CHAINSAWS Apr 9, 2020 9:30:46 GMT -8
Post by fuegos on Apr 9, 2020 9:30:46 GMT -8
Almost 30 years ago i moved into a house with a Rayburn Royal stove.With a hot plate & oven plus hot water it seemed the perfect combination for heat & cooking.Fuel was coal or Phurnacite , that wasn't expensive but i really didn't like the smell or dirt that went with it.Firewood was plentiful in the area , you only needed to ask landowners about fallen trees & you could go & load up.So i bought my first chainsaw & that led soon to a career as an abourist , including 10 years as a tree surgeon.I'm still doing tree work but not full time.
So as i'm a complete novice with rocket stoves i'd thought i'd write a little about chainsaws , assuming that most folks on this forum cut their own firewood.This isn't supposed to be the last word on this subject , just my experience & observations but based on industry standards in the UK.The training i have is all based on practical courses where doing the job in the woods is what's needed to pass the test.Forestry & tree surgery are up there as the most dangerous professions but anyone can buy & operate a chainsaw.
So to start
Even my smallest saw will quite easily cut through fencing wire & 4 inch nails embedded in wood & my large alloy wedges - aluminium is about the same density & tensile strength as human bone.Even when i'm doing framing work , as a carpenter , i wear my anti cut trousers , boots & helmet.Chainsaw chaps seem to be popular in the USA & although better than nothing i would strongly recommend proper trousers.Boots with cut protection are a must , not just steel toe capped work boots.Ear & eye protection are best provided with a helmet - once it's on your head keep it on.Tight fitting gloves with elasticated or velcro closure on the wrists will support the tendons & help prevent small cuts.I also have a pair of synthetic gloves in my toolbox for handling oil & fuel & maintenance. In Europe a pair of anti cut pants , boots & a helmet will cost you about €300 ,not small change but if your'e just cutting your own firewood these will last you years.
Before you start work check that your saw has all it's safety features working- the chain catcher , chain brake & the throttle safety.
Start the saw from cold on the ground by placing your left hand on the front handle & the toe of your boot inside the rear handle.when the saw fires , a quick rev & then apply the chain brake before you pick it up.Any other method of starting is not recommended ,especially holding the rear handle & dropping the saw forward.Any saw that needs throttle to start it should be fixed before use.
when the saw is warm hold the front handle with your left hand & grip the rear handle between your thighs just above your knees to start.If your saw is fitted with a decompression button use it every time.With bigger ,older saws pull the starter slowly so the piston goes past TDC to release some of the compression.
Learn to use the chainbrake by rolling your left hand forward or pivoting the saw to the rear.If you take a step ,put the chainbrake on.If we fall or slip our hands tend to instinctively grip & close.
A lot of these techniques may seem pointless but like wearing your seat belt - if it's habitual the one time you need it it's there.The starting procedures not only prevents back strain but eliminates the possibility of the bar tip hitting a trunk or log & giving a kickback while you've only got one hand on the saw.
Cross cutting or bucking branches or smaller trunks is best done in a saw horse , something that can be bought cheaply or home made.Holding logs steady with your foot should be avoided for obvious reasons.
CHOOSING A CHAINSAW
I have a a bias toward Sthil mainly because of the excellent customer service at my local dealer. Husqvarna & Jonsered are fine machines but if you can't get spares or small breakdowns fixed quickly this is a problem. Sthil , in my opinion , are more innovative & offer great value for money.
The above manufactures all offer 3 ranges of saws - the entry level , mid range & professional.A €200 saw isn't going to last years so i recommend something from the mid range.Choose a saw according to the trees your'e going to cut - up to 15CM , 6 Inches a mid range saw of 40 cc is enough.Choose the shortest bar you can get away with , no point having a 21 Inch bar if your'e only cutting 12 Inch trees. Oregon bars & chains are excellent quality if you can't get OEM but are sometimes the same if not more expensive than Sthil products.
A chipper type chain is the best all round option for firewood.This has the rounded shoulder & is easier to sharpen than a full chisel type.Sharpening yourself is at first difficult but worth persisting with as shop ground chains don't last as long - the grinder tends to take off too much metal.Use a fileholder & clamp the bar firmly in your workshop vice or in the woods use a stump vice.Use a gauge to correctly file the rakers - the small teeth in front of the cutters.Keep an eye on your shavings while you saw - if it's getting too fine or powdery you probably need to sharpen.use only hot water & soap to clean the plastics on your saw - petrol should never be used.Every time you sharpen the chain , take the bar off , clean out the groove , file off any sharp edges & turn over so the wear is even.When cold the chain is properly tensioned when you can lift it out of the bar in the middle.If your bar is worn unevenly closest to the sprocket your chain is too slack & if its worn at the nose it's too tight.
A good quality chain oil is essential.Anything non branded that you buy in a petrol station , DIY shop or Farmers supplies is almost certainly "recycled" engine oil & apart from being carcinogenic will end up on your clothes , in your saw's air filter & help wear your bar & chain out at a rapid rate.Buy something with Sthil , Husqvarna or Oregon on the can , it's worth every cent! good quality oil , when poured out will produce strings as it drips , a bit like honey.
The same goes for two stroke oil.I use fully synthetic but i have high performance professional saws so something that's the price of good single malt per litre is worth it but the above manufactures all have excellent mid range alternatives.
If you're in this for the long run i highly recommend a combi can with automatic type fillers ,this stops lots of spillage & keeps everything cleaner.
Well i hope this is useful to some but i'm not trying to teach any experienced cutter to suck eggs ! Take care.