Teach me about chainsaws

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Re: Teach me about chainsaws

Postby RichardLaw » Sun Sep 05, 2010 8:09 pm

I've come to this thread late, and only read the last page. This may have been said before, but prob. worth saying again...

When I first took my training ticket for a chainsaw, I was amazed that I hadn't already had an accident using one without training.

It was a 20 inch bar McCullock too and I could use a new starter assembly as the pawls are knackered on the poor old thing just forget the size but I think it may be 550?
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Re: Teach me about chainsaws

Postby ulfhedinn » Tue Sep 07, 2010 12:58 pm

jrccaim wrote:I really should start a separate thread for this, entitled "chainsaw lunacy," or perhaps "maniacs loose with monster chainsaws." However, as comic relief from all the dire warnings we have had on this thread, I'll leave it here. In the US and Canada, there are lumberjack competitions. These involve axe work, manual sawing, chain sawing, and birling. The idea in chainsawing is to cut two slices from a log in the minimum amount of time. One of the chain saw events is the "unlimited chainsaw" category. In this event, you are usually limited to one cylinder of any size. I said any, so a cut-down Norton Commando engine is allowed. People build their own and run them on nitromethane -- gasoline not enough!

Yeah, and I bet they all have .44 Manglum revolvers and monster trucks, too. And two-inch---well, never mind. :D

I couldn't pick up one of these beasts, let alone buck a slice with it. But some guys can:

I know--the big McCullogh I mentioned borrowing the day before I bought my Stihl (nice little 032, 18 inch bar, big enough for me) led to one of those good news/bad news jokes. When my friend drove up, I told her that the good news was that Vic had loaned me a saw. She asked "What's the bad news?" and I said "I'm not Vic!" Vic, you see, was this giant of a man, had arms as big around as my thighs, and I'm a lifelong bicyclist! Vic was one of four men I ever saw who could lift my 350 pound anvil, and the only one who ever looked nonchalant about it! Vic could drop start that monster saw, but then in his hands it looked normal-sized, too.


I agree. These guys are lunatics. But hey, it's their stiches, not yours. You can watch from a safe distance. And after all, I never met a Moped user who did not (secretly) lust after, say, a Ducati.


Actually, I rode a Honda 50 for years, and never really wanted anything much bigger. Somehow I missed out on that particular "bigger is better" twitch. Salesmen hate me.

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Re: Teach me about chainsaws

Postby RichardLaw » Wed Sep 08, 2010 10:01 pm

Small is beautiful? Compare, say, a clinker-built craft to an super-tanker, well there's no comparison really, is there?
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Re: Teach me about chainsaws

Postby Christophe » Sun Dec 22, 2013 2:40 pm

Hi everyone,

I know it is an old post but I've read through it all and thanks everyone single one for advice.
And, if anyone is interested in the book mentionned by JR, the "Chainsaw Lumbermaking" by Will Malloff, you can get a copy here:
http://fr.scribd.com/doc/23255653/Chain ... r-Making...
At least you can decide if you want to put the 70$ for the harcover book....
Be Water
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Re: Teach me about chainsaws

Postby Billman » Mon Dec 23, 2013 10:56 am

I like Husqvarna, but have been told that the latest ones need a computer to tune them - so check out with retailer what servicing requirements are before you buy.

Chainsaw gloves have Kevlar in the left hand, as do chainsaw trousers - it stuffs up the blade in a microsecond and stalls the engine...

Yes do a basic CS crosscutting course - local agricultural and tech colleges usually run them.

Always test the chain brake is working before use, and apply it whenever you put the saw on the ground.

Remember even a small section of a largish tree is heavy, and will pack a wallop if it falls on you (from a height it could kill you or someone else), so anticipate where and how it will fall....

Keep the blade sharp - accidents often occur when trying to 'push' a blunt blade through a log - a sharp blade will not need pushing, but will pull itself into the log....

Many users I know keep an ex army large wound dressing in the top of their helmet - they are bigger and far better than a triangular bandage... you can buy them on ebay
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Re: Teach me about chainsaws

Postby jrccaim » Tue Dec 31, 2013 5:17 am

I have said this before. Others have said it too. I will say it again. A dull chainsaw is even more dangerous than a regular off-the-rack chainsaw. If you use a chainsaw learn to sharpen it. If you are not prepared to do so, do not buy the thing in the first place, or buy lots of new chains (expensive). If you use the saw occasionally, a chainsaw file, in the proper size for your chain, is OK. You will need a jig. Your eye is not good enough. Lots of jigs out there. Look it up on the net. If you use a chainsaw extensively (I do) I recommend a motorized specialty chain saw sharpener. Yes, a power tool. But when I am cutting a 2-5 cords of firewood, I go through 3-4 chains a season. I have replacements. I sharpen them all at once, with one setting of the machine, and save hours of work with a file. The motorized sharpeners are expensive but worth it; in my case completely offset by the savings in fuel oil. Big thread on sharpening on my blog; includes chainsaws.
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Re: Teach me about chainsaws

Postby Brian Williamson » Tue Dec 31, 2013 10:14 am

Billman wrote:
Remember even a small section of a largish tree is heavy, and will pack a wallop if it falls on you (from a height it could kill you or someone else), so anticipate where and how it will fall....
....................

Many users I know keep an ex army large wound dressing in the top of their helmet



These two statements should be mutually exclusive. Your chainsaw helmet (you are wearing one, aren't you?) can only absorb the impact of a heavy blow because there is space between it and your head. Fill that space up with a large, tightly packed field dressing, and any impact can be transmitted straight through the dressing to your skull, with dire consequences.

Carry your field-dressing (you do have a field-dressing, don't you?) on your belt or in a pocket. But make surethat you carry one; they are essential pieces of chainsaw kit.

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Re: Teach me about chainsaws

Postby Billman » Tue Dec 31, 2013 11:14 am

Brian, thanks for pointing that out, it is a very valid point - however, I guess most users wear a helmet a) to hold their face visor in place, and b) in case of kick back - falling logs are probably not in their minds, unless they are ground crew when doing tree surgery.

Most amateur users just stick to cross cutting on the ground, and do not have to worry too much about smacks on the head from falling branches (if the branch is big and heavy a helmet would not be much help for a direct hit on the head c.f. Michael Schumaker's recent skiing accident, although having said that, the doctors reckon without the helmet he would have been dead instantly: at least he now has a fighting chance)..

It may not be the best place, but if it's is in your helmet and you are wearing it, the dressing is to hand. Sod's law would have it the day that you cut yourself is the day you forgot to pack it in your belt/pocket/backpack etc...
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Re: Teach me about chainsaws

Postby AlexanderTheLate » Tue Dec 31, 2013 5:17 pm

It was only recently that I have even heard of chainsaw safety equipment. Around here it's a pair of rubber boots, a pair of sun glasses and a cap. That's it, and there are a lot of chainsaws floating around (a lot of people cut their own firewood). I would not use it my self, so far as I'm concerned, I'm more likely to get hurt if I am uncomfortable, and struggling around in chainsaw pants and helmets on a hot summer's day is certainly going to be uncomfortable. That's not to say that I suggest other people not use their safety equipment.

I am surprised that no one said anything about skip and half skip chains.

And for the record, I have only ever used Mac saws. :)
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Re: Teach me about chainsaws

Postby Simon Hartley » Sat Jan 11, 2014 7:25 pm

AlexanderTheLate wrote:I am surprised that no one said anything about skip and half skip chains.
:)


Is that the same as chisel and semi-chisel? There might be a difference in terminology here.
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Re: Teach me about chainsaws

Postby Simon Hartley » Sat Jan 11, 2014 7:27 pm

AlexanderTheLate wrote:I am surprised that no one said anything about skip and half skip chains.
:)


Is that the same as full chisel and semi-chisel? There might be a difference in terminology here.
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Re: Teach me about chainsaws

Postby Brian Williamson » Sat Jan 11, 2014 10:58 pm

No, my understanding of skip and semi-skip chains is that (rather as the name implies) they are missing teeth. That is to say, some teeth are substituted for simple drive-links (so a tooth is skipped).

Less teeth mean less wood chips are produced and that they are therefore more easily cleared. Consequently skip chains tend to be found on big saws with long bars. They'll cut a bit slower but they shouldn't clog or jam.

Personally I've never seen one, let alone used one and I've felled quite a lot of big oaks over the years. I suspect that they are more likely to be found the other side of the pond where big trees really are big trees. I'm not sure whether they have any particular safety implications. Maybe more or less prone to kick-back? Don't know.

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Re: Teach me about chainsaws

Postby AlexanderTheLate » Sun Jan 12, 2014 2:29 am

No, skip chains cut faster but produce a rougher cut, similar to a big two man cross cut saw used to cut logs as opposed to a fret saw. The standard chains ('safety chains') are more common as they will not cause so much damage if they happen to cut the operator. They are rare around here too, but then this is the land of CTL* crews and small softwood forests. Only the small crews hand fall, and there are precious few of those. Most chainsaws are in the hands of the firewood boys, either for their own use or for selling.

*I should clarify, CTL (Cut To Length) is the big, fancy and expensive method of logging were all wood is cut, bucked and limbed in the woods (with feller-processor machines) and hauled out with forwarders.
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Re: Teach me about chainsaws

Postby Brian Williamson » Sun Jan 12, 2014 9:12 am

Am I wrong then in saying that they have fewer teeth per unit length than conventional chains? And if I am, can you tell me how they are different from conventional chains?

I can see that fewer teeth (if I am correct about that) would leave a rougher cut, but I can't see why that configuration would cut more quickly.

And if chainsaws are mostly being used for firewooding (with skip chain) around you, then presumably they're not being used on particularly large diameter logs?

I must confess it seems very contrary to what I expected!

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Re: Teach me about chainsaws

Postby AlexanderTheLate » Sun Jan 12, 2014 3:20 pm

You are correct in saying that they have fewer cutting links. The fewer cutting teeth require less power to move through the wood than a regular chain, therefore they can move faster.

Small fire wood producers and fellows cutting for themselves tend to use standard chains as they are cheaper and readily available, and they cut what ever they are allowed to out (and a good bit o f what they're not allowed to cut). It is a common thing for people to own saws and to cut their own firewood. Wood harvesting is set up differently over here then over there. I can cut on government land with just a 20 dollar permit, I can usually cut blow down wood along provincial highways with that same license. I can cut on Cornerbrook Pulp and Paper Limited land (they own most privately owned woodland in Newfoundland). Another license allows me to sell wood products. I can cut on my own land for free. I do not require permits or training to operate a chainsaw, for my own use or professionally.

a lot of smaller logging outfits will likely run skip chains. These fellows being professionals with machinery, who cut sawlogs for the mills, most CTL crews are cutting pulp, as that is the only way to make the machines pay.

Most wood does not grow too big around here, partly due to varietys and climate.
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