Cutting down a tree requires the right equipment, knowledge, and techniques. You should also exercise extreme caution and be aware of the risks of felling a large tree.
Choose a Chainsaw
Before felling a tree, you should have a list of equipment on hand. First of all, the most important tool needed to fell a tree is the chainsaw. If you plan on cutting down a large tree, consider purchasing or renting a gas-powered chainsaw. Corded-electric and cordless models may not have enough power to saw through a thick trunk.
Protective Equipment Checklist
You should also have several pieces of safety equipment, such as goggles, a helmet, a dust mask, hearing protection, protective footwear, Kevlar chaps. These should keep your eyes, ears, nose, and throat safe from the noise and sawdust produced during the sawing process.
Check the Immediate Area around the Tree
After you have your chainsaw and protective equipment ready, you shouldn’t fell the first tree you see, nor should you immediately begin sawing the trunk of the tree you plan on cutting down. First, scout out the area first and determine that the area around the tree is safe and clear of anything that can become damaged in the process.
Choose a Fall Path
Assuming you have all the government and municipality permits ready, the next step is to determine the falling path of the tree and ensure that it falls in the least damaging direction for both the tree and yourself. You can check the natural lean of the tree to help you find its falling path, but if it leans towards the direction of your home or can obstruct a road, then you’ll need to assist the tree in falling in the correct direction. Tie some ropes around the tree of the trunk and be prepared to pull the tree towards the falling direction. Take note that when tugging on the trunk, you should never EVER stand directly under the felling path of the tree for obvious reasons.
Cut Out a Notch in the Trunk
To control the fall path, you need to take your chainsaw and cut out a small notch in the felling direction of the tree. To cut the notch, take your chainsaw and cut at a 70° to 72° angle downwards into the tree trunk. After the first cut is made, take the chainsaw and cut horizontally into the tree trunk, making the blade meet where the angular cut ended. This should produce a wedge of wood that can easily be taken out of the trunk. The horizontal cut should not surpass the 1/3 the width of the trunk. If possible, ensure that the second horizontal cut is at least one foot high off the ground.
Make a Bore Cut on the Other Side of the Notch
After cutting out the notch in the felling direction you want, make sure that your ropes are secured, and anyone accompanying you is ready for action. When the ropes and helpers are ready to fell the tree, take the chainsaw to the other side of the trunk and begin making the bore cut. As the bore cut is being made, the helpers should begin tugging on the ropes to encourage the tree to fell in the right direction. Go slowly and exercise caution as you begin the bore cut. Slowly bring the chainsaw into the trunk and have the blade meet the horizontal cut of the notch.
Felling the Tree
As the tree begins leaning, your helpers should begin tugging with fury to force the tree downward and towards the fall path. As the tree begins to fall, quickly but carefully walk away from the tree. When the tree has fallen, wait a few moments for the trunk, branches, and tree to settle. After everything is safe and the tree is properly down, portion out the trunk as you wish.
Felling a tree is perhaps the grandest thing you can do with a chainsaw. This means that there is no excuse for working without the proper gear and equipment. Also, if felling large, thick trees, never work alone, and have multiple people – experienced folk if possible – help you in determining the fall patch, making the notch, making the bore cut, and portioning the trunk. If everything is done correctly, then you should have the lumber ready to make beautiful wood furniture.