A Guide to Safety with Chainsaws
Cutting with the chainsaw
It's important that you hold the chainsaw correctly and adopt the proper stance. It's also necessary to know the different types of cutting actions.
Holding the Chainsaw
Place your left hand on the front handle and ensure the handle is gripped between thumb and finger, with your thumb under the handle. Use the mitt if fitted. Your right hand should grip the rear handle, with your index finger on the throttle trigger.
Maintain control of the chainsaw while the motor is running by keeping a firm grip with both hands.
- Keep your feet firmly planted slightly apart in a balanced position. Do not over-reach. Move feet closer to the cutting position.
- Hold the chainsaw close to your body with the chainsaw body close to the cut for better control. Slightly bent arms will improve your control over the chainsaw.
- Position yourself to the side of the intended cut to lessen the chance of injury from kickback.
- Never use the chainsaw with one hand as you can easily lose control over it.
- Start the cut at high speed and maintain engine speed as you cut.
- When the cut is almost finished, reduce speed to avoid a sudden finish with loss of balance, or the guide bar and chain hitting the ground or other objects.
- Regularly check chain tension and ensure that chain is correctly sharpened.
Types of Cutting Action
There are three main types of cutting action. You need to understand the differences in order to avoid accidents or dangerous situations.
The Down Cut
This cut uses the bottom of the bar. It is the safest and easiest cut as the chain action draws the chainsaw towards the cut and away from the operator. This is called traction.
Fig 21: The down cut draws chainsaw towards the cut.
The Up Cut
This uses the upper part of the bar. The chain's reactive force will push the chainsaw away from the cut and towards you. There is a risk of kickback if the chainsaw is pushed far enough away from the cut for the nose of the bar to ride out of the cut.
Fig 22: The upcut pushes chainsaw away from the cut.
The Boring Cut
This cut starts by using the bottom portion of the nose of the bar and then the upper portion as the cut proceeds. Because of the likelihood of kickback, this cut should be used only by trained or experienced operators.
Proceed as follows:
- Using the lower tip of the guide, bar cut until the depth is about bar width.
- Align the chainsaw towards the horizontal with the chainsaw at full throttle.
- Still at full throttle, press the guide bar straight into the log.
Fig 23: The boring cut - for experienced operators only.