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any advice for a new chainsaw owner?

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by kamg, Dec 28, 2008.

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  1. kamg

    kamg New Member

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    So I finally manned-up and got a chainsaw (ok, I got it for Xmas, but still...).

    I've never used one before. It's a brand-new 14" gas powered Poulan. I've got a few logs to buck up, and plenty of land to go get some firewood out of. My plan is to start small and harvest dead (small) trees and such.

    So I'm looking for advice as to how to use the saw. I've read up on the internet a bunch of safety instructions (and the user's guide of course), and how to properly cut... but I was looking for perhaps some first-hand knowledge of what I should be doing to be safe and to get the best results without losing any limbs (my limbs, of course). So does anyone have any good hints or rules I should abide by for best results? And how do I convince the wife that I'll be coming back as a full man by the end of the day? :)

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  2. chad3

    chad3 Feeling the Heat

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    Non-man advise: Get PPE (personal protection equipment) before you start cutting, chaps, boots, and helmet (eyes and ears safety). From there, make sure the chains stay sharp, don't cut into the dirt, don't push hard on the saw to get it to cut, let the chain do the work.
    Have fun cutting, I enjoy thats for sure.
    Chad
  3. pelletizer

    pelletizer Minister of Fire

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    Could not have said it better myself chad3, It is great to get out and cut up some wood I enjoy it too,
  4. atvdave

    atvdave Member

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    Well.. I don't know about chaps, & a helmet. I've been cutting wood for 20 years and never used any of that. However I do use safety goggles, ear plugs, and a good pair of leather gloves.

    Just start out with some small stuff to get the feel for it, it's not that hard.
  5. chad3

    chad3 Feeling the Heat

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    Oh, an please make sure when you start cutting, make the back cut above the front cut. This will give the tree a place to "rest" back on instead of kicking back on you. Read some cutting tips, will give you a very good place to start. I've also learned alot by talking to some of the loggers near me. They are willing to talk as long as you seem interested in what they have to say, and don't seem like a yahoo.
    My personal story on this:
    I run in the woods near my house almost every day. A guy was logging it. I stopped while he was cutting a tree. He saw me after the tree fell and started yelling "what are you an idiot, you could have been killed, etc." I told him I was safe behind a tree and stopping was safer than running. Ended up talking to him for about 1/2 hour after that. After that one time, I would run by, he would wave. Stopped plenty of times to chat after that, ask questions about technique and saws, etc.
    Be willing to listen and they will give you plenty.
    Chad
  6. chad3

    chad3 Feeling the Heat

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    Sorry for the numerous posts:
    ATVDave,
    My ears and face shield are attached to the helmet, makes all of them right there near me in one unit. If you are cutting dead limbed trees, not a bad thing to have. I'm split on the chaps, but I can tell you, them with shorts in the summer is cooler than pants. Don't want a huge cut in the leg if I'm cutting alone, don't know about you (for a few bucks).
  7. bsimon

    bsimon New Member

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    Nothing wrong with that. My wife bought me my first saw before we were married. It was part of an elaborate trap, but hey, I got a saw out of it.

    My advice: never forget the saw is just as happy cutting your flesh & bone as wood.

    Learn to use the saw bucking and limbing before attempting felling.
  8. EatenByLimestone

    EatenByLimestone Minister of Fire

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    Don't rush anything with a chainsaw that is running. It's too easy to trip and fall with brush, etc around your feet.

    When you finally feel comfortable with it and want to drop a tree, look for anything it may hang up on or knock down on your haid.

    Don't be stupid with it. You don't need a big saw to do damage that will not heal.

    Matt
  9. chad3

    chad3 Feeling the Heat

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    Last place I cut, had a guy come in that wasn't really experienced in cutting. He managed to hang two trees and left them. He never came back, but left the trees that we ended up having to get down. NEVER leave a tree in the tops, just bad juju for anyone else. Told this story plenty, but the LAST tree I cut in that lot went 180 of where I wanted it to go, I had to get a second saw and drop out of a cut with a saw sitting there. Wasn't fun, but we got it down and saved all saws, just had to hike them out a bit more.
    Chad
  10. Cedrusdeodara

    Cedrusdeodara Member

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    When bucking rounds, don't cut on the ground. That micro second that you touch dirt/sand/etc, takes about 15 mins with the file to correct.

    ALWAYS cut with a sharp chain. I have a buddy who used to cut for a living as a side business and he filed every time he refueled. To me, that is overkill, but keep an eye on your chain. If you are throwing dust instead of flakes/chips, its Past time to sharpen.

    ALWAYS think about weight displacement when you are cutting rounds. That way you don't pinch your bar and waist alot of time. Also, logs tend to drop or pop up, depending on where the weight lode is. Look at the branch or log that you are getting ready to cut. This is especially true when you drop a big tree and the head is laying on the ground. Some cuts should be from below and some from above, depending on where the force/weight is coming from.

    Make sure your trees were never used for deer stands, fence post, no hunting/trespassing signs, etc. Nails are dangerous!!!!

    I do not ever cut with the bar parallel to my body/face. In other words, I always cut offset, keeping my head and body out of the plane of the cuting bar. If the blade were to kick back, it would be less likely to hit my face/head.

    There are Many other considerations to think about. These are a few that came to mind for me. I wear chaps, helmet, ear protection, face shield, gloves, etc. when cutting. I also frequently use the chain brake, especially when moving from spot to spot around a pile. When you get tired, STOP. Let the sharp chain do the work, not you. Be very careful cutting standing dead trees, as the top limbs may be dead and weak and drop as you are trying to fell the tree.

    Check out wikipedia.com for "Chainsaw safety features" and there are other issues of consideration.
    Welcome and be safe,
    Brian
  11. Gark

    Gark Minister of Fire

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    Yes, what was already posted-
    1. Safety first- always
    2. Sharp chain- always

    Oh, and be ready to spend your every last penny on a bigger/stronger saw.
    And then a new truck to haul with.
    And then a splitter.
    And a new better stove.
    And then a bigger house and acreage to store all that wood.

    It's an addiction, get out now while you can ---
  12. Bigg_Redd

    Bigg_Redd Minister of Fire

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    Learn to file your chain.

    Run your saw dry after you're done using it. This will prevent your carb from varnishing or gumming up.

    Keep your air filter clean.

    Refill your bar oil with every tank of gas.

    Never assume gas is mixed - buy mix oil with dye so it's obvious.

    Your chain is directional.

    If you ever upgrade from your Poulan, keep it so you don't have to loan out your good saw.
  13. beau5278

    beau5278 Member

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    It never hurts to have a backup saw either.
  14. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

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    Especially if you always run it dry. That's like leaving the lid off of the paint can.
  15. burntime

    burntime New Member

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    Know which end to hold! :p I use a good pair of gloves. If you are tired put the saw down for a few minutes. Nothing slows a job down like blood gushing, and it will gush if you hit yourself. If you are unsure about a cut, take your time and don't rush. When you finally think you figured it all out...proceed with caution. A chainsaw is far more dangerous then a pistol in the wrong hands... Finally make sure you can sharpen the chain, it makes life much easier!
  16. Bigg_Redd

    Bigg_Redd Minister of Fire

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    So you check your fuel level before she starts sputtering? What a PITA that must be.
  17. Bigg_Redd

    Bigg_Redd Minister of Fire

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    Friend saw, truck saw, backup saw. . . same same.
  18. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

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    No, don't put words in my mouth. A saw sputters long before it runs dry. I shut it off on the first sputter and refill. I don't store a saw with a dry carb.
  19. Bigg_Redd

    Bigg_Redd Minister of Fire

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    Listen, down here in America "run it dry" means "run it out of gas." Next time I'll try to be clearer for my Canadian brethren.
  20. beau5278

    beau5278 Member

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    My saws usual only get "stored"for 3 or 4 months out of the year anyway but I don't really like to store them with a dry carb either.I use the 2 cycle oil that has fuel stabilizer in it,that way they are ready to go when I am.
  21. NHFarmer

    NHFarmer Feeling the Heat

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    I few years back,we were logging in a woodlot,as we were dropping a tree a widowmaker came out of nowhere and caught my partner in the head.The helmet he was wearing blew into bits.The limb drove so far into the ground we needed the saw to cut it off flush.If he wasn't wearing a helmet he would have been killed for sure.You won't find me in the woods without one.Just my 2 cents
  22. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Best advice I ever received concerning a chain saw......was from an old timer in WV in 1972

    "Never lend out your chain saw"

    Chain saws are a one-person tool and don't take well to strangers.

    Also, use common sense. The saw is stronger than you are, so don't get in the way of a possible kickback. Of course, avoiding kickback is important also. Don't set things up so it can get bound in the wood.

    That is my little bit of advice. One member wrote an article on maintaining...
    http://www.hearth.com/econtent/index.php/articles/chainsaw_wisdom
  23. ansehnlich1

    ansehnlich1 Minister of Fire

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    Heavy duty Poulan eh? They told me the reason it has that name is ya gotta "pull on" it a couple times to get it to run....hence, poulan.

    Look, I have a Poulan 2150 with a 16 inch bar and the stihl and husqvarna guys laugh at me sometimes but that little green monster is lightweight, easy on fuel, and cuts like crazy.

    They take an anti-kick back chain, but ya gotta watch out when using it any way you look at it a chainsaw can kill ya.

    I also have a CRAFTSMAN, haha, (crapsman) 18 inch bar and chain. It appears to be a modified Poulan, :)

    I do all my cutting with these two saws and ain't had a problem yet.

    Best advice from me is ALWAYS hold the saw tight with BOTH hands.

    Logs and trees tend to fall, roll, snap, kick back, bend, twist, and move in directions you least expect.

    Size up the job before cutting, be aware of your surroundings, inspect the log or tree, how it lays, or how it leans, THINK what will happen BEFORE you cut a limb or log.

    If your gut tells ya you shouldn't be cutting something, DON'T.

    Check this linky for more info...

    http://www2.worksafebc.com/Portals/Forestry/General.asp?ReportID=34719
  24. JSJAC

    JSJAC New Member

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    Someone already mentioned do not lend out you chainsaw. I lent my 029 Stihl to a work assoc. and he was cutting wood and it started to rain and they got in the truck to stay dry . They left my saw in the hadr case on the tailgate . It did not stop raining . When the left the wood lot the saw was on the road and someone got a big score. I did get a new saw but learnerd a big lesson .I will not lend my power tools out anymore. I someone wants help I will be glad to help.
  25. CowboyAndy

    CowboyAndy New Member

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    Check your chain tension and oil levels after every tree that you fell and buck.

    If you think its going to be an easy drop, its not.

    Kepp your chain out of the dirt. If you can, get an oregon or stihl brand chain once you learn how to use the saw and get comfortable. get a more agressive chain. it will cut better and not dull as easily, but give yourself 6 solid months of experience before thinking about this.
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