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How old where you when you learned to use a chain saw

Post in 'The Gear' started by xman23, May 2, 2013.

  1. xman23

    xman23 Minister of Fire

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    My grand son, now 13 has grown up helping me process wood. He's not a big kid, but has learned how to swing a maul. I've been thinking he's mature enough to learn how to operate a saw. I don't remember how old I was. But probably I got the saw out when dad wasen't home and taught myself. They were different times.

    So what do you think, is this crazy or not?

    How old were you when you cut your first round?

    Tom

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  2. nate379

    nate379 Guest

    8 or 9 on a Pro Mac 610.

    Hard to say. I was running tractors and heavy equipment in the 3rd and 4th grade too so a chainsaw wasn't a big deal. My Dad set me up with a Marlin .22, I could barely hold the thing steady enough to shoot it cause it was so heavy (at the time)

    I know some of you guys probably started out on a man powered saw (pre-chainsaw)... those things I bet made a man out of you really quick!
  3. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    31 years old. First saw a Poulan Micro XXV. ;lol
  4. granpajohn

    granpajohn Minister of Fire

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    ...and different saws. No such thing as a chain brake, for example. Heavier. Much more vibration.
    That said; I imagine I was pretty close to 13.

    The boy is plenty old enough.
    One idea though....kids are savvy about youtube these days. Show him one of those videos the chaps makers have out, that uses a ham to simulate a teenager's leg. (I think it sends a good warning.) Then get him started.

    BTW; I predict a lot of false-safety nannies will be drawn out to (negatively) answer your question. Sometimes I think that Mayor Bloomberg himself reads this board. Good luck.
    (P.S. You're a good grandpa.)
  5. gmule

    gmule Feeling the Heat

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    13 My dad had me cutting the limbs off of dropped pine trees with a Homelite XL with a 12" Bar The following summer I moved up to his Homelite 240 with a 16" bar blocking pine. A few years after that I started learning how to fell some of the 6"-8" dia pines
  6. NH_Wood

    NH_Wood Minister of Fire

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    Only started cutting a lot when I turned about 34. My son is 10, and I was just given a little Remington Might Mite 400 - got it running and it is very light - been thinking that this would be a good first saw for my son - thinking about getting some PPE on him and teaching him to cut - probably get some ~ 6 inch diameter trees down and work with him real close. Cheers!
  7. Danno77

    Danno77 Minister of Fire

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    I'll let you know.
  8. jdp1152

    jdp1152 Minister of Fire

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    15/16. Stacking it was much earlier.
  9. Thistle

    Thistle Minister of Fire

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    Started working with Dad bucking fallen logs at 15,dropped my first decent sized standing snag unsupervised at 17.Worked for small local tree service age 18-21.

    No chain brakes or low-kickback 'safety' chain back then either.I learned to always be alert & be aware where the bar was at every second.
  10. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Reading this I think of a local high school boy that was bucking up rounds out behind the school vocational class building when a kickback caught him dead in the middle of his face. His mom said he had been using a saw since he was ten or eleven.

    I would be scared to death to hand a kid a chainsaw.
  11. Danno77

    Danno77 Minister of Fire

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    I know lots of people who learned something when they were young only to find out when they were older that they didn't learn it right. Sometimes because they were taught wrong, sometimes because they didn't pay attention to good teaching. Chainsaws are dangerous. We should be teaching our kids every time they use it until they prove that they make the right decisions even when you don't have to remind them. I know a couple pretty young kids that are responsible and do run a saw, but under their Dad's supervision. Not my son, yet, he's just not ready (9years).
  12. Todd 2

    Todd 2 Feeling the Heat

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    Good post Tom, I dont think your crazy at all, for me about 13. I grew up on my Uncle's farm running and operating most everything by age 13-14 and it sure has helped through out life learning all the skills one could. I think alot of it has to do with YOUR judgement of their skill with different power tools / equipment. It usually dont take long to judge a younger persons skill operating different things. Keeping it safe as possible with the safety gear nessassry would be a big + over the way I learned most things back then. Showed the right way is another + in my book.
    I feel kids are sheltered so much these days that a cell phone, lap top, and video games are all they are gonna know in life because EVERYTHING is to dangerous for them according to some.:rolleyes:
    Some are better at things than others too. For example my 18 yr old daughter can not drive the garden tractor mowing at all, totally unsafe. And the 13 yr old daughter can mow on it as good as me, very safe. The older one knows EVERYTHING I tell ya, thats why she tried to drive up a tree mowing, twice. I waited to long to teach her I think.
    So Im all for teaching younger ones skills, some will not agree Im sure, and thats ok but its nice when you get older not to pay someone for everything you need done.

    Todd
  13. xman23

    xman23 Minister of Fire

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    Bart your right...... but we all had to learn. As you guys suggest we will watch together all the videos out there. I have never had a kick back. I know how it happens. Is there any way to safely demonstrate kick back? I like the idea of a small light weight saw. I think my neighbor has an electric chain saw. Maybe we can start by doing some limbing together.

    It was different times, at 13 I was bailing hay for a few summers driving a big Farmall pulling two full hay wagons down the highway.
    Thistle likes this.
  14. lukem

    lukem Minister of Fire

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    Depends more on the kid than his age of you ask me. I know a lot of grown men I wouldn't trust with a saw.
  15. CaddyUser

    CaddyUser Member

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    8 for me. My uncle Bob taught me. He was a pro cutter, and was helping out to cut logs for lumber during the winter of '73. Our dairy barns burned to the ground in late fall of '72. The saw was a Homelite XL. Although I started out the winter tending the campfire and making sure there was always hot tea for Bob, he initially taught me how to sharpen the chain, and he explained how the chain worked. Sharpening came quite easy after that. My first cuts were with him right beside me yelling in my ear the whole time.

    My first felling was a 30"ish 60' white spruce. Go big or stay home, as Bob used to tell me....

    That next summer I learned how to sharpen fence posts - that is, cutting the ends of the posts so that they could be driven into the ground. That was my first experience in seeing noodles from cutting.

    Good memories!
  16. xman23

    xman23 Minister of Fire

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    Todd, yes I agree kids are to way to sheltered. I to spent summers at my uncles farm / trucking company.200 head of dairy cows. Learned / self taught you name it. Great life experience, I use every bit of it today. I love passing on those skills to the kids that other wise would not be exposed to stuff.

    Todd , my daughter and my other two grand kids is right down the road from you. Avlon road about 3 miles from Atwood just above Mohawk lake.
    Todd 2 likes this.
  17. nate379

    nate379 Guest

    I'm very glad my folks didn't coddle us kids. Of course I wasn't handed a chainsaw as soon as I got off the teat, but there was never the "oh no... no way he could use that... he "MIGHT" get hurt.... oh the heavens!"

    There was work to be done and once we were old enough, that meant we needed to do it. I was in the 2nd or 3rd grade when I was using the yard tractor to cut the lawn. My folks have about 2 acres of grass. I'm sure someone was keeping an eye out the window just to check up, but if the grass was getting long, I was expected to cut it... without ever being told. The off chance I didn't get to it quick enough, being told was something like "grass is starting to get long huh??"

    I actually picked up a steady paycheck job at 15 so I could be away from the house. I worked for farmers at around 12-13 but it was never steady 40hr/week work.
    If I worked for my Dad I got "paid" with a roof over my head and food on the table. I didn't mind helping out but sometimes he had us doing some wicked slave labor! Once I started a job he let up on the chores a bit (or my brother had to do them... ahahahahhaha!)
  18. StihlHead

    StihlHead Guest

    I was 12 and my dad handed me a chainsaw sharpening kit. That was a blue Homelite XL-12. I asked if I could run the saw, and he said, "figure it out". So I did. My father let us use power tools and drive when we were pretty young. He taught me to drive when I was 13, and he had motorcycles that my brothers and I rode around on starting when I was 10 or so. I remember being served a beer with him in a bar in Montana when I was 14. I was flabbergassed, but the bartender said if I was tall enough to see over the bar I was old enough to drink in one. I had a boating license at age 14. You were supposed to be 16, but my father pulled some strings to get me one.

    I started picking strawberries here in the summer when I was 9. Then boysenberries and beans, and cherries. I had a full time job when I was 15. I had a motorcycle at 15-1/2 when you could get a license for riding them.
  19. Thistle

    Thistle Minister of Fire

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    Precisely.Which is another reason I dont loan out any of my tools,even a screwdriver.
  20. pyroholic

    pyroholic Member

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    About 11 for me I'd guess. For some reason I thought the chainsaw looked fun to me (maybe some can relate). I was the kid that could start/ run/ figure out most power tools. Some branches came down and was home alone. Grabbed Dad's 031 AV and took care of it. Nice small saw to start with... Dad was happy the branch was cleaned up, but Mom took care of the worrying for both of them.

    Riding mower around 8, driving about 12 (on the road). Being very tall helped with those. At 14 drove from MI to KY in a one ton truck (Ford manual granny gear trans) with a huge truck camper, and an 18' boat.

    Sure were good times, but probably not that safe or smart. As stated...different times, but only 20ish years ago.

    To the OP... You know the kid and his aptitude toward this type of stuff. Teach him safety, be patient, and make some memories.
  21. Danno77

    Danno77 Minister of Fire

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    Similar experience for me, except my parents wouldn't allow me to get a paying job, I helped on the farm and my allowance was "We allow you to live here"
    nate379 likes this.
  22. lukem

    lukem Minister of Fire

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    My dad didn't let me run a chainsaw until pretty late...I think I got my drivers license before I was running it but I learned everything else at a very young age (how to hold it, where to cut to relieve stress and not pinch the bar, sharpening, fueling, changing bar and chain, starting, etc.) He had known a couple guys who got it pretty bad with a saw and didn't want that happening to me. Can't say that I blame him. On the flip side, I was running every other piece of equipment under the sun by the time I was 12.

    Other than safe operating habits(hand and body positioning, chain break habits, etc) most important thing to learn about a chainsaw, and the thing you should learn first is how to recognize when a chain is dull. I can look at a chain and tell you if it is dull...don't even need to cut with it. A dull saw is really dangerous.

    The next step is how to get a sharp chain. This could be as simple as taking to the shop for a grind, grinding it yourself, or hand filing.

    If you can't tell when a chain is dull and don't know how to fix that you shouldn't be running a saw.
  23. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    I came out of the womb with a running chainsaw . . . it was hell on Mom. :)

    Actually, I grew up working with wood -- stacking, hauling, splitting, etc. so I honestly cannot remember the exact age when I started running the saw. I would guess maybe sometime in my teens.

    I was fortunate . . . Dad taught me well with good habits and practices.
    firebroad likes this.
  24. firebroad

    firebroad Minister of Fire

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  25. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    I was well into my teens, all the wood I remember burning as a kid was pre-cut and dumped into our driveway for me to split. I was running a splitter at a very young age, prob 10-11 years old. Like many others here, the saw was one of the last pieces of equipment I mastered.

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