One piece of tree cutting equipment I haven’t touched on yet is felling wedges.
What is a felling wedge?
You may use a felling wedge to basically “shim” a tree as you are cutting it down.
In that case, you would use it to either a) lean the tree one way or another by pounding a wedge (or several) into a cut you’ve created, or b) use it to open up a cut or to keep it open so your chainsaw doesn’t get pinched.
Along those lines, you might also use a felling wedge once a tree has been cut down and you’re bucking it or cutting it up on the ground. Same thing as before, you’ll pound the felling wedge into a cut in order to keep the wood from shifting and pinching your chainsaw.
Do not, under any circumstances, confuse a splitting wedge with a felling wedge!
A splitting wedge is made out of steel. You use it to split wood by pounding it with a maul or the blunt side of a heavy axe.
A felling wedge is typically made out of plastic or some kind of composite material. You do not want to get your chainsaw anywhere near a steel splitting wedge!
Many years ago, when I was younger and dumber (but better looking, ha ha) I was at a job site and needed a felling wedge but only had a steel splitting wedge. I told myself I would be really careful with my saw, and just keep it away from the splitting wedge that I used to keep the log from snapping closed. Well, the saw jerked around a bit and kissed that steel wedge, and all hell broke loose.
The saw kicked back viciously, just about tore my arm off, and the chain broke and whipped around and sliced my face open. Lesson learned, I never did that again!
What I Recommend
So what do I recommend? And why?
Let me tell you what I look for. This seems pretty basic, but I can save you some time by pointing out these basics…
The nature of these felling wedges means they are constantly getting stuck between logs, dropped down under logs, or if you’re unlucky shot across a field. I prefer day-glo orange for this reason.
Pretty much any wedge will be a high-visibility color – neon green, or yellow, etc. But I’ve had the most luck with orange.
There are two common sizes, a 5.5″ and an 8″. I like to carry both. Sometimes the 5.5″ isn’t quite big enough, and sometimes the 8″ is too big.
Plus I like to carry several of both. These things are cheap, and I don’t want to hike (or drive) to some job site and need another wedge and not have one.
Ya’ll know I’d prefer to buy something made in the USA if I can. It’s not an absolute requirement, but why not buy American if you can. Unless you’re reading this as a resident of a foreign country. In which case, why not buy local if you can?
These are the felling wedges I use:
These wedges are made here in the US by Cold Creek. They are built pretty tough, and are a good bargain. They come with a little drawstring pouch, which I care nothing about. I use a felling wedge pouch like this one. I guess I will do a separate article sometime on a good pouch I recommend.