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Retire Old Chaps?

Post in 'The Gear' started by Mass. Wine Guy, Oct 14, 2012.

  1. Mass. Wine Guy

    Mass. Wine Guy Feeling the Heat

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    I don't mean giving older British gentlemen a pension.

    I own a pair of dark blue Husqvarna safety chaps that are more than 20 years old. I've never had a chainsaw accident and the chaps aren't ripped, cut or torn. I've kept them clean. I don't know how effective the fiber material in them was at the time they were made, but I guess it was state of the art for that time.

    My observations of the market seem to show great technological strides in the protective material used in new safety chaps. Does the safety material in chaps wear out over time and lose its protective abilities? Should I retire my chaps and buy a new pair?

    Thanks.

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  2. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    Thats a good question but what I think may be wrong. I would think that the fibers would still clog the saw up and thats all its got to do. I would also think after 20 years its good time not to take the chance.
  3. peakbagger

    peakbagger Minister of Fire

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    Whe I took a chainsaw course last year my 10 year old chaps were no judged no longer acceptable by the instructor. Apparently there have been several improved ANSI specfications since mine were made. The USFS ended up buying me a new pair and they are a lot heavier (weight and construction) plus they have the wrap around ankle protection. The PITA with the new ones is that I have to use suspenders to keep them up as they are so heavy they drop down and screw up my mobility.

    The claim is that the newer saws are higher RPM and they can actually cut through the old chaps. I expect the older ones are one heck of a lot better than none at all.
    smokinj likes this.
  4. Mass. Wine Guy

    Mass. Wine Guy Feeling the Heat

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    Well, I do use my chaps with my old Jonsered 535 saw, so maybe the chaps match the saw.
    jeff_t likes this.
  5. greg13

    greg13 Feeling the Heat

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    I saw an actual demo on the "older" chaps using a log for a leg with an 041. Running full throttle it took 3 tries to break through the inner nylon layer. At that point I think enough "filling" had been removed to allow the chain to penetrate, but from the hole in the inner layer a bandaid would have been all that was needed.

    Anything is better than nothing, new or old.
  6. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    I have personally performed that demo. It's all in how hard the saw hits the chaps and at what angle. Hard hit at 90 deg and it punctures just about every time. But as you say, the damage wouldn't warrant an ER visit.

    Dunno on the new vs old materials. Engtex (sp?) is what's been in the Stihl chaps for some time now. Maybe your old Husky chaps have a label listing what's inside?
  7. firecracker_77

    firecracker_77 Minister of Fire

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    I need chaps before I run the saw next time. Stihl sells 'em for $90. What would you pay and where would you look?
  8. firecracker_77

    firecracker_77 Minister of Fire

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    I didn't mean to hijack the thread...to the O.P. I would spend the money personally. How much is your health and welfare worth, let alone the risk of injury and stratospheric medical bills and loss of work pay?
  9. nate379

    nate379 Guest

  10. Backroads

    Backroads Feeling the Heat

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    Almost all PPE has a service life span.

    Most Hard hats expire in 4-5 years or their appearance but no OSHA standard.

    ANSI A10.32-2004 states the service life of fall protection equipment manufactured of synthetic fiber shall be 5 years unless otherwise specified by the manufacturer.

    Now Chaps...
    The Performance Standard is ASTM F 1897-2008, and it establishes minimum performance requirements in regards to chain saw stopping capability, wash ability, areas of protection, care and maintenance, inspection and testing as well as identification and user warnings. The chain saw stopping requirement is that the garment must be capable of stopping a chain that is running at 2,750 feet per minute without penetration of the inner layer. Previously to 2008 the requirement was 2,500 feet per minute.
    In 2008 new regulations governing test standards for Chainsaw Leg Protective Clothing have been enacted. This revision by ASTM increases the performance requirement for chainsaw test speed, to 2,750 fpm (from 2,500 fpm), incorporating the new limit in the ASTM F-1897-2008 standard.
    The US Forest Service Specification establishes a performance requirement of 3,200 feet per minute, but the test method and equipment are not directly comparable to the ones use by UL.

    Now OSHA doesn't set the standard on chaps service life. That information would be found in the owners manual of the chaps from the manufacturer.
    Fibers break down over time especially if they are not cared for properly.

    When it comes to personal safety would you want to risk it? 20 YEARS!!! You got your money's worth, lmao!! To me...if you are asking the question than you already know the answer. You are concerned enough to ask! I'm sure you'll do what you feel is right.
  11. Backroads

    Backroads Feeling the Heat

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    Food for thought....

    All that said about RPM...none of those requirements qualify to stop a saw running at WOT.
  12. Wildo

    Wildo Feeling the Heat

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    Check out Labonville chaps theyre made in U.S.A. and have testing videos right on the website. They meet the highest standards with high quality components and are lower priced than the rest.
    hilbiliarkiboi likes this.
  13. Realstone

    Realstone Lord of Fire

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    WOT = wide open throttle?
    If that is the case, what is the chain speed of the average 50cc chain saw at WOT?
  14. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    13,500 rpm 7 pin sprocket means 94,500 drive links go by in a minute.
    Assuming it's 3/8" chain, the average distance between rivets is .375", 2 rivets per drive link
    .375 * 2 * 94,500 = 70,875 inches per min = 5906.25 feet per min

    or about 67.12 MPH

    That's a bit faster than I expected, anybody else want to take a guess? Also, a super high revving saw like the Husqvarna 346XP is capable of much more speed (closing in on 15K rpms.).

    EDIT: This post edited to correct the math. ;em
    Realstone likes this.
  15. peakbagger

    peakbagger Minister of Fire

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    Another thumbs up for Labonvilles, they are made in my town and they make good product. Several government agencies use their product.
  16. Mass. Wine Guy

    Mass. Wine Guy Feeling the Heat

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    I am totally into being safe and don't like to take chances with a chainsaw. I'd like a new pair of chaps but can't afford $90. Does anyone know of any good deals around? The Labonville chaps would be great, but I'll check what's behind the cob webs in my wallet.
  17. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    The absolute cheapest I'm seeing from googling "Economy Chainsaw Chaps" is $65 and they don't look good. One size fits all and they're 4 ply. Husqvarna also has a "one size fits most" set that amazon has listed for $55. Coverage is pretty skimpy and also depends on how close to "most" you are size wise.

    Couple of decent-priced options here -

    http://tsc.tractorsupply.com/tractor/Chainsaw-Chaps?zoneMarketInfo=2-16&reqUrl=http://tsc.tractorsupply.com/tractor/Chainsaw-Chaps&langId=-1&storeId=10551&storeCity=city, state&catalogId=10001&storeZip=12566

    Stihl dealers used to carry a set of "Black Economy Chaps" that offered great protection. I see they are still listed in their catalog and the retail price is $75. IME Stihl's protective gear fits well and does its job.

    http://www.stihlusa.com/products/protective-and-work-wear/chain-saw-protective-apparel/blkchaps/

    I think you just need to consider the cost of an ER visit to get the damage repaired (assuming the damage is superficial) vs the $$ for decent chaps vs are you willing to take the chance on 20 year old chaps?
    zap likes this.
  18. Mass. Wine Guy

    Mass. Wine Guy Feeling the Heat

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    I'll look into the Stihl chaps. You're right about ER costs. Pretty unreasonable the last time I looked.

    Then again, what's someone to do when they simply don't have the bucks for a $90 pair of chaps? No, they don't want to get injured. But they still lack the money.
  19. Backroads

    Backroads Feeling the Heat

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    Thanks MasterMech for saving me from doing all the leg work! I just wanted people to realize that just because you are wearing chaps...that DOESN'T make you invincible. PPE is never a substitute for common sense, staying alert and just plain being careful.

    If cash is that tight...at least you are wearing the old ones. Which is better than most. Set is as a goal or "Holiday" wish list! ;)
  20. Wildo

    Wildo Feeling the Heat

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    I paid 78 bucks through my saw dealer for the chaps. One day of work after taxes is worth a saving a whole lotta afterlife for later...
  21. Realstone

    Realstone Lord of Fire

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    Thanks MM for putting some perspective on the issue.

    Something else that occurs to me: chain speed is one thing, what about residual momentum? Something tells me it would be much easier to stop a 30cc with a 14" bar than a 70cc with a 36" bar, even if they were traveling at the same velocity.
  22. Backroads

    Backroads Feeling the Heat

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    From the Stihl Site:
    "
    IMPORTANT INFORMATION!
    These protective garments contain pads of cut-retardant material designed to reduce the risk or severity of injury to the body parts covered by the pads in the event of contact with a rotating chain. The fibers in the pads provide extra layers of material and are designed to rip apart if they come into contact with the moving chain and to clog the sprocket and stop the chain in certain circumstances. In some contacts, the pads may stop the chain. In other contacts, the pads will resist the cutting process only for a fraction of a second. The actual degree of protection afforded will vary with the speed of the chain at the time of contact, the power and torque of the saw, the design of the chain saw sprocket and similar factors. Follow the washing instructions. Improper care may destroy cut-retardant properties of the material.
    WARNING FOR ELECTRIC CHAIN SAW USERS!
    The fibers will not stop the sprocket on most electric chain saws because of their constant high torque."

    So I would say the answer would be YES.
  23. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    Therein lies your answer Realstone. The issue is torque more than inertia. Once you start getting into pro-class saws, especially over 60cc, I recommend top-shelf chaps.
    Realstone likes this.
  24. Realstone

    Realstone Lord of Fire

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    Yes. It also occurred to me that the chain brake would probably (hopefully) go off in such a circumstance.
  25. JeffRey30747

    JeffRey30747 Member

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    Doesn't an electric motor put out the most hp just before it stops turning? I always thought that was the reason that chaps weren't recommended for electric saws. The more the fibers bind it, the harder it tries to move until it totally craps out or current is removed from motor.

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