How to cut a tree with a hand saw

Felling trees by hand: Instructions and safety precautions

If during a spring survey of your land you find old, rotten or potentially dangerous trees which need to be urgently cut down, but you do not know how to go about it, we offer our step by step instructions.

Folk wisdom says that to break is not to build, but in our case other rules apply: plant. do not cut! If even the most inexperienced gardener is able to cope with the planting of a young sapling at best, then not everyone is able to saw down an mature tree. But with the help of this instruction you are sure to succeed!

Estimate the volume of the work

Firstly it is worth to decide if you really can cut down a tree yourself. It is one thing to cut down a withered rowan tree, and quite another to cut down a sprawling apple tree, which tends to fall on the roof of the barn.

If the tree is very big, with an irregular trunk and crown, or even worse, damaged, it will be difficult to cut it in a well-defined place. In this case it is better to seek help from professionals for safety reasons.

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It is dangerous to cut down a large tree, especially one close to power lines or buildings!

Estimate the amount of work

To begin with, it is worth determining whether you can actually cut the tree yourself. After all, it is one thing to cut down a withered rowan tree, and quite another thing to cut down a sprawling apple tree that tends to fall on the roof of the shed.

If the tree is very big, has an irregular trunk and crown, or even worse, is damaged, it is not easy to fell it in a well-planned location. In this case, for safety reasons it is better to ask for help from professionals.

It is dangerous to cut down a large tree, especially one close to power lines or buildings!

How to cut firewood correctly.

Technological progress is marching over the planet, and more and more intellectuals are joining the ranks of tourists. Growing up in cities and not having to use hand carpentry and carpentry tools. How many of you know the difference between a joiner and a carpenter?? But it’s not about that, it’s about how to save time and effort when making firewood.

What we will understand by the word right

By this word we mean getting the maximum result with minimum time and effort. With one caveat, we need to make a lot of firewood! This is an important caveat.к. in small volumes you can make firewood faster using not the best technique, but you will quickly get tired and lose interest in firewood ;-))

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Naturally, there is no right technique for every occasion! The technique of sawing firewood depends on the tool in your hands.

The first thing you should pay attention to is the position of the handle

If the handle is above the tines, you have to saw from behind. If it is below, then toward yourself.

Let’s start with the most compact and light ones and gradually get to the legendary Drujba 2

Chain and wire saws

Chain saws and wire saws are a bit different. When they are used, there is simply no choice in the direction the force is applied, only along the chain. Although it is not!

If you stretch the saw in different directions while working, and keep its shape close to a straight line, it will be easier to cut, but it will take longer. And if you pull the handles alternately on the opposite side of the log you can achieve maximum sawing speed, but you will have to work hard, because the chainsaw is not straight.к. The teeth will bite into the wood more and more.

This type of saw is the most compact for transportation and one of the lightest, but it is physically very difficult to cut a lot of firewood with this kind of saw. The reason for this is very simple. For flexibility, chain saws have hinged joints, and so they don’t interfere with sawing, the cutting width of chain saws is the widest of hand tools. Accordingly, to cut the same amount of firewood, you need a lot more wood to turn into wood shavings ;-))

Thus, this type of saws can be recommended as a reserve or for occasional making firewood in the warm season. When using such saw in a winter hike or for the preparation of a tourist bath you risk to get warm not by fire, but by physical labor, and at the same time to wash with your own sweat.

Garden hacksaws and loppers

A characteristic feature of such a tool is that the handle is either in line with the teeth, or moves away from the blade downwards.

If you pay attention to the teeth of such a tool, it is easy to notice that the working edges are directed towards the handle, and, accordingly, it is necessary to saw with such a tool towards yourself.

In this case you can save on metal, making the tool a little thinner, not worrying that it will be bent, working in uncomfortable conditions.

When working with a tool that has a handle below the tooth line, it would not be wise to saw away from yourself. Т.к. In this case, the applied force will tear the teeth from the wood, which will have to be compensated by additional pressure, and this is a struggle with itself. In case of work towards oneself the blade presses to the wood by its teeth and does not need any additional efforts.

The illustration below shows how the forces are distributed when the saw is guided toward yourself (in red) and away from yourself (with hatching).

You can see from the picture that when moving towards yourself the saw blade additionally presses the teeth on the wood, and when moving away from yourself the pressure on the saw blade is released. How this achieves ease of operation and the possibility of using thinner metal. This not only means lower weight and cost, but also less chips per unit of wood cut, and therefore less effort.

And do these types of saws have any limitations and disadvantages??

Absolutely there is! But they are a little bit beyond the limits of normal use.

the tool is designed to work with dry and wet wood up to ten centimeters in diameter.

That is enough for a small summer fire, on which you can boil a small kettle, but here to get a lot of wood to get a dry or warm in the winter cold will be a problem.

Especially taking into account the fact that the thicker the wood, the less of it you have to saw to get the same amount of heat. And it is hard, long and tedious to saw with a short lopper. Because in addition to the short stroke resulting from the small blade, this kind of tool usually has a fine and frequent tooth. It increases productivity on thin limbs, but makes it difficult to work on thicker trunks, because the chips crammed between the teeth and unable to escape create additional friction for the tool. And this in turn is additional effort and the possibility of bending the tool, which will add even more friction.


In capable hands, a large hacksaw can quite replace a two-handed tool, but there are a couple of “buts.

It will be less convenient for cutting vertical trunks.к. It will bend under its own weight and it is desirable to choose a hacksaw for wet wood, with a large tooth and possibly notches to remove shavings.

Choose a time for felling

Never carry out this already unsafe gardening procedure in windy conditions. It is not easy to calculate the trajectory of the falling tree, and it can fall directly on you or the outbuildings.

Take into account that the wind is not always felt at the bottom but can be quite strong at tree crown level. Look at the crown of the tree before you take the saw out: If it is wobbling, stop sawing.

If possible, get rid of old trees on the site preferably in late autumn or early spring, when the harvest is already gathered or seedlings have not yet been planted, and the area is not covered with snow or grass. A clean site is a safety requirement. Clear “escape routes” allow you to get away from a falling tree quickly.

Tools for felling trees

In order to fell a tree in a certain direction, professional tree feller and not only use special tools. The most common are felling forks, wedges and paddles. Special hydraulic or mechanical jacks can also be used.

Wedges can be made from wood directly at the felling site, or they can be purchased from specialty stores. Polymer wedges are very common, their size depending on the diameter of the tree to be felled.

To get an idea about felling jacks we recommend to see a video with this device which shows how the logger saws and puts the pine tree in the right direction.

Feller blades work like a wedge, but with a lever, thanks to which the operator can increase the force and help the tree fall in the right direction. Watch the video below to learn how a windrowing blade, also known as a lever, works.

Felling and sawing techniques

So let’s understand how to cut a tree with a chainsaw?

Preparatory work

Before you start working with the tree, you need to assess all working factors:

Determine which way you should cut the tree;

Tip: To correctly fell a tree, you need to take the axe in your hand and place it parallel to the tree on your outstretched arm. Now move in this position toward the fall until visually the tree is the size of your axe. You are now standing on the spot where the top will lie. If there are no obstacles in your way then your choice of side of the fall is correct. And, if there were still obstacles, try to eliminate them, or choose a different angle of fall.

How to correctly cut down trees with a chainsaw. the preparatory stage

Properly felling large and small trees with a chainsaw involves preparations that are carried out sequentially. The process begins with learning and following the safety requirements. Then you must calculate which of the various tree falls you can make without damaging the surroundings. In this case, take into account:

The next stage of preparation involves certain peculiarities:

  • Particular attention needs to be paid to felling trees in riparian zones. Falling into the water can cause a lot of problems and require additional expense to complete the work.
  • Determine escape routes in case the situation gets out of control during felling and the tree falls to the wrong place. A downed, thick trunk needs to be sawn up and hauled away, which requires clearance for machinery.
  • Eliminating the risk of falling when felling branches. the problem is solved individually by calling in specialized equipment (renting an articulated boom lift, etc.).д.).
  • Prepare the work site for safe passage of equipment and people. The area is cleared of branches, leaves and other debris.

What you need to know before?

There are a number of factors that affect proper felling. The most important conditions fall into two categories: the technical part of the process and the safety of all involved.

Usually the technical side of the issue requires immediate action even when choosing a chainsaw, because each model is designed only for a certain thickness, density and structure of the wood pulp. The cutting is usually quite slow. Acceleration is only possible with well-suited wood or thin trunks (you can even use a mini chainsaw). Usually these plants are not very valuable, so they are seldom pruned.

It is necessary to take into account the thickness of the tree in advance, a comparison with the chosen model of chainsaw (see. Rating of the best chainsaws). The device must be optimally adapted to the specific purpose of the power pack. If the length of the bus device does not exceed 35 cm, the maximum diameter of the tree trunk with which the work is done is 30 cm. When the length of the bar reaches 65 cm, then you can reduce the diameter to 60 cm.

The sawing technique also varies depending on the thickness of the target. Guaranteed to cut down trees up to 20 cm in diameter from a single cut. If this figure exceeds this threshold, it is necessary to make several cuts in order to cut down the tree without damaging the device and without requiring great effort from workers.

Forester chainsaw meets all international quality and safety standards.

The Ural chainsaw is very easy to use and therefore popular among consumers.

The greater the height of the tree, the more difficult it becomes to follow the safety rules Sawing is also difficult because the greater weight requires some effort and a lot of force. Sometimes it is necessary to make cuts in a group, keeping the distance at a level, t.Е. Make them at different heights.

You need to measure the center of gravity beforehand to determine the fall of the tree. This is affected by both the shape of the crown and the features of the body. These criteria affect not only the workers’ position, but also the expected cuts that are optimal. Usually the trunk needs to be cut completely and under the root, but sometimes you need a certain part of it, which also affects the cutting process.

How to cut a tree with a chainsaw?

In this paragraph we will list a few rules and answer in detail the question of how to properly cut wood. Due to the fact that such a tool is affordable and widely used in the preparation of firewood and work in the garden, on the plot and in construction, park design adjustments, the chainsaw has become the most necessary item in the household. You will need the following equipment to accomplish your tasks:

  • Garden saw or saw, chainsaw or electric saw: for cutting down trees any of the listed items will do
  • Personal protective equipment: body suit, goggles or face shield, leather gloves, helmet, sturdy boots
  • The rope with the winch
  • When working with a chainsaw, first check that it is in good working order, it must have the appropriate fuel, it is a mixture of gasoline and specific oil. It is very important to observe the correct proportion of each substance. The chain also has a special reservoir for chain oil. This element of the tool should be taut, if you want to check it, you can put on a protective glove and twist. The tensioning force must be excellent to prevent cranking, but at the same time amenable to the process. Do not forget to check with the engine off. Also look into the tire, this hole should not be dusty.
  • Prepare the area around the tree, taking into account its length, the slope of the growth and the span of the branches. Apply the knowledge you gained from the first list of rules for beginners. In this case, professional tree cutters can use a rope with a winch to create tension and correct the direction of the fall of the trunk. Thanks to the rotating handle in the winch, this can be done easily.
  • Then start with the saw winding, once you see that it runs smoothly, the sound is even, the chain is tensioned correctly, see how it makes the first cut. Do not continue to work if the saw begins to slacken and get stuck in the barrel. The first cut is made horizontally, from the side where the tree is expected to fall. The size of the kerf should be a third of the thickness of the entire trunk. The angle of the second cut to form the wedge is 45 degrees or less.
  • Above the first kerf a second additional kerf is made, the so-called horizontal felling kerf. It should not touch the wedge made in the trunk, it is best to form at least 5 cm between them. If the tree is tilted and begins to bog down, stop sawing, push the tree in the right direction, and let it drop to a safe distance from the stump.

How to cut a large tree?

Often you need to find the answer, how to cut down a tree, in this case the solution is very simple. It is necessary to properly plan the course of action during the work and observe the proportionality of the cuts. Also in park areas you often have to work with tall plants. So another question arises, how to cut a tall tree? In these cases, you can help rent a truck-mounted tower for an hour http://gsrlift.This is done from the company Gorspetsremont.

  • To cut a tall or large tree, you need to guide the saw bar at a 60-degree angle. This is done from the side on which the tree is planned to fall. The trunk is sawn to a quarter of its diameter.
  • The second cut is made lower. A triangular cut is made.
  • Then a transition is made to the other side and a small horizontal cut is made.
  • After the work is done, a wedge is placed in the cut, a felling reamer. A few blows on it with an axe or a sledgehammer and the tree should fall down.

Sawing a tree. What is better: your own hands or hire a crew?

The first thing that comes to mind is to call specially trained people who will not just come and cut down the plant, dig out the stump and roots of the tree, but also take them away with them, so it will not give you any more trouble. But such services can be quite expensive, especially if your site is far from large settlements and gardening.

But you can save on sawing trees and do it yourself. If the tree is large, it is best to take a chainsaw or electric saw. the tool is not necessary to buy, it is issued in special points of rental. It will reduce your manual, hard physical work and save time. But you can also get by with a regular “push-and-pull” saw.

Safety rules and preparation for sawing

Before you start to cut a tree, the first thing you need to do is to assess the safety of yourself and others. Roughly calculate the height of the tree and the trajectory of its fall, estimate how close to this place are the power lines, roads, no nearby buildings.

Wear a hard hat before the actual cutting process. this headgear can protect you from injury in unforeseen cases. In addition, it is better to wear gloves, thick shoes to prevent splinters and non-slip shoes. It is better to choose a day for sawing the tree in windless, good weather so that the forces of nature do not interfere with your work.

These rules for safe felling are particularly important if you want to cut a tall and strong tree, such as a pine tree. The disposal of such trees, especially if they grow in close proximity to houses, of course, it is better to entrust the pro.

After the assessment stage, you must determine the height of the tree, at least approximately, the slope of the tree, if any. Everything that can be damaged by felling must be removed within a radius of two times its height. After that it is best to cut down the big, lush branches of the tree. they can be reached with a ladder.

How to cut down a thick tree with a chainsaw

There are several ways to cut a thick tree, and all of them require special equipment. The first method is to fell the tree in parts. this method is shown in the video below.

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Thick trees are harder to fell, so don’t try it and risk your health if you have never felled a tree before.

Another method is felling the whole tree with the trunk stretched in the right direction. A wire is attached to the trunk at least 5 to 6 meters high, then a wedge is sawed out on the side of the planned fall of the trunk and the wire is pulled. You can pull the rope with a winch, or with a tractor or a car. Next, the woodcutter trims the trunk from the opposite side of the wedge. If the length of the rope is not enough, another cut is made at least 30 cm from the previous one, after which the wood between the cuts is cut. This is to allow the tree stump to go farther into the tree.

It’s important to note that felling thick trees is very individual and depends on many factors. This is the reason why felling a large tree without experience is very difficult and dangerous.

How to correctly cut branches from a fallen tree

When sawing branches off a fallen tree there is a risk of the guide bar getting caught, so there are a few rules to follow when sawing.

  • Branches should be cut from the opposite side of the slope.
  • Do not use the tip of the guide bar to cut branches. к. this way of cutting, there is a risk of rebounding and injuring yourself.
  • Clamped branches must be sawn on the load side.

It is not unusual for pinched branches to bounce as you saw, so you need a safe distance when you are sawing.

How to correctly cut a tree into logs

It is much easier to saw the trunk of a fallen tree than to cut the tree upside down, but there is still some risk. For example, wrong tree cutting can lead to the fact that the tire gets caught in the trunk and then you have to use a jack or raise the trunk with crowbars, which takes a lot of effort and time. To avoid such situations it is necessary to estimate the position of the trunk in advance and first saw it in those places where there is tension.

It’s better to saw from the top, moving gradually toward the butt.

You may make either top or bottom cut. The upper cut should be made until the trunk starts to sink and push up the bar, then, if possible, we will finish cutting the trunk from below. If this is not possible, several more cuts are made next to the first one, until the tire is no longer under pressure.

After the trunk is cut into several large parts that can be rolled, they are sawn up into logs with the top cut.

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The following video will also tell you how to correctly and safely saw wood with a chainsaw and felling blade:

The third one shows how the tree is removed with a pullback:

We have also prepared a video, which shows what not to do, and what can happen if you cut trees incorrectly.

The first is a compilation from all over the world of unsuccessful attempts to cut and fell trees, leading to trouble of all kinds:

The second video in this series are also examples of accidents. They once again remind us that sawing trees is a serious job, which requires the strictest adherence to safety rules and attention to even the smallest details.

Violations, carelessness and inaccurate assessment of the situation can lead to serious consequences:

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