A rope chain saw cuts wood with sharpened teeth, using the same principle as a power chainsaw, except you provide the muscle to move the chain across the wood. Make your own rope saw to prune tree limbs up to 20 feet high or more while standing on the ground. Attach ropes as long as you need to reach the limbs you plan to cut. The saw works best on limbs 1 to 6 inches in diameter.
Remove the master link of a chainsaw chain to disconnect the ends so it's straight rather than a loop, or purchase a straight chain specially designed to be used for sawing by hand with a rope saw. If the chainsaw chain doesn't have a master link, use a chainsaw chain punch or chain breaker to remove a rivet to disconnect the chain.
Tie one end of a 25-foot length of strong, lightweight rope, such as parachute cord, through the rivet hole in the link on one end of the chain. Do the same with another piece of rope on the other end of the chain.
Tie a weight to the other end of one of the ropes. Use any object that you can throw over a tree limb and to which you can attach the rope securely, such as a small cloth bag containing sand or rocks.