Bore Cutting Basics

A. Correct hinge length - 80% of D.B.H. B. Correct hinge thickness - 10% of D.B.H. C. Level back-cut.

To fell trees accurately and safely, you need to know how to do a bore cut, sometimes known as a plunge cut. On trees with forward lean, the traditional “race to the hinge” backcut will sooner or later result in an explosive “barber chair,” in which the tree splits at the base, kicking backwards and falling in an uncontrolled manner. On trees leaning backwards or in other undesirable directions, a bore cut allows you to use wedges to control the direction of its fall.

When you make a bore cut, a strap of wood at the back of the tree holds it safely and securely, allowing you all the time you need to make the hinge exactly the way you want it.

People are often reluctant to use the bore cut because they think it leads to kickback. Your saw won’t kickback if you lead with the bottom of the bar tip, instead of the top. Practice a few, and you’ll get comfortable with it.

The next time you fell a tree, leave a stump 2 to 3 feet high on which to practice bore cuts. Hold the saw to make a horizontal cut, and use your thumb on the throttle, instead of your index finger. It’s more comfortable for horizontal cuts. Imagine where you would want your hinge to be. Hold the saw so the bar is perpendicular to the back of the hinge, and begin to cut into the stump using the bottom half of the tip. When the bar tip is fully covered by wood, rotate the saw with the tip as the pivot until the saw is parallel to the back side of your hinge. Make the bore cut well back of the hinge until you have cut all the way through the tree. Then carefully cut towards the hinge until it is the correct size; the hinge length should be about 80 percent of the tree’s diameter at breast height (D.B.H.), the hinge thickness should be about 10 percent of the tree’s D.B.H. When you are happy with the hinge, cut in the other direction, away from the hinge, leaving a strap of wood at the back that will hold the tree safely on its stump. Cutting through the strap from the outside is quick and easy. You can be safely away from the tree when it falls.

1. When starting your bore cut, lead with bottom of the bar.


2. When bar tip is covered by wood rotate saw.


3. Plunge saw through the tree.

  1. Dave Boyt → in United States
    Jun 19, 2013

    That’s as good a description of the bore cut as I’ve seen. It is a skill that is useful both in felling trees and bucking firewood. Be aware that if you have a “safety” chain on your saw, you will not be able to make bore cuts. Chain needs to be sharp and cutting smoothly. You can make bore cuts from both sides if the diameter of the tree is greater than the blade length, with a little practice. Wide angle at the notch lets the tree fall all the way without breaking the hinge—good for control. If Game of Logging training is available, I highly recommend it!

  2. Flip Viljoen → in Hopefield South Africa
    Oct 08, 2015

    I need to fell a 50ft 13inch diameter dead pine very accurately into a 30ft gap. It leans 3ft in the desired direction of fall and 2ft in the most damaging direction. How must the hinge be altered/enhanced on the high side to move the top of the tree about 15ft, roughly 10 degrees?

  3. Dave → in corinth
    Oct 13, 2015

    All the hinge is doing, Flip, is keeping the tree attached to the stump, which is safer. You want to cut your notch in the direction you want the tree to fall. And you want to use wedges on the bad side of your lean. It’s very hard to explain good technique in writing, though, so our official answer is hire a professional.

  4. Bill → in NC
    Jun 27, 2016

    One thing I’ve learned about using my chain saw is know my limitations. When I’m in the woods and not really worried about hitting the house, I practice techniques. If I need someone to tell me how to cut it I probably need to let them cut it. Watch their techniques then go out and try them where it is safe.

  5. John Lutz → in Wisconsin
    Apr 09, 2017

    Been cutting trees for30 +years so I love cutting trees and using my 3 awesome saws. And to be really safe. I love felling trees and buck them up. So exicted to be here with you all!!!  John

  6. Eric Ferguson → in N.E.Ohio
    Jul 17, 2017

    Great site

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