The Chainsaw: A Powerful Tool to be Respected

The Chainsaw: A Powerful Tool to be Respected

Even if you do not have any direct experience dealing with lumber, there is a very good chance that you know what a chainsaw is. Chainsaws have a glorified reputation of sorts, due to their overuse in different forms of media, but they are not typically depicted as “tools”. In movies, television shows and videogames chainsaws are often portrayed as weapons, and when you think about it deeply, there is a reason for this. While the loud buzzing and the spinning teeth make for a tool that has a “scary” aura, a chainsaw is an inherently dangerous tool to use if someone does not know how to operate it. It is this element of danger that many people tend to focus on and that has earned the chainsaw its place in pop culture. However, this danger can be mitigated substantially if someone practices chainsaw safety awareness.

How can I learn about chainsaw safety?

Chainsaw safety training is not uncommon, as many professions make use of chainsaws. A chainsaw safety course is a great way to support hands-on training, as you can learn about how a chainsaw works and how to safely use it. Through a chainsaw certification course someone can earn a chainsaw certification (valid for 3 years) that demonstrates to potential employers that they know how to safely use one. A chainsaw training course or a chainsaw operator course does not necessarily have to be done in person either. An online chainsaw safety course is also another means of obtaining a chainsaw operator certificate. Taking a chainsaw safety training course is also useful to yourself, as you will have the knowledge from the chainsaw safety certification to take the necessary precautions to protect yourself whenever you use a chainsaw.

What exactly is a chainsaw?

Many of the tools that first resembled the modern chainsaw were often used for cutting bone in surgical settings. It was not until 1905 that these tools started to be used to cut wood, and it was not until 1918 that they started to become truly portable. Wood-cutting chainsaws, which were typically made in Germany during the early 20th century, were imported to North America. However, with the occurrence of Word War ll, chainsaw exports dwindled, and North American manufacturers started popping up. After the war, chainsaws became light enough for a single person to carry, and they became the tool of choice in the forestry industry.

The inner workings of a chainsaw consist of multiple parts:

  • The engine (two-stroke internal combustion/electric)
  • The drive mechanism (centrifugal clutch and sprocket)
  • The guide bar (laminated/solid/safety)
    • gauge
    • oil holes
    • grease holes
    • guide slot
  • The cutting chain (teeth, full complement/full skip)
  • The tensioning mechanism (screw/manual wheel)

Modern safety features and chainsaw safety equipment include:

  • Brake
  • Catcher
  • Handle guard
  • Safety links
  • Protective clothing/Chainsaw safety gear

What professions make use of chainsaws?

chainsaw awareness

While most chainsaw applications are focused on wood cutting (chainsaws embedded with diamond grit to cut brick, concrete and stone would be outliers, for example), chainsaws are no longer just used for forestry purposes. There are many professions that can make use of the chainsaw. These include:

  • Loggers
  • Construction workers
  • Firefighters
  • Landscapers
  • Military engineer units
  • Hydro line workers
  • Police SWAT teams
  • Ski hill groomers
  • Wood carvers

Due to the large range of professions, chainsaws can come in many sizes. While chainsaws that are used in forestry will tend to be on the larger size, there are also smaller chainsaws that are meant for residential purposes.

What are some chainsaw safety tips and concerns?

chainsaw safety equipment

The safe and proper use of a chainsaw is important because it will protect not only you but also those around you. As mentioned previously, modern chainsaws tend to come with safety features, but there are still techniques and bits of information that are important to know.

Firstly, remember to become acquainted with a chainsaw by seeking proper training and education in its use. Once you have done that, be aware that danger can still arise from several places. Chainsaw operators tend to have the highest fatality rate in Canada for any occupation. Loggers are fourth on the list. This is for two major reasons: kickback and falling timber.

Kickback occurs when a tooth on the tip of the guide bar get stuck in porous wood. This prevents the chainsaw from cutting through and throws the tool back towards the operator. Kickback is unfortunately a risk that comes with cutting any porous material, like wood, so maintaining a strong, proper grip is very important.

Falling timber is typically an issue when a tree is being felled, or a large piece of wood is being cut. If it so happens to fall too early or the wrong way, then any nearby worker can become stuck or crushed. Problems can also arise for workers operating at a height, where falling timber can catch them unawares, or they could simply fall.

Some other sources of danger include loud vibrations and carbon monoxide. While modern chainsaws come well equipped with material for damping, older ones can still cause issues like deafness, tinnitus or HAVS. Exposure to carbon monoxide is a concern with gasoline powered chainsaws, especially in enclosed areas. The existence of these risks makes training and education even more valuable, so silly mistakes like drop starting are completely avoided.

How do I take care of my chainsaw?

Chainsaw safety and maintenance go together. Two-stroke chainsaws need about 2% oil in the fuel to keep the engine lubricated, while electrical chainsaws should remain lubricated for the entire duration of their lifetime. The bar and chain must also be lubricated with oil, but this will deplete much faster, requiring frequent application. Chains must also always be kept sharp so that sawdust does not become powdery and the operator does not need to press on the saw or be exposed to excessive vibration. To prevent a chain from becoming blunt, try to avoid touching metal, soil, or stones, unless the chainsaw is made specifically for those. Chainsaws can be sharpened by using one of three chainsaw sharpeners:

  • Handheld file
  • Electric
  • Bar mount

Finally, do not forget to occasionally empty the air intake filter of sawdust.

What are some reputable chainsaws?

chainsaw safety and maintenance

If you are using a chainsaw, then it makes sense to want to use one that is as safe and reliable as possible. Chainsaws will either take gasoline or be electric. If they are electric, they can come corded, or cordless with a battery. Each type has its own cons and pros:

  • Corded Electric
    • Pros
      • Does not take fuel
      • Does not need battery
      • Quiet
      • Easy start
      • Small and light
      • Affordable
      • Minimal maintenance
    • Cons
      • Corded
      • Weaker
  • Battery-Powered Electric
    • Pros
      • Portable
      • Light, easy to move
      • Very quiet
      • Minimal maintenance
      • Easy start
    • Cons
      • Battery
      • Weaker
  • Gas-Powered
    • Pros
      • Powerful
      • Portable
    • Cons
      • Fuel
      • High maintenance
      • Noisy
      • Carbon monoxide
      • Difficult start

Below are some brands to watch out for when deciding on what tool to choose:

  • Stihl
  • Husqvarna
  • Echo
  • Jonsered
  • Efco
  • DEWALT
  • Greenworks
  • Poulan Pro
  • Makita/Dolmar
  • Remington
  • WORX
  • Oregon
  • Kobalt

When selecting a chainsaw, be aware of where the tool is manufactured and its availability in your country of residence.

Here are some chainsaw features to look for that will make your experience easier and more enjoyable:

  • Tool-free tensioning
  • Combined choke + on/off switch
  • Easy-start
  • Narrow body width
  • Carbide teeth

Ultimately, try to choose a chainsaw that is appropriate for what you need it to do. A large “lumberjack” chainsaw might not be needed for garden work, and something smaller and corded could be more affordable and be more valuable to you. Just remember that when using a chainsaw, you should not feel afraid, but you should respect it for what it is. It is a power tool, and power tools come with risks.

Contact

SOS First Aid and Safety Training services the following Southern Ontario communities: Greater Toronto Area (GTA), Mississauga, Oakville, Burlington, Milton, Guelph, Vaughan, Woodbridge, Maple, Richmond Hill, Brampton, Acton, Georgetown, Hamilton, Ancaster, Brantford, Stoney Creek, St. Catherines, and Welland.

Customer Reviews

Olena Urbanowicz
Olena Urbanowicz
george hany
george hany
Loved Patrick he was the best! Halirious and informative! Highly recommend him
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Nidhi Patel
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Vanessa Manocha
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Vineeta Lekhram
Eva N
Eva N
The Class was really fun and Patrick made it easy..
Elena Tan
Elena Tan
Excellent traning
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Jaspreet kaur
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Elizabeth Levy
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Chantal Amankwaah
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marina elhamy
JOYCE YEBOAH
JOYCE YEBOAH
Patrick was a great instructor for the mask fit test, very friendly
Dazel Nelmida
Dazel Nelmida
A really great person! Fun to work with :)
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sarah ahmed
Katelyn Prudencio
Katelyn Prudencio
It was a fun lesson to learn about masks!
kelly Sun
kelly Sun
Patrick was a very friendly instructor for my N95 mask fit testing and funny too
Magdelina Yimesghen
Magdelina Yimesghen
Amazing mask fit session! Patrick was so kind and informative. He made the session a comfortable place for everyone, answering any and every question we had. I highly suggest coming to this session for your mask fit! I'll definitely be coming back again when my 2 year validation expires. Great job Patrick! 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼
Marjorie Tejano
Marjorie Tejano
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Cindy Vargas
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Nabeeha Tabassum
Lis T
Lis T
Very good and helpful! Very good experience
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Priscilla Biju
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Ellise Gabrielle Flor
Marian Yhane Marcelo
Marian Yhane Marcelo
Diana Jugowiec
Diana Jugowiec
Nya Duarte
Nya Duarte
Patrick is an awesome instructor. Very kind, welcoming and patient. Efficient training done.
Fares Madaoui
Fares Madaoui
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Lora Mae Malazarte
Sharmayne MK
Sharmayne MK
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Amy Vickramasinghe
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Melissa Gray
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Fox Calamity
nelson melo
nelson melo
On August 22nd, 2021 I took my First Aid and Safety Training at the Oak Park Neighborhood Centre and my instructor was amazing. She made the information relevant not just to our everyday life, but to our current situation. She taught in a way that everyone can understand. She answered the questions we had in a words that we understood and in a judgement free environment. Protocols for Covid-19 were in place, we were spaced appropriately and mask were worn, all procedures were done individually with sanitized mannequins. Well done!!
mon olliver
mon olliver
Excellent instructor, very thorough, helpful and friendly
Ranna Manbodh
Ranna Manbodh
Manjit Singh
Manjit Singh
Patrick was courteous, informative and kind. I highly recommend this mask fitting session to anyone who's looking to get their mask certification.
Tu-Anh Nguyen
Tu-Anh Nguyen
Mr. Patrick is understandble regarding instructions.
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Frencshield Nuestro
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Lily Kisilevich
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Milly Valdivia
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chuks Brian
Stefano Taglieri
Stefano Taglieri
Super organized and clean.
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Sophia M
Julia Romano
Julia Romano
Lily Li
Lily Li
Amazing class! Great instructor!
destiny sight
destiny sight
I had Ally for my CPR course. She was very friendly, professional and made the day long course feel enjoyable. Thanks so much! Would recommend
Austin Paliga
Austin Paliga
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Alicia Anderson
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Sadika Dougheili
Brittany F
Brittany F
Had an Amazing Experience!!! Patrick is so informative and helpful, I recommend taking this class👍
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Kiran Imran
Merry Kamel
Merry Kamel
Julianna Ebarvia
Julianna Ebarvia
Gerbie Nkosi
Gerbie Nkosi
The test was very well explained 👏 👌. Will recommend to others.Excellent instructor !!
Joyous Joy
Joyous Joy
kind guy patrick thank you
likkledianito
likkledianito
Sharalee Solomon
Sharalee Solomon
Amazing fun experience
Arian A
Arian A
Trae Colley
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Lee Ann
Lee Ann
Tyson has been a great instructor. He answered questions in detail and made it a comfortable learning environment. 10/10 would recommend!Course was completed at the Mississauga site.
Tiffanie Christopher
Tiffanie Christopher
Tyson was a great instructor!! Very informative and also shared some stories.
Diana “dayana” Hosien
Diana “dayana” Hosien
the training was educational, and the facilitator was knowledgeable and at ease with the group.
Andrea Jantoska
Andrea Jantoska
Tyson was the best instructor one could hope for. He took his time to go through the material and was really hands on. I thought the class was going to be long and boring but I actually ended up having fun and I feel 100% prepared to help in an emergency situation.
Alake Mills
Alake Mills
Had a First Aid/CPR-C course at the living arts centre and it was great. Was very informative and our instructor Tyson really tried to make it an engaging and enjoyable day
Myles Abreo
Myles Abreo
It was nice to met Patrick sacco
Raghad Baraket
Raghad Baraket
I attended a Mask Fit Testing class and my instructor, Patrick, was amazing! He was very outgoing and made everyone feel comfortable and relaxed while telling us about the important information we needed to know. I highly recommend!
Keiyana Campbell
Keiyana Campbell
Amrit Rehsi
Amrit Rehsi
Yuliia Bilous
Yuliia Bilous
Mario Sacco was a very enthusiastic instructor. Very pleasant.
Katrina K
Katrina K
It was a good experience. Partick Sacoo is a good instructor.
amandeep khurana
amandeep khurana
Class was as fun as first aid can be. Tyson was an awesome instructor.
Daniel Tchitchkevitch
Daniel Tchitchkevitch
Awesome teacher, made it light and fun. Great job Tyson.Multiple dates available - easy to flex with personal schedule
Tasha Singh
Tasha Singh
Such a great experience completing my mask fit training with SOS First Aid. Mario was very informative and kept the class entertaining!
Rachel Hunter
Rachel Hunter
I came here for my First Aid and CPR HCP/BLS level. The theory portion was hybrid and the practical was in person at Living Arts Centre. The training was well organized and very informative. They provide everything that you will need for the training. I will definitely come back when I have to renew my certification.
Natalie
Natalie
Well my experience was a bit scary because I was not mentally prepared. At first I thought I was going to pass out but then I was able to withstand the smell of what the instructor was spraying into the mask. I thought I would pass out at first when I had on the N-95 mask but then I realize that it was doable and I can tolerate the test. Good luck.
Avril Jones
Avril Jones
I had an amazing experience . The instructor was respectful and the course is wonderful.
Samantha S
Samantha S
thank you:) i enjoyed it and i met an awesome instructor
Bonu Satimova
Bonu Satimova
Friendly, informative and efficient.
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Vinita H.C.
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Sydney
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Dania
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Herleen Mudher
Herleen Mudher
Just completed my training with Julie. She was fantastic, knowledgeable and very patient. She has so much experience and she trained us so well. SOS First Aid and Safety Training are true professionals and care so much for us to succeed and that is key. Keep up the great work. Thank you so much Julie:)
Amanuel Sengal
Amanuel Sengal
Well organized, excellent instructors for Remote First Aid Training. I would highly recommend SOS for training.
Kim Macdonald
Kim Macdonald
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