than 22,000 people will be injured by a chainsaw this year. They
will be injured through bad habits, tiredness, or ignorance. If
you are reading this web page, you are interested in how to use
a chainsaw properly.
practices for chainsawing
on the smart guy
Use protective equipment.
Unfortunately, many people who swear by protective equipment like
chaps, face shields, and boots have already had an accident or
at least a "close call."
If you are operating
a chainsaw, you should be wearing:
- A logger's hard-hat
(face, hearing, and head protection)
- Logging boots
- Sturdy workgloves
- Chaps or chainsaw
Keep the chainsaw
Sharp chainsaw teeth will allow you to work efficiently in your
woodlot, compelling you to cut trees correctly, instead of any
way that is convenient. There are many easy ways to keep the teeth
of your chainsaw sharp - kits, rotary tool attachments, or just
a few minutes with the proper files. Chainsaw store owners and
technicians will show you how to do this correctly. There is no
excuse for having dull chainsaw teeth.
Keep the engine
running in good condition.
Chainsaws can have the most fickle engines, but only if they are
not properly maintained. If you use a chainsaw regularly, you
have probably already figured this out. If you are a weekend warrior,
your chainsaw is probably not getting the maintenance attention
Use chainsaws when
you are feeling refreshed, not tired.
Many forest do-it-yourselfers are weekend warriors, going out
to their woods with jugs of gas and oil and a mind to see big
trees fall. However, chainsaws are loud, heavy and will tire an
inexperienced worker out very quickly. Plan to conduct strenuous
activity early in your workday or after long rests.
Tired chainsaw users
make poor decisions. They cause trees to scrape and damage each
other while falling, or hang up in other trees to be left to natural
forces. Their reaction time to hazards is slower. Worse, they
take on trees that are straight and easy to cut, leaving the low-quality
leaners and misshapen trees in the woods.
Find and use a chainsaw
that is not too heavy for you. Work on one tree at a time, taking
an hour or so to plan the process, make proper cuts for a fall
in the correct location, and bring the tree down with timber wedges.
Pace your work so you are not trying to race daylight or inclement
weather. Forest work that is not done can wait.
trees to prevent damaging residual trees.
Directional felling is the process of determining the direction
a given tree will fall and making cuts to actually steer the tree
as it falls. A "felling hinge" is the hallmark of a
good directional cut. It is a safe, efficient, and satisfying
way to cut a tree down.
Residual trees should
not be damaged during woodland saw work. These residual trees
are your future timber or wildlife habitat.
All chainsaw owners should take basic and refresher classes. New
techniques for felling trees are developed every year. These classes,
available through Cornell Cooperative Extension, the NY Forest
Owner's Association, and local chainsaw dealers, are very inexpensive,
compared to the cost of an injury. Look for a class that offers
thorough safety and equipment maintenance tips. The Game of Logging®
classes are conducted in woodlots with lots of hands-on time to
see and feel how to fell trees efficiently and safely.
Articles about chainsawing
All the following
articles were written by Tim Ard, a Game of Logging instructor.
They are included here for your benefit as a chainsaw operator
interested in efficiency and safety.
The felling plan
Use of the wedge in logging
Managing spring poles
Small tree felling
Limbing and bucking
Considering side lean
Open face notch and sight
Setting up the hinge
The back cut
Fiber pull and splitting