How To Use A Chainsaw

Everyone knows how powerful a chainsaw is, and how dangerous chainsawing can get. You don’t have to be a woodworking master to know that it takes tremendous control to properly use such a beastly machine. Thus we’re going to dive in today on how to use a chainsaw, and we’ll make sure you have an easy and safe time cutting whatever you need!

Necessary Safety Equipment for Operating a Chainsaw

Chainsaw safety is key when you’re trying to use this tool. With other tools, you’re likely to suffer temporary injuries without the proper safety in place. However, when it comes to chainsaws, injuries can end up becoming fatal, so make sure to follow chainsaw safety with your life!

Knowing Your Chainsaw And It’s Safety Features

You can’t just buy a chainsaw and get to using it immediately. It’s key to understand your machine, and know what goes where. Chainsaw use can be a little tricky at first to understand, but once you try it out, you’ll find it’s pretty simple!

Chain Tension

Chain Tension

The picture above this paragraph will explain how your chain tension should be, the best! Of course you don’t want the chain to be completely stuck to your saw, otherwise it’ll become rigid and won’t cut properly, ultimately causing a kick back. However, the same goes for the first picture, in which the chain is too loose and can be pulled off the saw. 

With the proper chain tension in place, you’ll be able to pull your chain off the blade and have it snap back into place immediately! This will also allow you to use your hand to move the chain along the saw. NEVER do that without gloves. 

Chain Brake

The chain brake is a mechanism placed into the chainsaw as a safety feature. When using a chainsaw, you’ll always have your hand on the handle right behind the chain brake (shown in the picture). In case of any danger (such as kick back), the inertia and momentum of this force will allow you to disengage the chain using the chain brake. Thus, providing you safety!

Throttle Interlock

Throttle Interlock

When you’re carrying your chainsaw, and don’t want it to just abruptly start, the throttle interlock helps you out. The throttle interlock disallows your trigger from depressing it unless you place your hand properly in place and depress both the mechanisms simultaneously! A very nifty safety feature.

Gas mixture and Bar Lubricant Holes

Gas mixture and Bar Lubricant Holes

When you acquire your chainsaw, you might not know about chainsaw usage properly, but you’ll know that maintenance of the tool is a very important factor. Make sure to go through your user’s manual and find out which hole on your chainsaw is for the gas mixture and which is for the bar lubricant.

The gas mixture of course, helps to run your chainsaw and make sure it’s operating smoothly. It’s basically the fuel for your chainsaw. 

As for the bar lubricant, it does what’s in the name. Your bar and chain go hand in hand, as the chain moves on and with the bar it’s on. Thus, you’ll need to make sure that they are properly lubricated to ensure the chainsaw moves fluidly. That’s where the bar lubricant is extremely helpful!

Chain Catcher

Chain Catcher

On the off chance your chainsaw’s chain comes off the bar and is flying back, you don’t want that to hit you and get stuck to you. That’s where the chain catcher comes in to save you! This safety feature will make sure to catch the chain and shorten the distance, which ensures your safety by preventing the chain getting caught on you or the handle!

How to Use A Chainsaw

Now that we’ve got all the intricate details out of the way, let’s have fun and get to know how we operate this beastly machine, shall we?

Starting Your Chainsaw

There are two ways of starting up your chainsaw:

On the ground

For this procedure, be sure to have your dominant pulling the starter rope and position yourself as such. Let’s assume the right hand is your dominant hand here. Hold the starter rope with your right hand and put your right foot inside the handle with the trigger. Have your left hand on the handle bar holding the saw down. You’ll need to make sure that you engage the chain brake. Pull the starter rope a few times and then you’ll feel a slight throttle. Disengage the chain brake and then pull the starter rope again! You’ll feel the saw come to life.

In between your legs

In between your legs

The process, of course, is the same as starting it on the ground. Just be sure to have the chainsaw on your dominant side (in this case your right leg), and your right and left hand will be in the same place as before! 

There you go, a couple of different but similarly simple ways to start up your saw!

Using the Chainsaw

Using the Chainsaw

When you’re operating it, you want to be sure you use your chainsaw safely! Using a chainsaw requires a lot of stability and understanding on your part. This is where some of your ensemble comes into play. Your steel toed boots will help you keep your feet planted firmly to the ground and provide resistance to prevent slipping and losing ground. 

Your saw will do most of the work, you just need to make sure you guide the saw through whatever you want to cut. Make sure to mark out the distance and point where you want to make your cut, and then slowly push your saw through the wood and let it do the work. A very important thing to remember is that you’ll want to cut ¾ of the distance through the wood. Otherwise your saw will come into contact with the ground and thus, weaken its integrity. Not to mention it could also cause the saw to kick back, and that’s definitely not using the chainsaw safely!

Kick Back

What is Kick back?

One of the most dangerous things that can occur while using your chainsaw, is kick back! One of the most common Newtonian laws says, “every action has an equal and opposite reaction”. This phenomenon occurs when the chain gets attached to the wood you’re cutting, causing a jolt of energy to push back on to you. 

The most common way to get your chain snagged on the wood you’re cutting, is by hitting the wood with the tip of your blade. Always avoid doing so. All the energy created and exerted by the motor of your saw will require a place to go, and you don’t want it to be back towards you!

Avoiding Kick Back

  • Alert about your surroundings

    Whenever you’re on a job, you’ll want to ensure that you are alert about everything around you. Cutting trees have consequences such as falling branches or various limbs of the trees moving around. If any of these factors come against you negatively and affect your saw, it could cause a kick back!
  • Sharp Chain

    Maintaining the sharpness of your chainsaw is key as well as using it efficiently. Otherwise you could get small wood chips when cutting the wood, which can affect your saw negatively. You can also learn about sharpening and maintaining a chainsaw too!
  • Tip of Your Saw

    ALWAYS keep the tip of your saw away from the wood. This is the easiest way for you to fall victim to kick back, yet it’s not hard to avoid. You’ll need to always make your measurements in accordance to following the length of your saw!
  • Read the Manual

    One thing you can never stress enough is to read the manual. We would suggest the same for new electronics, and we definitely advise it for high powered tools such as a chainsaw, especially for amateurs. Every machine is different, and familiarizing yourself with your chainsaw, will go a long way in helping you use it.

The Takeaway

Learning to use a chainsaw can be a little time consuming, but once you’re accustomed to it, you’ll love the idea of it! Ensure your own safety, and that’s all we can ask for! The rest is up to you, and we hope you get a lot of help out of this article!

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