To preface this we need to make you aware that this is for educational purposes only. If you need a tree felled we recommend you contact a professional. If you are in Colchester or elsewhere in Essex we would be happy to hear from you. There are likely laws in your location regarding the cutting down of trees. Make sure if you do decide to go ahead without professional help that you at least make sure you aren’t breaking any laws!
It’s incredibly important that safety equipment is worn. This includes axe gloves to avoid blisters and goggles as the last thing you want is a splinter in the eye.
I want to take a moment for us to think about what a tree trunk is composed of and how this will affect the way in which we fell the tree.
A trees trunk is comprised of a collection of fibres. If you think about what is happening when you bend a stick we can apply this to the tree trunk. The side of the stick on the outside is under tension, the side on the inside is being compressed.
We will cut a wedge out of one side, the side that we want the tree to fall towards. When we do this we cause the tree to have a slight lean toward that side. This also causes the tree to have less support on this side. Much like the outside of our stick analogy this will cause tension on the other side of the tree.
We then want to chop the fibres on the other side of this tree until it begins to fall in our direction of choice.
Direction of fall
It is important to decide intelligently which direction you would like the tree to fall. You likely don’t want to fell the tree so that it falls towards your house, car or another large tree.
Tree chopping angle
You want to begin with a 45 degree cut. Make this cut on the side of the tree that you intend the direction of fall to be. As you are trying to remove a wedge your next cut will be on the same side of the tree but roughly perpendicular to the tree.
The other side of the tree
Once this wedge has been removed we now want to focus on the back of the tree. This is the side of the tree that is opposite the side that we would like the tree to fall. This back side of the tree now holds all of the tension.
It can be beneficial to use a saw when focused on this side. The reason for this is that you are able to remove the fibres that are holding the tree together more gradually and in a controlled fashion.
This second cut should be above the lower part of the wedge that has been removed but below the higher threshold. This is more likely to create a safe cut resulting in the tree falling the direction that you would like it to fall and not sliding dangerously.
A few tips on tree cutting
To wrap this up we have a few points that should help a wannabe tree surgeon in their tree cutting quest.
– Select the correct axe. There are felling axes for hardwoods and for softwoods. Rounding axe and a wedge axe respectively.
– Remember to make it fall the right direction! I know we’ve already told you this but you would be surprised how many people screw this up.
– Get the second cut in the right location. If you get this cut wrong you can end up with the tree sliding in a dangerous fashion.
– Use safety equipment. This is of utmost importance. It would be foolish to attempt to remove a tree without safety equipment.