps left. The first is to establish the escape route. This is the route through which we will escape once the tree begins to fall. The route must be free of objects that can cause a stumble and always be focused on the opposite area to which the tree will fall.

In parallel, we must signal the safety zone necessary to avoid risks, both in the fall zone and in the work zone in which we are. In these areas there should be no people or animals at the time we start working.


Tree shedding

Having said all this, it is time to proceed to the court itself. The first thing we have to cut are those large branches located in the area opposite the one on which we want the tree to fall. The idea is to leave more weight on the side of the tree towards which we want it to fall so that the gravity and weight of these branches help us to direct its fall.

In general, there is no concrete approach to how this shedding should be done, although its thing is to remove the thickest branches from the area, as well as all those branches that may disturb during the wedge cutting process. Additionally, you can cut a branch that can disturb the fall in the area where the tree falls, although we must always focus the shedding on the area towards which we want the tree to fall.


Making the wedge

With the tree ready, it is time to take the chainsaw again and start making the cutting wedge. This cut is made in the area of the base and aims to orient the tree towards the ground in the way that suits us. We will start by making a cut at an angle of about 60 degrees, from top to bottom, at a distance of about a quarter of the trunk diameter. 

Next, we make a cut at 30 degrees from the bottom up, to coincide with the point of the previous cut. This wedge is what will guide the fall of the tree, so it is key to focus it on the direction in which we want that fall to occur.


Final cut

At this point, it is key that the chainsaw is well loaded with gasoline and properly sharpened since the next cut is vital and cannot stand for anything. We will proceed to cut from the opposite side of the wedge in the direction of it, at an approximate height of 3 centimetres above the wedge area and another 3 centimetres before reaching it. The idea of this cut is to eliminate the vertical support of the tree, so that the weight of the tree forces the wedge and, with it, its fall.

It is key not to overdo the cut, because we can eliminate the complete support of the tree and cause its fall early, which will surely occur without control. On the other hand, if during this process we hear a creak, which tells us that the tree is going to fall, it is vital that we leave the chainsaw on the ground and run through the escape route until the tree touches the ground.

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