Teach me about chainsaws

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Teach me about chainsaws

Postby SteveW » Sat Jan 10, 2009 4:35 pm

I apologise in advance if this is anathema in here, :oops: but I am seriously considering getting a chainsaw to take the hard work out of prepping wood and maybe as a way of earning some extra cash.

The problem is I know absolutely nothing about them…so…

What to look for in a new saw makes to consider/avoided etc.. Sizes needed for general work rather than wholesale felling.

Training, who, what, where etc…

Deals to be had or avoided…

Places to get extra information on the web, sites of interest if you like.

I know some, perhaps most of you have used or owned a chainsaw and some of you work almost daily with them so any information or pointers in the right direction will be very much appreciated.

Steve.
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Re: Teach me about chainsaws

Postby robin wood » Sat Jan 10, 2009 8:44 pm

http://www.robin-wood.co.uk bowls, books and courses
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Re: Teach me about chainsaws

Postby SteveW » Sat Jan 10, 2009 9:42 pm

That was going to be the next place I asked :lol: some good advice there though...
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Re: Teach me about chainsaws

Postby gavin » Sun Jan 11, 2009 12:17 am

SteveW wrote:I am seriously considering getting a chainsaw to take the hard work out of prepping wood and maybe as a way of earning some extra cash.

What to look for in a new saw makes to consider/avoided etc.. Sizes needed for general work rather than wholesale felling.

Training, who, what, where etc…

Steve.

They are a GREAT toy. You'll get a lot more done with one. I am v glad I took the plunge. You can buy a saw for £250 or so. You'll spend double that in training and equipment. Stihl, Husqvarna are good makes used by forestry contractors in Galloway. See your local dealer and ask for recommendations and be guided by what those in the trade use. The ancillary items are an expensive cost: helmet, gloves, fuel tank, trousers and other such PPE ( personal protective equipment). There is no quicker way to blight your life than a chainsaw, so do the training. I was stunned to pay £250 per day for the basic cross-cutting 2 day course, but I am glad I did. Most of that time is spent on maintenance and sharpening. And you will need that knowledge. And do the course next week and not next month - you'll get the benefits so much sooner. Do consider buying a ripping chain for cutting along the grain. This I find a real boon when making bowl lathes or planking - you get a straighter line.

I would NOT count on them as a way to earn cash. You'll surely save on your own firewood, but if you don't have a chimney in your dwelling you'll not need it. Firewood also merchants need a dedicated yard, transport, trailers and to sell dry wood and so barely scratch a living, and tree surgeons are into a skilled business, for which much more training is needed and very hefty insurance premiums.

You will see saws on Ebay, so you could take a punt and buy one there. I would not get a bar-length rated any shorter than 14 inches. Mine is that long and it is barely adequate. I have 12 inches sticking out the business end, so anything longer needs 2 blows with the saw. I can only rip a tree max 2 feet in diameter and even then only if I am lucky enough to make my second ripping cut dead in line with the first ripping cut. I'd go for a 16 inch bar at a minimum
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Re: Teach me about chainsaws

Postby RangerKris » Sun Jan 11, 2009 8:23 am

http://www.nptc.org.uk/ Take a look at this site and go from there, i would say book yourself on a course and go from there. We have 10 stihl saws from an 020Tto and 064 with planking attachment. saftey is the most important thing you can buy with Chainsaws. I am qualified to do cs30,31,32,39,48 and climb trees and perform ariel tree rescue. Im lucky that my work paid for all my training and we hold training at the park which gives us a good rate. http://www.nptc.org.uk/download.asp?file=New%20Schedules/cs30_maintain_and_operate_the_chain_saw_as_oct06.pdf

I might have some PPE kit around if you want to PM me and i will see what i have we can sort out something im sure theres some bits about somewhere if you are looking at going any further with this.

Hope this helps
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Re: Teach me about chainsaws

Postby SteveW » Sun Jan 11, 2009 4:48 pm

Thanks for the information Gavin and Kris.

I'm not quite ready to take the plunge yet, just getting some idea of the pros and cons, and obviously cost of a saw.

Thanks for the offer of kit Kris, I'm a very odd shape though, so may have to buy new :lol:


Steve
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Re: Teach me about chainsaws

Postby gavin » Mon Jan 12, 2009 11:27 am

SteveW wrote:Thanks for the information Gavin and Kris.

I'm not quite ready to take the plunge yet, just getting some idea of the pros and cons, and obviously cost of a saw.

Thanks for the offer of kit Kris, I'm a very odd shape though, so may have to buy new :lol:


Steve

Chainsaws are like broadband, and motor vehicles. You will remember times when you did without either high-speed communication or convenient transport. But generally, you always make sure you have both.

Once you get a chainsaw and the training, and the PPE, you'll reckon you've spent money wisely - providing you either burn wood in a fire or do greenwood working more than 6 hours in a week. I found the saw made so many things possible: a shavehorse-body in 30 minutes, poppet-heads for bowl-lathes in less than 2 days, bowl-blanks in any quantity and improved amounts of firewood at the dimensions I wanted. But most of all, the chainsaw has made me much more inclined to take risks and try things out. I remember spending at least 10 hours calculating where to place a tool-rest support on a right-hand bowl-lathe poppet head. It had taken about 20 hours of manual work to get it to its current shape, and I was very anxious my next actions could make it useless and I'd have to start from scratch. Now that I can knock out the outline of a poppet head in 20 minutes, I am much more inclined to experiment.
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Re: Teach me about chainsaws

Postby Nicola Wood » Mon Jan 12, 2009 11:55 am

Two comments - both common sense really ...

1. Chainsaws are probably the single most dangerous tool you are likely to lay your hands on. The nastiest woodwork-related injuries I've seen have all been inflicted by them. Not by beginners, but by people who have had them a while and grown complacent.

2. Like any tool, they are only really good if they are sharp and sharpening them is another complex skill. Find someone local who knows what they are doing and get them to show you, it's really worthwhile. There are various tips and tricks you won't read about!
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Re: Teach me about chainsaws

Postby Bob_Fleet » Mon Jan 12, 2009 4:51 pm

I agree with the all safety aspects of this.
I'm involved with our community woodlands and we had a few people who could use chain saws and the opportunity for me but I wouldn't touch one until I was trained. I'm glad I waited.

Firstly - they are not a saw as such but a chain with a series of extremely sharp, right angled chisels flying around it. They don't cut wood they basically chisel out a quarter inch channel. If it touches you it does the same and it needs a bit more than a plaster on the cut.
The first aid kit you should carry MUST have a large triangular bandage. Work that one out - basically to hold the cut together while you get to hospital.
Risk assessment of the site needs to have the nearest ambulance access or helicopter extraction - I wonder why.

As Gavin said, a lot of the course is maintenance and a lot is safe use of the saw. Some things are obvious like kickback but my bad habit is letting my thumb get above the bar and I didn't even know that was an issue beforehand.

I was lucky enough to get my course paid for and now our woodland must have a reputation for dangerous things as we were always trying to get funding for 'top up' courses so our insurance cover is valid.

I keep going on about the synergy between greenwood working and community woodlands but this is another example. I enjoy working in the woodland and they funded the training. I've a souce of timber and even get to plant some replacements.
You could see what's happening at your nearest woodland if you don't have a park like Kris.

Having said all that its a really invaluable tool and we can do things we wouldn't consider without it.

Watch the size of the bar if you buy one before your course as you are only trained/certificated up to certain sizes although you can do further courses. Big isn't always beautiful.

BTCV run courses but might offer training to their regular volunteers, worth a look.

Hope this helps.
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Re: Teach me about chainsaws

Postby SteveW » Mon Jan 12, 2009 9:44 pm

The community woodlands type of scheme is a nice idea but sadly they are few and far between near me, or at least as far as I have been able to find so far. I'll keep looking though as it has to be a good way of getting some access to woodlands without too much expense.

The more I think about it the more it's looking like a good idea for some of the work I have in mind. I'm not planning a Garden clearance business or anything like that, but I would like to have a play with some largish sculptural bits and pieces I have been thinking about recently.
I wonder if anyone has used a budget saw, maybe a Ryobi or Mcculloch are they any good as a starter option?

Looking at a a website earlier no connection etc

http://www.chainsawspecialists.co.uk/ac ... insaw.html

The small Husqvarna looked like a good deal and the axe looks rather good too at £10.. bought with the chainsaw.

choices choices
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Re: Teach me about chainsaws

Postby paul atkin » Mon Jan 12, 2009 11:39 pm

Mcculloch hmmmm ive got one that is about 7 yrs old, does the job well, and its done a huge amount of work :D
http://paulatkin.co.uk/




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Re: Teach me about chainsaws

Postby SteveW » Mon Jan 12, 2009 11:48 pm

paul atkin wrote:Mcculloch hmmmm ive got one that is about 7 yrs old, does the job well, and its done a huge amount of work :D


You see, I like the idea of a a less expensive machine to be replaced in a year or so especially as I didn't factor the cost of training into my original calculations. It must be the Yorkshireman in me :D

May I ask the model you use, or as I'm sure they have changed in 7 years the size of bar and engine.
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Re: Teach me about chainsaws

Postby Bob_Fleet » Tue Jan 13, 2009 12:02 am

Watch out for the free gloves. They're rigger's gloves not chainsaw.
The gloves should - reduce vibration, offer some physical protection from thorns etc, keep your hands warm(reduces chance of whitefinger) and protect from a cut from the saw. Riggers gloves don't do the last one. I probably missed something else so someone can add it.

Chainsaw trousers, boots and gloves have a load of long ballistic nylon fibres in them which are snagged, ripped out and foul up the chain and stop it. Different principle from armour or chain mail but effective.

Remember that your safe system of work, training etc. protect you and that the clothing is the last resort if they fail.

Helmets have a date stamp on them and I think they're good for 5 years but chack that. Remember it if you get given one or buy secondhand.

It looks like a woodland at Bodmin Beacon and a few in N Devon - http://www.northdevon.gov.uk/spg_community_woodlands.pdf

Enjoy
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Re: Teach me about chainsaws

Postby Robin Fawcett » Tue Jan 13, 2009 5:47 am

SteveW wrote: I would like to have a play with some largish sculptural bits and pieces I have been thinking about recently.


I would learn the basics of chainsaw use before attempting carving with one Steve !
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Re: Teach me about chainsaws

Postby paul atkin » Tue Jan 13, 2009 8:58 am

SteveW wrote:
paul atkin wrote:Mcculloch hmmmm ive got one that is about 7 yrs old, does the job well, and its done a huge amount of work :D


You see, I like the idea of a a less expensive machine to be replaced in a year or so especially as I didn't factor the cost of training into my original calculations. It must be the Yorkshireman in me :D

May I ask the model you use, or as I'm sure they have changed in 7 years the size of bar and engine.

its a mac 335 with a 14in bar, cost a little over 100 quid, and i have had no probs with it, as with all chainsaws look after it and it will look after you.
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