How to Use a Chainsaw: A Beginner’s Guideline

Preparing for a zombie apocalypse may be a good reason to finally get a chainsaw or learn how to operate the one lying around in the house. While that may be the case for the “too lazy to learn” ones, it is always the best idea to gain the basic skills; to not lose your arms or legs with the chainsaw blades.

If you want to know how to use a chainsaw, you’re at the right place! We are happy to be of help and give you our best tips to finally get that woodwork done in no time. Just read on the guidelines below and make sure to follow them:

Safety Basics You Need to Follow while Operating a Chainsaw

Here are some tips you need to obey for your safety.

  1. Wear Personal Protective Equipment

The foremost basic safety measure is wearing your personal protective equipment or PPE. This includes wearing eye protection, ear protection, robust boots, saw protection gloves, chainsaw chaps, as well as a long-sleeved fitting shirt – yes, all of them.

Occasional use of a hard hat might be a good idea while felling a tree in your yard. After all, full PPE is a good habit to have, because they all say, “it’s better to be safe than sorry.”

Getting chainsaw helmets with an attached mesh face shield and flip-up ear muffs is also good protective equipment to keep you safe and scratch-free. Do not forget to get a pair of chainsaw gloves for your precious hands as well!

Chainsaw chaps have multiple layers of Kevlar (also used as a protective layer in bulletproof vests). Amazing, right? It is placed underneath the outer shell, which is made of nylon.

If the chainsaw gets to penetrate the outer nylon shell, the Kevlar, while resisting the cutting action, pulls the fibers into the saw’s sprocket and stops the chain from spinning in just a matter of a few seconds. Quite easy to use with top-notch protection!

  1. Create a Safe Surrounding

Before any sort of cutting or felling activity, never forget to check the environmental safety of the current situation.

Pre-planned running measures for a failed felling, direction, and strength of the blowing wind, avoiding damages to any power line or property, etc. might be the things you should particularly consider while preparing to work with a chainsaw.

  1. Find the Best Fit Chainsaw for the Task

Chainsaw tasks are basically divided into three categories: limbing, bucking, and felling.

While limbing is the action of removing branches from a downed tree, bucking refers to cutting lengths of the trunk of a downed tree. On the other hand, felling is cutting a standing tree in a restricted method, possibly using ropes. This ensures a pre-planned fall of the tree in an expected location, all safe and sound.

Before you start operating a chainsaw on your own, here are a few things you need to know-

Even though smaller model chainsaws are easier to handle, they are also less powerful. This means that they are incapable of heavy-duty tasks, like cutting comparatively bigger trees. For this purpose, the bigger and more powerful models are most suitable.

Another important issue is the bar length of the chainsaw you need. The long bars are used for felling while the short ones are mainly used for the branches. [Learn about chainsaw bar and chain sizes]

How to Use a Chainsaw?

You probably know how do chainsaws work. Now, here’s the step-by-step process for you to use it.

Step 1: Start It up

Before turning on the device, be aware of placing the chainsaw on a flat surface away from any fire or gas outlets that could cause mishaps. In this case, use the warm start or cold start positions only. Also, make sure that-

  • The chain has the right tension.
  • The chain, bar, and bolts are properly lubricated.
  • The cutting edges of the chainsaw are sharpened with a filler or Dremel. (Here’s how to sharpen a chainsaw blade and chain with a file and Dremel, etc.)
  • Do not attempt a drop start since it is a very advanced technique and has every possibility of serious risks and injuries.
  • Don’t wrap the starter rope around your hand.
  • Never start your chainsaw if the bar is stuck onto the wood, as this has a great risk for a kickback.
  • Always remember to read the safety manual beforehand to avoid any unwanted situations.

Step 2: Make the First Cuts

When you’re ready to cut, begin by holding the machine firmly with both hands while keeping the chainsaw in a close distance. Put your feet firmly on the ground and keep them shoulder-width apart to ensure a proper balance.

During cutting, be careful while dealing with small branches as the bits and pieces might scatter off and damage your eyes. Hence the safety glasses, always! Focus on kickbacks when working with big branches and trees.

Step 3: Cut down Trees

If you’re felling or simply cutting down a tree, make sure to follow the local or state laws and regulations. Avoid felling trees during bad weather conditions such as heavy rain or snow. Plan beforehand and clear the surroundings before cutting. Also after cutting is finished, clear the remaining tree stump with a stump grinder.

Always maintain safety protocols while working with large trees and heavy chainsaws. Do proper research before felling and never cut through a tree which lies above your shoulder level. Safety first!

Watch the Kickback

A chainsaw kickback refers to when the chainsaw’s guide bar rotates back towards the user at a quick motion. It happens when the chainsaw chain hits a hard object or gets stuck between the wood.

As a beginner, there are some necessary precautions that can be taken to prevent kickbacks:

  • Hold the chainsaw firmly with both hands.
  • Never cut with the tip of the blade.
  • Always test the chain brake before starting.
  • When re-cutting a spot, use extreme caution and go slow and steady.
  • Never cut through wood used as building materials or that contains metal objects like pins.

Chainsaw Maintenance

Constant maintenance of the chainsaw is the way to long-lasting and efficient service life. After every use, remind yourself to do the following tasks:

  • Be sure that all parts and bolts are tight.
  • If the chainsaw runs on fuel, empty the gas tank after use.
  • Clean off the chain and bar.
  • Always make sure to oil the grooves.
  • Clean the air filter and sprocket filled with sawdust.
  • Oil the chainsaw chain prior to storing it.

Final Words

I hope you won’t have any problems regarding the operation of a chainsaw now. And being a beginner, it is important to get the best electric chainsaw that is perfect for your use, we’re here to lend our helping hand.

With so many options to choose from, be sure to check our reviews on professional chainsaws. Also, let us know if you have any suggestions for us.

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