Felling wedges

In many ways, felling wedges are the humble heroes in advanced felling situations, providing remarkable lifting force for greater control and precision. As you know from your basic training, wedges are inserted before the felling cut is complete, and are knocked in with an axe or an impact breaking bar. They help the tree fall in the direction of the notch cut by lifting the tree in that direction. Wedges also prevent the tree from pinching the saw, or leaning back on the saw, while making a back cut. In addition, wedges can be used to release a pinched saw.

Using felling wedges requires the proper training and experience in advanced felling situations. Safety first – always!

What to look for in a wedge

A wedge should be both soft and stiff. Use wedges made of a durable, high-impact material with damping properties, such as plastic or aluminium. This reduces strain on the body and eliminates the risk of chain damage, should you happen to cut into the wedge. The wedge should be shaped for a perfect hit and have a textured surface and cross groves to improve grip in wet or frozen conditions. In advanced felling situations, it is common that several wedges are needed. So, make sure your equipment includes a complete range of wedge sizes.

Choosing the right wedge or wedges

Which wedge or wedges to use depends on the lifting height and tree felling force required for the specific task at hand. The lifting height is the distance that the felling tool must push apart the felling cut before the tree falls on its own accord. To make the tree fall, the centre of gravity must pass over the pivot of the hinge. For this to happen, the felling tool must produce sufficient lift and enough felling force. 1, 2 or 3 wedges can be used together to move the tree over the centreline so that it falls in the felling direction.

Illustrations Wwc part 2

Keep in mind that the optimal lift height reduces strain on the body, since less striking force is needed with a low lift height.


Read more about tree felling force and check out a diagram that shows the required lifting height for different tree diameters, including the saw cut.

Last edited

March 17, 2023

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