How to crosscut a tree

Simple and effective limbing requires good technique. If you are a beginner, you can start slowly and methodically, and then gradually increase your speed. Here are some basic rules and methods for safe and efficient limbing.

Safe and comfortable working position

Limbing is the operation that usually takes the most time and effort when working with chainsaws. Therefore, you have much to gain by learning an effort saving and quick limbing method. If you get tired in your back from limbing a tree, this may well be an indication that your technique needs fine tuning.

Always stand off to the side of the cut, as the trunk can jump up or throw back.

Tension direction and basic technique

Always assess the tension in the trunk – is the compressive stress on the top or bottom of the trunk? The basic technique is to start with a meeting cut through one third of the log from the side that is exposed to compressive stress – that is the side where you expect the guide bar to pinch. Then continue to cut a meeting cut on the opposite side until the log is cut through. See detailed method descriptions below.

Make it a habit to look at how the trunk reacts to being cut. It may be the case that you ­misjudged the tension.

Pressure on top

method

Pressure on top: basic crosscutting technique

For trunks where the chainsaw’s guide bar reaches all the way through:

1

Start by making a cut from the top side. The depth of the cut should be about one-third of the diameter of the trunk, or before the trunk tends to pinch the guide bar.

2

Now cut from the bottom to meet the first cut. Saw until the log is cut through.

method

Pressure on top: crosscutting thick trunks

If the pressure is on top and the trunk is thicker than the bar length:

1

Start by crosscutting the opposite side of the trunk.

2

Pull the saw towards you and crosscut from the top, up to about one-third of the trunk diameter.

3

Now crosscut from the bottom. Make a bore if the trunk is lying on the ground to avoid sawing stones.

4

Continue with undercutting towards the centre of the trunk.

Pressure on bottom

When the trunck lies so that the pressure comes from the bottom, you must perform the crosscuting in a reversed sequence:

method

Pressure on bottom: basic crosscutting technique

For trunks where the chainsaw’s guide bar reaches all the way through:

1

Start with the undercut up to about one-third of the trunk diameter, or until the guide bar tends to pinch.

2

Now cut from the top to meet the first cut. Saw until the log is cut through.

method

Pressure on bottom: crosscutting thick trunks

If the pressure is on the bottom and the trunk is thicker than the bar length:

1

Start by crosscutting the opposite side of the trunk.

2

Pull the saw towards you and cut a little from the top.

3

Now crosscut from the underside, up to about one-third of the trunk diameter. Make a bore if the trunk is lying on the ground.

4

Finish with a top cut.

Last edited

November 16, 2018

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