Cutting Guide

Can You Cut Wet Trees With A Chainsaw? [10 Easy Steps]

You might be eyeing that tree in your yard, wondering if a little rain means you should postpone your chainsaw work.

Wet wood won’t damage your chainsaw at all! In fact, it’s a bit easier to slice through wet wood than dry wood. But before you rev up that chainsaw, there are some things you should know.

Wet conditions come with their own set of challenges, like slippery ground and unpredictable winds. Safety should always come first, so make sure you’re well-prepared for any surprises Mother Nature might throw your way.

Trust me, it’s going to be an informative…

Is it OK to cut a wet tree with a chainsaw?

First off, it’s true that wet wood won’t harm your chainsaw’s performance. The motor and the chain don’t struggle more just because the wood is wet. However, this doesn’t mean it’s all smooth sailing.

Safety Concerns Are Real

While your chainsaw may be fine, the real concern is for you, the operator. Wet wood is slippery, and a slippery surface increases the risk of the chainsaw slipping out of your control. A chainsaw is not a toy; losing control of it can lead to severe injuries.

The Issue of Binding

Another problem you might face is that wet wood tends to bind the chainsaw chain. Binding can lead to what’s known as “kickback,” where the chainsaw suddenly moves in an upward and backward motion. If you’re not prepared, this can be extremely dangerous.

Watch Out for Flying Wood Chips

Lastly, don’t forget about wood chips. Wet wood can result in wood chips flying off at high speeds. Not only can this pose a risk to you, but it’s also a danger to anyone else in the vicinity.

So, is it OK to cut a wet tree with a chainsaw? Technically, yes. Your chainsaw won’t mind. But if you ask me, I’d say proceed with extreme caution or wait until the wood dries. Safety should always come first.

How to Cut Wet Trees With a Chainsaw Safely


1. Preparing for the Task

Before diving into the action, ensure your chainsaw is in prime working condition. Think of it as your trusty steed, just in an “Ash vs. Evil Dead” kind of way. A dull or rusty chainsaw won’t just make the job harder, it could also be dangerous.

If it’s your first time wielding this powerful tool, have a look at this comprehensive guide on using an electric chainsaw for the first time. It’ll turn you from novice to lumberjack in no time.

2. Donning Protective Gear

Safety should be your mantra when dealing with chainsaws. Ensure you’re dressed for the occasion, no, not a black tie event, but close.


Sturdy boots, long trousers, a long-sleeved shirt, gloves, safety goggles, and a helmet should be your go-to attire. You’re not aiming for the cover of Vogue, but rather a successful tree-cutting session.

3. Observing the Tree

Inspect the wet tree thoroughly before getting started. Identify the lean of the tree, the side with more branches typically indicates the direction it will naturally fall.


You definitely don’t want any surprise timber! moments. If it’s leaning in a direction that could cause damage, well, it’s time to channel your inner George Washington and reconsider chopping it down.

4. Planning Your Cuts

Next, plan your cuts. The first cut you’ll make is called the notch cut, and it’s a real game-changer. The notch cut is what steers the direction of the fall. Aim to make the notch cut around knee height and on the side of the tree facing the desired fall direction.


Wondering how to cut a log lengthwise with a chainsaw after felling the tree? We got your back, here’s an in-depth guide for you.

5. Making the Notch Cut

Now, position yourself to the side of the intended cut, hold your chainsaw steady, and start making an angled top cut down into the tree, at about a 60-70 degree angle.


After that, make a horizontal undercut to meet the top cut. Your cuts should create a notch that looks like a slice of pie. Oh, pie! No time for snacks, though. We’re on a mission here.

6. Felling Cut and Watch Out for Kickbacks

The felling cut comes next. This one is made on the opposite side of the tree, slightly above the base of the notch cut.

Beware though! Chainsaws can ‘kickback’ and this step is the most common time it happens. Don’t fret! You can handle it. Just hold on tight and avoid cutting with the tip of your chainsaw.

7. The Magic Moment

Begin your cut, apply even pressure, and keep the chainsaw straight. Make sure you leave what’s called a hinge, a bit of uncut wood that helps guide the tree’s fall. This is your last cut. The tree should now begin to fall. This is your “timber!” moment. Feels good, doesn’t it?

8. Troubleshooting

But what if, halfway through, your chainsaw loses power under load? It could be several things, from an air leak in the fuel system to a blocked air filter. It’s frustrating, we know, but here’s a helpful guide to troubleshooting the chainsaw.

9. Removing the Stump

All done? Not quite. There’s the little matter of the leftover stump. Removing a stump might feel like the final boss battle in a video game, but guess what?

You’ve got the ultimate weapon: your chainsaw. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to remove a stump with a chainsaw. With the right technique, you’ll clear that stump in no time.

10. Celebrating Success

You’ve done it! You’ve chopped down a wet tree with your chainsaw. It’s time for that victory dance. But remember, leave no trace behind. Gather your wood, clean your equipment, and store your chainsaw properly.

Hey, can you smell that? It smells like…success. And a bit of pine, of course.

NOTE: Each tree, wet or dry, poses unique challenges when being cut. Always approach with caution and be ready to adapt your strategy based on what you observe.

Now, you’re probably wondering, “Should I always cut wet trees?” The answer is not always. It’s more difficult to cut a wet tree as it may cause your chainsaw to buckle or kick back more frequently. It can be done safely and effectively, though, as you’ve just learned. Just always prioritize safety.

Best Saws For Cutting Wet Wood (Different Tools for Different Woods)


When addressing the primary question, Can You Cut Wet Trees With A Chainsaw, it’s also worth examining how other tools fare with varying wood conditions. Different tools bring unique strengths and challenges to the table, especially when working with wet and dry wood. Here’s a comparative overview:

1 . Chainsaws

Wet Trees: As discussed, the moisture can act as a natural lubricant for the chainsaw chain, potentially easing the cutting process. However, safety and maintenance concerns arise.

Dry Trees: Cutting dry wood with a chainsaw often means less immediate maintenance but can produce more dust and require frequent chain sharpening.

2. Jigsaws

Wet Trees: While not the primary tool for large trees, for smaller projects or crafting, one might ponder, can you cut wet wood with a jigsaw? Jigsaws can handle damp wood for precise cuts, but blade choice is crucial.

Dry Trees: Jigsaws excel with dry wood, especially for intricate designs and detailed work.

3. Hand Saws

Wet Trees: The manual nature of cutting wet wood with a hand saw can be labor-intensive but offers more tactile feedback, letting the user feel the wood’s resistance.

Dry Trees: Hand saws can swiftly work through dry wood, but blade sharpness is vital to reduce effort.

4. Table Saws

Wet Trees: If wondering, if can you cut wet wood with a table saw, the answer lies in the blade type and saw power. While possible, caution is needed to avoid binding or kickback.

Dry Trees: Table saws provide clean, straight cuts on dry wood, especially for lumber or woodworking projects.

5. Miter Saws

Wet Trees: Can you cut wet wood with a miter saw? Yes, especially for angled cuts on smaller wet branches or logs. However, ensuring the wood is stable and not slippery is paramount.

Dry Trees: Miter saws offer precision angled cuts on dry wood, making them invaluable for carpentry and framing.

Frequently Asked Question

Are wet trees easier to cut?

No, wet trees aren’t easier to cut. The moisture in the wood can actually make it denser and harder to saw through.

Can you cut dry wood with a chainsaw?

Absolutely, you can cut dry wood with a chainsaw. Just follow safety guidelines and ensure your chainsaw is well-maintained.

Can you cut wet wood with a reciprocating saw?

Sure, you can cut wet wood with a reciprocating saw. Choose a blade that’s suitable for wet wood for a smoother experience.

Can you use an electric chainsaw on wet wood?

You can use an electric chainsaw on wet wood but focus on electrical safety. Keep all electrical connections dry to avoid accidents.

Key Takeaway

  • Using a chainsaw on wet wood is possible, but be cautious.
  • The chainsaw won’t suffer, but safety risks increase.
  • Gear up properly and inspect both the tree and equipment.
  • Safety should always be your first concern.
  • Proceed wisely, especially in wet conditions.