How To Cut Down A Tree With A Chainsaw

How To Cut Down A Tree With A Chainsaw

Cutting a tree sounds easy, but it’s harder than you can imagine. It’s a tough process. You need powerful tools like chainsaws to deal with them, yet, using one is not an uncomplicated challenge. To your rescue, we are here to help you get educated about how to cut down a tree with a chainsaw. Stay with us and find out.

Guide On How To Cut Down A Tree With A Chainsaw

Cutting down a tree using a chainsaw takes a lot of planning and preparation. One small error in setting up the arrangements and you could get wounded or even lose your life. But, we will provide a step by step guide to making sure that you’re ready and know everything required to pull off this job.

Moreover, you will get more information regarding tree trimming and cutting in Tree Cutting Dublin.  Now, let’s start our tree cutting procedure…

Required Equipment

chainsaw safety equipment

1. Measure The Size

Measuring how big the tree is and finding out where the tree will fall is crucial. It’s going to be a disaster if there’s any miscalculation and it falls over someone else’s property. Then you have to check whether your chainsaw is the right size for the job.

2. Secure The Area

The perimeter around the tree has to be secured so that there is no damage caused to people or animals close by. This is a must in forests or open spaces. Place warning signs outside of the perimeter and chase away the animals to make sure no one is near.

3. Determine The Fall Direction

When you cut down a tree, the most important thing is to figure out where to make it fall. This is quite simple and after choosing where the tree will fall, you just have to see if there is open space larger than the tree’s height towards that direction. A clearer fall path results in lesser problems.

Which direction the tree is leaning, has heavier branches and the course of the wind would play a role in selecting a fall direction, as making the tree fall towards that direction is easier.

4. Choose An Escape Route

Before starting your chainsaw, prepare an escape route so that you’re in a safe place to stand as the tree falls down. The rule of thumb is 45 degrees from either side of the cutting position.

5. Prepare The Tree

Pruning branches that are shoulder height or below before cutting the tree will give you better clearance. You have to be sure that there’s no debris, rocks, vines obstructing your ways as you cut the tree.

6. Mark The Places To Cut

To cut a tree with a chainsaw you would need 3 cuts. 2 of them are on the face and 1 at the back. The face cuts create a notch.

The notch is made on the side where you want the tree to fall. There are 3 kinds of face cuts to make a notch:

  • Open-Faced: This cut has a notch of about 90 degrees, in some cases 70 degrees.
  • Hum-Bolt: The top part of the cut is flat while the bottom is angled, creating a 45 degree notch.
  • Conventional: Opposite of Humbolt cut, where the top cut is angled and the bottom cutting is flat, creating a 45 degree notch.

The back cut creates a hinge as it disconnects the tree from the stump.

Mark the places so you have a visual cue where to cut, making it easier to control your chainsaw.

7. Start The Cutting Process

Cut Down A Tree With A Chainsaw

Start your chainsaw and begin by making the first cut to make a notch. Start with the top cut, waist level is generally a good height which allows ample room for the bottom cut. You should stop the chainsaw when the cut reaches a depth of about 20-25% the diameter of the tree.

Next is the bottom cut. You should start at a level that is proper for your angle as you keep cutting. Stop cutting when the chainsaw reaches the endpoint of the top-cut.

Finally, proceed towards the back cut. Move to the back while maintaining an angle and slowly but firmly make the cut. Make the back cut at the exact elevation for open-faced notches and 1 inch higher than the flat cut for the humbolt and conventional notches.

10% of the width of the trunk is a standard width for back cuts. You should stop cutting 2-5 inches away from the notch.

When the back cut is done, the tree should start to fall. If not, then insert a wedge in the back cut and smash it with a sledgehammer, making the wedge act like a lever giving it a push to tip over.

As the tree begins to topple, keep firm eye contact, and steadily proceed towards the escape route which you previously marked.

8. Limbing and Bucking

After the tree has fallen, you need to remove limbs and make logs. It is called “limbing”. Start from the top to all the way to the base. A stable footing on a dry place is a must otherwise there you might risk an injury.

After the limbs are reduced, the same process needs to be applied for the trunks. This is known as “bucking” and it is a time-consuming procedure. Just like limbing, you should start from the top and work your way to the base.

The length of each section is determined by where the logs would end up, 1 or 2-foot sections for home and 4-foot sections for a mill.


  • Get a good chainsaw. For average-sized trees, 18-inch saws are enough.
  • Use chalks to mark escape routes.
  • Don’t move directly behind a tree as it could fall over you.
  • If it’s a rotten or damaged tree, cutting it will be difficult compared to a normal tree as there could be unexpected situations. Be careful in that case.
  • Never take your eyes off the tree.
  • Don’t stand in front during face cut, do it from the sides.

To Conclude

If you followed everything till now exactly then by now you should have expert level knowledge on how to cut down a tree with a chainsaw. Don’t keep your chainsaw waiting. Put your safety gear on and make up the arrangements and let it rip.

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About Jose Wilson

Jose Wilson

Hi, I am Jose Wilson. I am an avid DIY woodworker. I love to try out new woodworking tools. In over 6 years I have tried several wood working tools including circular saws, table saws, chain saws, and jigsaw among the rest. My inspiration came from watching my dada work. I also learned that many people didn’t quite understand how to use these tools. Today, I have helped so many people to learn the use, benefits, and how these DIY woodworking tools operate. I have created a number of work-tools related posts, built websites, and developed social media pages. Follow me here to learn more.

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