How To Use A Chainsaw
Well, I’m going to guess your here because you never really ran a chainsaw before, which is ok, and there is a tree that you want to get out of the way but you don’t know anybody with a chainsaw or anyone you trust with one anyway. So you call your local tree service to come out and give you an estimate on how much it would be.
And after hearing it, you think to yourself, it would be cheaper just to buy a chainsaw and do it myself and heck, I could even sell the wood for firewood and make some of my investment back! (if that’s not the reason, oh well, it makes a good story)
Well, not so fast there Paul Bunyan. There is a lot of stuff you should know before you go on tackling that tree. And that’s what I’m going to cover in this article. It works mostly, all the same, no matter if its an Echo, Stihl or Husqvarna.
Common sense tells you most tools can be dangerous if you’re not sure how to use them. For example, you can hit your thumb with a hammer, that’s always fun, a wrench can slip and you can skin your knuckles, that has always been a personal favorite of mine. But the chainsaw can take injuries to a whole new level! Injuries from a chainsaw are no joke, they can alter your life permanently and even end it.
Chainsaws have super sharp metal teeth moving at incredible speeds. And there only a few inches away from your hands. Also, an improperly cut down tree can have tension in it and when you cut into it it can fly back up and smack you on the noggin.
You got to very very careful in judging the part you’re going to cut up. I’d suggest looking on youtube for videos on this. I’ll post one at the end of the article so you can get a better idea of what I’m talking about.
Chainsaw Learning Curve
There are things you can do to prepare yourself to run a chainsaw, but NOTHING and I mean NOTHING will teach you more about it than running one yourself! With that said, always try and have somebody around just in case it goes south.
Keep in mind that even the most skilled people at using a chainsaw are still learning (whether they admit it or not). I really don’t think there’s a plateau with the skill. Situations will almost always vary. And you will, pretty much of the time, learn something new.
Basics Of Chainsaw Safety
PPE or personal protection equipment. Always wear eye and ear protection, chainsaws are loud and throw wood chips all over the place. Also, make sure to exercise common sense, like wear pants and a good pair of boots that have good traction on the souls. Slipping while cutting might put you in the hospital.
So here is a breakdown of what you should have.
- Chainsaw helmet with a flip-up face shield with flip-up ear “muffs”. I recommend the Husqvarna helmet that I use, you can find them on Amazon here, Chainsaw Helmet
- Chainsaw Chaps. There are very important and worth every penny you spend on them, why? Because they’re made of kevlar (same material bulletproof vests are made of) with a nylon shell over the kevlar. So, if you accidentally hit your leg with the chain while it’s running, it will tear up the kevlar and the fibres will jam up the chain, which will stop it from cutting you and saving a trip for stitches. You can buy them on Amazon too, here is a link to the ones I personally use, Chainsaw Chaps
Creating A Safe Environment
The very first thing you should do before you lay that baby in there an start cutting is scope out your surrounding, especially if your cutting down (felling) a tree. Make sure you don’t drop it on something you or someone else would care about.
A tree when falling over is like a giant sledgehammer and it WILL destroy anything it lands on, except dirt of course. Also, before you cut down a tree, make sure you have an escape route in mind in case it doesn’t fall where you want it to. Even if it does start falling where you want it to, get away from it. It can “Barber chair” and come back and take your head off, no joke.
As far as cutting up a tree laying on the ground, be attentive to where your feet are positioned as opposed to where the cut is being made. You’re always pushing down on the saw as you cut and you don’t want to hit your foot or leg as soon as your done with the cut.
Always keep 2 hands on the chainsaw because sometimes it will “kick back” especially when your cutting using the top of the bar, in other words when your cutting from underneath the log.
Using A Chainsaw
There are basically 3 things you can do with a chainsaw. Limbing, bucking and felling. I’ll describe each one below.
- Limbing is when you cut off the branches from a downed tree.
- Bucking is when you’re cutting up the trunk of the tree into smaller sections.
- Felling is when you’re dropping a standing tree, which in my opinion is the most dangerous/fun part of using a chainsaw.
Want to sound like a pro around your friends and family? if you do, keep this in mind when talking about your chainsaw adventures. Never say you chopped down a tree, always say you felled a tree. And never say you chopped wood half, say you split the wood into halves. Save the “chopping” term for your onions that your frying for your cheesesteaks.
So, there you have the basics of safely running a chainsaw, by no means is it an ultimate guide on safety. There are plenty of them out there. All in all, once you know the basics you’ll figure out how to be safe on your own. Always stay 100% focused on your saw and go from there.
They will help save your back. That’s how I learned and I have never had any serious injuries. Good luck out there!