Get Your Gear Ready
First, you need to gather the gear you’ll use for the job. This includes:
- A chainsaw
- A helmet/hard hat
- A ladder
- Eye protection
- Ear protection
- Good leg and arm coverings
- Extra gas, chains, etc. for your saw
If you need any of the above supplies, you can check Amazon. They’ve got everything above (and more) for cheap.
Once you have everything together and at the site of the tree, you’re ready to begin planning your cut.
Assess the Situation
The next step is to assess the situation. This means to examine the tree and determine the best direction to make it fall, where you’ll work, your escape route and anything else that would be useful when cutting the tree down.
In general, take the following into consideration when examining a tree:
- The size/height of the tree
- The direction the tree leans
- Any broken limbs or branches stuck in the tree that will fall when you cut it down
- Any other trees leaning on this tree
- What’s on the ground around the tree
You’ll also want to take the wind’s direction into consideration and examine the tree roots to look for signs of fungus — this can affect the direction the tree falls when you cut it.
Make a Plan
After you’ve assessed the situation,you need to make a plan for what will happen when you cut down the tree. Determine where you want the tree to land, and make sure you have an escape route in the opposite direction of the tree’s path. If there’s an accident or the tree falls earlier than expected, you’ll want to be able to get out of there FAST.
Finally, it’s time to begin cutting. Determine where you want the tree to land. Make sure to pick a spot that’s close to being in line with the tree’s natural falling direction. You also want to think about what’s going to happen to the tree when it falls. If it’s going to roll down a hill, explode, or hit a rock, you may want to consider a different fall direction.
Next, you’ll want to make your first horizontal cut. This means cutting from the side of the tree that;s in the direction you want it to fall. Make this cut about hip height so you can have enough power to get your chainsaw about halfway into the tree.
After your horizontal cut, it’s time to make a wedge cut. This means making the horizontal cut you just made into the shape of an orange slice. You can easily do this by looking at the side. You have two basic choices when making a wedge cut: cutting from the top down into the horizontal cut (resulting in a 60 degree wedge) or cutting from below up to the horizontal cut (resulting in a 30 degree wedge). If you are looking to get the most wood out of the tree, you may want to cut from below.
Finish the Cutting
Once you have the face of the tree cut out, it’s time to perform the back cut and fell the tree. This is done by making another horizontal cut from the back of the tree (in your escape route) on the same line as the first horizontal cut. As you cut, the tree will begin to fall in the direction of the wedge cut you just made. You may need to use rope to guide the tree as it falls.
After your tree has fallen, you can clean up the wood to use yourself as firewood, for projects, or any other application.
As you can see, cutting down a tree safely isn’t hard — it just takes some preparation. Follow these instructions the next time you need to cut down a tree so you can be safe.