The chainsaw is an effective tool but it can also be dangerous if not used correctly. If you are using the chainsaw for the first time, make sure you read its instruction manual thoroughly. It is also a good idea to practice using the tool on a small stump or log of wood first before attempting any other more serious job.
Here are some easy ways to use a chainsaw:
Table of Contents
- 1. Safety first
- 2. Take the time to get to know the saw
- 3. Check the saw’s chain
- 4. Fill fuel to optimal level
- 5. Keep safe distance
- 6. Tips for starting the saw
- 7. Ensure that the chain brake is working
- 8. Check the lubrication
- 9. Tips for holding the chainsaw correctly
- 10. Protect your back
- 11. Steps for felling trees
- 12. Spend time on the chainsaw’s maintenance
1. Safety first
In order to use a chainsaw safely, you must wear a helmet with a visor or use safety goggles. Also wear sturdy shoes and trousers with saw protection. Carry a whistle or cell phone in case you need to call someone for help.
2. Take the time to get to know the saw
Take your time to get acquainted with the chainsaw. Each chainsaw comes with a chain catcher, throttle lock and stop control. Other protective safety features of the saw include right-hand guard and kickback protection. These features are all designed to stop the saw from working in case of accidental advance or should the chain in the saw break or derail.
3. Check the saw’s chain
It is a good idea to replace the chain every few years. Make sure the chain is tensioned properly before you begin. You will also need to re-tension the new chain after operating it for a short period.
4. Fill fuel to optimal level
Always use environmentally friendly fuel and vegetable-based chain oil. While filling the saw with fuel, place it on a flat surface. Always move the saw a bit after fuelling and before working with it to avoid fire hazards.
5. Keep safe distance
Maintain a safe distance of at least 5 meters from objects or living beings when using the chainsaw. If you are felling a tree, ensure there are no people or animals around.
6. Tips for starting the saw
- Place the saw on a flat surface first before starting it.
- You may activate kickback protection otherwise the chain will start rotating. Some saws also come with a smart-start decompression feature. Use this feature if yours does.
- If the engine is cold, pull the choke out completely.
- You can use your right foot in the rear handle and your left hand can firmly hold the front handle. Push the choke down. Continue pulling the saw handle until the tool starts. Once the saw is activated, hit the throttle so that the engine speed drops to idle.
7. Ensure that the chain brake is working
Before using the saw after starting it, make sure the chain brake is working normally. Squeeze the throttle and at the same time use the kickback protection. Make sure that the chain stops right away.
8. Check the lubrication
To check chain lubrication, hold the saw above a light surface. Hit the throttle and see if oil is seen on the surface.
9. Tips for holding the chainsaw correctly
There is a way of holding the saw properly.
- Always grasp the tool firmly at both handles. (Place the thumbs and fingers around both handles).
- To reduce force of possible kickback, hold the left thumb under the left handle firmly.
- Always maintain proper balance with the saw-hold it close to the body but respect it as well. However, you need not be afraid of the saw. When you hold the saw close to the body, you will have greater control over it.
- Always stand with the feet apart when working with the saw for a better balance. Saw with both lower and upper edge of chain.
10. Protect your back
Bend at the knees, especially when you are doing low level work. This will save your back.
11. Steps for felling trees
- Before felling trees, learn about environmental regulations.
- Never work in adverse weather conditions like heavy rain, wind or snow.
- Decide the direction in which the tree could fall; make sure there are no animals, objects or humans nearby. Clear obstructive growth under and around the tree.
- Make sure that you can retreat safely when the tree starts falling.
- Take into account factors like wind direction which decide the direction in which the tree falls.
- You can now start to limb the tree at a convenient height no more than shoulder height.
- Make a top cut into the stem at 60 degree angle.
- Saw to a depth of 20 to 25%of the trees diameter. Follow this up with a horizontal cut to meet the earlier cut. You finally need to make a horizontal felling cut called the hinge slightly above the level of the under cut.
12. Spend time on the chainsaw’s maintenance
After you have finished using the saw, spend some time maintaining it. This will ensure that it functions properly the next time you use it.
- Sharpen the chain from time to time.
- Remove the clutch cover and clean the chain brake band.
- You also need to clean cooling fins and air intake periodically.
- Ensure that the chain wheel drive is not too worn.
- Tighten screws, nuts and bolts from time to time.
- Replace the chain when the longest part of the cutting tooth seems worn out or is less than 4mm.
Use these 12 easy steps to operate a chainsaw safely. Next, learn how to split firewood with an axe.