Tools: Chain saw, protective eyewear, comfortable shoes
1. Determine the direction of fall, remembering that a leaning tree gives you no choice in the matter. Plan a path of retreat for when the tree begins to come down and clear any obstacles in that path. Make your first cut parallel to the ground, a third of the way into the tree on the side facing the direction of fall.
2. Make a second cut downward from above at a 60-degree angle, stopping when you meet the first cut. Remove the wedge of wood thus formed. This is the face cut, and it will guide the tree as it topples.
3. Move to the opposite side of the trunk. With your blade parallel to the ground and positioned one to two inches above the bottom of the face cut, saw horizontally into the trunk but not all the way. Your aim is to leave a “hinge” – a strip of uncut trunk about an inch thick and parallel to the back of the face cut. The hinge keeps the tree from twisting and kicking back as it falls.
4. As you complete the hinge, the tree will likely begin to topple. Switch off the saw and make your retreat. Don’t run and don’t turn around to watch. Once you hear the thud, it’s safe to stop and look.