How to use felling wedges

Written by lynn holmgren
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Felling wedges are used to eliminate pinched saws and ensure the proper direction of fall when felling a tree. Felling wedges are inclined planes of various size that are usually made with a body of hard plastic designed to withstand the bite of the saw without dulling its edges and a cap of metal designed to withstand heavy blows from a driving maul. When inserted into the back cut of a tree, felling wedges will exert force in the direction of the inclined plane, often allowing a safer, cleaner felling experience.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

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Things you need

  • Chainsaw
  • Chaps
  • Safety goggles
  • Felling wedges
  • Maul

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  1. 1

    Use the chainsaw to make a top cut at a 50- to 60- degree angle, about 1/4 into the trunk's diameter.

  2. 2

    Make the bottom cut at a 30- to 40- degree angle off the horizontal, meeting the top cut to form a 90-degree angle.

  3. 3

    Place the saw against the back of the tree, one to two inches above the centre of the notch where your first two cuts meet. Make the back cut (felling cut), leaving approximately 1/10 of the diameter of the trunk to act as the hinge.

  4. 4

    Insert a wedge into the back cut as soon as possible to prevent the tree from sitting back on itself. Stack wedges to create more lift.

  5. 5

    Drive the wedge(s) with a maul until the tree begins to fall.

  6. 6

    Move a safe distance away before the tree falls.

Tips and warnings

  • Every tree and felling situation is different, so it is important to always observe the tree (size, lean, direction, rotted) and any potential dangers (wind, widow-makers) before starting to cut.
  • The bigger the diameter of the tree, the bigger felling wedge you will need for the job. However, avoid using a bigger felling wedge than you need, as it could cause the opposite of what you want to happen.
  • Always follow all safety guidelines during tree felling, wearing proper safety clothing and equipment.

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