How To Cut Down A Tree With A Chainsaw: A Thorough Guide

how to cut down a tree with a chainsawHave you ever wondered how to cut down a tree with a chainsaw? If so, and if you have an annoying tree on your property that would look better as a big stack of firewood, this is the guide for you. By following the steps laid out in this guide, you can easily cut down an entire tree in about 10 minutes.

The first step to destroying a tree is to find a tree. Once you have a tree picked out, first make sure there is nobody around and nothing that the tree could possibly collapse on. The last thing you want is your dog to get smooshed by a giant tree.

Next, you need a piece of good equipment. I recommend using a gas chainsaw for cutting down a big tree. If the tree in question is only a small tree that you can shake with your hand, you would probably be OK with a small electric chainsaw. However, if the tree has a diameter thicker than 16”, it is definitely worth using a more powerful gas chainsaw.

How To Cut Down A Tree With A Chainsaw

Pick up your chainsaw, make sure the chain is sharp, the fuel is in the tank (or the battery is charged), and follow these easy steps.

Step 1: Cut a Notch

The first step is to make a notch in the tree. This is not a small notch, but rather a massive notch that will go more than halfway through the diameter of the tree trunk. It is extremely important that the mouth of the notch is facing the direction you want the tree to fall. That means when you start cutting, the side of the tree you are cutting will be the side of the tree that falls.

To ensure the tree will fall in the desired direction, it is helpful if you tie a rope around the top of the tree so that you can help yank it in the direction it needs to go.

Step 2: Cut the Other Way

Once you have a sizeable notch cut about halfway through the tree, it is time to go to the other side of the tree. You will notice immediately once the notch is cut that the tree has started to lean. The moment you begin cutting opposite of the notch, the tree should be leaning heavily in the direction it needs to fall.

If the tree is not leaning, or if the tree is compressing your chainsaw and making it hard to cut, somebody needs to pull on the rope which is tied around the top of the tree. This will give you space to cut.

Step 3: Run Away

cutting treeThe final moments of your cut can be dangerous. You don’t want to keep cutting all the way through the wood. That would be completely insane because once your cut is close to reaching the notch, the tree is going to break.

First, you will feel a dramatic lean in the tree. Once it begins to lean seriously in the opposite direction, it is time to run away. And while there is no overly safe place to be, since branches can break apart and fling far in any direction, it is recommended not to be anywhere near where you were cutting.

The base of the tree, or the part that you just cut, could kick out and it would be like a horse kicking you in the ribs if it hit your body. Think of one of those big pieces of lumber they used in Medieval times to break down a castle door. That is essentially what could slap you right in the chest if you don’t run away in time.

It is important to note that not cutting straight to the notch will leave a small hinge which will stop the tree from falling. To finish your cut, you basically just need to cut through that short hinge and then stop. If you cut too far and your chainsaw goes through the notch as the tree falls, it is going to be a big mess.

Now your tree has fallen. What you do next is totally up to you.

Tips for Cutting Down a Tree

cutting notchCutting the Notch: When cutting the notch, be sure to make the top cut first and then the bottom cut. If you do this properly, the bottom cut will meet the top cut and the notch will simply fall from the tree. However, chances are you will need to make the cuts longer and longer until they touch and the notch falls out.

Tree Wedges: If you are taking down a big tree, more than 18 inches, think about using a wedge. Make your notch and then begin the cut on the other side. As soon as you have a bit of room carved out, put in the wedge and tap it deeper. Leave Your chainsaw inside the tree while doing this. The whole purpose of the wedge is just to keep the tree from accidentally pinching your saw and causing accidental kickback.

Have a Lookout: This may seem like a no-brainer, but you should always have a spotter or a lookout. This should be the person holding on to the rope that’s tied around the top of the tree. This lookout is responsible for your safety. If something starts to go wrong, you need to have open communication with the lookout because it could save your life.

Additionally, have a preplanned route of escape. Have two routes of escape if possible. In the event of a catastrophe, it is important that you have an exit route. This will make it easier when someone shouts, “Run!” for you to immediately know where exactly to run.

Firewood: To cut the fallen tree into firewood, saw through the trunk about ¾ of the way. Do this at whatever intervals make you happy for your firewood. Then, roll the trunk over and cut the final ¼. This will make life much easier.

Randy Peterson Cutter Life

Randy Peterson

Randy is a chainsaw enthusiast and an experienced lumberjack. He'll most likely be found cutting, chopping, and trimming trees, usually working with a wide variety of tools. Randy likes the outdoors and socializing with friends.