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How to use a chainsaw

Date posted: 6 March 2015

If you want to cut up large branches or fallen trees, then hiring a chainsaw is the ideal tool for the job. However, in order to stay on the safe side, you will need the know-how, and, of course, take all safety precautions. Here, you will find the right technique for cutting up a trunk of a fallen tree, as well as the basics to avoid injuries.  

Rule 1: Avoid the Kickback Zone

Always cut with the top or bottom of the chain and bar, not the kickback zone (the end part of the nose of the bar); otherwise, the chainsaw may kick back towards you. That aside, when you cut with the bottom of the bar, the chainsaw is easy to control and pulls just a little bit while maintaining a firm grip, giving you a more natural feeling when cutting.  

When you have to cut with the bar’s top, like, for example, when cutting from a branch’s underside, the saw will most likely push towards you, causing some slight inconvenience and anxiety. If you follow all safety precautions and are well branched, you have nothing to be afraid of.

Rule 2: Follow the Safety Precautions

Most of the injuries occurring as a result of using a chainsaw are to the left arm and thigh, and could be avoided if the chainsaw user followed simple precautions, such as:  

  1. Keep your left hand’s thumb wrapped around the front handle when using the chainsaw, to have better control of the saw, at all times. 
  2. Always remove your right hand from the back handle, when you are going to move from one place to another, even if it is only to go from one branch to another. Your left hand should be holding the front handle, and always keep the saw at your side. That way, even if you stumble, the chainsaw won’t start spinning and accelerate. 
  3. Always wear your safety gear, such as special chaps, ear protection, and a helmet (with a face screen), as well as cut-resistant boots with steel toes and a shirt with long sleeves. 

Rule 3: Get the hang of it

Fill your chainsaw with petrol and the oil tank with chain and bar oil, and walk 10 ft. further from the filling area. Engage the brake of the chain, turn on the ignition switch, and lock on the fast idle. If you have a cold engine chainsaw, you’ll need to pull out the choke as well, before locking. As the chainsaw sits on the ground, get a good hold of the front handle with your left arm and fire up the engine by pulling the starter handle while putting your right boot’s toe into the handle look at the back of the saw. 

Before you start, check the tension of the chain and check again after an hour or so, to see if it needs any adjusting. You don’t want any loose chain flying off the bar.

Once your chainsaw starts running, spread your feet shoulder width apart and get down to cutting only when you feel you are in a well-balanced position. Never stand directly behind the chainsaw; only to its side. 

How to Cut a Trunk

Start cutting off branches at the lower end of the trunk and move your way towards the top. Always make sure you have a clear fall path (so fallen branches don’t get trapped) and make a plan as per your moves before you start cutting. Also, ensure that you have a clear path behind you, in case something goes wrong and you need to move back and away from the trunk for some reason. 

That said; it is wise to always have someone else with you, in case you are injured or trapped, so you get help the soonest possible. 

It is also advised to start cutting the left side of the trunk, as you see it from the tree top, so you can slice off the branches with the pivoting motion of the chainsaw, allowing the bottom or side to rest.  

Always cut up from underneath to finish your cut and be ready for a side (or even both sides) to drop. In the end, the trunk will either hang suspended or rest on the ground completely. In the first case, cut it loose from the stump and roll it to the ground. Be careful with branches supporting the trunk. If you cut too far through them, the chainsaw can become pinched, and you’ll have to lift the trunk using a strong branch, to release the chainsaw from the trunk. 

When the trunk is on the ground, cut it into 16-inch long pieces (or any other size you can manage easily) for firewood. Always finish with the bottom section of the chainsaw resting on the ground completely flat and be careful to keep the bar parallel to the ground when you are about to end your cut, so the chain doesn’t hit the dirt. 

Final Notes:

  • Never cut anything that is above the height of your shoulder.
  • Before you touch the wood, always start with a full throttle. 
  • No one should approach a person that is using the chainsaw, without the latter knowing it. 
  • Always keep the chain sharp; a dull chain is not safe and makes your saw to overwork. 

How to hire?

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