10 Tips for Using a Chain Saw

Follow these tips for chain saw safety.

A chain saw is one of the most dangerous tools a do-it-yourselfer will ever handle. One mistake and you can wind up with serious injuries. Here are 10 common sense tips to protect you and your property.

Felling a tree

Be sure to take safety precautions before you use a chain saw to cut down a tree.

Tip 1: Wear Kevlar chaps

The Kevlar fibers will stop the chain well before it gets to the flesh on your leg. So invest the $75.

Tip 2: Wear a logger’s helmet

Essential safety gear includes a logger’s helmet for about $50. The unit includes the helmet to protect your skull from falling branches, a visor to protect your eyes and hearing protection all in one convenient package.

Tip 3: Know when to call a pro

You never really know which way a tree will fall. Never cut down a tree if there’s any chance it can fall against buildings, power lines or anything else of value. Hire a pro.

Tip 4: Don’t lean your ladder against a tree

It might be tempting to lean a ladder against a tree to do some pruning. Don’t do it. This stunt accounts for a large percentage of chain saw injuries.

Tip 5: Find a trusted assistant

Get a volunteer for a lookout. He should hold a long stick and watch the top of the tree while you’re cutting. If he sees a branch shaking loose or the tree begins to fall, he should tap you on the shoulder so you can get out of the way immediately.

Tip 6: Don’t run out of gas

Fill the gas and chain oil reservoirs before dropping a tree. The last thing you want is to run out of gas in the middle of a felling cut.

Tip 7: Maintain your grip

Never take either hand off a running saw. If the saw kicks back, there’s nothing to stop it. Use an encircling grip with your thumbs wrapped around the handles.

Tip 8: Clear two escape routes

Before dropping a tree, cut all of the brush around the trunk and clear two escape routes at 45-degree angles away from the felling direction. When the tree begins to fall, walk backward down one of the routes, watching the tree the whole time.

Tip 9: Watch for “loaded” limbs

Beware of “loaded” limbs on felled trees. Often the tree’s weight is largely resting on several limbs at once. When they’re cut, they can spring forward or backward or the tree itself can roll over you. So study each and every branch before cutting.

Tip 10: Stay away from hollowed-out trees

Leave rotten trees to the pros. If the heart of the tree is rotted out, the felling direction can be extremely unpredictable. In addition, it most likely has many dead limbs above that just might shake loose and land on you during cutting.

The Editors of The Family Handyman

Popular Videos