In this video, This Old House landscape contractor Roger Cook and chainsaw safety expert Tim Ard cut down a dead tree.
How to Cut Down a Tree
- Look up into the tree to ensure there aren't any obstacles, including overhead wires or other trees, which would prevent the tree from falling to the ground.
- Identify a clear escape route that leads approximately 20 feet away from the tree.
- Determine which direction the tree is leaning and identify a target zone where the tree will fall.
- Start the chainsaw and make the initial top cut down into the tree.
- Make the second cut across the top cut to complete the open face notch.
- Cut into the backside of the tree directly behind, and slightly above the open face notch.
- Saw into the tree, leaving 1 inch of wood; don't saw completely through the tree trunk.
- As the tree starts to fall, stop sawing and pull out the chainsaw. Immediately move a safe distance from the tree along the escape route.
- Slide a plastic or wood wedge underneath the tree and cut straight down about halfway into the trunk.
- Insert a second wedge into the saw kerf, and continue cutting all the way down through the trunk.
- Use the chainsaw to cut through smaller branches, followed by slightly larger branches. Drag the cut limbs out of the way.
- Make an offset cut to sever very large limbs by first cutting straight down about two-thirds of the way into the limb. Then cut up from beneath the limb, positioning the cut 1 inch beyond the top cut. Cut up until the severed limb falls away.
- Trim off all the limbs first, before sawing the trunk and larger branches into 16-inch-long pieces of firewood.
- Be careful not to cut into the ground with the saw, and never work alone.