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How To Cut Down A Tree With A Chainsaw Safely (First Time)

Cutting down a tree and make it fall may look amusing to many people, especially when they are watching the process on TV or something.

But beware, this is not easy when you are doing it for the first time. There are professionals who are trained specifically for this job and do this work for a living.

However, if you want to do this for fun or perhaps there is a large tree at your backyard which you can use to make furniture or something; you may want to train yourself in many different ways.

​First you have to learn the ways o​f​ how ​to ​cut ​down ​a ​tree ​with ​a ​chainsaw. You also need to wear protection gear for safety.

Many people do hire professionals for this purpose, but it is totally up to you if you want to be involved personally in the cutting process. Once you learn how to handle a chainsaw properly, this definitely becomes amusing and you may want to do this over and over again.

However, as a beginner, there are few essential steps that you must follow.

​Handling a Chainsaw

First, you must learn how to use and handle a chainsaw. There are several precautions that must be taken. Every chainsaw comes with a user manual, read that very carefully and properly follow the instructions.

Some of the common instructions may include wearing some stuffs while operating a chainsaw. For example, ear and eye protections are mandatory and it is good to wear long pants.

In addition, wearing work gloves makes the process easy and comfortable alongside steel-toed boots. Make sure you protect your head also, many people wear helmets, if not hard hats are good.

Every chainsaw comes with safety features, make sure you read the user manuals to understand what each of the safety features indicate.

For example, chain brakes are designed to stop the chain when an uncertain kickback occurs.

Other features such as chain catcher, bar tip guard, hand guard, chain oiler, stop switch and spark arrestor are all designed to make you stay safe in varieties of ways.

Practice cutting with small stones and try to feel as the cutting occurs. You must be able to learn to focus while the cutting takes place, if you move away from focus, accidents may occur.

Once you practice cutting, understand the different angles that allow proper and smooth cuts to happen. Always make sure nobody is around while you are cutting, for both safety reasons and to avoid mess.

Working with a partner or somebody who is experienced always helps. Make sure you keep the chain clean at all times, it is very important for the safety features to work properly.

There are different products available in stores that can clean the chainsaws, such as oils and lubricants. Carry the chainsaws properly and with care, as mentioned you focus from start to finish has to be high as you learn to handle the chainsaws.

This will help as you improve the cutting and gradually start cutting large trees, as focus is something that is highly needed while cutting down a tree.

​Planning the Cut

When you are cutting the trees, your safety gears should have more precautions.

For example, wear a logger’s helmet, they are designed specifically for cutting trees with chainsaws. They help to protect from falling branches. A face screen always helps to ears and eyes or you can wear the usual ear and eyes safety gears – whatever works best for you.

Safety glasses always help to keep the dust out. It is important that you are comfortable with the gears you wear since cutting the tree is a lengthy process, any discomfort may make you lose focus.

After you are set with safety gears, don’t just rush into making the cuts, there is a lot of planning that is essential before you start cutting. You have to realize, the main intention of the tree cutting is to make the tree fall to the ground.

When it falls to the ground, it makes an impact on the surrounding area, at occasions creating mess with dust. If you are not planning beforehand, you may be set for a lot of hard work after the tree is fell, you don’t want that to be happening.

Trees are really tall and when they fall they may take a lot of space. Make sure you have that space available when that happens. First understand, how tall the tree is and then prepare yourself for where the tree will fall when the cutting is complete.

There is a technique called “ax handle trick” – this allows you to set the direction to where you want the tree to fall. What you can do is, hold an ax handle and set it arm’s length, then close one eye and move towards the tree until the bottom of the ax is even with the top of the tree.

This is measured through the distance of your vision from the base of the ax. Your feet should stand strong at the spot where the tip of tree would fall.

Although this is an estimate, you can always allow extra space to avoid any confusion. You can always mark the area to get a grip of how accurately you have measured the distance and the height of the tree.

If you think you are ready to cut after this, you are wrong, there is another step which is important for you to take. It is about studying the tree, try to understand it, gather as much information as you can.

Look at the tree for dead branches, they may be stuck somewhere and may fall on you while cutting, so have a look if there is a possibility of that happening. See where the dead branches would fall, if not over you but other places as well.

Make sure those places are cleared. If there are buildings, power lines or stuffs that may cause damage, it is better for you not to cut the tree and perhaps call a professional. If you are cutting the tree which has enough free space around, you can go ahead with the cutting.

​How To Cut Down A Tree With A Chainsaw: The Process (step by step)

When the planning is done, you might want to have a safe escape plan when the tree is fell which is normally opposite from the direction of the fall. It is good to have the escape path set at a 45 degree angle.

Make yourself stand on the right side of the tree, while the tree is on the left. Rest your left shoulder against the tree and gently make a 70 degree cut with the chainsaw.

The cut should be made on the side that faces the direction of the fall, the place you have set beforehand. Use the felling sight on top of the saw as a guide, this is usually very helpful and makes the ending process much smoother.

Cut at a depth which is a quarter of the tree’s diameter, this is the best angle for the beginning part so that the ending cut that enables the fall is made at a safe manner.

However, the size of the cut may vary from tree to tree, it can go deeper if the trunk is much thicker.

In the process, you have to create a notch and in order to do so turn the saw sideways and cut horizontally. It is essential to plan the notch, this means the notch cut should be made on the fall side of the tree.

This is where your expertise on the chainsaw comes in. If you have practiced with the chainsaw previously, you have trained yourself to be flexible and smooth with it. This means, resting your shoulder at one corner of the tree while cutting on the other side must feel easy and comfortable for you.

In this way, you will be able to adjust the saw and cut in a way that allows you to point at the falling direction.  Make a center point with a chalk or something before making the felling cut.

For the felling cut, you have to move to the opposite side from the first 70 degree cut that you made. The height should be slightly above, many people like to have it placed just over the knee height so that it is convenient to kneel down.

If you have an athletic physic, this must be easy for you or perhaps you can practice doing it. Saw until you have enough room to insert a wedge. By placing the wedge, you can slightly push the tree to fall on the opposite direction.

For this reason, you do not have to cut through the tree entirely, you can leave around 10 percent space from the first cut and the felling cut, in the middle part. If it is a big tree, the process may take a bit longer and cutting deeper is essential.

However, if you are working with a tree at a garden or a field, such trees are not usually that big and so you may not have to work that hard. So, you have placed the wedge and you have pushed the tree to fall down, when it does, don’t forget to run towards your escape path.

The tree is now successfully down, but work doesn’t end there as there is another step to follow.

​Limbing & Bucking

When the tree is down you have more work to do, no matter whatever your plan is with the tree, the process of limbing & bucking is highly essential. It involves, removing the branches and you must start carefully from the base.

You can either cut downward call the pulling chain or cut upward call the pushing chain. The limbs may be placed at different areas both above and below the trees. Workout the best ways you can cut with the chainsaw.

For example, in order to keep the chain from binding you can smoothly perform offsetting cuts. Cut the limbs on the underside carefully with a good working height. You can cut all the above limbs so that there is room for the tree to be turned and then cut the limbs of the other side.

Large branches can be under tension and should be cut starting from the outside that works towards the trunk. You can do that before you are able to turn the tree.

After removing all the limbs, it is time to cut the trunk, this process is generally known as bucking. Look for an area in the tree where the wood would compress as it cuts.

Cut one third of the way on the side where compression can take place and then cut from the opposite side. Make sure the cut is around one inch deep on the opposite side. This helps the blade to keep from binding and would allow you to have more control.

Keep cutting the log from both up and down in ways that suits you best. Measure the size of the cuts and keep cutting the pieces until you are fully done. By measuring the size you can define how much space you need to manage and stack up the logs.

Make sure you have a per-determined space for storing the logs. Make sure all the pieces are cut at proper sizes, measure them while cutting and make it look professional. 

​Final Words

When you have taken all the necessary precautions and learned how to handle a chainsaw, cutting a tree can be a fun process. After you are done with your first tree, you may want to do it more.

There is so much you can do with the logs, from making furniture to start decorating your home in creative ways. All you need to do is work carefully and safely; as you learned to do so you will feel great about cutting down the tree.

Such good feelings are good to open up creative doorways, talents that you never thought you had before.

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