How-To's & Guides

Open Face Directional Felling

Prepare the directional notch by sawing off any root protrusions that might complicate felling. It is often useful to cut the bark on the sides of the trunk at the level of the intended directional and felling cuts so that the cuts are clear.

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Aim with the top cut

  1. Lean with your left shoulder against the trunk. Stand with your legs wide apart or put your left knee down on the ground ensuring you have good balance. Keep the saw at an angle so that you achieve the recommended opening angle when you have sawn down to stump height.
  2. Aim at a point further forward in the terrain where you want the tree to fall. The directional target must match the saw’s felling direction markings (lines).
  3. Angle the guide bar and start sawing at full throttle. Check occasionally during sawing that you are maintaining your original position.
Illustrations Use Chainsaw Book 1 Working with chainsaws, part 1

Bottom cut - always horizontal

  1. Saw the bottom cut so that it meets the top cut precisely. Make sure you do not saw the bottom cut too deep. If the top and bottom cuts do not meet exactly, you will not have sufficient control over the felling. It is also important that the saw is held horizontally when the bottom cut is sawn.
  2. When felling thicker trees it may be necessary to supplement the top cut from the opposite side, depending on guide bar length.

Open-face directional notch

  • Flat or slightly sloping terrain
  • Directional notch opening 60-80°
  • Top cut first, determines the direction
  • The bottom cut is sawn horizontally at an angle to the felling cut
  • The felling cut in line with or slightly above the level of the directional notch

Pluses & Minuses

  • The simplest method
  • Low stump height
  • The hinge breaks before the tree hits the ground


  • Determine the direction
  • Take up position behind the saw and aim
  • Angle the guide bar and apply full throttle
  • Check the direction and angle
  • Saw until the stump height is reached
  • Keep the saw and guide bar horizontal
  • Meet the top cut exactly
  • Move over to the other side and make the equivalent cut if the guide bar is not long enough