If you have a tree in your garden that is blocking out your precious sunlight or a bush that has got the neighbours up in arms, tearing it down is easier said than done. Unless that is, you have access to a chainsaw.
Chainsaws are very effective but incredibly dangerous pieces of equipment which need to be handled with care and consideration if you not only want to get the most out of them but use them safely.
Beware for kickback
Do you know how a shotgun kicks back due to its sheer power? The same thing happens with a chainsaw and if you’re not adequately prepared for it, you can get thrown back and this can cause a serious accident. It tends to happen when the piece of wood you’re cutting into pinches the tip of your guide bar and while the chain brake is designed to stop the chain when kickback happens, it’s never going to be 100% reliable.
Wearing the correct PPE
Safety clothing is a must when operating a chainsaw. From ear defenders to a strong safety helmet, making sure you are properly kitted out is important before getting to work. You should also wear thick trousers, gloves, and boots. Eye protection is also an absolute must – goggles to protect from stray timbers. If you think it’s overkill, then you’re probably just about ready to start and if you’re even slightly worried it might not be enough then it’s probably not enough.
Check over your equipment
Chainsaws, like any other tool, require maintenance. So, you’ll need to know what checks to do before starting it up. Check the teeth of the saw to see if the cutting teeth are blunt and require sharpening by a professional and check that the motor is in operating order. Cordless electric chainsaws are powered by battery packs that need recharging regularly. They also require oil for lubrication, which is stored in a separate tank. This is also something you’ll need to ensure is full before you start chopping away.
Check the safety features are working
Modern chainsaws are designed with safety features to ensure the user isn’t exposed to any preventable risks when using them. Check, for example, that the brake is working and that the on/off switch is performing the actions it should be before you get going.
Start it properly
A chainsaw should be started in one of two ways – on the ground and between your legs. In both instances, ensure the chain brake is engaged and the choke is closed. Grip the handlebar with your left hand (or your right, if left-handed) and your right foot in the handle where the trigger is located. After a couple of pulls, the saw should make a popping sound. This is when you should disengage the choke and pull the starter cord. It might sound complicated but trust us, it will become second nature in no time. It’s a little like feeling for the bite in a clutch. But much more satisfying!