Chainsaws are very helpful tools for those who need to cut a lot of trees either as a homeowner or a professional logger. It has a variety of uses, from cutting lumber in the forests, to removing dead trees, cutting firewood, or pruning large limbs. After a hurricane or a storm, chainsaws are especially useful in removing fallen trees on the streets or cleaning up large branches in the yard.
Buying a chainsaw, however, can be a bit tricky. There are a lot of things to consider, primary of which is safety. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are around 36,000 people every year who are injured from using chainsaws. When canvassing for the best chainsaw to buy, make use of chainsaw reviews to compare models, safety provisions and other features. Like any other power tool, using a chainsaw requires skill and a bit of common sense to avoid injuries.
Types of Chainsaws – Electric and Gasoline-Powered
Chainsaws can either be electric or gasoline-powered. Consider what types of trees you would need to cut when choosing which to purchase. Generally, gas-powered ones are bigger and more powerful than those which run on electricity. It can cut through any type of wood but it does require an experienced operator to handle it. It is the choice of professional loggers, since there is generally no electric source in the forests.
Electric-powered chainsaws are smaller and lighter and are generally used by homeowners for trimming limbs in the backyard or for cutting firewood. It is also much quieter and cheaper to buy than the gas-powered ones.
Consider Safety Features in Buying the Best Chainsaw
Chainsaws have safety features. Check these out when comparing models:
- Handguards help protect the hands from flying debris. It also works as part of the saw’s chain brake system.
- The chain brake stops the saw should the chain gets pinched while being used.
- The chain catcher prevents the chain from being thrown towards the operator if the chain breaks while the saw is being used.
- A muffler diverts the noise and heat from the operator.
- An anti-vibration system reduces the engine’s vibrations and makes cutting more comfortable.
Consider other features that can make your chainsaw safer to use. There are models, for example, that has an automatic chain oiler for easier maintenance and a quick-adjust chain.
Make use of protective equipment as well. Having these accessories can mean the difference between successful chainsaw use and injuries to body parts. At the very least, these things should be part of your purchase: a carrying case for the chainsaw, safety goggles, leg protection, earplugs, gloves or mittens, hard hat, and steel-toe boots.
As a powerful tool, chainsaws can be very helpful for a homeowner or a professional logger. Exercising due diligence and common sense in buying and using one can help prevent injuries and prolong the life of your chainsaw.
Chainsaw Safety: How to Stay Safe While Cutting Wood
Most outdoorsman types yawn and start tuning out when they think someone is going to tell them something they already know. Maybe it’s just overconfidence, but when a chainsaw is involved it’s past time to tune out and time to wake up. Thinking safety in the woods can prevent a serious injury that might otherwise have been avoided.
Chainsaws are Dangerous
Every year people are hurt by the improper use of chainsaws. Injuries usually result from poor maintenance of the saw, carelessness during use, and fatigue. Eye injuries are caused by flying pieces of sawdust that could have been avoided by the wearing of safety glasses. Taking chances on a tricky cut can result in losing a leg. Injuries are far too common.
Here’s a look at several things to keep in mind while using a chainsaw.
- Keep your chainsaw serviced and functioning well. A loose chain can wrap around the blade when it slips off. A dull blade means a lot of extra work and potentially dangerous fatigue and forcing the cut.
- Wear safety goggles to prevent wood chips and sawdust from hitting your eyes. Severe damage can be done by flying chips. Make sure the goggles are designed for the rigors of deflecting wood chips at high speeds. Regular eyeglasses aren’t recommended as they can break or crack when hit by the debris or at the very least wind up with an irritating chip in the glass.
- Ear protection. Working with a chainsaw is loud. The sound is only accentuated by cold weather and snow covering.
- Use the right saw for the job. Generally speaking, a 16- or 18-inch blade will cut anything destined for the fireplace or the wood burner. Trying to fell a large tree with a saw this size may overtax its capabilities. Using this saw on brush and small branches creates difficulties in the other direction with stress on the chain and consequent breakdowns.
- Anticipate what the experts call a “kickback.” This occurs when the tip or upper end of the saw grabs onto a piece of wood and is thrown back by the force. Kickback can happen in a split second. Keep your head away from a position directly overhead of the saw and a firm grip so that if it kicks back it will already be under control.
- Don’t cut alone. Many wood cutters have been cutting wood for decades and never had a problem, but it only takes one mistake or equipment malfunction to put someone in the hospital, or worse. Have a friend who can call for help if you need it.
- Have a well-charged cell phone. This can save time if an ambulance is needed as well as for ordering a pizza.
- Have a first aid kit ready. Chainsaw injuries are usually serious when they happen but a lot of pokes and cuts can happen in the woods. Non-emergency injuries like scraped knuckles, small cuts and slivers can be taken care of on the spot with a well-stocked first aid kit and the wood cutting go on.
Many wood cutters enjoy a day in the woods clearing out lay downs and dead trees destined for the wood stove or fireplace. But it only takes one slip or a moment of carelessness to put an veteran wood cutter in the emergency room. Permanent disability can result from misusing or failing to respect what a chainsaw can do.
Chain Saw Carving Event Draws Carvers and Enthusiasts
Thomasville, N.C. buzzed with chain saws & excitement as carvers created sculpture while the public watched in rapt admiration.
Have you ever wondered how sculpture is created? Chain saw carving events, like the recent four day event held in Thomasville, North Carolina, are an opportunity to see carving from start to finish. In most people’s hands, chain saws are a quick way to cut up firewood. In fact, one carver told me that everything he does is “designer firewood”. At anywhere from $10 for a tiny bear to $4,000 and up, it’s a pretty good bet there won’t be any fires lighted with chain saw carvings.
Multi-Day Chain Saw Events
To fully appreciate the progression of a carving, it’s really best to be there every day of the event, if at all possible. At the Thomasville event, carvers come with the carvings made for their sponsors already completed. Click the pictures below for a larger view, and see the Davidson Airport bear carved by Mark Rice. Almost daily quick carve competitions and auctions keep things lively, while the carvers work to complete a large sculpture by the end of the show.
Subtlety and chain saws do belong together in the hands of experienced carvers. It takes strong muscles, a steady hand, and a sure eye to cut a small slot in an intricate carving with the tip of a chain saw blade. Seeing it being done is even more exciting than just seeing the finished carving.
Chain Saw Carvers Came From as Far Away as Peru
The carvers came not only from North Carolina, but also from Georgia, Pennsylvania, Florida, Washington state, and Peru. One carver with a distinctly southern accent claimed only to be from earth. In my two days at the event, I didn’t notice any non-earth beings. The spectators were also from a variety of states.
The spectators were in no hurry here. They lingered, watching the wingtips of a ten foot eagle take shape from a roughed out shape by the careful application of a chain saw. They were fascinated by the train cars being formed across the back of a bench. Even after they moved on from watching one carver, they would spend time watching other carvers, and come back.
Chain saw carvers work like any other artist, pausing with tools in hand to move around the sculpture before deciding the next cut. The fact that the tool is a heavy, noisy chain saw doesn’t make it any less art. Smaller chain saw blades are sometimes used for fine details, and for fine finishing, grinders and sanders are used.
Carvings can be left as cut, or finely smoothed and polished. Paint and stains are often used, or the wood left as is, depending on the style of the carver. While it may seem incompatible to leave something as delicate as a hummingbird as cut, without further finishing, it works beautifully.
Sponsoring businesses help pay the costs of the carvers to travel, eat, and stay in Thomasville for the event. Sponsors get their own custom carving for display in their business, among other perks. The Echo Chain Saw Sculpting Invitational in Thomasville wouldn’t have been possible without the support of the sponsors.
With two successful chain saw carving events completed, Thomasville has found a winning way to attract visitors and interest in an area hard hit by the decline of the furniture industry in the U.S. Chain saw carving is an amazing art for everyone involved.