How to Use a Chainsaw Safely

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You may have a lot of excitement when you hold a chainsaw for the first time. You want to rush to your chainsaw to have a new experience, but the impatience can mess up the things. How to use a chainsaw safely depends on specific rules.

You can’t hurt you and other people by neglecting essential precautions. This article will guide you about a correct chainsaw operation, starting method, cutting techniques, and protective equipment.

If you don’t have a chainsaw, then let me inform you about its types. There are three types of chainsaws, including the gas-powered chainsaw, electric-corded, and cordless/battery chainsaw. You can also check the reviews of all types of chainsaws.

Be Safely

First, you have to make yourself secure by wearing protective gear while using a chainsaw. According to research, 36000 accidents happen every year in the US. These accidents can reduce if chainsaw operators use protective equipment.

Don’t follow a movie star with a chainsaw without a shirt and wearing jeans. Our life is not a movie, so better spend some money on the following chainsaw gear.

  • Wear a special helmet or a durable hat
  • Use anti-cut and slip-resistant gloves
  • Have cut-resistant boots with steel toes
  • Use protective goggles( if the helmet lacks a face shield)
  • Wear cut-resistant chaps having five layers

Certain chainsaw companies also make these gears like Husqvarna, so you can approach it for further help.

Keep In Contact With Some Friend

How to use an electric chainsaw by following its rules is not that easy. As a chainsaw beginner, you must have a buddy around you to help you out in your task. In case you are cutting alone, keep the mobile phone near you so that you can call someone in case of an emergency.

If you have people around you, leave 150 feet between you and other people while pruning trees. Likewise, the same distance should be a minimum of 30 feet while cutting logs.

Have a Survey of the Worksite

You must explore the area where you need to cut the trees or logs. If there is any hindrance at the site, try to resolve it or remove it.  Like, you may see the electric cables, dangling tree branches, wildlife, and rocks.

Also, check the wood that you have to cut and remove any nails or screws. Cutting metals can harm your chainsaw, resulting in an accident.

Don’t Cut Over Your Waist Level

Another tip for how to use a chainsaw safely is to consider the waist level. Like, the object that you want to cut should not be above your waist. Some people use a ladder to cut the top tree branches, but that is very risky. 

You may end up at the hospital if you do so. You can well handle a chainsaw if you cut below the waist level. However, it is also safe to cut at the waist level.

Making Your Chainsaw Ready

There are certain chainsaw techniques to follow for precise cutting. Every part of the saw should be at its place because the displacement can result in wrong cutting or hurt you. Let’s see some chainsaw preparation steps before cutting.

Tension Adjustment

A loose and tight bar is not safe to work, so correct these issues. When the chain slips off the guide bar, it means it’s loose, so adjust it. The auto-tension feature is available in the latest chainsaw models.

If the bar or chain gets damaged, they will loosen up the chain. You can make the chain tight with the tension screw that lies near the bar base. Turn the screw clockwise or rotate it anticlockwise to loosen up the chain.

Power Compatibility

Make sure the chainsaw is compatible with the available power voltage. This step is essential for electric chainsaws. The cable must be plugged into the socket to get the power.

Moreover, charge the battery properly if it’s a cordless or battery chainsaw. Also, ensure that the chainsaw has a compatible battery. For a gas-powered chainsaw, ensure that it has a suitable gas-oil ratio that varies according to the brand.

Consider Lubrication

New chainsaws come up with automatic oilers, so you only have to fill the oil tank. Whereas, if the saw has a manual oiler, you will have to pump it to lubricate the bar and chain. Without oiling, the blade can cause smoke due to overheating.

Check The Bar

A curved bar will cut the wood in curves instead of straight cutting. You can resolve this issue by replacing the bar. However, if the bar is not available, you can fix it with a special tool available in the toolkit.

How to Start a Chainsaw

Understand the initial process to find how to use a chainsaw to cut down a tree. Like, you must know how to start a chainsaw. The process varies according to the saw, and below are some tips to follow.

For A Gas-Powered Chainsaw

  • Put the chain saw on smooth ground.
  • Your right foot must be on the back handle to keep the balance.
  • Put your left hand on the handlebar and hold it firmly.
  • Engage the chain brake with the right hand to prevent the chain from spinning.
  • Turn on the switch and start the choke.
  • Ensure fuel by pressing the fuel primer. However, advanced chainsaws have the latest fuel monitors.
  • Pull the fast located on the starter cord. However, if you see the engine turning over, push back the choke and repeat the cord’s pull up process.
  • When the engine starts, press throttle to further activate the engine.
  • Set the choke at a run position.
  • Release the brake before cutting.

Cordless and Corded Chainsaw

  • Hold the safety lock by pressing it and set the switch trigger to operate the saw.
  • Press the trigger switch and hold it for a while to start the saw
  • Keep on pressing the trigger for non-stop cutting, but release it when you want to take a break.

Start with a practice piece to learn how to use a chainsaw safely.  Never push the blade with high force because it will be hard for you to handle it. Moderate pressure is enough for precise cutting. Don’t run or turn the blade when the chainsaw is idle. Keep a wedge and a hammer or an ax so that you can free up the bar from wedges while cutting the limb.

Running Time

How long can you run a chainsaw depends on its type? A cordless or battery-powered chainsaw can work for two hours, provided it has a powerful motor. On the other hand, a gas-powered chainsaw can run for 15 to 40 minutes, depending on its manufacturing. You have to refill the saw with gas after its time limit. 

Follow the same tips for how to use a chainsaw to cut down a small tree. Try to find a suitable product even if it’s slightly expensive. 

How to Use a Chainsaw Safely

While cutting, try to stand on the powerhead’s left side, whether you are felling, bucking, or limbing the tree.

Felling is to cut a tree in a way that it falls on the ground

Bucking means to cut a tree into logs while it is lying on the ground. 

Limbing means cutting tree branches.

Safety Tips While Cutting With a Chainsaw

  • Focus your eyes on the chain while cutting, and never move them away.
  • Don’t cut with the saw tip because it may result in a kickback, hurting your face with the blade particles.
  • Try to cut the branches which are near the blade base.
  • Focus on the wood while cutting. Stop cutting if the chain starts pinching because it can cause a kickback. If it happens, rotate the wood or move around the wood.
  • The chain should not hit the ground during sawing. If it happens, it will slow down the chain, affecting the cutting process.
  •  Use spikes while bucking a tree. These spikes are metal teeth on the guide bar and help in cutting the thick wood pieces. Spikes can help in getting precise cuts because they provide a stable pivot point.
  • Hold the chainsaw with both hands and avoid cutting with one hand.
  • Don’t try to cut a tree by climbing over it. Likewise, don’t use a ladder; instead, get a pole saw to cut the branches, which are too high.

After Cutting

  • After completing the cutting task, remove the fuel or oil from the reservoir. During wood storage, any oil leakage may result in fire. You can run the engine for the last time to clear the carburetor to prevent fuel jamming in the fuel tank. All these steps are essential for the long-term storage of logs.
  • Cover the chain and the bar when the saw is not in use. You can use a case for this purpose. Moreover, special bar covers are also available.

Chainsaw Maintenance

You can read the instruction manual to understand the chainsaw maintenance. It involves two key steps, including tensioning and sharpening. For chain tension, you can refer to the above section. But, ensure that the chainsaw has a maintenance guide along with a screwdriver/wrench to adjust the tension.

Sharpening a Chainsaw

A dull chainsaw can burn the wood; moreover, it can also cause buckling, so you have to sharpen it.  A sharp saw throws thin shavings, whereas a dull saw throws out the sawdust. Make sure the chain is free from dirt, or you will have to sharpen it. How to use a chainsaw safely includes effective sharpening tips.

  • The chainsaw sharpening depends on its type. Like, the electric saw has a self-sharpening system. 
  • However, you will have to sharpen a gas-powered chainsaw if it’s not cutting well. Sometimes the saw produces uneven cuts, but you can correct it through sharpening.
  • You may need several gas tanks for sharpening, so focus on the chainsaw performance to detect its dullness. In fact, you have to sharpen the saw on every refill. 
  • You can use the flat file to sharpen a chainsaw. You can also buy a depth gauge guide to use a file precisely. Place the depth gauge only 0.025 inches under the cutter. Make sure to buy the right file size. The cutter of each chain has a specific number, and the file size should match it. If you don’t see the number, you can determine the file size by measuring the chain pitch.
  • If you want to crosscut the wood, try to sharpen the saw at 25 to 35 degrees. Whereas sharpening at 10 degrees is suitable for ripping.

Chainsaw Cleaning  

You will have to unassembled some parts to clean a chainsaw. Like, remove the chain and guide bar. You can wash the bar with a rag damped with soapy water. However, if the bar is very dirty, use a degreaser chemical to remove the debris.

Some users try to pressure wash a chainsaw, like through compressed air. But, it can destroy the air filter if you are not skilled. A pressure wash can also damage the electronic chainsaw, so try to avoid this method.

When To Replace The Chain

Various signs show that the chain needs replacement, such as

  • When the chain is hard to adjust
  • If it develops crooked cuts
  • If its teeth are missing
  • If the chainsaw does not pull into the log
  • When smoke occurs, even if the chain has enough tension and lubrication.

The above tips for how to use a chainsaw safely can make you an expert if you practice them frequently. But, don’t forget that even if you learn all the cutting skills, you will still have to consider the safety measures. Always prefer safety gear, as mentioned above. Focus on safety features that come up with each type of the chainsaw. 

Likewise, keep your saw clean and follow the maintenance tips. By focusing on essential instructions, you can use a chainsaw for years without spending money on its maintenance.

So, be safe and enjoy sawing with your unique chainsaw.

About Albert P Emmanuel

Hi, It’s the Albert Powell Emmanuel here. You can call me APE. I am the founder of ChainsawAPE. Here, on this website, I aim to teach you all you need to know about chainsaws – yeah, those sharp, scary things that intimidate you. Well, they’re not that hard to use.

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