Le coin oublié

The forgotten corner

The wedge is one of the most underused tools for tree felling

This accessory is inexpensive and easy to use. The wedges serve to prevent the guide bar from getting stuck when cutting, they guide the tree in its fall and are ideal for freeing a guide bar stuck by

The new wedges are made of a heavy-duty plastic blend that works great and won't damage the chain or knives if accidentally touched. When the wedge deforms or wears out, it should be replaced to prevent injury from small shards of plastic flying through the air. When cutting wood or felling trees, always wear safety glasses and all
PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) required. Felling or bucking wedges are not designed or suitable for cutting firewood.

There are two types of corners:

  • Cutting wedge - Also called a summer wedge, this wedge is smooth on both sides so that it can be easily removed with a kerf after use.
  • Felling wedge - Also called winter wedge, this wedge has a surface with rough edges called felling "dogs" probably due to the fact that they bite into the stump. The wedge is placed in the felling cut to prevent the tree from tilting back slightly and to help it begin its fall using the mechanical advantage of leverage.

The bucking wedge is placed in a kerf which is in the compression zone of the log.
The operator must make a line deep enough to be able to insert the wedge without it coming into contact
with the saw chain. The wedge is installed and driven with the back of an axe, but a hammer can also do the trick. Once the wedge is in place, the cut can be made without the risk of the guide bar getting stuck, because the wedge prevents the kerf from closing by compressing. They are very practical for felling large trees.

The felling wedge is inserted into the back cut in the same way as the bucking wedge is inserted. When you have reached the desired hinge thickness, remove the saw before putting it in safety. Then, the felling wedge is inserted into the kerf by tapping on it, which creates the mechanical leverage advantage that moves or “pushes” the top of the tree. The tree's center of gravity moves above its point of balance for gravity to finish the job. Remember that when used to fell a tree, felling “dogs” must be face down in the cut line.

Finally, if your saw accidentally gets stuck, use your wedge, both models will do. Insert the wedge as far as possible into the compressed part and start driving it. Once the wedge is in place, continue driving it in with your ax until the kerf is open enough to remove the guide bar without difficulty.

Felling and bucking wedges are readily available from your STIHL dealer and offered in
different lengths for shafts and balls of all diameters.

One last important thing to remember: in most jurisdictions, regulations require that all workers have wedges handy when felling trees. Professional manual loggers and fellers frequently use belts with pockets and loops. They can thus transport wedges, an ax and many other accessories like a first aid kit and tools for sharpening and maintenance without any problem.

Article by: Dwayne Neustaeter Sr.
Arboriculture Canada
(site in English)