How to Cut Down a Small Tree With a Chainsaw

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If you are a beginner and just starting to cut trees, try to have at least a little practice before using it.

You have to be careful especially while cutting down a small tree.

If you happen to be among the people that have this particular problem try to use these steps as guidance.

In this article, We have shared 7 simple steps on how to cut down a small tree with a chainsaw.

But before deep diving into the detailed guide, let’s have a quick look at safety gears. Because personal safety is more important.

Safety First

Don’t cut corners when you cut a tree, whether with a chainsaw. Every step is important to ensure your safety and the safety of the people and property around you. Be sure to think about each of the following safety precautions before you begin.

Chainsaw Safety Gears:

Eye Protection

There are many options when it comes to choosing eye protection:

Face shield

Attach directly onto your safety helmet. 

Safety glasses

When it comes to selecting safety glasses, look for glasses with side shields or wraparounds for added protection. Additional options on safety glasses include scratch resistance, such as the Starlite model, or UVA/UVB protection, such as Scorpion-Mag safety glasses.


Goggles offer a lot of eye protection – particularly for those who wear prescription glasses. They easily fit over regularly sized glasses and allow full vision in all directions.

Coverall eyewear

These coveralls fit over prescription eyewear.

Hearing Protection

There are two common types of hearing protection which are used for chainsaw noise – ear plugs and ear muffs. It depends on you which form of hearing protection you choose, be sure to look for the noise reduction rating (NRR). 

Earplugs can be the main issue or come connected with a cord or band. Regardless of the type, earplugs need to be inserted correctly in order to provide the best hearing protection.

To ensure the best fit and greatest protection, follow these steps:

  1. Roll the earplug into a small cylinder.
  2. Pull your ear up and back to open the ear canal.
  3. Push the ear plug into your ear canal, holding it there for a few seconds until it fills your ear canal. This will provide the best fit and greatest protection.

On the other hand,  Ear muffs will provide you with the most protection from excessive noise. In addition to the NRR, you’ll also want to consider the weight of the ear muffs and how comfortable they are.

Hand Protection

Chainsaw gloves should still be worn during cutting trees to protect you from cuts and scrapes.

Gloves are not compulsory, but it is a good idea to use gloves whenever handling a chainsaw. Gloves damp the vibration from the saw and protect from minor cuts.


Boots with a composite or steel toe and a nonslip sole are a safe choice. Tree climbers may prefer lighter footwear. Be sure to break new boots in before working in them.

How to Cut Down a Small Tree With a Chainsaw

1. Plan ahead

The most important thing to keep in mind before cutting trees is that you want to plan ahead. You certainly don’t want to get hurt, and you don’t want the tree falling onto your house or garage. It takes planning to keep both of these things from happening. 

First, take a look at where the tree is located and what’s around it. Check for not only structures but also power lines, fences or anything else that could possibly be damaged.

If there is a road close by where the tree might fall, set up some warning signs just in case some debris ends up in the road. If you’ve never done this before, it helps to have someone with experience around, as they should be able to more closely predict any danger or things you’ll want to keep in mind before getting started.

Then, clear out the area around the base of the tree. Remove any undergrowth, fallen limbs, or branches. It’s important that you can get to the tree from every angle without stepping over or tripping over anything. Make sure there are no obstacles within the distance of two times the height of the tree.

2. Clear The Area

Now that you have a plan ahead, it’s time to think about the area surrounding the tree. Be sure that anyone near the tree knows what you intend to do. You may also put up warning sounds around the felling area to be sure the falling tree does not hurt anybody. 

To do this, you must determine the area of the fell zone. Don’t be fooled into thinking that the tree is smaller than it is. You can use the old ax trick to get a good idea of how far the tree will reach when it hits the ground.

Face the tree and hold an ax blade down at arm’s length in front of your face. Then, close one eye. Slowly and carefully back away from the tree until the top of the handle looks even with the top of the tree and the base of the tree appears level with the bottom of the ax. That’s about how far it will fall. 

Once you’ve determined the fell area and the direction, you can decide on two escape routes to use if things go wrong. Then, you’re safer than before and ready to learn how to cut down a small tree with a chainsaw.

3. Make your cuts at a comfortable height

Don’t feel the need to squat down and cut close to the ground right away. You can make your initial cuts, let the tree fall, and then cut down the remaining bit to a stump. Use a stance that is comfortable for you to hold throughout the entire cut. It’s safer to have a good handle on the chainsaw and prioritize cutting in the right spot so that the tree falls where you want.

4. Cut a wedge on the same side 

Our first cut was horizontal, about halfway through the tree (sometimes 2/3 if it’s small). Allow the chainsaw to work the cut; do not work it in a sawing motion. The next cut is at a downward angle above the first cut, about 60 degrees or so, at a depth so the two cuts meet. This should result in a wedge-like shape cut out of the tree.

how to cut down a small tree with a chainsaw
5. Make a third cut on the opposite side

Position yourself so you are neither directly under the felling area nor on the exact opposite side (it seems logical at first to be exactly opposite, but if the tree falls backward, you don’t want to be under it).

A few inches above the first horizontal cut and on the opposite side of the tree, make another slice with the chainsaw but don’t cut all the way to the other cut lines. This is when the cut will separate the base of the tree, sort of like a hinge, and the tree will start to fall from its own weight. I was a little nervous when this part happened because K and his dad have ZERO FEAR getting up in the action and pushed on the tree (which I’m not sure you’re supposed to do, but I let it go).

6. Cut the stump

As the cutting trees move away from the tree. Once it’s down, cut the rest of the remaining trunk down to a stump.

7. Cut firewood logs

Cut off the smaller branches first until you have a clean section for making into logs. Elevate it off the ground slightly. Get most of the way through and slow as you get to the end of the cut (otherwise, the cut will give way and send the tip of your chainsaw into the dirt).

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