When it comes to cutting down trees or cutting through large branches, chainsaws are extremely effective. When handled incorrectly, however, they can be quite dangerous. That is why it is so important to learn how to use a chainsaw safely. The following tips will help:
1. Use a blade guard when the saw is not in use.
You can create your own blade guard by wrapping foam pipe insulation for three-quarter inch pipes around the blade and holding it in place with several rubber bands.
2. Understand where the kickback zone is and make sure to avoid it.
The standard way of using a chainsaw is to cut a branch or tree from the top down, with the bottom of the blade coming in contact with the wood. It is easy to keep control of the saw in this position, even if it does pull slightly. You can also cut from below a branch by placing the top of the blade against the wood. This cutting position can be a little bit more frightening, simply because there is a tendency for the saw to push back toward your body. As long as you use proper safety procedures, however, this cutting position is safe.
Having said that, there is one area on the cutting bar that should be avoided at all costs. Known as the kickback zone, this area is located on the top of the bar at the tip of the saw. If you happen to touch anything with this part of the blade while the saw is turned on, it will cause the saw to kick back toward you with an upward motion. Today’s saw manufacturers do provide some protection against this problem by including a brake that is designed to prevent the chain from moving if the saw kicks back. You can also minimize the risk by holding the front handle firmly, using your thumb to encircle the grip. Ideally, however, you should do your best to avoid contacting any surfaces with the kickback zone.
3. Keep your chain sharp.
When your saw is sharp, it will cut through wood easily, requiring very little pressure. When it is dull, on the other hand, it can take a lot more work to get the saw to cut through the wood. You can tell if it is time to sharpen your chain by paying attention to how difficult it is to make cuts. You can also keep an eye on the sawdust that is created. A sharp saw will create wood chips where is a dull saw will create dust. Keeping your chain sharp will help your saw work the way it was designed to.
4. Reduce The Likelihood Of Injuries
Most chainsaw injuries affect either the left arm or the thigh. These types of injuries are easy to protect against by taking a couple of basic precautions.
When holding the chainsaw, keep your thumb wrapped around the front handle. This gives you a lot more control over the saw, helping you to keep it from getting out of hand if you experience a kickback.
Use caution when carrying a running saw to a new location. Never keep your right hand on the back handle. Instead, remove your hand and carry the saw with just your left hand, keeping your grip on the front handle. That way, you don’t have to worry about accidentally triggering the engine of the saw, causing the chain to begin spinning.
5. Wear Protective Clothing
Protect your body by investing in high-quality safety equipment. Steel-toed boots that are resistant to cuts are a good choice. You should also consider buying chaps to protect your thighs. For your head, consider investing in a helmet that has a built-in screen for your face. Some helmets even come with ear protection, making them ideal for protecting your hearing along with your eyes and your head.
6. Take The Guesswork Out Of Sharpening Your Chain
One of the hardest parts about sharpening a chain is figuring out which teeth you have already sharpened and which ones still need to be done. An easy way to keep track is by using a permanent marker to put a small dot on each of the teeth once they have been sharpened.
7. Add A Stabilizer To Your Gasoline
Small engine repairs can be costly. Unfortunately, engines often break down, largely due to the fact that people use old gas in them. Today’s gas breaks down a lot faster than gas that was available in the past. This can cause engine problems, preventing the chainsaw from operating the way that it should.
One of the best ways to avoid this problem is by adding a stabilizer to the gasoline that you purchase for your chainsaw the minute that you buy it. By doing so, you can reduce the chances of experiencing engine problems, minimizing repair costs further down the road.
Needless to say this only applies for gasoline powered chainsaws, if you have an electric chainsaw then this and some of the other tips aren’t relevant. If you’re interested in getting one to simplify things, then check out our corded electric chainsaw buying guide.
8. Invest In A Pair Of Bicycle Gloves
Although it may sound strange, bike gloves are a great choice when using vibrating power tools like chainsaws. The gel in the gloves helps absorb the vibrations, minimizing the impact on your body.
9. Prevent Gas Tank Leaks
When working on your chainsaw, you can stop gasoline from leaking out of the ventilation holes by taking off the cap, putting a piece of Saran wrap over the hole, and screwing the cap back into place.
10. Choose The Right Hearing Protection
Chainsaws can be incredibly loud to operate. So loud, in fact, that the sound of the engine can damage your hearing. There is no point in taking a risk with your hearing – especially when there are so many effective hearing protection options available on the market. Whether you invest in a pair of earmuffs or opt for simple earplugs, you should be taking steps to protect your hearing. If your chainsaw is particularly loud, you may even want to double up on hearing protection, pairing standard earplugs with a pair of earmuffs.
Even though you may initially find the earplugs or earmuffs uncomfortable, you will eventually adapt to wearing them. In fact, after a little while, you probably won’t want to work without them since they do such a good job of blocking out excess noise.