How To Fell A Tree With An Axe?

Cutting down a tree with an ax is an old school method. You must require proper skill, accuracy and understanding of safety precautions. Mastering this technique eliminates the need for expensive chainsaws.

To cut down a tree with an axe, you must follow the correct instructions. This involves preparing the area and making precise top and bottom cuts with bevel angles using an ax. And finally, you have to cut the tree in the notch, which is the trickiest part.

However, it is much more complicated than it seems. Follow this article till the end to learn detailed tricks and techniques for felling a tree with an axe.

Choose the Right Axe to Fell a Tree

Choosing the most suitable ax is important for successfully felling a tree with minimal effort. Since you would be felling the tree by hand, it is better to choose the ax according to the project requirements such as the type of tree, size of the tree, etc.

However, you can get axes in the market that are specialized for felling trees. 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.

In addition, the handle should be at least 26-35 inches for cutting trees from a safe distance. Longer handles will give you better swing and power, but it can be quite labor intensive.

Make sure the blade head is firm and firmly seated in the head chamber. It is recommended to always sharpen your knife before attempting to cut down a tree.

Pre-Felling Safety & Precautions to Fell a Tree

Safety and caution is a must when using an ax to cut down a tree. Because a single mistake in swinging an ax or falling a tree can seriously injure you or the people around you.

Check out the following list of safety and precautions to make sure you’re perfectly prepared to cut down 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

Whether you are a beginner or an expert, it is recommended that you take the time to inspect and groom the area around your mowing site. This will increase your confidence and help you cut down the tree without any distraction.

Inspection of the Tree Category

Look at the tree first because it’s better to know what you’re dealing with. Measure the diameter of the log and estimate the length of the tree. This will help you understand how much area you should clear before proceeding.

Additionally, you can choose your ax based on these estimates as well. In addition, look for broken branches, peeling bark and limbs. You need to clear them as much as possible to ensure nothing is deflecting your ax swing.

Preparing the Surroundings

There are usually two types of scenarios when cutting down a tree. They are if you are cutting down a tree near your residence or a forest. If you choose the first scenario, there are some serious considerations to take into account.

First, make sure the tree will fall. It should be a wide open area with no nearby objects such as a garage, driveway or house. You must keep children and other persons at a safe distance.

Next, select at least two escape routes against the direction of the tree to feel them. Remove and clear the area of ​​unwanted objects such as broken branches, bark, rocks or anything else that you might trip over while 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 is a V-shaped cut in the tree in the direction you want the tree to fall. This notch controls the landing of the tree and prevents it from breaking off irregularly.

At knee height, make a horizontal cut with an ax that goes about ⅓ inside the tree trunk.

Keep the direction of this cut slightly angled down and parallel to the surface. This will take about 5-10 minutes of continuous axe swinging.

Now place the bottom cut just below the top cut to create a notch. This cut should also be horizontal, with the depth extending to the end of the top cut to create a notch.

Make sure the angle of the cut is approximately 70-80 degrees. More than that can cause the tree to break apart and fall in another direction.

Step 2: Making the Felling Cut

You must cut exactly against the notch. Start by making a horizontal cut a few inches above the base of the notch. This cut must be at a slight angle and slope towards the notch.

Here comes the tricky part. Make a slightly angled cut just above the first cut. Familiarize yourself with the first cut at the end point by creating a wedge. You will notice that the tree starts to lean towards the notch.

Step 3: Felling the Tree

The tree will begin to lean and eventually fall in the direction of the cut as you make the final cut of the felling cut. Once the tree starts to fall, move away from it and along the predetermined escape route.

Always be alert for any dangerous tree movement and be ready to take immediate action if a tree suddenly begins 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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