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- Apr 07, 2018 -

• Whether you’re learning how to use a chainsaw for the first time or on a routine job, never operate this power tool alone. When something goes wrong, it happens fast. Having a friend nearby can save your life. If you’re working in the woods, set a traffic safety flag by your car. Make sure someone knows where you are and when you intend to return. Have a complete first-aid kit on hand with at least one blood-clotting bandage.


• Wear all necessary personal protective equipment, including chaps, a chainsaw helmet with face guard, gloves, and either steel-toed or logging boots. Never wear loose clothing, as it can get caught in the teeth of the saw.


• Find a comfortable stance, and keep both feet firmly planted as you work. Hold the chainsaw with two hands and at an angle or a little to one side rather than directly in front of you, in case of kickback.


• Never operate a chainsaw on a ladder, and never cut limbs that are higher than your shoulder. (If you’re looking to cut something higher, consider an altogether different tool: a manual rope saw.) To remove lower branches and buttress roots prior to felling a tree, slice downward and use the pulling chain—that’s the portion of the chain as it wraps the bar’s bottom. If the tree is on an incline, always work uphill from it.


• Be aware of the location of all power lines, and never fell a tree where there are utility lines, vehicles, buildings, and especially people within two-and-a-half tree lengths.


• Use the right-size chainsaw for the job. If you’re renting a chainsaw, discuss the scope of the job with the staff to learn what size motor they recommend, as blade size is relative to engine horsepower. Generally, the blade should be two inches longer than the wood it’s cutting. Light-duty cutting of firewood and such can be accomplished by a 14-inch blade, and 16- to 20-inch blades are appropriate for medium-duty cutting. The longer a blade, the harder it is to control, so novices should stick to blades less than 20 inches in length.


• It should go without saying, but we’ll say it anyway: Always be stone cold sober when operating a chainsaw!

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