If you are going to use your chainsaw for anything other than lopping off a few spindly branches then you will almost certainly benefit from having a tree felling wedge or two handy.
This is because tree felling wedges can help you to fell a tree safely and easily by directing it to fall where you want it to fall. They are also pretty useful in stopping the weight of the tree from pushing down on your chainsaw bar and possibly jamming the chain.
Types of Felling Wedges
The best tree felling wedges today are made from hard plastic. This is because Plastic tree felling wedges are cheap to buy, are durable and are generally kind to your chainsaw should you accidentally touch one with the chain when working.
You can of course make your own felling wedge from wood but they are unlikely to last very long and the steel variety mostly became obsolete just after the Ark was built 🙂 – too heavy, too expensive and too unyielding would sum up the characteristics of metal felling wedges – not to mention a potential fire hazard if a buzzing chainsaw chain came into contact with one and the sparks flew!
You can however still get steel tipped tree felling wedges if you feel that the normal hard plastic variety wont
do the job for you. Aluminum tree felling wedges are also available and the manufacturer claims that they are also kind on chainsaws and also wont cause a spark if hit by a rapidly moving chain.
Apart from the material they are made of, the other feature that separates tree felling wedges is size. The
general rule is the bigger diameter of the tree or log you want to tackle, the longer the wedge needs to be. Most
people would be well advised then to buy a few tree wedges to ensure they have the right one for the job at hand.
The most popular sizes are from 5.5 – 10 inches long (14 – 25cm). Some also feature serrated barbs on one side which is supposed to make the wedge stick better but these are probably more for show than any actual functionality.
Most tree felling wedges are also brightly colored for obvious reasons – you want to be able to reuse them and not have to buy a new set every time you use one because you can’t find it!!
Do remember though that tree felling wedges are not designed for splitting logs or similar actions where you hit the
wedged object to get the wood to split. Tree felling wedges are not designed to take that sort of punishment and should only be used to encourage a tree to fall in a specific direction by placing it in an appropriate position.
If you want to split logs then you need a Wood Splitting Wedge which is a different beast entirely!
So there you have it- tree wedges are a useful, cheap addition that will make your chainsaw usage experience that much more pleasant and efficient when used correctly.