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Chainsaw Safety Lessons

Discussion in 'Woodturning Health & Safety' started by Mark Jundanian, Nov 17, 2019.

  1. Mark Jundanian

    Mark Jundanian

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    Does the AAW offer any safety training on the use of chainsaws for beginners? Maybe in the form of written articles or videos?

    If not consider it (strongly) suggested.

    Absent an AAW program does anyone know of something along these lines in the Chicago metropolitan area?

    I'd like to understand the risks better before I even contemplate purchasing a chainsaw. I saw one thread on the forum just discussing the various chain types to choose from, so clearly there is a lot to be aware of.
     
  2. RichColvin

    RichColvin

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  3. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

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    I’m not aware of an AAW course.

    My local chapters have done classes.

    Tricounty Woodturners - does a short chainsaw use and safety lesson as part of bowl turning workshops every couple years.

    Chesapeake Woodturners - had a super demo by a Husqvarna rep. He covered safety, use, maintenance, sharpening, and tuning up the saw.
    Learned about the DCO. when he was going over the parts of the saw and got to the bucking Prongs, he told a story about working with some loggers in Oregon (the guys with 6 ft bars )who told him - we call them the DCO.
    He asked DCO? The guy said yeah Dull Chain Override....

    master classes- Trent Bosch did a chainsaw session as part of his classes when I have assisted him at Md hall, Campbell, Arrowmont, and my shop.

    You should check with your state forestry service or you can take this course online.
    https://safetylinks.net/training/equipment-operation/chain-saw-operator/
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2019
    Mark Jundanian likes this.
  4. Mike Johnson

    Mike Johnson

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    Chainsaw safety is a topic that really requires many hours to cover all of the aspects of what can go wrong when using the tool and not having any experience to start with. One bad kick-back with a chainsaw can cause a lot of damage if you are not prepared for the risks involved. Some one on one guidance from an individual that runs a chainsaw on a regular basis would be worthwhile. Proper PPE will help protect a novice but you can spend a good deal of money tooling up with the latest safety equipment designed for arborists. If you can find an arborist in your area, talk to them they might guide you in a direction for helpful training provided by the trade guild. YouTube has plenty of videos but you will never get everything you need from one video.
     
  5. Timothy Allen

    Timothy Allen

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  6. Dean Center

    Dean Center

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    The US Forest Service offers chainsaw classes. In the past, there were two types, Bucking/limbing, and Felling. The bucking class is an evening class and a half-whole day field class with hands-on learning and covers the way woodturners generally use a chain saw. The Felling class is 3-5 days, as taking down whole trees is a whole lot more complicated and dangerous than parting them up. Several years ago, the USFS was talking about eliminating the bucking class and offering just the longer class. In any case, you might check with whatever national forest is handy to family or vacation destinations.

    The Wisconsin Dept. of Natural Resources offers chain saw classes periodically and would be within driving distance of you. The Illinois DNR has had classes, too, but they're way the heck downstate, nearly in Kentucky, but maybe they have other sites.

    Also, Russo's in Franklin Park has both a basic and a professional chain saw safety class, though it's unclear if it's just class room.
     
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  7. Arkriver

    Arkriver

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    I am retired USFS guy. We did not do any public training where I worked. A couple of thoughts however. Do not fall any tree bigger than about 6 inches unless are trained. The tree will "kick back" and will get someone sooner or later. I often see folks use what I call the drop start, Scary! Put the saw on the ground to start it>
     
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  8. Zach LaPerriere

    Zach LaPerriere

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    Mark, You have the right attitude. Maybe stop into your local saw shop (definitely buy local, not online) and ask them who cuts a lot and might trade some lessons for help with their cutting. You want to make sure you're learning from someone who has good practices! And that extends to the virtual world: youtube is FULL of people who have no business using a saw, let alone thinking they are a teacher.

    If I can add to what Arkriver says: I know people who have hurt themselves felling trees much smaller than 6".

    Proper use of a chainsaw is not complicated or difficult. I'll even argue that if you already have a good grasp of powertool safety, you'll mostly likely pick it up fast and be competent in a short amount of time.
     
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  9. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

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    Along the cautions from @Arkriver and @Zach LaPerriere
    Working downed trees have issues too. Trees will roll and move as limbs are cut - figuring out which way and where the pressure is can be a challenge. Gravity and tension on limbs can be hard to figure out sometimes. Damaged or rotted limbs add to the uncertainty.
    Getting a saw pinched needs to be avoided too. If I have any dought about tension I cut out a small wedge so the saw doesn’t get pinched as I cut through our use wooden wedges to hold the cut open.

    Club wood harvests can be a great place to learn from experienced folks.
    It is imperative to set rules for the inexperienced.
    1. One saw to a stick
    2 Keep 10 feet away from a running saw you are not holding.
    I have worked a lot with other turners. New ones have to be told one saw to a stick. And don’t try to hold any piece someone else is sawing. I tell the to stay 10 feet from a running saw.
    I have had more than one helpful person run in to steady a piece putting themselves at great risk.

    be sure of your footing, know which way you need to move, and clear the escape routes.
    this is for working downed trees too.

    My neighbor almost died from falling off a stepladder using a chainsaw he did have the presence of mind to throw the saw while falling.
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2019
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  10. Mark Jundanian

    Mark Jundanian

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    Thanks for all the contibutions. I ran the question through another forum and was directed to these Stihl videos:

    https://m.stihlusa.com/information/videos/chainsaw-safety-operations-maintenance-videos/

    I'm still watching these (and then I'll check out the ones above), but my initial impression is that they are well done and worth sharing here.

    I threw the question out to a couple of my clubs, too. We're going to try to bring an expert in to do a demo in the spring.

    I have no particular deadline to join the "chain gang", but it's something I think I want to eventually do. So I'll take my time.
     
  11. Dave Fritz

    Dave Fritz

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    It looks like there a lot of opportunities for training north of you, here in Wisconsin. Just google: chainsaw training in Wisconsin. Actually googling the same of Ill. offered up some options too.
    We used to have workdays through Trout Unlimited and our greatest fear was people that would show up with a brand new chainsaw with no experience to go with it. You don't become an instant lumberjack just by getting the saw. We finally had only certified sawyers with the saw, everyone else piled brush.
    The trumpet player in our band died when he had a saw kickback and cut his jugular. He was reaching up cutting off branches. I'm sure others have horror stories.
    Really good that you're asking.
     

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