Tim's tips Limbing and Bucking


As a tree falls it will often brush other trees and leave broken live limbs or dead limbs
hanging in surrounding trees. Sometimes falling trees will shoot off the stump and
roll sideways or ahead creating pressures on tree limbs. Loggers should never limb a tree immediately after felling. It is often a good idea to drop several trees and then refuel the saw prior to limbing. This will provide ample time for overhead hazards to come down.

Prior to limbing, loggers should evaluate five potential hazards as follows:

1. Overhead hazards.

2. Spring poles.

3. Butt movement forward (creates back pressure on limbs).

4. Butt twist (creates sideways pressure on limbs).

5. Butt off the ground (creates tension on the tree stem).

Limb Lock:

Back and sideways pressure on limbs can be handled using a limb lock.

If limbs have back pressure on them, they can severely injure a logger when they are severed from the tree. A good precaution to use in these circumstances is a limb lock. The purpose of a limb lock is to prevent a limb under pressure from kicking back and striking the leg or pinching the saw. The first cut is made on either the top side or bottom side of the limb (top and bottom refer to top and bottom of the limb as if the tree were standing up). It is preferable to make the first cut on the side with compression pressure and the second cut on the side with stress.

The cut on the top of the limb is made closer to the trunk of the tree and the cut on the bottom is made further out on the limb. It is important that the two cuts by-pass so that all fiber is severed. This will create a step in the limb which will prevent the limb from kicking back and hitting the logger. This is similar to the way in which a raised back cut prevents the butt of a tree from kicking back over the stump.

Limb Lock

Top Lock:

Twisting of trees and butts off the ground create pressure on the stem that can be handled with a top lock.

If the stem of the tree is under stress, a top lock can be used to prevent the top from kicking up and striking the logger. The first cut of a top lock is made on the side of the tree that is under compression, in the top or bottom of the stem. The second cut is made on the side of the tree which is under tension. This prevents pinching the saw. The top cut is always made closer to the top of the tree and the bottom cut is made closer to the bottom of the tree (the reverse order of the limb lock). Both cuts must by-pass so that all fiber is severed.

Keep at least

3 inches between cuts

If there is danger of a tree or portion of a tree rolling on the logger, a tongue and groove can be used. To make the tongue and groove, the stem of the tree is bored in the center. Then up and down cuts are made either closer to the top or butt of the tree, so that each of them by-passes the bore cut, but do not meet. With all fibers severed, the tongue and groove will prevent the tree from rolling.


Butt Top
Butt Top