How to Use a Chainsaw - Beginner's Guide

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A chainsaw is a device that deserves your full respect, as well as the correct safety equipment and a good training regime. If you’re a beginner and are unsure how to properly use this tool, take a look at our beginner’s guide on how to accurately utilize this handy but also extremely dangerous device.

Know your own and your machine’s capabilities

It’s always important to match the type and the size of the chainsaw to the person who will be using it.

Smaller models are easier to use but are also less powerful – they are limited in the size of a tree they’re capable of cutting. Bigger and more powerful models are suitable for bringing down larger trees.

One more important thing is the bar length – long ones are used for felling, and the short ones for the branches.

Always check your chainsaw before using it

Before you turn on the device, make sure that:

  • The chainsaw’s chain has the right tension
  • There are no loose bolts or parts
  • That everything is properly lubricated
  • The cutting edges and teeth are sharp

Check the work area and don’t drop-start the machine

Before you start sawing, make sure that the area is free of objects that could trip you up, like the pieces of wood or the electrical cables. Make sure that there’s nothing that could fall on you, like the loose branches on the upper part of the tree.

For turning on the saw, use the warm start or cold start positions only. Drop-starting the machine could cause it to swing in an arc and leave you with a pretty serious injury.

Watch for the kickback

The kickback is when the chainsaw’s guide bar gets uncontrollably thrown back at the user, and it can happen anytime.

It usually occurs when the bar nose gets pinched during the cutting, or when it hits light material or a solid object. Fortunately, many modern models come with a protective leather mitt that’s connected to the front handle and helps with preventing the kickback.

In order to reduce the kickback, do the following things:

  • Always hold the chainsaw as firmly as you can
  • Use both hands to hold the device
  • Be especially cautious when cutting light material
  • If possible, don’t let the tip of the saw touch anything
  • Always test the chain brake before cutting
  • When re-entering a cut, use extreme caution

Hold the saw correctly

When cutting, hold the machine close to your body and use both of your hands. Your feet should be planted firmly, and you should spread them slightly apart for some extra balance. Never cut above your shoulder height, and make sure to cut just one log at a time.

Don’t even think about cutting anything that’s not wood – it’s not what these machines were made for.

Maintain your saw

Like with all other tools, a proper maintenance is sure to give your chainsaw a longer life. Once you’re done with the cutting, make sure to:

  • Check if everything is in place
  • Oil the holes
  • Give a good cleaning to your guide bar groove
  • Make sure that the chain brake mechanism, the sprocket cover and the air filters are free from the sawdust

We highly recommend you to follow these guidelines. With them, your cutting sessions will be far more efficient and a lot safer.