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Cutting Down a Tree with a Chainsaw: Tips from BSPower

Cutting Down a Tree with a Chainsaw: Tips from BSPower

Felling a tree is no small task. It requires skill, precision, and knowledge to ensure safety and success. When armed with a chainsaw, it’s crucial to follow the proper techniques and safety precautions. If you’re ready to take on this task, BSPower.co.za offers insights to guide you through the process of cutting down a tree with a chainsaw.

1. Safety First

Before you even start up your chainsaw, ensure you’re equipped with the right safety gear:

  • Safety goggles to protect your eyes from wood splinters and dust.
  • Hearing protection because chainsaws can be incredibly loud.
  • Cut-resistant gloves and legwear to protect against potential chainsaw mishaps.
  • A hard hat to shield you from falling branches.
  • Sturdy boots, preferably steel-toed, for stability and protection.

2. Assess the Tree and Surroundings

Study the tree you intend to cut down:

  • Check its lean: This can influence the direction it falls.
  • Look for obstacles: Ensure there are no structures, power lines, or other trees in the path of the falling tree.
  • Plan an escape route: You should have a clear path to move away once the tree starts to fall.

3. Prepare the Chainsaw

Ensure that your chainsaw is in top working condition. Check:

  • Sharpness of the chain: A sharp chain ensures a clean and efficient cut.
  • Fuel and oil levels: Your chainsaw should have enough fuel and chain oil to complete the task.
  • Tension of the chain: It shouldn’t be too tight or too loose.

4. Making the Cuts

When you’re ready to fell the tree, you’ll be making three primary cuts:

  • Horizontal Cut (Notch Cut): This is the first cut and it’s made on the side of the tree facing the direction you want it to fall. It should be about one-third of the tree’s diameter.
  • Angled Cut: This cut will meet the horizontal cut to create a notch. The angle of this cut should be about 70 degrees, and it should be made slightly above the bottom of the horizontal cut. The notch will dictate the direction the tree will fall.
  • Back Cut: Move to the opposite side of the tree from the notch. The back cut is made horizontally, slightly above the bottom of the notch. As you make this cut, the tree will begin to lean and fall towards the notch. Make sure you’re ready to retreat using your planned escape route.

5. Retreat and Stay Alert

As soon as the tree starts falling, turn off your chainsaw and retreat quickly using your predetermined escape route. Keep an eye on the tree and be alert for any unpredicted movements.

6. Limbing and Bucking

Once the tree is down, you can remove the branches (limbing) and cut the trunk into manageable sections (bucking). Always work from the top to the base of the tree, and be cautious of branches under tension.


Felling a tree is a substantial task that requires preparation, caution, and respect for the power of both the tree and the chainsaw. Always prioritize safety and don’t hesitate to call in professionals if you’re unsure. With the guidance of BSPower.co.za and proper techniques, you can successfully and safely cut down a tree with a chainsaw.