Felling Small Trees

There are two basic cutting operations involved with felling any tree. These operations may be altered or complicated by the size of the tree, the lay of the land, and the required direction of fall. These two operations, the notch, or directional cut, and the felling out, or back cut, are done somewhat differently with a chain saw than with an axe. The notch determines

Notching Tree For Felling
Notching a small tree. Allis-Chahners

ana controls the direction of the tree's fall. The notch and the back cut must always be made so as to form a hin^e of uncut wood. As the tree falls, it pivots on this hinge, breaking it.

First, you make a notch. The basic notch for a small tree is made with two cuts. Make the upper of the two aits first, to avoid pinching the bar, It's a lot of' work to dig a saw out of a tree with the tree's full weight pressing down on it.

Move to one side of the tree, facing the planned direction of the fall. Aim across the top of your saw, along your front handle or falling sights, at exactly the place where you want the tree to fall. This will correctly line up your guide bar with the trunk of the tree.

Now make the upper cut of your notch, cutting down at an angle. Cut at least a third of the way into the tree, but not as much as halfway. Then make the lower cut. With a small, straight tree on level ground, make this second cut straight in to meet the first. Make the cut horizontal, and cut clear back >o remove the whole notch. The hinge will be formed by uncut wood at least two inches thick between the back of the notch end and the fell-.ng cut.

Now go behind the tree and make another horizontal cut, two inches or more above the lower, or horizontal cut of the notch. It is extremely important not to make this second cut so it will meet the horizontal notch cut. It must be an inch or two higher. It is also important not to cut through the hinge wood.

When enough of your felling cut is complete, stop your saw and leave it in the cut. Insert a wedge in the cut to pVevent it from closing on your saw and to help control the direction of the fall toward the notch. Then start your saw again and continue until the cut is complete, leaving only the hinge. At this time the tree should fall. If not, give it a little push, or use a felling lever. As the tree starts to move, leave your saw on the ground and retreat quickly along your planned escape route (see page 443). Remember that the butt end of the tree may kick backwards as the tree falls and that unseen dead branches may fall straight down, or in any direction, as the tree topples. Take no chances. Retreat quickly and without hesitation along your escape route.

That's how you cut down a tree when its

(I) The first step in felling e medium-stemmed tree is to make the directional cut by cutting down at an angle greater than 45 degrees, (2) Then change position to finish the directional cut. (3) Finish cutting out the initial wedge, making sure the lower cut meets the upper cut exactly. (4) On the opposite side of the tree, make a horizontal felling cut at least two inches above the lower (horizontal) cut of the notch. When only a narrow hinge remains (about one-tenth of the tree's diameter) you're ready to insert your wedges or felling lever and topple the tree.

The immediate cutting area is prepared by cleaning away undergrowth which could interfere with free movement or could catch fire. Plan a path or safe retreat to the rear and at a 45-degree diagonal to the line of fait.

diameter is less than the length of your guide bar. But we're also going to be cutting down trees equal to or larger than the length of our guide bars. These situations require a specific sequence of cuts,

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