So you want to harvest firewood on your forest property or just cut down a tree or two on your land? Before you even touch a chainsaw, let’s make sure you have all the tree felling equipment necessary to keep you safe and make the process as painless as possible (literally). With the right gear, cutting trees can be an exciting and adrenaline-inducing activity. Without it, felling can be frustrating and dangerous, even deadly! Here’s a guide to exactly what you need to safely get started and chop trees with ease! You will need a chainsaw, a file, chaps, boots, a helmet, wedges, and a felling lever.
It may be obvious, but you are going to need a chainsaw! If you are just starting out, its best to use a saw with a displacement of 50cc or less and a bar size of no more than 20″. It’s is also crucial that your saw has a working chain brake. These come standard on saws these days, but if you happen to have an older saw you found at a garage sale or got from your grandfather and there is no chain brake, do yourself and your family a favor and buy a new one!
If you are looking to buy a saw, the Husqvarna 450 Rancher is a great saw for light and heavy duty use, and it is certainly fine for felling timber!
Chainsaw File Kit
If your tree felling equipment is in poor shape, it can be frustrating and even dangerous. A chainsaw file is key to making sure your saw can make precise cuts and make your work smoother. As you use your chainsaw more, a depth gauge will come in handy to ensure rakers are filed to the proper levels. Luckily, the Katzco chainsaw sharpening kit has everything you need to keep your chain in tip-top shape.
Chainsaws are not a tool to be taken lightly. Used improperly, they can do devastating damage. Even using the utmost care, mistakes can happen. That’s why its imperative you get yourself a pair of chainsaw chaps. Chaps are lined with thousands of strands of kevlar fibers designed to bind up the saw when they come in contact with the saw, thus protecting your hide! You can see a demonstration in the video below
When selecting a pair of chaps, there are primarily two types: Wrap-around chaps, and front-covering apron chaps. Apron chaps are lighter and a little cooler in the summer, but they don’t offer nearly as much protection as wrap-around chaps. We highly recommend wrap-around chaps for all chainsaw users. Always prioritize safety over comfort.
Similar to chaps, chainsaw boots combine a classic steel toe boot with an additional padding of kevlar fibers that extend up the ankle and lower shin. Functionally, they are rubber boots, so they also offer excellent comfort and protection against the mud and water all-too-common in woods work.
Safety glasses don’t offer enough protection for chainsaw use. Not only can you by larger pieces of wood, but in the event your chain breaks, comes lose, or your chainsaw kicks up, you need additional protection. A chainsaw helmet with integrated face shield works perfectly toward this end. They also come with built-in ear muffs, so it offers dual protection.
Tree Felling Equipment
Larger trees can be stubborn. Wedges help bring them down in the proper direction! Pounding a wedge into the back cut prevents the the tree from falling back on the cut and pinching your saw or even coming back toward you. After the cut is completed, you can continue to pound the wedge in to tilt the tree more in the direction of the hinge and help it fall. Wedges, along with a sledge hammer or axe to pound them, is an absolute necessity.
Another helpful tool in helping a tree fall is a felling lever. Felling levers can be inserted into the back cut and be used, as the name suggests, to lever trees down. They also come integrated with a peavey hook, which can be used turn turn logs and move them around. While not a necessity, they are certainly helpful to have when you need them, and personally I think it can be incredibly satisfying to bring a tree down by yanking on a lever.
The Most Important Piece of Gear: Good Sense!
Remember, the most important piece of gear is sound decision making. Pay attention to what you are doing, how the wind is changing, and your surroundings. Be sure you are properly trained, have all your gear, and aren’t getting in over your head. Follow these steps, and you can have a safe and enjoyable time cutting timber.