A chainsaw is potentially one of the most dangerous power tools.
Before using one to remove dead or diseased trees, or to cut up ﬁrewood, take adequate precautions, wear correct safety gear and concentrate on the task.
SIZE isn’t everything, as for most DIYers a 400mm bar is plenty. Longer bars can get in the way with dangerous kickback possible. Check the maximum cut diameter for a good indication of what the saw can handle.
COST tends to indicate quality. More expensive saws generally have better components and will last longer.
SAFETY GEAR is a must. You need a helmet with face shield, hearing protection, leather gloves and special chainsaw chaps to shield your legs.
Estimate the felling zone
Trees are taller than they seem and reach farther on the ground than you’d expect, but you can use an axe to estimate how far the tree will fall.
Hold the axe upside down at arm’s length, with the head about shoulder height.
Walk towards or away from the tree until you can sight the treetop just over the handle end, and the base under the blade.
The treetop will land roughly where your feet are.
This is just an estimate, so allow extra room if there’s something it might fall on.
Size up a tree
Before cutting, check the crown of the tree for any dead branches that are partly broken but still attached, or broken off and tangled into other branches that support them.
If there are any such branches or other debris high up, don’t cut down the tree yourself as these can become dislodged and fall on you.
Check how the tree leans, if at all, and whether it has many more branches on one side, since this is the direction it will fall.
If there are any buildings, fences, powerlines or other obstructions in the felling zone, avoid felling DIY and call a professional instead.
Clear the cutting zone
Even when you’re sure which way the tree is going to fall, you’re still not ready to fell it.
Cut away any brush around the trunk and clear two escape routes on the opposite side of the tree to its direction of fall.
They should be about 45º away from each other in opposite directions.
The last thing you want is to trip while walking away from a falling tree.