How to Cut Down a Tree with a Chainsaw? 5 Safe Steps

The chainsaw has been one of the most famous and power tools that facilitate cutting, limbing, pruning, and felling trees. Its considerable advantages are surely accompanied by some serious disadvantages that might occur if you start using this ‘widow maker’ without knowing about its proper use. However, I will not let it happen, and this very reason pushed me to add a detailed guide on cutting of a tree using a chainsaw.

You may have trees in your backyard or driveway that you want to prune, limb, or cut – you have choices about the tools you can use to get the job done, however using a chainsaw appears to be the most feasible and quickest option to do it. Adding more to my words, I would ask you to check if you are using the best chainsaw to cut the tree or not.

How to know if you are using the right chainsaw to cut the tree?

Well, this is quite a reasonable question – if the length of your chainsaw’s cutting bar is greater than the diameter of the tree which is to be fallen, it is a perfect tool to use; otherwise, it is better to use a chainsaw with a bigger cutting bar or consider some other option.

Meanwhile, some firewood is hard in nature such as hickory, so it should also be noticed if the engine would be able to offer enough throttle to cut that hard tree or not.

By the way, coming back to my topic of the day, let us have a look at the required tools and materials to cut down a tree with a chainsaw.

How to Cut Down a Tree with a Chainsaw

Required Tools and Materials

Ensure to have following gears before you start the work; these are inevitable for your safety.

  • Chainsaw with perfectly sharp blade
  • A felling-wedge
  • Earmuffs for ear protection from noise
  • Logging boots
  • Chainsaw helmet
  • Gloves
  • Chain bar, and chain oil

Once you have all necessary gears, here is something more which is important to tell you before you start the job.

Before You Start the Job

It is unavoidable to discuss these precautionary measures that you must take before you start the job. Make sure that you are using the right chainsaw with an appropriate bar and sharp teethed chain. You must be well aware of use of chainsaw and tightening the chainsaw chain if it needs to while performing the job.

At the same time, it is also necessary to ensure that you have put on all protective gear. Use a chainsaw helmet, wear steel-toe boots, get gloves to minimize vibrational effects and etc.

Warning: Never wear loose clothes while using a chainsaw, and make sure that you are not standing on a ladder to perform the cutting. Always cut below your shoulder height.

How to Cut Down a Tree with a Chainsaw? 

If it is your first time cutting a tree with a chainsaw, don’t think that it is all about cutting only; instead, it involves a lot of prerequisites that must be met in order to ensure your safety. Follow the given step-by-step guide to learn about cutting down a tree using a chainsaw;

1. Thoroughly Inspect the Area 

The first step belongs inspect the whole area thoroughly. Make sure that there are no power lines and buildings near the felling area. Let the passing people know about the activity so that they could pass safely. If you are using a corded chainsaw, avoid coming in contact with the cord. And if the place is wet with water, quit the idea of cutting for one or two days unless the water gets dry.

2. Clear the Area 

It is inevitable to clear the whole area in which tress is to be fallen. If you want to make it fall in a direction other than natural leans, you can consult a professional; otherwise, felling wedges may be streamlined with the help of people. Ensure that there is nothing present in the area where the tree might fall.

3. Start Cutting with First Cut

Stand in such a way that your left shoulder is before the tree, and then make the first cut at 70 degrees in a direction in which you want to make your tree fall. Keep on cutting in a similar direction unless you cut a quarter of the diameter of the tree.

4. Start Second Cut 

Now, for the second cut, put the saw in a direction where you could meet your initial cut horizontally. Start with an initial notch, and then proceed to make sure that both cuts would meet at the end.

5. Make the Final Cut 

The final cut is the felling-cut. For this purpose, take a side and make a cut horizontally slightly above the previous cut. Keep cutting unless you have enough space to insert a felling wedge in it. Then put the felling wedge in the rift in a direction where you want to make the tree fall. Do not touch the felling wedge with a blade, and neither cut through the trunk of the tree. Move away when the tree starts falling.

Therefore, this is how to cut down a tree with a chainsaw. The task isn’t over yet – limbing and bucking of the tree are still remaining.

Limbing of Tree 

Removing branches from a tree after it falls is referred to as limbing. Keep wearing the aforementioned protective gear, and follow the given procedure to get done with limbing;

The process starts from the base of the tree that you can cut either using a pulling chain (cutting downward using the bottom of the bar, it makes the saw pull out from you) or using a pushing chain (Cutting downward using the top of the bar, it makes the saw push towards you). Now, make offsetting cuts to separate branches from the tree.

To cut underside limbs, make sure that they are not below your shoulder’s height; otherwise, using a chainsaw will not be a safe option. Also, care about limbs under tension as they can spring back – so, it is better to deal with them later when you are able to turn the tree to eliminate existing tension.

At the last, there remain large branches that are under great tension due to their excessive weight, and such branches must be cut from outside to the trunk.

Bucking of Tree 

Bucking is referred to as cutting the trunk of the tree once you are free from cutting the limbs. Again, ensure that you are wearing all necessary protective gears, and follow the given instructions;

Look for the area where compression might occur between the two sections while cutting with a saw – this is the binding area that must be avoided. Cut through the area where compression might take place without binding. Cut deep from one side, and go for offset cutting of only 1inch to avoid binding. Place a wedge to hold the gap, and the gap, but ensure that chain does not come in contact with a wedge.

Now, there remain logs that need to be cut – while cutting them it must be ensured that the blade of the chainsaw does not come in contact with the ground.

So, it is all about limbing and bucking. Now, you are well aware cutting down a tree with a chainsaw with enough knowledge regarding limbing and bucking.


Whether you are experienced enough or you are going to use a chainsaw for the first time to cut the tree, you are equally needful to follow the safe and step-by-step guide to do this job. Chainsaws are crucial to use, however, if you know to use them, you can finish the work of hours in minutes without being exhausted.

It is all about abiding by the safety precautions, and following the guidelines – if you do this, there is hardly any power tool that matches the charm of a chainsaw – the ‘WIDOW MAKER’.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) 

Q1. What is the best way to cut down with a chainsaw? 

If you are using a chainsaw for cutting firewood, make sure that you inspect the area thoroughly, clean that area, then start cutting with the first and second cut unless it falls in your desired direction. Using the right chainsaw bar for the job is crucial.

Q2. How do you cut down a tree for beginners? 

There is nothing with using a chainsaw for cutting woods but care. Whether you are a beginner or experienced, follow the step-by-step guide about the usage of the chainsaw.

Q3. How do you cut a large trunk with a chainsaw? 

When it comes to cutting trunks, make sure to avoid binding. If compression occurs between two sections, it can cause binding. So, choosing the cutting area is very important. Look above for the section on bucking and get a clear idea.

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