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.
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