Eye protection A pair of goggles or a helmet fitted with a visor will help protect your eyes from tiny chips of wood that are spat out by the saw during use.
Ear protection Chainsaws can be remarkably loud. You will need ear plugs or earmuffs to drown out the noise and prevent any ear damage caused by the roar of the chainsaw.
Chainsaw chaps and a long-sleeved shirt These will help prevent injuries on the arms and legs by flying bits of lumber. Chainsaw chaps are also specially constructed with a tough material that can prevent the rotating saw from accidentally causing injury to the legs.
Heavy duty gloves Using a chainsaw for extended periods can cause bruises and blisters on the palms due to friction. A good pair of gloves will help reduce this friction on your skin.
Creating A Safe Work Environment
Before you start using the chainsaw, it is important to ensure that your surroundings are clear of anything that may be endangered by the chainsaw, flying bits and falling tree parts.
This is vital:
If you are using the saw to cut logs that are on the ground already, you should ensure that nobody is within a ten-foot radius of the chainsaw.
When cutting tree branches or felling trees, you should ensure that there is no one or no vehicles within a radius of at least two times the tree’s height.
But remember this:
If you are trying to cut trees within a populated neighborhood with houses and power lines around, you should always seek the advice of a professional logger on how to do it safely.
Otherwise you really could be in trouble!
Preparing the Chainsaw For Use
In simple terms:
Check the chainsaw’s controls before starting to make sure they are all in place and to get familiar with them. You can consult the owner’s manual of the chainsaw to know the positions of the ignition switch, the gears and other important controls.
Check the chain thoroughly to ensure that it is tightly in place and there are no loose teeth. Also check the entire chainsaw for any loose bolts that may cause some parts to come off when it is in use.
Fill the gasoline tank with the recommended fuel type as specified on the owner’s manual. Also fill the lubrication tank with oil. Lubrication oil is very important for the chainsaw to prevent friction which can cause the saw to malfunction.
Starting The Chainsaw
Ok admit it – you are scared of using a chainsaw for the first time!
Don’t be. Just place the chainsaw flat on the ground with one hand on the grip handle and one foot placed in the rear handle to hold it firmly in place. You should then switch on the chain choke.
The choke is a chain brake that prevents the chain from rotating even when the saw has been turned on. Engaging this brake is extremely important to prevent any injuries when starting the saw.
That is incredibly vital!
Once the saw has been securely held in place and the brake engaged, you can now pull the ignition chain. The engine should rumble and start but the chain will remain still because the choke will still be engaged.
Using the Chainsaw
With the engine running, you can lift the chainsaw with your left hand holding the front handle and your right hand holding the back handle. Proceed slowly towards whatever you want to cut and stand next to it in an upright position.
Ensure that your feet are both firmly on the ground and there are no obstacles around that could trip you. You can now slowly release the chain brake to get it spinning.
Steadily guide the rotating saw towards whatever you are trying to cut making sure that you never get too near nor too far.
You should always be in a position where you don’t have to lean to use the saw. To ensure your safety at all times, you will need to do the following;
Never raise the saw to a height above your shoulders. This will affect your stability and make you vulnerable to kickbacks. There are further details about kickbacks below.
Always keep your legs spread apart when operating the chainsaw to ensure you have the right amount of balance.
You should never operate a chainsaw when drunk or under medication that may cause drowsiness. This might affect your attention and increase the chances for accidents.
Unless you have a specially designed chainsaw for cutting through other materials, only use your chainsaw for wood.
Do not use pressure to push the chainsaw into whatever you are trying to cut through. You are only required to ensure that there is contact between the saw and the wood and let the chainsaw cut its way through.
Unless you are a professional or you have a solid experience in logging, do not try to cut trees or trim branches by yourself. There are several risks involved when doing this that can end badly if not skillfully done.
Dealing With Kickbacks
Kickbacks occur when the chain encounters a tough/hard patch that suddenly slows it down. This usually results in an abrupt jerk of the chainsaw pushing it back towards the person using it. Most kickbacks are usually weak and they cause no harm.
Here’s the scary part:
There are sometimes strong kickbacks that cause the chainsaw to spin out of control creating a dangerous situation.
Steve is a one time gardening hater turned into gardening obsessive. This was all thanks to going to University where a two year stint spent transforming the previously horrific garden of the student house he lived in left him addicted to all things horticultural! Now with a new house in tow and due to some fortunate circumstances he is free to test out a whole host of gardening equipment. Find out more about Steve or drop him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.