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

Some details weren’t covered, like how fast do you administer compressions.
Andrea Cristini
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Great speaker, well paced classes.
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Great Basic Life Support Instructor Recert class with Jen Ngo. Very interactive and stress-free!
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Great BLS instructor revert with Jennifer. Thank you!
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Thank you Michelle for making class exciting, engaging and most importantly informative.
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Natasha Gilchrist
Michelle is really amazing. I learn quiet a bit with her lessons cannot wit to re-take the course every year and hopefully I get to be in her class!!
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Michelle was knowledgeable and super engaging with many experiences to share. I feel confident to provide emergency first aid if needed. Thank you!
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Natasha Cappadocia
Michelle was lovely! Her personal anecdotes made the material memorable and made what could have been a very long boring day, fun. Thank you!
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manvi gambhir
Mr. Pounall made the experience extremely educating, while entertaining with his jokes every now and then. For the future he should work on enhancing his stand up comedy career and making a few global tours to make this 5 stars a 6 star.
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Patrick L
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Leonard Dsouza
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Jessamyn Bickle
Wonderful experience! Allyson , the instructor was very resourceful & up to date. Enjoyed thoroughly. A great learning experience.
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Dipalee Vajaria
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sanja c
Prakash Nagar is a great program host/teacher. 10/10 recommended 🙌🏻
Mae Suliguin
Mae Suliguin
The mask fit certification was professional and very thorough. I really liked Patrick, the mask fit specialist. He's very knowledgeable, really personable and fun. The Kingbridge Garden Circle location is also very accessible, clean and ample free parking. I was really pleased with the session.
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Rita Ganassini
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purna desar
Amazing teacher so well done
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Lisa Pim (Lcp)
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Pamela A
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Laurie Gallant
SOS First Aid and Safety Training is a wonderful organization! 🙏Speaking to Velma in many occasions, and meeting the instructor, Peggy, was enlightening as they assured me that my daughter, Mariella would receive accommodations achieving her First Aid and CPR Level C certification with support. 🥰 Being a parent who advocates for their child when in need is so important. ✅ Being heard and supported is truly amazing! 🦋 Every child, teenager, or adult learns is his or her own way. 💕Hopefully, people continue to see, acknowledge, and remember that everyone is special and there must be patience, empathy, and compassion for each person in any life situation! 👏🏼 Being able to obtain this certificate is a milestone for a 14 Year Old who said, “Mom, I could have had a day off on Saturday, and it is a class with adults! —-and we had to study an entire manual full of too many modules!!!” ☺️ Again, much gratitude and thanks to Velma and Peggy at SOS First Aid for the extra time and support given to my daughter. 🦋 Not only did the girls learn how to save lives, they learned how to adapt and persevere! Dream Big! 🙏
Mary Jane Guibao Wheeler
Mary Jane Guibao Wheeler
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Purvi Desai
Very informative session. Patrick did a good job at making it fun.
Maria Jaramillo
Maria Jaramillo
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Rebecca Keane
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Kacy Knight
Patrick was a great instructor!
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Alifiya Al-Harazi
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Courtney Priest-Brown
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Blood Orange Beauty
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Jon
Michelle k was amazing learned alot of good things, I found she was verry thorough and to the point, realy enjoyed and would recommend the class to my peers
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Tevin Taylor
Youngwon Kim
Youngwon Kim
Great course! Loved the instructor Mr.Nagar (I think) he was funny and provided great real life instructions and examples.
Divya Sharma
Divya Sharma
Patrick was a great instructor for N95 mask fitting test. Thanks for the great experience.
ahmad kd
ahmad kd
Patrick was great. Class was easy to understand and they were well prepared with copies of sheets and allowed e transfer payments for those who needed a mask provided which was very helpful.
Marina Naalband
Marina Naalband
Arielle U
Arielle U
It was amazing experience and Patrick was helpful .
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Alia Mohamed
Sarah Fox
Sarah Fox
The instructor Patrick was very pleasant and engaging. He explained the content clearly and was very knowledgeable about the topic.
Georgianna Kelly
Georgianna Kelly
Mary Jane Gambito
Mary Jane Gambito
Excellent session. Patrick explained everything clearly.
Rohini Telang
Rohini Telang
Patrick Sacco completed my N95 mask fit test and was very kind and knowledgeable. He explained the procedure and was very informative.
Conida Halley
Conida Halley
Oneisha Donaldson
Oneisha Donaldson
George El Khal
George El Khal
Eubelyn Pagayon
Eubelyn Pagayon
Ai T
Ai T
Instructor Michelle is lovely, knowledgeable, had a wealth of personal experiences to share to make the first aid material relatable and accessible. Velma always has a great team and I'm always happy to update my trainings with SOS every time.
Kim FB
Kim FB
Paul McNeil
Paul McNeil
Good place to do Mask fit test and pcr.Kind and generous instructor specially patrick
harshil patel
harshil patel
Fantastic instructor. Clear, easy to understand instructions. Very friendly.
Lisa Hickey
Lisa Hickey
SHREYA PATEL
SHREYA PATEL
Patrick Sacco was very thorough with the N95 testing!
Krystal Goulbourne
Krystal Goulbourne
Kaleigh Redel
Kaleigh Redel
Instructor is very energetic and have a good energy through out the training. Recommended.
Anthea Katon
Anthea Katon
Great way of educating, clear, good
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maggie abrahem
Rodica Suciu
Rodica Suciu
Jahnvi patel
Jahnvi patel
Brianna Zuniga
Brianna Zuniga
KHUSHALI PATEL
KHUSHALI PATEL
Patrick was awesome! Great demonstration! He was fun, funny and made the test enjoyable. Totally recommend!!
Gaurav A
Gaurav A
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levent sevim
Paul and Elizabeth Gilbert
Paul and Elizabeth Gilbert
The instructor Patrick was super friendly
Dr. Harsh Parikh
Dr. Harsh Parikh
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Jackie Ruvalcaba
Dorothy Murray
Dorothy Murray
E Aquino
E Aquino
Abbey Garant
Abbey Garant
The instructor (Mitchell)was amazing.
vennah tondoya
vennah tondoya
A fast and friendly fit test experience. Patrick Sacco was nice and very informative. Thanks!
Arianna Mailloux
Arianna Mailloux
HARPREET KAUR
HARPREET KAUR
WASIM SASSILA
WASIM SASSILA
Jyoti Syroop
Jyoti Syroop
Dazzel Roco
Dazzel Roco
Jasdeep Bains
Jasdeep Bains
Patrick was great!
Abena Agyeman
Abena Agyeman
Juliana De Oliveira
Juliana De Oliveira
Awesome instructors, the class was so enjoyable and easy to understand!
Arthi Siva
Arthi Siva
De Muffin
De Muffin
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Mobs_ Nishikino
9th Oakville Trafalgar Beavers
9th Oakville Trafalgar Beavers
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Somanpreet Kaur
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Fatima Albaiti
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Beep Beep Sheep
John Smill
John Smill
Danny Yousif
Danny Yousif
parveen jolly
parveen jolly
Baburajan Sundaram
Baburajan Sundaram
Jeremy Huang
Jeremy Huang
Instructor Jessica was really cool. She explains clearly and effectively. Enjoyed learning with her.
nu mai
nu mai
Mihir Khatri
Mihir Khatri
zia haq
zia haq
Monica R
Monica R
Andrew McCulloch
Andrew McCulloch
Praka is an amazing teacher very easy to follow along with, funny and helpful. As well as the organization is very hands on and nice with customers
shawn nassir
shawn nassir
Manuel Filla
Manuel Filla
Darryl Sinclair
Darryl Sinclair
PakTo Kwok
PakTo Kwok
caroline martyn belchior
caroline martyn belchior
Ian Dawson
Ian Dawson
Instructor Patrick Succo was very helpful and led a great, in-depth N95 mask fit class.
kathleenlindsay97
kathleenlindsay97
Cloey Lymburner
Cloey Lymburner
Vaishali Damor
Vaishali Damor
Tracy
Tracy
Adam Casey
Adam Casey
Maaria A
Maaria A
Very good
Diana Kubi
Diana Kubi
Wonderful and well detailed! Thanks Patrick!
jemila binkola
jemila binkola
Class was well structured and the instructor was well educated and friendly
Sarah Fletcher
Sarah Fletcher
Iulia Roman
Iulia Roman
Patrick was amazing! Super intelligent and helpful. I'll definitely be returning when my mask fit expires and need to renew.
Julia Abbate
Julia Abbate
Patrick Sacco was amazing!!
kiana saquing
kiana saquing
Patrick was an excellent instructor for mask fit testing, he is very knowledgeable and informative. Definitely recommend sos first aid and safety training for mask fit testing.
Patricia Seyffert
Patricia Seyffert
Emily Hsiao
Emily Hsiao
Great experience! Patrick is awesome! Thanks again for helping me with my N95 mask fit test!
Julia Fabro
Julia Fabro
Excellent and very friendly. Really enjoyed the class
Tamika Bramwell
Tamika Bramwell

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