Cutting Guide

5 Types Of Chainsaw Cuts [Unveiling The Best Techniques]

You’ve got your chainsaw in hand and you’re ready to tackle some woodwork. did you know that not all cuts are created equal? 

They can be broadly categorized into three main types. We’re talking about felling, bucking, and limbing. Whether you’re cutting down a towering tree or just slicing up some firewood, these are the key moves to master.

We’re going to break down each type of cut and explain when and how to use them, ensuring you get the job done quickly and safely.

The 5 Most Common Types of Chainsaw Cuts and Techniques


Sure thing! Let’s deep dive into the world of chainsaw cuts. These are the kinds of skills that separate the newbies from the seasoned pros. They might seem pretty straightforward, but each one is a craft all its own.

1. Felling – The Tree Take Down

Felling, first on our list, is a big one. It’s the art of cutting down a standing tree. This is where lumberjacks earn their stripes. Picture yourself out in the thick woods, chainsaw roaring, tree on the verge of falling.

It’s a man-versus-nature moment straight out of an old-school adventure novel. Remember, though, safety first. Felling is the most dangerous of chainsaw operations. Positioning, escape routes, and careful cutting are crucial.

2. Bucking – Slice and Dice

Once your tree is on the ground, you’ve got to buck it. Bucking is like portioning a pie—it’s all about cutting that tree into usable lengths. You’re no longer battling the behemoth; you’re carving it up for firewood, timber, or whatever else you need. Take your chainsaw, find your rhythm, and before you know it, you’ve got a pile of logs ready for action.

3. Overbuck and Underbuck – A Cut Above (and Below)

Now, let’s talk about over-buck and under-a-buck. These are specific techniques for slicing trunks or branches that are fully supported or supported at one end.

  • Overbuck is for when your wood is fully supported. This is the cut you use when a tree is lying flat on the ground. It’s like a bread knife gliding through a fresh loaf. Nice and easy, right? Well, just watch your tip – kickback can be a real beast.
  • Underbuck is a whole other ballgame. It’s the cut you make when the wood is supported at one end. Picture a tree that’s fallen and is propped up on some rocks or another tree. It’s like cutting a tensioned spring. The trick here is to make an initial cut on the top, then finish from the bottom. This way, you avoid getting your chainsaw trapped.

4. Limbing – Cleanup Crew

Now we’re on to limbing. You’ve toppled the giant, and bucked it up, but there’s still a mess of branches everywhere. Limbing is the cleanup process, stripping the fallen tree of its branches.

The key here is to work from the base of the tree upwards. It’s methodical, patient work, but when you’re done, your tree is ready for transport or further cutting.

5. Notching Undercut – Precision Matters

Last but not least, we have the notching undercut. This is a two-cut process used when you’re felling a tree. It determines the direction the tree will fall.

The notch cut is made on the side of the tree facing the direction you want it to fall. This isn’t a place for rough-and-ready hacking. Precision is key to a safe and successful fall.

Chainsaw Chain Types Chart

Chain TypeDescriptionIdeal UseSafety/Other Concerns
Full Chisel ChainsSquare-cornered teeth, sharp and fastCutting hardwoods and clean wood, professional useCan kick back, not suitable for beginners
Semi Chisel ChainsRounded corners, slower but stays sharp longerCutting softwood or dirty woodSafer than full chisel chains
Low Profile Cutter ChainsDesigned for light-duty useCutting softwood or dirty woodSafe, easy to use, but less efficient
Skip Chisel ChainsSimilar to chisel chains, but with fewer teethCutting large diameters, often used for milling lumberRequires less power, good for larger chainsaws

Let’s Talk About Chainsaw Horizontal Cut


Ah, the chainsaw, that trusted companion in woodwork! If you’ve ever handled one of these mighty machines, you know the power, the vibration, the unmistakable sound.

Now let’s dig into the nitty-gritty, focusing on one very specific operation: the horizontal cut.

Getting the Hang of It

Let’s take a trip back to my grandfather’s old cabin in the Wisconsin woods. I still remember the first time he put a chainsaw in my hands. “Steady, now,” he’d always say. His rough, calloused hands guided mine, teaching me to respect the tool and understand its power.

  • Positioning: The first lesson was about positioning. Stand firmly, feet shoulder-width apart, left foot slightly ahead if you’re right-handed (and vice versa). Planting your feet correctly gives you balance and control, two things you can’t do without.
  • Grip: Hold the chainsaw tightly with both hands. Your right hand on the rear handle and your left hand on the front handle. Remember, a chainsaw isn’t a feather. It has a kick to it.
  • Safety: Make sure you’re wearing the appropriate safety gear. Safety glasses, cut-resistant chaps, sturdy boots, and don’t forget those gloves. This isn’t optional, folks. Safety should always be your top priority.

Different Chainsaw Horizontal Cut


Now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for: the horizontal cut. It seems simple enough, right? Well, there’s a bit more to it than just chopping wood.


Line up the chainsaw with the piece of wood. Take a moment, breathe. Make sure the chainsaw’s teeth are perpendicular to the wood.


Ease the chainsaw into the wood. Don’t force it. Let the saw do the work. It’s like my grandpa used to say: “It’s not about strength, it’s about technique.

Cutting Through:

As the chainsaw cuts through the wood, maintain control. Keep a firm grip and a steady pace. Rushing it isn’t going to help.

Finishing Up:

As you near the end of the cut, be prepared for the wood to shift or drop. A good woodsman always anticipates his next move.

A Guide to Chainsaw Cutting: Grit, Grunt, and Sawdust


Once Upon A Time in a Woodshop

Imagine, you’re in a remote cabin, somewhere in the mountains of Montana. A storm blows in, and a tree has fallen, blocking the only road back to civilization. 

With your trusty chainsaw at your side, there’s no need to panic. You’ve got the power to deal with it, thanks to the know-how of chainsaw cutting. Let’s dive into that knowledge right now.

The Bare-Bones Basics

Before we get all starry-eyed over our chainsaw prowess, let’s lay out some fundamental points:

  • Safety First: Always wear proper safety gear – gloves, safety glasses, steel-toe boots, and ideally, some form of hearing protection.
  • Preparation: Check the chainsaw’s tension and sharpness. Regular maintenance is a must.
  • Fuel: Ensure your chainsaw has enough gas (or battery power for electric chainsaws) to finish the job.

Be Aware: Keep an eye out for potential kickback zones on the bar of the chainsaw

A Cut Above: Basic Cutting Techniques


Bucking is the process of cutting a fallen tree or a log into smaller, manageable pieces. As easy as it may seem, it requires skill and patience.

  • Underbuck: Use the bottom edge of the chainsaw bar to make an upward cut. But be warned, this method increases the risk of kickback.
  • Overbuck: Use the top edge of the chainsaw bar to cut downward. This is usually safer and more controlled.


Felling is the act of cutting down a tree. It’s more complex and needs more planning, as safety is paramount here.

  • Notch Cut: This is the first cut, and it’s made on the side of the tree facing the direction you want it to fall.
  • Felling Cut: This cut is made on the opposite side of the notch cut, a bit higher, and it should meet the notch cut as the tree starts to fall.

Cutting with Confidence

Back to that tree, fallen across your mountain road. You’ve prepared your chainsaw, suited up, and evaluated the tree’s size. You’re ready to tackle it using your bucking skills.

With each slice of the chainsaw, you can feel the vibration through your gloves, the drone of the motor a comforting hum in your ears. As sawdust flies and the scent of fresh-cut wood fills the air, there’s a satisfaction to this work that few other tasks offer.

Keep the Chains Rolling: Ongoing Maintenance

Chainsaw cutting isn’t just about the act of cutting itself. It’s about understanding and maintaining your tool.



A sharp chain cuts better and safer. Learn to sharpen your chainsaw regularly.


Clean your chainsaw after each use. A dirty chainsaw can lead to many mechanical problems.


Store your chainsaw properly when not in use. This protects it from damage and extends its life.

Frequently Asked Questions

What type of chainsaw chain cuts the best?

The best cutting chainsaw chain often depends on the task at hand. However, full-chisel chains are generally known for their fast and clean cuts, especially in hardwood.

What cuts on a chainsaw?

The cutting part of a chainsaw is the chain, which features various types of cutting teeth like chisel and semi-chisel. These teeth slice through wood as the chain rotates around the guide bar.

What are the 4 types of bucking binds?

The four types of bucking binds are top bind, bottom bind, side bind, and end bind. These terms describe how the weight of the wood impacts the cut, potentially causing the wood to pinch the chainsaw.

What type of chainsaw chain cuts the fastest?

Full-chisel chains cut the fastest. They have square-cornered teeth that make quick work of hardwood, but they can dull more quickly.

Types of chainsaw chains chisel?

Chisel chains come in two main types: full-chisel and semi-chisel. Full-chisel chains have square-cornered teeth for fast, efficient cuts. Semi-chisel chains have rounded corners for better durability but are a bit slower.