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How do I safely operate a chainsaw?

Operation
The safest and least tiring way of sawing is to cut with the backward running,or lower part of the saw bar close to the bumper. Sawing with the forward-running or upper part makes it difficult to control the saw and increases the risk of kickback. Do not try to over reach while using a chain saw. It can cause a loss of a grip on the chainsaw. Never cut over your head or cut with the nose of the saw. Avoid forcing the saw when cutting. Be alert for wire and nails in the wood.Carry the saw at your side with one hand, holding the cutting bar to the rear and the muffler side away from your body. Stop the engine to carry the saw in a rough, brushy area or if the distance between cuts is more than 30 feet.Chain saw kickback can cause serious injuries. When cutting, the chain is traveling about 65 feet persecond. If kickback occurs, it will be over within 2/10 of a second. This does not give the operator time to react.  Kickback often occurs when cutting with the nose of the saw. During this process, only one or two cutters engage in the wood at a given time and the chain will jam. This will cause the saw to kickback rapidly, backward and upward.  Prevent kickback injuries by:

How do I prevent chainsaw kickback?

• holding the saw firmly with bothhands;
• keeping the thumb around the tophandle;
• using a saw equipped with a chainbrake or kickback guard;
• watching for twigs that can snag
• sawing with the lower part of the bar, not on the top near the nose;
• maintaining adequate saw speed when beginning or completing a cut and don't pinch the bar.

How do I prevent chainsaw chain breaks?


Chain breaks can cause serious accidents and are nearly always the result of a poorly maintained saw.  Because of the saw’s high speed, the flying cutters can embed themselves in the body. There is little risk of breakage in a chain that is  properly sharpened, well lubricated and correctly adjusted for tension.  However, I will recommend using the Forester Chainsaw Chaps to help protect your body.

How do I Fell or cut down a tree with a chainsaw?

 Tree Felling Techniques
 

Accurate tree felling is an art and takes practice to master. Because of the hazards involved, never work alone.  The first step in felling a tree is to identify all the hazards around the tree, such as structures, power lines, roads, vehicles, and other trees. Also look for hazardous dead branches or rot on the tree being felled.  The second step is to determine the height of the tree and the direction it should fall. The tree’s high center of gravity causes instability and makes its movement difficult to predict and control. Other factors to consider in felling a tree include wind direction and velocity. Never attempt to fell a tree into the wind. Trees that have a definite lean should be felled in the direction of the lean if possible. Other factors to
consider in felling a tree include:


• large branches on one side
• crookedness in the trunk or crown trunk decay (Decay in the center of the tree will affect the direction of fall may be unpredictable)
• other trees near the one being cut the slope of the ground in the area
 

The third step is to plan an escape route. Establish and clear at least one escape route to the rear and another at a 45-degree angle away from the direction of the fall. If the butt end of the tree kicks up as it falls, it will generally kick up toward the back or to one side. Make sure the area is clear of people and animals before beginning. Check that the chain saw has enough gas and chain oil to finish felling the tree. Work behind and slightly to the side of the direction of the fall.
The fourth step is making the notch cut. This cut determines the direction of the fall and will reduce splitting of the tree. For trees more than 10 inches in diameter, a notch cut is recommended to help control the direction of the fall. The depth of the notch cut should be about one-third the diameter of the tree, with the wedge cut making a 30-degree angle. Make the top cut of the notch first at 45 degrees. The bottom cut of the notch should be level and meet the top The final cut is the back cut, or felling cut. It is made opposite the notch cut and should be one to two inches above and parallel to the horizontal cut of the notch cut. Never make the back cut lower than the horizontal cut. Stop the back cut about one to two inches before cutting through to the undercut notch. The holding wood left uncut in the tree’s center acts as a “hinge” to control the
direction of the fall. If the back cut goes completely through, the tree may swivel on the stump, slide, or bind on the bar and chain.  If the tree is larger in diameter than the length of the chain saw bar, cuts on each side of the tree may be needed.  Keep an eye on the top of the tree and the back cut for signs of movement.  If the tree begins to fall in the intended direction, immediately stop the saw, set it down away from the path of the falling tree, and retreat diagonally backwards. Do not stand near the tree and watch it fall. A falling tree can bounce back and strike the chain saw operator.  If the tree leans back, closing the back cut and binding the saw’s cutting bar, remove the saw or stop the engine and drive one or two wedges into the back cut. Wedges should not touch the chain or cutting bar.

This information was gathered from the Kansas State University Forestery Extention. 
 http://www.survivalprimer.com/Homestead/Chainsaws_Tree_Felling.pdf

How do I cut ice with a chainsaw?

First off you will want as big a chainsaw as you can afford.  The next step is a 36" or 42" Forester Professional Chainsaw Bar.  You will then need to upgrade you chain to a Forester Full Chisel chainsaw chain.  This chain will have the smallest safety rakers to really slice through the ice.  Many times people will file down the safety rakers to really get a good bite.  Keep in mind your safety when doing this as altering a chain could lead to failure or kickback.  Use all common safety gear, especially safety glasses.  NEVER use this bar and chain in wood, especially if you have altered it in some way. 

The Cutting

Lay the saw flat on the ice.  Slowly, tilt the saw forward and begin to cut the ice.  As you cut deaper continue to rotate the saw down.  Continue to cut on a slight angle until you reach the length you need.  Come back and clean up the starting location.  Repeat the process for the other sides.  Keep in mind that chainsaws are ment for cutting wood, so you will be doing this at your own risk.  Once you have finished, oil the bar and chain with plenty of bar oil and clean out the ice from the saw.

 How do I cut hay bails with a chainsaw?

You will want to get a pretty heavy chainsaw and put a 36" Forester Professional Chainsaw Bar on it.  You will then need to use a Full Chisel Chain.  Forester makes a really nice Full Chisel Chain.  You will want to use all safety equipment, especially glasses. Be aware that chainsaws are ment for cutting wood and this may cause kickback.  You will be doing this at your own risk.  As you are cutting, hold the saw about 12" away from the bail.  This will allow the straw to fall away.  The largest problem you will have is the straw binding up the sproket.  Be away that you may start a fire.  Watch out for sparks.  I would cut in a wedge shape and not try to cut the bail in half.  I hope you don't have hay fever as this will make a mess.

How do i know what chainsaw file to use?

 

The below chart should help you choose the right file for your chainsaw.
 
5/32 - 3/8 ext (lo-pro) and 1/4" New Chain                   4.0mm
11/64 - 3/8 ext (lo-pro) Worn Chain                               4.5mm
3/16 - 325 New Chain                                                      4.8mm
13/64 - 325 Worn Chain                                                  5.1mm
7/32 - All Full Size 3/8                                                       5.5mm

 

How do I file a chainsaw chain?  Also, How do I sharpen a chainsaw chain?

The best way is with a Forester bench grinder or the Forester 12 volt grinder.  But, here is how to use a chainsaw file.

 Determine the size or gauge of your saw's chain. You will need to buy either a rotary grindstone or chainsaw file/rattail file that matches your blade. Since there are several sizes of chainsaw teeth, the grindstone or file you choose must be the correct diameter for your saw. Typical sizes are 3/16, 5/32 and 7/32 inches in diameter.

Clean the chain thoroughly. You may use mineral spirits or a commercial degreasing detergent to remove oil, dirt, and debris from your chain. Do not flood or get excessive cleaner on the engine or other components, since some of these products can damage the plastic housing or other parts.

Inspect the chain for damaged or overworn links and teeth. Individual teeth may become chipped, broken, or bent, making them dangerous to use. As a rule of thumb, the top plate (flat surface at the top of cutting teeth) should be at least 1/4 inch in length. If it is worn shorter than this, there is a risk it will break while operating your saw. Any damaged, weakened, or over worn chains should be discarded.

Set your saw on a solid surface or clamp the bar in a vice. The saw must be stable and the blade must be supported in a stationary manner to file your saw safely and accurately. Clamping the bar in a vise, with the jaws holding the bar and allowing the chain to rotate freely is the ideal method of holding it.

Locate the leading cutter. This will be the shortest cutter on the chain. If all of the cutters seem to be the same length, you may start anywhere. The main concern is that you file each cutter so that the flat on top of the cutter is very nearly the same length, so that they each cut away the same amount of wood as they pass through the kerf of your cut. It also may help to mark the first tooth you file with a dab of white out or a permanent marker.

Set your file in the notch on the front of the cutter. This is the angled "tooth" on the front of the flat surface of the chain link. The curve of the file should fit the curve of the face of the cutting tip, and the top of the file should be nearly flush with the top of the tooth.

Hold the file at the same angle that the cutter is ground or filed to begin with. The standard angle is about 25 degrees on most saws. Special "ripping" chains may have a flatter angle, and it is essential to match the angle the chain is originally machined to.

Slide the file across the face of the cutter, using a moderate twisting motion to discharge metal chips (filings) that are removed. There is some difference in opinion as to the best direction for pushing the file, but usually you will push the file from the short side of the angle toward the long point. This should leave a smoother cutting surface.

Work each tooth with the same angle from one side of the chain around the loop. As you progress around the chain, you will want to spin it so the teeth you are filing are on the flat top side of your bar.

Reverse sides of the saw, and proceed around the unfiled teeth angled in the other direction. Keep an eye on the length of each flat top of the cutter. Some manufacturers suggest measuring with calipers to ensure an equal "bite" as the saw is cutting, but if you have a good eye, you should be close enough to get fairly good results.

Check the clearance of the rakers (depth gauge), the curved hook shaped links between the cutters. They should clear each cutting edge about one tenth of an inch lower than the cutter. This gauges the amount of chip that the cutter removes on each pass through the wood. A special tool that is laid on top of the blade is available from chainsaw dealers or hardware stores. If the gauge is too high, and must be filed, this tool protects the adjacent tooth as you file the gauge down.

File any raker/depth gauges that interfere with the cutter (that are too high) with a flat mill bastard file (not likely to be needed, but possible as a defect).

Oil your chain (saturate/soak with oil), check the tension, and you should be ready to cut once again.

This infomation was refferenced from wikihow.  http://www.wikihow.com/Sharpen-a-Chainsaw

How do I know which chainsaw bar to buy?

Also, How do I know what size chainsaw bar to buy?

There are two main factors here.  First, you need to know what size bars your saw can handle.  This can be found in the user manual.  Second, think about what you are cutting.  If you are just cutting some limbs,  go with a smaller bar.  If you will be logging, you need a larger bar.  Keep in mind the weight of the bar.  You don't want to be lugging a huge bar around for trimming a few trees.  Often, a smaller bar will be better in the long run.  I like to have two bars for my medium sized chainsaw.  I keep a small bar for limbing and a larger one for cutting the logs.  As for the length, go measure what you will be cutting.

There are three major kinds of chainsaw bars.

1) Laminated Chainsaw Bar:  A laminated chainsaw bar will be usually sold in large box stores.  They will usually come with a chain.  These bars are great around the house.  Perfect for the person who wants to cut a little fire wood or trim up some trees.  The bar will usually have reduced kickback safety chain.  This combo is also good for a novice chainsaw operator.  The reduced kickback chain as large safety rakers and is less likely to have a major kickback.  Although, it isn't 100% kickback proof.

2) Single Rivet Professional Bar:  A 1-rivet professional chainsaw bar is great for cutting firewood.  If the tip goes bad you can quickly replace it and get back to cutting.  This bar will last longer than the laminated and will pay for itself with the ability to change out the tip.  I recommend this for the guy who wants to cut fire wood for a house or 2.  Also, a professional landscaper may use this bar also.

3) Five Rivet Professional Bar:  The 5-rivet professional chainsaw bar is better still.  These bars are the top of the market.  You will be getting the best you can buy with one of these.  They are more durable than either of the other two and you can change out the tip.  I like these bars for guys that want to sell wood for a living or use a saw for much of the day.  These bars are great for landscapers and arborists.

How do I know what chainsaw chain to buy?

Also, how do I know what size chainsaw chain to buy?

There will usually be some numbers on the bar.  The number might look like this (S20 50 72).  In this case the S means the bar is designed to fit the Stihl mount.  The 20 is the length of the bar.  The 50 is the gauge of the bar or .050. Lastly, the 72 is the drive lengths.  The drive lengths is the number of lengths in the chain.  That is how you get the right fit.  In any case if you still don't know.  Ask me!

The chainsaw chain can be broken up into 3 catagories.

1) Safety Chain or Reduced Kickback chain:  Reduced Kickback chain has large safety rakers that don't allow the chain to get as much of a bite.  This chain is great to the person who wants to trim up some trees or use the saw once in a while.  I will also recommend the chain for any novice chainsaw operators.  Although reduced kickback chain will not prevent all kickbacks, it will reduce them and help with the severity.  This is good home owner chain.

2) Semi-Chisel Chain:  The semi-chisel chainsaw chain is what you will want to use for cutting firewood for a house or two.  This chain is usually a little safer than Full Chisel, but usually has very little safety rakers if it has any at all.  I might call this semi professional chain.

3) Full-Chisel Chain:  This is straight up professional chainsaw chain.  Mostly used for logging and cutting the trunk of the tree.  Don't use this unless you know what you are doing.  Full-chisel has NO safety rakers at all.  It will get a full bite and really chew through the wood.  This chain will also dull faster in the hands of a novice or in poor cutting conditioins.  

If you have any other questions, Please ask.