Ever wanted to cut down some of the overgrown shrubs on your front yard yourself without spending money on tree service? Before you proceed, you should know that trying to do the job yourself with a chainsaw isn’t going to be easy. There’s a proper way on how to use a chainsaw safely.
What’s a Chainsaw?
This is one tool that is extremely fast, forceful and requires extreme care to use. It is a portable power tool that cuts wood via a fast-moving chain that rotates around a guide bar. This can make pruning, felling, limbing, and bucking of trees easy. It also ranks as one of the most dangerous tools anyone can obtain without a license.
This tool is designed to cut through anything with the top or bottom of its blade and anything that comes in contact with the top or bottom of the dating can cause a cutting momentum and the saw to slam back at you.
This is a kickback and it can lead to a really serious injury so users have to be careful so they don’t suffer disasters.
Using a Chainsaw
Operating a chainsaw is not so much of a herculean task but it’s sure a dangerous one. Simply grabbing a chainsaw from your storage room and bringing down everything in your yard is going to be a little bit difficult to handle.
You can only face it head-on if you are better prepared for the task.
In operating a chainsaw, there are several rules to follow to make it safe for handling, including the right equipment to use, starting methods, and proper chain and gas maintenance.
The following are everything you need to know as a beginner who wants to learn how to effectively make use of a chainsaw and not end up with injuries after your first trial.
Take Care of Your Safety First
According to the CDC, up to 36,000 individuals show up with chainsaw-related injuries annually. So believe us when we say safety should be your priority.
Before beginning, you need to make sure you have adorned yourself with the necessary safety gear. This is also known as personal protective equipment (PPE). Yes, it’s just like any other job that you need to dress up for.
- Eye-protective goggles
- The helmet system includes a hard hat, face screen, and earplugs or you can simply make use of a hard hat. This comes in handy when you’re felling.
- Cut-retardant boots
- Chaps with 6-9 layers of cut-retardant material. Beneath their outer nylon surface, these chaps are made up of several layers of Kevlar material. So, therefore, they protect one’s leg from any form of chainsaw injury.
- Cut-resistant gloves
Survey Your Environment
After putting on your PPE, the net thing to do is to take a look around before you begin cutting anything. If you will be cutting a tree down (felling), then you need to look around to ensure there’s somewhere free for the tree to land on.
You need to ask yourself questions like, “Is there a clear path for the tree to fall?”, “is the wind blowing towards the direction the tree ought to fall or not?”
Another thing worth doing is to check for bystanders, cars, telephone lines, or anything else that can get damaged.
Ensure that you don’t make use of the chainsaw over shoulder height or on a ladder. You may think it’s going to be easy to do so but it’s highly recommended you turn the work over to local tree-hacking specialists.
Prepping the Chainsaw
Before making use of a chainsaw, the first thing to do is to check the chain tension. Make sure it’s not slipping off the guide bar or is too tight and if that’s the case for either or both, simply adjust it.
For the power, chainsaws make use of two-stroke fuel, that is, you’ll need a mixed blend of 2.6 ounces of oil to one gallon of gas and not just a can of regular gas. You need to always make sure your bar oil is full so that the chain always remain lubricated as this is where a lot of maintenance issue arises from.
It’s either the oil and fuel that are not mixed properly or fuel is being left to remain in the machine for too long.
So, to prevent having to deal with a problem in the future, ensure everything is up and running.
Getting your Chainsaw Started
Having fulfilled other requirements, it is now time to start the chainsaw. There are two popular ways to get a chainsaw started.
The first method is recommended especially for newbies. It involves placing the saw on a leveled surface on the floor with a strong footing.
To ensure the machine is steady, place your right foot through the rear handles. Once you’re ready, take the left hand and reach over to hold the handlebar securely. With your right hand, engage the chain brake to make sure the chain doesn’t move until you’re ready to start cutting. After everything, you can now pull straight up on the starter.
The second method used for putting on a chainsaw is for more experienced users. You can also use this if you’re on a surface without good footing or if there are lots of underbrush beneath you.
To start with, place the rear handle of the chainsaw beneath your legs, behind the knee area. Grab the handlebar with your left hand, with your arm straight out.
When you have support on your left knee or the handle is behind your right knee, you can now pull your starter.
Ensure the chain doesn’t touch the ground. This will cause unnecessary damage to the chain and just make it dull. Also, this can cause unplanned movements that may lead to injury.
Using the Chainsaw
When making use of a chainsaw, ensure you always stand to the left of the powerhead regardless of what you’re using it to do. Now, there are three major uses of a chainsaw. They include limbing, bucking, and felling.
Limbing involves removing branches from a tree that has been felled already while bucking is cutting the trunk of the fell tree into logs.
Felling is cutting a tree that is still standing in a controlled manner so that it falls in a controlled manner.
Aside from good footing and positioning, there are a few other things you should be aware of before you start.
- Always keep your eyes fixated on where the bar and chain are so you see everything you’re cutting.
- When cutting through a log, you’ll want to see where the log starts to pinch so you don’t allow the guide bar to get pinched. If this happens, you experience what is called a kickback. This is when a guide bar flings back at the operator. To prevent all of these, practice good operating techniques, such as using a firm two-handed grip on the saw and keeping a sharp, tensioned chain.
- Do not use a chainsaw as a knife or hand saw. When cutting a downed tree, put the guide bar into the cut closest to the powerhead.
- Use the rear of the bar with your bumper spike as much as possible. Most newbies tend to use the tip of the guide bar when limbing, this should be as limited as possible.
- You may think after reading the user manual you’re up to any task. However, don’t start felling or plunge-cutting techniques, simply leave this to the professionals.