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Chain saw Working techniques

- May 12, 2018 -

Chainsaw training is designed to provide working technical knowledge and skills to safely operate the equipment.

Sizeup – This is scouting and planning safe cuts for the felling direction, danger zones, and retreat paths, before starting the saw. The tree's location relative to other objects, support, and tension determines a safe fall, splits off or if the saw will jam. Several factors to consider are: tree lean and bend, wind direction, branch arrangement, snow load, obstacles and damaged, rotting tree parts, which might behave unexpectedly when cut. A tree may have to fall in its natural direction if it's too dangerous or impossible to fell in a desired direction. The aim is for the tree to fall safely for limbing and cross-cutting the log. The goal is to avoid having the tree fall on another tree or obstacle.

Felling – After clearing the tree's base undergrowth for the retreat path and the felling direction; felling is properly done with three main cuts. To control the fall, the directional cut line should run 1/4 of the tree diameter to make a 45-degree wedge, which should be 90 degrees to the felling direction and perfectly horizontal. Make the top cut first then, the bottom cut is made to form the directional cut line at the wedge point. A narrow or nonexistent hinge lessens felling direction control. From the opposite side of the wedge, plan to finish the final felling cut 1/10 of the tree diameter from the direction cut line. The felling cut is made horizontally and slightly (1.5–2 inches; 5.1 cm) above the bottom cut. When the hinge is properly set, the felling cut will begin the fall in the desired direction.

 A sitback is when a tree moves back opposite the intended direction. Placing a wedge in the felling cut can prevent a sitback from pinching the saw.

Freeing – Working a badly fallen tree that may have become trapped in other trees. Working out maximum tension locations to decide the safest way to release tension, and a winch may be needed in complicated situations. To avoid cutting straight through a tree in tension, one or two cuts at the tension point of sufficient depth to reduce tension may be necessary. After tension releases, cuts are made outside the bend.

Limbing – Cutting the branches off the log. The operator must be able to properly reach the cut to avoid kickback.

Bucking – Cross-cutting the felled log into sections. Setup is made to avoid binding the chainsaw within the changing log tensions and compressions. Safe bucking is started at the log highside and then sections worked offside, toward the butt end. The offside log falls and allows for gravity to help prevent binds. Watching the log's kerf movement while cutting, helps to indicate binds. Additional equipment (lifts, bars, wedges and winches) and special cutting techniques can help prevent binds.

Binds – This is when the chainsaw is at risk or is stuck in the log compression. A log bound chainsaw is not safe, and must be carefully removed to prevent equipment damage.

Top bind – The tension area on log bottom, compression on top.

Bottom bind – The tension area on log top, compression on bottom.

Side bind – Sideways pressure exerted on log.

End bind – Weight compresses the log’s entire cross section.

Brushing and slashing – This is quickly clearing small trees and branches under 5 inches (13 cm) in diameter. A hand piler may follow along to move out debris.


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