A rope tree chain saw consists of a chain saw blade attached to two lengths of rope with handles. To use the saw, throw the rope over the branch, pull the saw blade up to the branch and work the blade back and forth across the branch by pulling the handles. While the basic principle seems sound, there are both advantages and disadvantages to purchasing a rope tree chain saw.
Using a rope tree chain saw does not require ladders, which may be difficult and dangerous to position and climb, or complicated climbing ropes and gear that require specialised training and experience. Working with cutting saws, particularly power saws at a lengthy height, is also dangerous and is best left to professional arborists. The rope tree chain saw requires only that the branch be low enough to get the saw rope completely over the branch to cut the branch easily. As the rope is pulled, the chain automatically aligns the cutting edge to the tree limb.
Getting the rope over the branch can be challenging, and positioning the saw blade in the proper location for an optimal cut can also prove difficult. While the saw blade of the rope tree chain saw will cut through wood relatively easily, it is not moving at the accelerated rate of speed of a power chain saw. The saw requires significant manual labour over a longer time to cut a branch, depending on its diameter. Working the saw with two people can help to divide the labour, making the work easier.
One significant disadvantage to using a rope tree chain saw is that you must stand within a certain proximity of the branch above you. To prevent sawdust and other debris from falling into your eyes, wear eye protection at all times. You also face a risk of the limb you are cutting falling and injuring you or your assistant. Two people operating the saw can stand farther away from the branch, improving the safety factor.
When using a rope tree chain saw, making an undercut in the branch before cutting is impossible. An undercut made first on the bottom of the branch helps to reduce damage to the branch when making the final downward cut. This prevents tearing of the wood and bark that can injure the tree as the branch comes loose from the tree. A rope tree chain saw cannot make an undercut, which increases the chances of damaging the tree, particularly if the branch is a large one. Also, if the tree branch twists while using the saw, it can pinch the saw blade, preventing you from continuing to cut the branch and losing the saw in the process.