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Felling a Tree

Wednesday, 13 February 2013 00:00 Written by  Craig Caudill

You have decided you are ready to cut down that tree you have had your eye on, but are not entirely sure how to go about doing it. Just because you have a chainsaw ready and raring to go does not mean you are truly ready to start sawing away. Felling a tree is not quite as simple as it looks. There are a couple of things you need to know before you jump in and start cutting. Obviously, personal safety is a huge concern and needs to be addressed. Another situation you may not be prepared for is the chainsaw getting stuck. It happens. 

Safety First

Before you start cutting into the trunk of the tree, you need to have a plan. Decide where you are going to stand in regard to the tree. Your escape plan hinges on your cutting position. When that tree starts falling, it is not the time to figure out which way you are going to run. It is best to have several exit plans in your head before you even put that chain to the trunk. Secondly, you need to remind yourself to drop the chainsaw when it is time to evacuate the area. Running with a running chainsaw in your hand is akin to running with scissors with the pointy side up. Not a smart decision. Don’t do it

Preventing the Chainsaw from Getting Stuck

Using a chainsaw to cut down a tree is truly not as easy as it looks. There is a real possibility of embedding the saw in the tree and causing some serious, costly damage. There are a series of cuts you need to make to ensure the saw is able to go through without getting jammed up.

If you decide you must cut a tree down, choose carefully. It is never a good idea to just walk out and randomly pick a tree to fell. If your goal is firewood, consider the tree carefully. Pine trees will give you a quick, big fire, but they do not last long and they are not very warm. 

Not every dead tree needs to come down. Check out the area the tree is in. If it is safe to leave it up, do so. Dead trees are a source of food and shelter for wildlife. Weigh your options before jumping for the chainsaw.

Craig Caudill is an outdoor survival contributor to Dan’s Depot, and teaches at his own Nature Reliance School.

Last modified on Wednesday, 13 February 2013 18:52
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  • Comment Link james wilson Thursday, 14 February 2013 19:24 posted by james wilson

    as usual more good info... also tree's that are already fallen down present more of a challenge ... wet wood has a lot of energy left in it ... that energy can take your head off if you are not careful when cutting... just sayin.

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