An electric chainsaw is a powerful felling machine. It can also cause serious injuries and even death if it is not handled properly and with due diligence. When you feel ready to cut down your first tree, you must take in to account all the safety procedures to ensure that your tree cutting activity is as safe to you and others as possible. Below is a step by step guide on how to cut down a tree using an electric chainsaw.
Step 1: Decide what direction the tree should fall
It is important to note that once you cut down the tree, it could fall on surrounding objects like nearby trees, electric lines or any object in your surroundings. It is better to have the tree fall in the natural direction it is leaning if there are no obstructive objects in that direction. In your decision, you must also consider how accessible the area is to facilitate the removal of the tree once it has fallen.
Step 2: Route of escape
Anything can happen when cutting down a tree and you may need to step backwards or retreat. Before you begin cutting down your tree, it is important to get rid of all debris, branches and loose limbs on the ground around the tree. Ensure that if any you need to, you can be able to get away without tripping on any obstacles.
Step 3: Clear tree limbs and prop roots
These refer to any branches or appendages and support roots that are attached to the tree you want to cut down. Small branches and prop roots growing on the lower trunk of the tree will be hindering you and hence, you can use your chainsaw to clear them away. You should ensure that these appendages are at a lower level than your shoulders as having a chainsaw above your shoulders is highly dangerous. Always ensure that you cut these limbs from the top using a downward stroke along the lower edge of your chainsaw while working at a position that puts the tree trunk between yourself and the chainsaw.
Once you have decided on a direction you intend to your tree to fall and you have cleared your surroundings, you will need to make a series of cuts in order to make the tree fall in the direction you want. These series of cuts are also referred to as directional notches. These notches will highly determine how the tree will fall. When cutting down a small or medium sized tree, you can use an open directional notch as shown below.
Step 4: Find your landmark and use it to guide you
Find a landmark on your environment that will help you locate the exact direction you want the tree to fall. Use the sights on your chainsaw to line up the angle to the series of cuts you plan to make.
Step 5: make your directional notch
Make a top cut into the trunk of the tree cutting to between 20 to 25 degrees of the trees diameter at a 60 degrees angle. Make another parallel cut below the top cut until it meets the top cut. This will give you a curved out notch on the trunk which faces the direction you want your tree to fall.
Step 6: Watch out for passersby and animals
Ensure that there are no people or animals within the radius of the felling zone, which should be at least two times the length of the tree you want to cut down. This is in order to ensure the safety of all.
Step 7: create a felling hinge
Saw a horizontal felling cut a few inches above the level of the undercut on the opposite side of the trunk to create a hinge on which the tree will fall in a measured way. For this hinge to be effective, it should be about 10 % of the diameter of the tree trunk. Use a felling wedge as a lever to make the tree start falling.
Step 8: Retreat
Retreat and watch at a safe distance. Move quickly and calmly away while keeping your eyes on the falling tree. Try to move away from the tree at a ninety degree angle to ensure that you avoid both the felling area and the side where the trunk splits from the base.
Felling larger trees is best kept to the experts but if you need to do it yourself, the process is largely similar but because the diameter of the tree is greater than the length of the chainsaw bar, a plunge cut is required. This means that you cut the directional notch from both sides. If the chainsaw bar happens to get stuck in the tree trunk, rather than trying to pulling out the chainsaw, you should stop the engine and use a wedge to work open the tree trunk until you are able to pull out the chainsaw easily. You may also have to hammer the wedge into place in order to get the tree to begin falling.
Always remember that strong winds could make the tree fall in a direction other than that which was intended. If you find that there are objects in the direction the tree is leaning towards or that the winds are stronger, you should contact professional tree removal services to come and remove the tree.