How to Fell a Tree

by Brett & Kate McKay on March 1, 2011 · 45 comments

in Manly Skills, Outdoors, Toolmanship

A few years ago, AoM reader Will shared his tips on how to split firewood. Great advice, but where do you get those small logs to split in the first place? You can buy logs, but a man heads into the forest to get them at their source. It’s a manly job that requires you to harness your inner lumberjack as you fell, limb, and buck your own tree.

When Kate and I were in Vermont a couple of years ago, Kate’s Uncle Buzz taught me how to fell a tree. Buzz bought a cheap tree lot deep in the woods, and he uses the trees not only for his own firewood needs, but also to supply the wood he cuts, splits, and distributes to less fortunate neighbors who need the logs to heat their homes during the long winter.

If you ever need to fell a tree, here’s how it’s done.

What You Need

  • A chainsaw
  • A tree to fell
  • A beard (optional, but recommended)

Safety First

Felling trees is a dangerous job. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration reports that “more people are killed while felling trees than during any other logging activity.” So safety should be your top priority. A failure to keep your wits about you can be deadly.

Safety Equipment. When wielding a chainsaw and felling, limbing, and bucking trees, you need to wear the following protective items:

  • Helmet
  • Eye and face protection
  • Hearing protection
  • Protective chaps
  • Steel toed leather boots with high ankle support
  • Gloves
  • Long sleeved shirt

Be alert and aware of your surroundings while operating the chainsaw.

Plan and clear a retreat path. While you have some control over which direction your tree will fall, things don’t always go the way you intend. That’s why you need to plan and clear a retreat path so you don’t get hammered into the ground by a falling tree Wile E. Coyote style.

The safest way to retreat is in the opposite direction you planned for the tree to fall and in a 45 degree angle from the side of the tree, like so:

Safe retreat paths

Clear any obstacles out of your retreat path so you don’t trip while retreating.

In the event you need to retreat from an errantly falling tree, get away quickly, but don’t turn your back on the tumbling timber.

How to Fell a Tree

Plan where you want the tree to fall. Take a look at your surroundings and decide which way you want the tree to fall. You can control the direction your tree falls by cutting your first notch on the side of the tree that faces the direction you want the tree to fall.

Use common sense when planning where you want your tree to fall. Avoid felling a tree onto your car, home, uneven ground, large boulders, and cute kittens. Ideally, you want to have the tree fall in as clear an area as possible so that it doesn’t get caught in other tree limbs on the way down. That can be tough to do in dense forests like they have in Vermont, but do the best you can.

When planning where you want your tree to fall, take into account which way the tree leans. It is generally easier and safer to fell a tree in the direction that it is already leaning. Let gravity help you. If the tree is leaning in an unsafe direction, you have two options: 1) manipulate the tree to fall in a different direction using strategic notch placement, or 2) pick another tree to fell.

Cut your notch. Cut an open-face notch on the side of the tree that faces the direction you want the tree to fall. Make your top cut first.  Begin your top cut at any height on the tree above the ground, allowing enough room for the undercut.

First cut should be downward at an angle of 70°. Stop when the cut reaches one-fourth to one-third of the trunk's diameter.

Now it’s time to make your bottom cut for the notch.

Second cut should be upward at a 20° angle.

Cut upward at a 20° angle. Stop when the cut reaches the end point of your top cut. When you’re done making both cuts, you should be left with a 90° notch opening.

Back cut. The back cut is made on the opposite side of the notch. The back cut disconnects almost all of the tree from the stump, leaving a hinge that helps control the tree’s fall.

Begin on the opposite side of the notch, slightly above the notched corner.

Cut flat along a horizontal plane.

When making your back cut, don't cut all the way through. Leave a hinge.

Don’t cut all the way through! If you do, your saw could get stuck in the tree, or even worse, the tree could start falling in a direction you didn’t plan for it to go. You want to stop cutting at a point that will leave a hinge width that is one-tenth the tree’s diameter.

Yell “Timber!” If you’ve done everything right, the tree will begin to fall over the notch you’ve created. Boom. You just felled a tree. Check your chest. Two to three new hairs should have sprung up.

How to Limb a Tree

Limbing a tree just means cutting off all the small limbs and branches of the tree so that you’re left with only the trunk. Just take your chainsaw and cut off all the limbs as close as you can to the trunk.

How to Buck a Tree

Bucking a tree means cutting the tree into usable lengths. If you’re going to use your wood for firewood, you need to buck the tree into lengths that will fit into your stove or fire ring. The cut pieces after you buck a tree are called rounds. Rounds are then split into pieces, and you don’t want them to be too long to fit into your stove. Something else to consider: the shorter the round, the easier it is to split.

If the tree is lying flat on the ground, make your buck cut from the top. Let up on the downward pressure when you’ve almost cut all the way through the tree. You don’t want your chainsaw to go past the tree and cut into the ground, as that can damage your chainsaw.

If one or both ends of the tree are off the ground, you’re going to make two cuts. If you only do a single cut from the top of the tree, you risk pinching your saw between the wood, and it’s a pain to get your saw blade unstuck. The first buck cut comes from underneath.  Stop cutting 1/3  the way of the diameter of the tree.

The second cut comes from the top. Line up your chainsaw with the bottom cut.

Repeat the process until you’re done bucking the tree.

That’s It!

You’ve successfully felled, limbed, and bucked a tree. Congratulations! You’re well on your way to becoming a lumberjack. Now it’s time to load up your bucked logs in your pickup truck and haul them back to your woodshed for splitting. When you’re done, enjoy a big stack of flapjacks, a pile of bacon, and lots and lots of eggs and hash browns.

Any other advice on felling a tree? Share it with us in the comments!

{ 45 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Shane B March 1, 2011 at 1:00 am

And I just shaved :(

2 Jack Scott March 1, 2011 at 1:02 am

When I was a kid (10 or 11 or so), my dad took my little brother and I into the forests and we cut the trees down by hand. Hardwood, too. Sawed through the trunk, finished off with an axe, sawed up the trunk by hand, cut off the branches with an axe and chopped those up too, then split anything too big for our heater with a blockbuster, while it was still wet. Now *that* is manly.

tl;dr: Chainsaws are for the weak. ;)

3 YM/PFC Jesse Gibbs March 1, 2011 at 2:19 am

The Famous Uncle Buzz!!!!

4 Sven-Are March 1, 2011 at 3:22 am

Good article indeed. I want to point out that having some wedges is not a bad idea.

5 Ryan March 1, 2011 at 7:05 am

I grew up on a farm. We used to spend one or two days every summer collecting firewood for winter. We would usually buck trees that fell on their own or that were cut down the year before. What I like about practices like this is that they require us to plan ahead for the winter and the coming years.
Ryan

6 Terry March 1, 2011 at 7:57 am

My father and grandfather used to cut fire wood, though they’d buy the logs already limbed and they’d have to cut it into rounds. A sawbuck makes this a lot easier, and is easy to make out of 2x4s.

7 Joe D March 1, 2011 at 8:13 am

Awesome as always. One day a philosophical treatise on the nature of frustration in modern society, the next day, axes and tree felling.

I love this damn website.

8 Will March 1, 2011 at 8:23 am

Be sure and tell how to use a chainsaw safely too — it’s essential, and it’s not obvious.

9 Ryan Grimm March 1, 2011 at 8:32 am

CAVEATS:
Because felling is such a dangerous endeavour, I HIGHLY recommend getting some training in this.
ESPECIALLY chain saw use and practice; many of the deaths and major injuries are related to improper chainsaw use and faulty equipment…I saw (first, HEARD) a guy TRYING to cut down a tree with a dull chain saw….he ended up buying a new chain the NEXT DAY. Fellow REALLY needed to learn what was wrong there, obviously operator failure!
And don’t think that because you’ve cut down ten trees or a thousand, it’s always the next tree that can kill you.
One book I highly recommend is “Chainsaw Lumber Making”, covers a LOT of ground, and Mr. Maloff knows his stuff.
Remember, there is NO substitute for hands-on training by an expert….it could save your life.

10 Jeff March 1, 2011 at 9:07 am

Safety first. I’ve been doing this with my father every summer since he started his tree business is 1990. Sometimes tree care is best left to the experts. I’ve seen some scary do-it-yourself jobs. If you don’t have the equipment or experience necessary to drop a tree find someone who does. It’s not worth getting hurt.

11 Bill Forsyth March 1, 2011 at 9:35 am

Felling a tree is a great manly feeling. I recently had a couple of smallish pine trees in my yard I wanted to remove (needles are no fun for grass) and wanted the firewood. Alas, I’m a poor chap (without chainsaw) and had nothing but my bow saw and an axe so I drop those trees, bucked them, and split them like Paul Bunyon.

It might have been a long, hard way to do it, but it gave the Mrs. a good show.

12 Terri March 1, 2011 at 10:27 am

The green “safe” zones on that graphic need to be updated to “safer” zones. No place is extremely safe near a falling tree.

13 Steven Masters March 1, 2011 at 10:31 am

Once again Brett, you have brightened my day with an enjoyable read. Thank you, your awesome and manly!

14 ariel March 1, 2011 at 10:58 am

Very informative as always. Brings memories back when I would have to get firewood from already felled trees.
Yes, maybe some info on cutting trees with axes and bolos would also be more helpful and manlier!!!

15 Sean Kelly March 1, 2011 at 10:59 am

I’ve got 10 uncles, 7 of which are each other brothers. When I was around 12 years old the 7 took me into the forest with my Grandfather. My Grandpa was a true Man – engineer into his 90′s, WWII Navigator and POW, father of 9 and devoted husband. My Grandpa showed me the same method described above. He gave me a chainsaw and watched me drop my first tree. The heat started to get to him so he walked back to his house. When he was inside my uncles taught me another lesson – how to line up the wedge cuts to play dominos. 7 trees dropped with one back cut. How all 10 of my uncles are still alive is a total mystery to me. Either way, felling and processing wood are my fondest memories with my Grandpa. Thanks for the great article.

16 Scott March 1, 2011 at 11:01 am

As a kid I decided that it would be a good idea to get some firewood for the cottage. Deciding that leaving the tool shed with a bow saw, or a chain saw might attract undue attention I decided that it wouldn’t a problem just to use a really big screw driver and a hammer. It took all day, but I eventually chipped that tree down! My grandfather wasn’t too happy when he went to use his screw driver the next day though!

17 Terry March 1, 2011 at 11:03 am

Brett,

Great article but you glossed over a very import aspect that probably deserves its own article.

Limbing a tree can be even more dangerous than felling the tree. Many folks think the danger is over once a tree is down but cutting the wrong limb at the wrong time can result in injury or even death because the trunk can roll and swing a limb into you that you didn’t realize was there.

Regards,
Terry

18 Andrew March 1, 2011 at 11:57 am

Chainsaws are awesome.

That said, I grew up in British Columbia, which could probably hold fair claim to being the king of forestry…the redwoods may be bigger, but they’re fewer, and the amount of wood that’s come off this provinces mountains seemed to build the whole West. It also spawned a chainsaw culture that produced a lot of wisdom. A few points:

– Think “Danger” and pretend like you’re working with explosives, and then be more careful than that. Everything about logging is out to get you — ropes, cables, chains, mufflers, axes, even saw files. Everything. I’ve had uprooted stumps roll down the hill towards me when I cut them and changed their gravity centers, and the stump was eight feet thick.

– Never stand directly behind your saw; when it bucks it’ll cut you. Keep it offset.

– Use the safety gear, all of it. I neglected to put down my visor once while shakeblocking. An errant dry branch caught my idling chain and shot end first into my eye. If I hadn’t have been wearing my glasses I wouldn’t have my eye. Use the chainbrake religiously.

– Use the biggest saw you can carry. Small saws are light and they buck. Big saws are safer. Don’t rev the snot out of your saw; keep it balanced.

– Keep your chain sharp and remember to file the rakers.

– Always carry plastic wedges and an axe. Don’t use metal wedges for felling or dislodging, only for splitting.

– Check your standing trees for dead bark, branches, hang-ups.

– Get a Worker’s Comp handbook outlining best practice. For once, Compo is realistic.

Cutting trees is not a game — it is incredibly dangerous! Incredibly. Here, loggers are only allowed a six hour work day because past that point it gets too dangerous due to exhaustion. They are paid $100-$150 per hour to fell the big stuff in high places. And they still get killed.

19 Carter March 1, 2011 at 1:17 pm

Definitely a good man skill! I’d say its up there with growing your own food. But I agree with the above poster that doing it is extremely dangerous.

But that aside, cutting your own wood for heat in the winter is one of the best ways to stay warm. As they say, it warms you up twice! (Once cutting it, and once burning it)

http://amemphistraveler.blogspot.com/

20 Kursk March 1, 2011 at 2:01 pm

Felling trees is indeed a very manly feeling. I was holed up with some friends during hurricane Ike in 08. A pretty decent sized tree fell on their house and was sitting on their roof. The guys who owned the house of course had the instinct to consult the internet on how to cut and remove the tree. He then decided it would be best to drive a couple of hours to where he could buy a chainsaw and find a wifi access point to look the info up.
Meanwhile, I grabbed my dad’s axe and his axe, sharpened them (talk about a usefull skill, knowing how to sharpen blades properly!) and did the job myself. He came back four hours later saying that all the chainsaws in the handful of stores that were still open were sold out and I showed them the big stack of wood as well as the plastic sheeting I covered their scuffed roof with.
I made cowboy coffee and sat with the other neighbors (who brought cigars and something to “freshen up” the coffee) and proceeded to do the same at their house. Man did I sleep well that night even though we had no a/c and I had a cold shower.

21 Steve M March 1, 2011 at 2:37 pm

Cutting trees is fun, but as mentioned highly dangerous. The chainsaw itself is a very awesome, but dangerous tool. One that is not functioning properly will cause you to work much harder and definitely be more dangerous. Kickback is a real danger to the unwary and the neophyte. Different areas on the bar are very dangerous to use even if effective for certain tasks. I agree with Terry, limbing is probably more dangerous to injury, but felling is more dangerous to life.

One basic omission was that despite where you cut the notch, you cannot defy gravity. An appreciable “leaner” cannot be made to fall to the quadrant opposite the lean. Look up the trunk to determine any lean, to look for unbalancing growth, and to detect any “widow makers” (dead branches) that may fall out as the tree falls. Make sure that the tree does not have any strange growth, twists, etc. This can cause saw kickback, strange drops, and even exploding splinters, especially on snags.

Just as strange growth can cause a fall to alter, you can get a tree to twist and translate on its fall by altering your backcut to create a thicker hinge on one side. This can oftentimes make the few degrees difference to keep your tree from hanging up in other trees.

My advice is not universal and definitely more appropriate to soft woods which I have seen felled much more often. Though I have cut my share of trees, I was usually a “swamper”. It is unwise to cut trees alone. Another set of eyes and a voice to tell you to retreat is quite an asset.

22 Hunter March 1, 2011 at 2:48 pm

My question is, does this apply if you want to have the tree fall uphill? No, I’m not trying to be funny.

23 Andrew March 1, 2011 at 3:40 pm

It all depends on the lean, wind, etc. — the various forces. Cutting a tree to fall uphill would simply present another set of problems and solutions…can you get out of the way downhill, is the tree likely to bounce and slide downhill or roll downhill, etc. On the other hand you may save yourself a broken tree if it falls uphill. Granted though: like Steve M. I was always a swamper or some other ground man.

One thing is if the tree is growing crooked on a hill there’ll likely be density differences in the wood and you’d do well to wrap the butt a foot or two above the cut with heavy chain, so that there’s less chance of the tree blowing up in your face or giving a barber chair (splitting up the middle with one have flying up in your face).

24 Derek March 1, 2011 at 8:30 pm

I would just like to second the notion that limbing is as dangerous as felling. For the same reasons.

25 Razzor March 1, 2011 at 10:22 pm

You can get an awful lot of leverage with a forked stick 15 ft long or so for making them fall where you want them. The higher up you can push on it the better.

26 Steve March 2, 2011 at 9:35 am

Such good memories of felling trees in Canada.

I remember in high school a local farmer hired some of us to go out to his maple bush and get firewood. So many manly skills learned out there! That’s where I learned to swing an ax and drive a tractor. You can’t help but beam driving a big load of hardwood on a John Deere down a public road. We got paid peanuts for some pretty hard work, but that was great. Not too far, I also loved helping my older cousin cut down pines on his lot and help winch them down when they got caught up limbs. The very fact that they were called widow-makers added to the mystique, I must admit.

Now that this country-boy has moved to the big city, I jump at every chance I can get to help out with that stuff. When I had to cut down some trees for my landlord, puny as they were, it was like therapy that lasted for days.

27 Bill McNutt March 2, 2011 at 11:36 am

I remember the last tree I felled. It was a mere 2′ in diameter. Now I’d felled a dozen or so 12″ trees, so I figured a 24 would be no big deal.

When that sucker hit the ground, the earth shook. I had no idea how dangerous it was until it was over. The crater it made when it hit the ground is still there; you can feel the mower dip down when you mow.

Just thing 4 ton flyswatter with you as the fly.

Bill

28 Corey March 2, 2011 at 1:28 pm

Having worked as a wildland firefighter for 6 years, I picked up my Sawyer’s card and became a B sawyer on my way to a C sawyer, before my current job landed me in another field. Largest tree I ever fell was about 53 inches diameter.

I can attest that tree felling is a very dangerous thing to do if you do not have any experience. Between the chainsaw (use that chainbreak everytime), the widow-makers (large branched hung up near the top, ready to fall on your head), and the tree itself, there are many dangers. Most of the smaller and more painful mistakes generally occur when either limbing or bucking the tree. Kickbacks, spring-poles (where a branch is bent like a snare, ready to whip up and hit you when its limbed), and throwing you chain are all going to happen. Be ready for them and keep safety in the front of you mind.

All I can say is find a friend or someone who is either a logger or a wildland firefighter, and have them point you in the direction of a properly certified Sawyer so that you can learn the correct and safe way to fell a tree.

29 doonmeister March 2, 2011 at 1:29 pm

NEVER LOSE SIGHT OF THE TREE. NEVER TURN YOUR BACK ON A TREE. Once you lose sight of it, it will kill you.

Then, again, if you have to go to a website to learn how to fell a tree properly, you would probably be better off hiring me to do it….

30 Andrew March 2, 2011 at 4:53 pm

One of the best stories I pulled out of my younger days was a guy who hired my to knock down a foot-thick pinner of fir tree in some really, really thick forest. It was closed on seven sides, with the eighth side having a power line across it. I cut that thing and it fell about two feet before getting crownlocked with it’s neighbors.

We huffed and puffed and finally winched that tree down to the ground, and the guy thought I was useless and said go home and then went and hired an expert.

Expert comes in and guy tells him how he hired me and how I hung that tree up, Expert says ya that’s how it goes with these kids you know; I’ve been doing it for thirty years; no mind you go away I’ll have it down in a jiffy!

Two minutes later the tree crashes down clean as a whistle, and Guy smiles, until Expert walks up looking sheepish…cause he felled that tree right through the power line. Hadn’t done that in thirty years, but he just didn’t see it!

I laughed for a week.

31 Hivoltlineman March 2, 2011 at 6:17 pm

I work for a public utility as a transmission lineman. Transmission lines are the really tall power lines that you normally see going long distances through the woods. When we change a pole out, we have to fell the old pole away from the new one and between the high voltage lines.
My credentials stated, I would like to note that you should never cut with the tip or the top side of the bar. This is the most likely area that will cause kickback. Also, when you make your cut, do it high enough off the ground so that it is as ergonomic as possible. If you cut too low to the ground, you won’t be able to get out of the hospital zone, not to mention the risk of putting the saw into the ground.
Be especially careful of powerlines. They are everywhere and can be hard to see if you are not used to looking for them. If you aren’t injured or killed by the ground fault current, there is a strong possibility that it will start a wildfire.

32 Steve March 3, 2011 at 11:03 am

Good story, Andrew.

33 CarlnNJ March 3, 2011 at 2:31 pm

No way, Jose.
This is one DIY I don’t touch with a ten-foot pole. That, and electrical work. I very much enjoy writing out the check to the manly man who does it.

34 Splashman March 4, 2011 at 1:48 pm

I can attest to the great “manly feelings” associated with felling trees and splitting firewood, as well as the necessity for a full appreciation of the dangers involved. I had some good instruction from an experienced sawyer, and after taking care of a bunch of smaller stuff, I began work on clearing about 40 larger trees from my property: big alders (100′+), maples, doug firs, and a few truly monstrous grand firs. I did very well — everything fell the way I expected, not a scratch on me, and only a couple of minor scares.

Then came the last one. I had put it off because I knew it would be difficult. This was a grand fir about 160′ tall, and about 32″ in diameter. The top 30′ was a double-top, so it was very top-heavy and made a nice sail. It stood perfectly vertical. The challenge was that there was a slight breeze (no more than 10mph) blowing in the direction of my house, which was about 160′ away. Of course I intended the fall to be away from the house, but I concluded that even if worst came to worst and the tree fell opposite the intended direction, the very top of the tree would do little if any damage to the house.

You experienced sawyers are probably shaking your heads right now, and I admit I’m shaking my own as I type this. (I shouldn’t have aimed the tree to fall exactly opposite the house, because if it fell backwards it was guaranteed to hit the house.) The good news is that no one was hurt. The bad news is that I punched a nice hole (about 4′x6′) through the roof of my living room, and broke two rafters and a ceiling joist. Also, a branch shattered a window. Turns out that I had measured quite accurately — only the top 4′ of the tree hit the house. But grand firs are extremely wet and heavy, and that double top, on the end of a 160′ lever arm, had enough speed and mass to do a lot of damage.

The worst part was that my wife and daughters were inside the house at the time. My hands are shaking as I type this. They weren’t in that part of the house at the time, but that’s beside the point. NOTHING is worth risking death or serious injury to myself, let alone to my family. I thank God for having learned this lesson on the cheap.

35 Splashman March 4, 2011 at 1:57 pm

Carl, electrical work isn’t even in the same league as felling trees. As you can tell from some of the other comments above, even careful, experienced loggers can get killed by a fluke. With electrical work, if you know what you’re doing (I learned most of it from books, some from a friend) and are careful, the worst thing you risk is a smashed thumb from trying to pound staples in restricted spaces.

If electrical work scares you, that’s due to ignorance. It’s no more inherently dangerous than woodwork or carpentry, and much less dangerous than riding a bicycle.

36 Rob Glenn March 6, 2011 at 6:16 pm

Not to point out the obvious here, but NEVER go felling trees by yourself. If something does go wrong you probably won’t be able to go for help.

37 Trimegistus March 7, 2011 at 7:38 pm

The few times I’ve had to fell a tree (rather than cut up one toppled by the wind) I cut the notch with the chainsaw but finished the back cut with a handsaw. Two reasons: first, you can hear the crack of wood better if you’re not wearing ear protectors and running a motor, and second, it’s a lot easier to drop a handsaw and run!

38 Danman March 12, 2011 at 11:56 am

Nice job, well covered. One point. That’s a beautiful little lab you’ve got with you.
Don’t bring him along when tree cutting, or tie him up until the trees are ON THE GROUND, I once saw a golden retriever take off after a squirrel at that very moment the tree started to fall. It was close, but near disasterous results.

39 William March 15, 2011 at 12:30 am

Ahh, very nice. I grew up in the country and got to use chainsaws, axes, mauls, and hatchets.

Two things I’m not sure are on here:
LEFT HANDED PEOPLE should read up on chainsaws. Never grip a standard chainsaw “leftie”. You lose the physics that let you fight bucking.
Never cut with the top of the saw. Most especially, never cut with the top of the tip. You’re asking the chain to bite, climb up whatever you’re cutting, and pivot the blade into your head/torso.

Also, get your saw tuned, sharpened, and checked every year or two. Don’t use a saw unless you know how to check the chain and make sure it’s good to go.

All that said, I probably wouldn’t fell much myself. Never have played with conifers either. They grow too close together :P By the way, splitting wet wood is hard!!

40 William March 15, 2011 at 12:38 am

Haha, a few things I forgot – Andrew, great info.

The chainbrake is your only friend.

Cut as close to the handle as possible (some saws have great teeth to help with this).

Never trust a tree to fall in any particular direction. Even if it “should”. Some trees need to be taken apart while standing by professional treeclimbers.

41 Col March 25, 2011 at 2:31 pm

We were out in the field cutting firewood, and all day I was eyeing an enormous dead red gum just begging to be felled. Toward the end of the day dad finally let up (we had collected everything already on the ground) and we attacked it. Put the directional notch in it, went around back and cut until “timber”, and made our escape. Funny thing though, was that the sun being low in the sky, it threw the tree’s shadow right over us as we retreated. We looked like Wil E Coyote, running like hell with the shadow chasing us. The whole “eye on the tree at all times” thing went out the window as we ran for our lives. I was clutching the saw, and had one hand over my head (yeah, that’ll fend off 5 ton of timber), and dad, running beside me, had both hands up. We heard the crash and felt the ground shake, figured we were still alive, and after a long pause metaphorically to clean the trousers, realized how silly that must have looked and laughed out loud. One of my brothers had observed the panic without understanding its reason. 15 years later he’s still laughing at us about it. I’m sure there’s a lesson in here about this. Don’t ask me what.

42 Col March 25, 2011 at 2:32 pm

P.S. – the bloody tree landed exactly where I wanted it.

43 Br. Patrick March 27, 2011 at 10:56 pm

Love the website and this article especially caught my attention. There is nothing like felling a tree, limbing, bucking and cleaning the area…makes me feel manly. I’ve got an embarassing, but humourous story. While working on the farm, the farm manager pointed out an oak tree he needed dropped. It was about 30″ at the base, so I knew I’d have to do it on a day I had more time. I came back a few days later all ready, two saws, gas/oil, extra chains for each, ax, wedges, and water jug. My goal was to get it down all the little stuff cut up and piled for burning, all the firewood sized pieces piled and three or four “logs” for the sawmill. All was going well, I was a little over 1/2 the way through my cut for the fall, when I took a break, walked over to the gator for a drink of water. I’m standing there admiring my work, wiping the sweat from my brow and realized “I’m cutting the wrong tree!” I could make the excuse it was winter, but I know better than that, I just wasn’t paying attention! Of course I had to finish it and still had to cut the right one down. The farm manager was not too pleased, let me tell you. But the guy working the sawmill was happy to get 7 nice oak logs out of the deal and everyone around still likes to tease me about it.

44 charlie January 22, 2013 at 12:06 am

we used to cut wood with a crosscut and a swede saw, doing about 4 cords a day with 2 guys, try that

45 Aurora February 23, 2013 at 12:43 am

What if you start to cut a tree, about 2 percent to one percent but past the bark, just a straghitline then change your mind not too will the tree fall?

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