Chainsaws are amongst the most popularly used power tools. Over the years, its uses have been glamorized by films and pop culture, making it appear as something that is cool and easy to operate.
Here are some of the most important beginner chainsaw using tips:
- Always have Protective Gear
- Choosing the Right Chainsaw
- Proper Maintenance of the Chainsaw
- Ensure Your Workplace is Safe
- Holding and Starting your Chainsaw
- Beware of Kickbacks
- Be Aware and Active
- Be Ready to Learn from Experienced People
- Post Usage Maintenance
- Read the Manual Thoroughly
However, the reality of using a chainsaw is very different. So the question arises; why is it so important to learn how to use a chainsaw properly?
Chainsaws are powerful machines that require a basic set of skills and knowledge to operate. They are dangerous and can cause grievous injury and even death in some cases if not used properly.
As a result, beginners must know the proper procedures before operating one of these machines. If you are someone looking for such tips on chainsaw usage, then you have come to the right place.
Do read on as I explain in detail the various steps and tips involved in safely operating a chainsaw. This will not only help you operate it without the risk of injury but allow you to become an expert in a short period of time! Here are some of the basic chainsaw tips for beginners:
Always have Protective Gear
Protective gear is essential for the safety of the user when operating any kind of power tool. When it comes to using a chainsaw, it becomes all the more crucial as it consists of a chain with sharp teeth that can cut through logs of wood.
Here are the most important safety equipment that you must not neglect.
- Safety gloves – Safety gloves are made of synthetic fibers like neoprene and nitrile. These fibers are thin but offer resistance to tearing. As a result, they help preserve the dexterity and feel of the fingers, while protecting the hands from cuts and bruises. They also help absorb the vibrations, while some gloves offer increased padding for impact protection.
- Safety footwear – Steel toe boots are used as safety footwear while operating machinery. They protect the users from heavy falling objects and moving machinery. They also have well-designed soles that offer improved grip while walking on uneven surfaces.
- Safety goggles – Safety goggles must be worn to protect the eyes from flying debris. This can happen when operating the chainsaw, which can result in splinters striking the eye, which can cause loss of vision and other eyesight complications
- Ear protection – Chainsaws are loud machines. Anyone operating these machines for long periods of time must wear protection to prevent temporary or permanent hearing damage. Some of the common protection used include earmuffs and earplugs.
- Helmets – Helmets offer important protection to the head and neck region. While operating a chainsaw may not put you at risk, the fact that you may be cutting down trees puts you at risk of falling branches. As a result, make sure to have a strong helmet that fits you well and stable around the head.
- Chainsaw chaps – Chainsaw chaps are fabrics made of synthetic fibers within. When the saw rips through the fabric, these fibers get entangled with the chain, arresting its motion quickly. This gives the user a crucial few seconds to move away and avoid grievous injury to the limbs and body.
Choosing the Right Chainsaw
The process of choosing the right chainsaw depends on a number of factors, all of which can become a bit too much to understand. If you are a beginner operating the machine, then this is most likely to be the case.
However, it is critical to choose the best fit before you operate the machine. Doing so will allow the users to maximize the efficiency and quality of work that they perform with the machine, while also ensuring they get great value for money for a given project.
If it is your first time ever operating powered saws, then you might prefer buying a lighter chainsaw meant for basic household applications. This is because these models are easier to handle and balance, while also not being too powerful and complicated.
As a result, this is the best starting place for new users looking to get the basics right and master the skill of using a chainsaw.
However, the cutting capacity of such models is largely compromised. If you are someone who needs to fell trees sooner than later, then you may want to buy a mid-range saw with a longer chain and a slightly bigger motor. While you may have initial difficulty in handling the machine, you will have increased cutting capacity when you learn to use it.
The top-end models are something you should avoid if you have no prior experience. Even if you have the budget to afford it, these machines come with a plethora of features that require precision, knowledge, and a history of operating such machines.
If you lack these aspects, you may end up causing more good than harm, as you may lose control of the machine and damage it or cause injury to yourself.
Chainsaws are available with two different sources of power. While electric chainsaws with rechargeable batteries are quieter and less polluting, they offer reduced runtimes and lower power outputs.
And electric chainsaws are more affordable and great for doing small cuttings. We have made a detailed article about how much do electric chainsaws cost you can read that to know are they worth buying or not.
The traditional gasoline chainsaws run using an internal combustion engine. As a result, it offers a great deal of power but can be a nuisance to your surroundings thanks to its polluting factors.
At the end of the day, choose a chainsaw with adequate motor power and chain length to make sure you can get the job done with this type of saw. The longer chains are used for felling trees and logs, which can be quite thick. Shorter chains do a good job in cutting the branches of the tree.
We have made a detailed list of Best Top Handle Arborist Chainsaws, and there we have covered other important information like what is the difference between rear handle and top handle chainsaw, benefits of a top handle chainsaw and a detailed buying guide.
Proper Maintenance of the Chainsaw
Purchasing your chainsaw is only the first step of the long road ahead to make the most of it. A chainsaw is a power tool that involves a number of moving parts and components that require care and maintenance.
Doing this right can go a long way in making sure your chainsaw performs efficiently for long periods of time, giving you the best value for money. Here are some tips regarding maintenance that you can do as a beginner to get the best out of your new chainsaw.
- Lubricate your machine – It is crucial to lubricate the chain and guide bar more than any other parts of the chainsaw. These parts are the ones that are responsible for the sawing action. Lubricating reduces the friction between the moving parts and ensures improved efficiency and performance.
- Check the tension – This is another important aspect of maintaining the saw. The tension must be set according to the manufacturer’s recommendation. If the chain is too loose, it results in slower chain speed and inefficient cutting. If the chain is too tight, the chain can be rotated too quickly and cause damage to the motor and teeth.
- Sharpen the teeth – This is essential before every use. Use a file suggested by the manufacturer and sharpen the teeth according to the manual. Make sure they are filed at the right angle to ensure good efficiency and no damage to the teeth of the chain.
- Tighten bolts and nuts – Chainsaws experience a lot of vibration due to the high-speed motor and rapid speed of the chain. Over time, it can lead to the loosening of nuts and bolts that fasten components together. Ensure that these parts are tightened so that you can safely operate the machine.
Ensure Your Workplace is Safe
Chainsaws are used primarily in wood logging and tree felling applications. As a result, it is essential for beginners to be aware of the surroundings in which they will be cutting the trees and branches.
Plan out exactly which area you are planning to cut trees from. Ensure that you are permitted by local laws and regulations to fell the trees you are planning. Also, ensure that the tree does not have objects like nests, hives, and loose branches, which can injure someone if they fall.
Once that’s confirmed, make sure that you cordon off the area with barricades and safety tape to keep people around the area aware of the work being done there. Take extra caution to ensure that children are not around the area to protect them from falling debris.
Next, ensure that the weather conditions are ideal for felling trees. Do not take the risk of cutting trees if there are heavy winds, rainfall, or snowfall. Doing so can reduce the efficiency of cutting and also poses a hazard for those in the vicinity of the felling operation.
Last but not the least, never ever make a cut with a chainsaw above shoulder height. Doing so will make it difficult to cut while maintaining the balance of the machine, which can cause injury.
Also, do not cut using a chainsaw while standing on a ladder or any kind of height support that is not sturdy. Any loss of control can result in the user losing their balance, which can result in the person slipping and falling along with the machine. This can cause grievous bodily harm and can also damage the machine.
Holding and Starting your Chainsaw
Having a firm grip on your chainsaw is essential to ensure the safety of the user. However, many beginners are not aware that there is a correct stance to be in while operating the saw, as well as a correct procedure to start it up. This ensures no damage is done to the user and the machine.
To hold a chainsaw correctly, keep in mind the following tips
- Make sure you have gripped the machine with both hands at all times. This gives you full control of the machine and ensures that you have proper balance and stability.
- Ensure that the machine is always close to your body. This gives you a more stable base to move around with the machine, while also ensuring that your body can absorb a part of the vibrations while sawing.
- Keep your feet apart at a distance of approximately shoulder length, with the soles firmly planted on the ground. The wider base gives you better stability and balance and allows for longer durations of sawing while ensuring user comfort.
Once you have made yourself comfortable with the correct position, only then must you move on to getting your chainsaw started. This in itself is a slightly cumbersome process that you must get used to if it is your first time operating one.
- Place your chainsaw on the ground and on a flat surface. If you are working on very uneven terrain, then the other option is to place the saw between your legs and grip it firmly.
- Next, activate the choke by pulling it out completely. This is a common practice for cold starts of gasoline-based chainsaws, as it alters the fuel-air ratio to ensure the engine can be started.
- Engage the chain brake. In most cases, a click sound can be heard when the brake is engaged. Doing so prevents the chain from moving, even if accidental power is supplied to it. This allows for the engine to be safely started.
- Pace your right foot on the back handle and grip the forward handle with your left hand firmly. This ensures that the saw does not move while starting. If you are using the technique of starting it between your legs, the back handle must be placed between your thighs while the left-hand grips the forward handle.
- Now grip the starter rope and pull it out until there is some resistance in the cable. When this happens, grab the cable firmly with your right hand and tug at it till the engine roars to life. If not, adjust the choke position to the halfway position to allow it to start.
- Once the engine starts, push the choke back to idle and give some throttle to keep the engine running. Then release the chain brake and take the stance required for cutting and you are good to go.
As a beginner, do not attempt to drop-start your chainsaw. This might seem like a cool and easy way to do it. However, even professionals using these equipment do not recommend the practice.
This is because the user can lose control of the saw and drop it or worse, release the chain brake and injure the person or others working around.
If you need to readjust your position while operating the saw, do not do so with the engine running. Stop the engine to make the necessary changes and then resume operating the saw after assuming the correct stance.
Beware of Kickbacks
Chainsaw kickbacks are an occupational hazard of using these machines. It can happen to the best of the best, but is very common amongst beginner users because of their lack of experience and composure while using this powerful tool.
The chainsaw kicks back when the rotating chain meets the object to be cut at an abnormal angle. It can also happen when the pulling chain first comes in contact with the surface of the cut.
As a result, the chain is gripped along with the machine and then flung away, resulting in the user losing control over the saw. Kickbacks can be prevented if you follow a few crucial steps while using the saw.
- Ensure that the wood that is being cut has not been used for construction purposes. The presence of nails and other steel parts within can lead to a kickback that can do extreme damage to the saw.
- Do not cut with the tip of the blade. This will lead to the chainsaw getting kicked back, which could lead to the saw being flung if the user loses complete control. This can lead to injury and other damages.
- Do not hurry while cutting using a chainsaw. This will reduce the chance of kickback and prevent damage to the wood or the machine.
Be Aware and Active
Operating a chainsaw is no mean feat. The powerful engines spin the chains at high speeds, giving them the capability to rip through the wood. As a result, there is not much room for error, as it can lead to severe injury or even death in extreme cases.
Even if you have taken all the required safety precautions, make sure that you are physically fit to operate the machine. If you feel the strain of holding the machine or find yourself getting tired out, stop the machine and take a break. Do not force yourself to continue as it may lead to an accident due to a loss of concentration.
It is also crucial that you do not get overconfident while operating the saw initially. The process of learning to operate one might seem like a slow and gradual curve that gets on your patience.
However, doing so minimizes the risk to not just yourself, but to the people around you helping you out. Thus, it is better to be safe than sorry while using a chainsaw.
Be Ready to Learn from Experienced People
Wood logging has been a practice for centuries, with modern technology allowing for the job to be done using mechanized power tools. As a result, chainsaws have been used for a long time to increase the efficiency of felling trees and cutting wood.
As a result, there are a number of people who have perfected the technique of using chainsaws for a number of applications. Thanks to the internet, we can now access videos and other material from experienced people who share their tricks and tips about improving technique while operating the saw.
However, it is best to interact in person with people having prior experience of operating these tools. Not only will they help you improve your technique, but may also be willing to share tips regarding maintenance and upgrades to your saw.
Post Usage Maintenance
Once you are done for the day with your work involving the chainsaw, it is important that you service the saw to ensure the performance remains consistent for a long period. Some of the things that you should do after usage include
- Cleaning the teeth and other exposed components of the saw. This is crucial to prevent sawdust from entering the machine. If this happens, it could increase the friction between moving parts, causing a drop in performance. If this happens within the chain, it can lead to the chain slipping out or a kickback occurring.
- Ensure that the guide bar has been thoroughly cleaned. This ensures the removal of sawdust and helps reduce the stress on the teeth that perform the cutting operation.
- Drain the tank if your chainsaw is going into long-term storage. This is crucial to prevent the tank from rusting due to evaporation and ensures that the fuel lines and engines remain in good condition.
- Replace oil and other lubricants to ensure that the motor and chain are running smoothly. This will also help to remove impurities and steel particles that may have been released during the operation of the engine. It will also give you better gas efficiency, which will keep your operating costs low.
- If your chainsaw is battery run, ensure that the battery is not overcharged as it may reduce the lifespan of the battery.
Read the Manual Thoroughly
While the points mentioned above in this article address most of the major areas that beginners must focus on while operating a chainsaw, it is not specific to any model. As a result, it is essential that every user reads the manual of the chainsaw they own in-depth.
This will give you a good idea of the features and operating procedures that the machine is designed for. Manuals also mention the details regarding servicing and maintenance procedures of the product.
This includes the types of oil and lubricant that can be used. It will also have warranty certificates and troubleshooting procedures in case your product encounters any issues.
I hope after reading all the above-mentioned chainsaw tips for beginners, you have now gained the confidence and knowledge required to operate a chainsaw in a safe manner!