How to Cut Firewood with A Chainsaw – The Safest Way

It seems like you had enough of the old scale wood chopping with an ax, and you have even bought a chainsaw to ease up a bit.

Now, you can’t wait to start and prepare the wood for the wintertime fireplace usage. But the question is, do you know how to cut firewood with a chainsaw?

Don’t jump right into cutting a tree for your firewood if you are a beginner. First, read this article carefully to gain a proper understanding of what the task entails.

how to cut firewood with a chainsaw

It is also important to learn about the tree felling cut types before you begin, to familiarize with the techniques to safely fell a tree.

Which Trees are the Best for Firewood?

Did you know? Not all trees are suitable as firewood. For example, softwood is wholly unsuitable for being used as firewood due to its soft texture. Trees that are full of sap are the worst.

On the contrary, hardwood such as almond, beech, birch, carob, oak, olive, and orange are excellent firewood choices due to their hardness and duration.

So, now that we know our wood let’s get on to the next part.

What will you need?

You cannot make firewood out of the tree with just one chainsaw. Before you begin, remember to bring these gears with you when you go into the forest.

For Your Safety During the Cut

Safety gear

Nothing is more important than your safety. Make sure that you wear the following safety gears.

  • Safety glasses or
  • Face shield or face mask
  • Earmuffs
  • Gloves
  • Helmet
  • Chaps
  • Boots, etc.

Back brace

Cutting wood for a long time can put a strain upon your back, especially on your lower back when you lift the logs. So, wear a back brace to avoid straining your back more than necessary.

Water and snacks

The possibility of accidents increases when you are tired. So bring enough water and snacks with you to replenish your energy. Take sufficient water breaks, even in the winter.

Walkie talkie or cell phone

Suppose you have suffered from an accident in the middle of the forest and need medical aid. But no one is there with you. What will you do?

It is best to bring the company with you while cutting firewood. But if doing so is not possible, bring a cell phone or walkie talkie with you. And remember to keep them by hand so that you can reach out to others in the shortest notice.

First aid kit

Injuries are prevalent while cutting firewood. Remember to bring a first aid kit with you.

For Cutting Firewood with a Chainsaw

Now that we have your needs covered, let’s see what we will need for cutting firewood, shall we?

Right-sized Chainsaw

Remember, not all chainsaws are suitable for cutting firewood. Generally, the 18-inch chainsaw is the ideal choice for preparing firewood. But a 20 or 24-inch chainsaw can also be used if the tree trunk is wide enough.

An electric chainsaw can do the job if you buy the right one but the gas-operated ones will do the job more conveniently.

Last update on 2024-03-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

What you will need is to use a chainsaw that is two inches longer than the wood it needs to cut. This will lessen the possibility of kickbacks. So before you go out, make sure you have suitable sizes chainsaw with you.


Remember to fill up the fuel tank. Also, bring extra cans with you.

If you are a beginner and don’t know which fuel to use, check out the user manual. There you will be able to find out all the details.

Also, some chainsaws operate on electricity. In that case, remember to charge fully.


Keep some handy in case you suddenly need them.


What if while you are cutting, you notice that your chainsaw is getting dull? You can’t continue as that can cause accidents. Sharpening becomes the only solution, then.


Wedges are necessary for felling trees, bucking logs, and cutting firewood. You can land the tree in the desired location using a wedge. It can also prevent your chainsaw from getting stuck in the wood while cutting firewood already on the ground.

Small Ax

Cleaning up the tree branches is much easier with an ax rather than a chainsaw.

Chalk and Measuring Tape

Necessary for preparing the correct sized firewood.

A Permit

There is nothing to say if you are cutting trees that belong to your property. But if you are cutting trees from the national forest, don’t forget to bring your permit.

Steps to Cut Firewood with A Chainsaw

Now that we have everything we need to bring covered let’s begin learning how to cut firewood with a chainsaw.

Get Prepared Before You Cut The Firewood

We have already listed out the things you will need to wear and bring with you. Don’t be neglectful, and check twice if you have made ample preparation before going to the forest. We suggest you make a list.

Then keep ticking the items you have filled in your truck. It will lessen the possibility of leaving something behind. And by the way, don’t forget to check your equipment to see if they are in good condition.

After you reaching your destination and selecting the tree for firewood, wear the safety gears, and organize all the other stuff nearby.

Select the right Tree for Making Firewood

Selecting the correct tree is essential as a mistake in choice can waste a tree’s life and make your whole work go down the drain.

We have already mentioned which trees make the best firewood. So select a healthy hardwood tree, not suffer from any rot, and sized suitably for your needs. Also, if possible, try to inflict as little damage as possible to nature.

Cut the Tree in Right Direction 

Now, choose the direction where you want to fell the tree. Done? Now prepare two escape routes where you can stay safe when the tree falls.

After you are ready, place a chalk mark at the tree-trunk where you want to cut it. Then make a 45-degree angle notch-cut with the chainsaw at the felling direction. The cut should go through 2/3rd of the trunk-width.

Then go behind and make a felling cut right behind and a little above the notch-cut. Then escape to the safe area as fast as you can.

Cut the Branches Sequentially & Cautiously

Now use a small ax or the chainsaw to cut the tree branches to reduce the risk of tripping and kickback. If you have a heavy chainsaw, we suggest you use an ax to reduce body-strain.

Clean up the Area

After you are done cutting the branches, clear up the area and store the branches for transportation.

Also, try to remove other tripping hazards like stones to prevent potential accidents. While you are at it, remove anything near the log to reduce chainsaw obstacles.

Measure the Log Picked up for Firewood

Now use a measure and chalk to measure the log and divide it into equal four-foot-long sizes. It is because turning four-foot-long logs into 16-inch firewood is more comfortable and less time-consuming.

Cut Tree Trunks to Produce accurate Logs

Now place your chainsaw at the mark and switch it on. Simply hold it firmly enough to maintain precision. You won’t need to push. The saw will do the cutting by itself.

Just be careful not to cut through the entire log. Stop cutting when the blade has cut through the cut 3/4th of the log. Flip it using a wedge or felling lever, and cut the rest from the opposite side.

We suggest this method to prevent chainsaw contact with the ground. Otherwise, its teeth will become dull.

Cut the Log into Firewood with Your Chainsaw

Now that you have your 4-foot logs, it’s time to turn them into 16-inch logs. Just like before, use the chalk and measuring tape to mark the log into 16-inch intervals. Then use the chainsaw to cut through the marks.

From full to half

After you are done producing all of the 16-inch logs, it’s time to split them into firewood.

To do so, place the log on the ground and then place two pieces of wood on both sides as supports. Then place the chainsaw at the middle of the log and cut through the length until only 1-inch remains.

Then, pick up the log piece and turn it over. Now hurl it forcefully onto one of the supporting wood pieces or the tree stump. Your log should split due to the force. You can also use a felling wedge and hammer as an alternative.

From Halves to Quarters

Now place the flat side of the freshly cut half of firewood on the ground. Then follow the previous procedure to cut it in half.

Carry on until the end***

Keep doing the same to the other 16-inch logs until they are all turned into firewoods

Transport them

Now place all the firewood and branches in the truck or trailer. Remember to spread them evenly and not overload them. Repack all of the items you have bought, checking the list.

It’s time to go home now.

Dry and Store the Firewood

We have our firewood at last! But it doesn’t mean that we can use them immediately. Green or freshly cut firewood is the worst choice for burning.

It is because the wood retains water months after you cut down the tree, which hinders burning. That is why you need to sufficiently dry them under the sun for at least a year. Only after sufficient drying, the wood can make good fuel for the fireplace.

That is why spring and summer are considered the best time to prepare firewood because you will have enough sunlight for the initial drying.

To dry the wood, stack them in spaces in a high place outdoors where they can’t absorb ground moisture and get enough sunlight and air. After they are dried well, store them in a dry place.

Ending Remarks

And that’s it! Now that you know how to cut firewood with a chainsaw, you can see how easy it is.

Still, working with anything sharp is dangerous. So remember to follow through with the guidelines carefully. Best wishes.

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