How To Fell A Tree With An Axe? (3 Steps Guide)

How To Fell A Tree With An Axe

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Felling a tree with an axe is an old-school method. You must require the proper skill, precision, and understanding of safety measures. Mastering this technique eliminates the requirement for expensive chainsaws.

To fell a tree with an axe you must follow the proper guideline. This includes preparing the area and making precise top and bottom cuts with notched angles using an axe. And lastly, you have to fell the tree in the notched direction which is the trickiest part.

However, it’s far more complicated than it sounds. Follow this article to the very end to learn in-depth tricks and techniques for felling a tree with an axe.

Choose the Right Axe to Fell a Tree

Selecting the best-suited axe is important for felling a tree successfully and using minimal labor. Since you would be manually cutting down the tree it is better to choose the axe according to the project requirement such as tree type, tree size, etc. 

However, you’ll get axes in the marketplace that are specialized for tree-felling purposes. A single or double-bit axe weighing around 1.5-2 kg with a sharp blade can be good for cutting all types of trees. 

Moreover, the handle should be a minimum of 26-35 inches for cutting the trees from a safe distance. Longer handles give you a better swing and power but it can be quite laborious.  

Ensure the blade head is firm and heavily fitted within the head chamber. It is recommended to always sharpen the blade before attempting to cut down a tree.

Pre-Felling Safety & Precautions to Fell a Tree

While using an axe to fell a tree, safety and precaution is a must. Because a single mistake while swinging the axe or making the tree fall can heavily injure you or the people around you.

Check out the following safety and precaution list to make sure you are perfectly ready to fell a tree with an axe.

  • Wear protective equipment such as a certified helmet, gloves, work boots, goggles, and work clothes.
  • Make your axe ready by fitting in the head, and sharpening the blade.
  • Inspect and survey the tree you are about to cut. Check out the parameters such as diameter, length, position, and leaning of the tree.

Inspection & Preparation for Felling Tree With An Axe

If you are a newbie or an expert, it is recommended to take time and inspect and prepare the surroundings of the cutting area. This will enhance your confidence and helps to cut down the tree without any sort of distraction.

Inspection of the Tree Category

Firstly, check out the tree because it is better to know what you are dealing with. Measure the diameter of the log and estimate the length of the tree. This helps you understand how much area you should clear out before proceeding.

Moreover, you can select your axe according to these estimations as well. Apart from that, look for broken branches, peeled-out barks, and limbs. You must clear these as much as possible to ensure nothing deflects the swing of your axe.

Preparing the Surroundings

There are mostly two types of scenarios while felling a tree. These are if you are cutting a tree nearby your residence or a forest. If you choose the first scenario, then you must take some serious considerations.

First, ensure the direction where the tree is going to fell. It should be a wide-open area with no structures nearby such as a garage, driveway, or house. You must keep children and other people to a safe distance.

Nextly, choose at least two escape paths opposite to the direction of the tree to feel. Remove and clean the area of unwanted objects such as broken branches, bark, stones, or others that can trip you while you are moving.

How to Fell a Tree With An Axe? – 3 Steps

Now comes the main event where you need to be careful and accurate to fell a tree with an axe. Follow the steps according to successfully fell a tree with an axe.

Step 1: Mark the Notch With An Axe

It’s a V-shaped cut on the tree in the direction where you want the tree to fall. This notch directs the tree’s landing and stops it from breaking off irregularly.

At your knee height, make a horizontal incision using the axe that goes through the tree’s trunk approximately ⅓ inside. 

Keep the direction of this incision somewhat at a downward angle and parallel to the surface. This will take around 5-10 minutes and continuous axe swinging.

Now place the bottom cut just below the top cut to create the notch. This cut should be horizontal as well, with the depth meeting the end of the top cut to form a notch. 

Ensure the notch angle is around 70-80 degrees. More than that can make the tree break apart and fall in a different direction.

Step 2: Making the Felling Cut

You have to make the felling cut exactly opposite the notch cut. Start by making a horizontal cut a couple of inches over the notch’s base. This cut needs to be at a small angle and lean toward the notch.

Here comes the most tricky part. Make a slightly angled cut just above the first cut. Meet the first cut at the end point making a wedge. You’ll notice the tree starts to lean towards the notch direction.

Step 3: Felling the Tree

The tree will start to tilt and ultimately fall in the notch direction as soon as you make the final cut of the felling cut. As the tree begins to fall, move away from it and down your predetermined escape path.

Always be on your guard for any dangerous movement of the tree and be ready to act instantly if the tree suddenly starts to fall.

How to Deal With Difficult Situations While Felling Trees with An Axe?

If for any reason the tree doesn’t fall and gets stuck to another tree nearby, you have to act immediately.

  • Firstly, evacuate the impact area.
  • Alert all the neighbors and remove vehicles, pets, kids, etc.
  • Check for any structures nearby the area and inform the owner.
  • Inform the professionals and local authorities.
  • Do not attempt to make it fall on your own and let wind, snow do it for the time being.

What to Do After Felling a Tree With An Axe?

You must have cut down a tree for a specific reason. Here’s what to do next.

  • Remove all the branches starting from the bottom to the top of the tree to make it suitable for further processing. The process is called limbing.
  • Now cut the tree into smaller parts as logs known as bucking. Determine the size of the log according to your demand and of equal sizes.
  • If you intend to use it as firewood then chop the logs to smaller sections by splitting.
  • Clean the area and discard all the unwanted branches, bark, etc.

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