Understanding directional felling

Safe felling requires great care and precision. To control a falling tree you make a directional notch and a felling cut to create a hinge that guides the tree down to the ground.

The felling hinge

Creating a suitable felling hinge is the most important factor in ensuring safe and clean felling. The hinge is the unsawn part between the directional notch and the felling cut, and it is supposed to work like a normal hinge. The hinge guides the tree down during the felling and as the directional notch closes, the hinge breaks and separates the tree from the stump.

A tree with graphics showing the two parts of directional notch – the top cut and bottom cup.

The directional notch

The directional notch is made in two parts: the top cut and bottom cut. The directional notch can be made in a number of ways. The condition of the tree, the terrain and local tradition mean that the type of directional notch may differ. Take a look at How to make a directional notch to view four different types of directional notches. We recommend using the Open face notch, aiming with a top cut, since it is safe, easier and well-suited for most tree felling applications.

A tree with graphics showing the felling cut and how the hinge guides the tree in the preferred felling direction.

The felling cut

When the directional notch has been made, it is time to saw the felling cut towards the directional notch. Remember to saw right to the hinge width! The felling cut will normally be level with or slightly above the level of the directional notch. The technique used for making the felling cut depends on the thickness of the trunk and the length of the guide bar. Take a look at How to make a felling cut to view different types of felling cuts. We recommend using the Safe corner method since it is safe and relatively easy.


Last edited

November 27, 2019

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