/ chainsaw recommendations

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Baron Weasel - on 14 Apr 2016
Recently had a wood burner fitted with a view to becoming self sufficient for our heating needs. I am currently using a hand saw to chop logs to fit in my car and then process further with an electric chainsaw when i get home. I have decided that the next step is to get a petrol chainsaw and could stretch to £150, but would prefer to spend less. I would prefer the saw was quieter if possible, but it is not essential.

So UKC what are your experiences with budget chainsaws? Which are good and which should I avoid?
1
Alex Riley on 14 Apr 2016
In reply to Baron Weasel:
Husqvarna 236 is in your price range, I've not used it personally but I've used a few other husqvarna saws and they are easy to take apart and maintain. Don't forget you will also need boots, trousers, faceguard, helmet, fuel can, sharpening tools, spare chain etc if you don't already have them.

I've also used a budget saw, it was OK, but it was more fiddly to maintain and less powerful. I would imagine slightly harder to find parts too.
Post edited at 14:24
Moley on 14 Apr 2016
In reply to Baron Weasel:

What you do need, really, really need, is some safety equipment and this will add a lot of expense. So though you may purchase a saw within your budget, the helmet, boots, leggings, mitts add another £100+ (I haven't looked up current prices).
You will need to consider all this, but good luck.
jimjimjim on 14 Apr 2016
In reply to Baron Weasel:

I'd look for a second hand stihl if that's all you can afford. Them and husqvarna are the only ones that will last imo. They're not quiet but they are the business. I have a 171 stihl and a husq 435. The 171 is great for a bit of ground work and small- medium stuff and the 435 is a bit more expensive but has more power for bigger cuts. Both need looking after but will serve you well. You'll also need some protection equipment, there's some cheap all in one packages on Amazon worth a look.
stella1 - on 14 Apr 2016
In reply to Baron Weasel:

My experience of budget saws is that they are a waste of money. It's just a false economy. If I was in your position I would keep making do with the electric saw or spend a bit more and buy a decent petrol saw.

I've got two stihls and they are both fantastic saws. My father in law has a stihl which is old enough to be in a museum and still runs great. I think some of the smaller stihls can be had for around £200.

Also quiet and petrol chainsaw...

Sorry I've not really helped all that much with your question.
Rick Graham on 14 Apr 2016
In reply to Alex Riley:
I got a husky 136 second hand for £90 seven years ago and it has had a very hard existence since.

Only had to clean the air filter, spark plug and sharpen/change the chain.

Amazing machine.


Don't worry about the noise, it is a safety feature.

If its not quiet it is a potential killing machine. Respect it.
Post edited at 14:32
1
A Longleat Boulderer - on 14 Apr 2016
In reply to Baron Weasel:

Another vote for Husqvarna 236. Though as above you'll absolutely need boots and trousers at a minimum. Personally I'd also suggest going on a chainsaw course too. They command respect like no other tool in my opinion.
2
Alex Riley on 14 Apr 2016
In reply to A Longleat Boulderer:

Maintenance and cross cutting course would be ideal. Teaches you how to look after the saw, the law when it comes to sawing and then snedding, chopping and stacking. I had a useless instructor for mine but I still leant loads.
jimjimjim on 14 Apr 2016
In reply to A Longleat Boulderer:

Agreed, you only have one accident with a chainsaw.
I to would highly recommend a entry level chainsaw course. There's lots of little thing you can do to make it safer to use which is always a good thing. Basic maintenance is also covered. Buying and using a chainsaw is a serious thing and should not be taken lightly.
Dandan82 - on 14 Apr 2016
In reply to Baron Weasel:

I've owned and used a chainsaw for the last 2 years without incident but after reading this thread I've a strong urge to go on a course, I feel like its some kind of statistical anomaly that I still have a full complement of limbs...

I have a small Stihl for the record, cost me around £200 new and I only use it for the same as you, chopping up firewood, I'd thoroughly recommend it, great piece of kit.
Baron Weasel - on 14 Apr 2016
In reply to all:

Great advice, much appreciated! The Husqvarna 236 looks the business and has excellent reviews. Looks like i can get boots, bib, gloves and visor helmet for £135 - my birthday is at the end of the month so I'll ask for donations! Regarding training it sounds like an excuse to visit a tree surgeon friend who lives a couple of hours away.
Baron Weasel - on 14 Apr 2016
In reply to all:

Is my electric chainsaw any safer than a petrol one? It was given to me brand new a few months ago and i have cut around 5 tonne bags with it, i check oil and chain tension when i use it and the teeth are still quite sharp - is there anything else to consider maintenance wise?

paul_the_northerner - on 14 Apr 2016
In reply to Baron Weasel:
personally i prefer a good peterol over an elec. a good petrol tend to have more power and though its counter intuative i really do think this makes it safer.... with a underpowerd saw there is a tendancy to try and force the saw through stuff, if you have something with a bit of power and a sharp chain then it cuts a lot smoother.

plus a petrol doesnt have a cable that you can lop in half.
Post edited at 15:17
A Longleat Boulderer - on 14 Apr 2016
In reply to Dandan82:

> I've owned and used a chainsaw for the last 2 years without incident but after reading this thread I've a strong urge to go on a course, I feel like its some kind of statistical anomaly that I still have a full complement of limbs...

My brother was the same. Been using a chainsaw on the farm for years. Wanted a new one but his wife said he couldn't without doing a course. Said he learned a hell of a lot and wasn't sure how he'd managed to go so long without trimming a limb or two.
Baron Weasel - on 14 Apr 2016
In reply to paul_the_northerner:

That's an interesting point about power, though noise is important at home as we have had a long and nasty battle with our neighbor regarding a nuisance dog and its a bit of a hornets nest i don't want to prod.
Alex Riley on 14 Apr 2016
In reply to Baron Weasel:

Should be sharpening chain little and often (every time saw is used). Sharp chain means quicker and safer cutting.

Should flip the bar (bit the chain is on) every five sharpens or so. When you take it off clean the groove the chain sits in (little plastic tool to do this), then remove any burs with a file. Clean all the crap off. If you haven't had the chain tensioned properly the bar is where the damage will show.

Check + clean air filter and spark plugs.

There are probably good videos on YouTube for this. You can also download chainsaw manuals which have all this and more in.

Other things worth knowing are your pre start checks and 10 safety features of a saw.

wbo - on 14 Apr 2016
In reply to Baron Weasel: Stihl for me. But for chopping firewood I'm using an electric log saw to cut them to lengh and then splitting the logs with an axe. This works better than the chainsaw

Baron Weasel - on 14 Apr 2016
In reply to all:

Good news, I've spoken to the boss (Mrs W) and have the green light to order safety equipment and saw today. She said she had thought about safety equipment, but had not said anything - though she was talking about life insurance!?!

Thanks all for advice, I'm just waiting to hear back from my mate about learning safety and maintenance from him, but I'm certain he'll be up for it in exchange for some beer!
1
WildCamper on 14 Apr 2016
In reply to Baron Weasel:

If you are buying new go for a stihl (modern huskys are rubbish) but in your price range id go for a second hand husky or stihl

i picked up my husky 480cd & stihl MS440 for sixty quid each. They only needed a little love to get them running sweetly again

P.s if you do go for a second hand saw, check what spare parts availability is like first!

P.p.s some stihl parts fit more than one model btw...
paul__in_sheffield - on 14 Apr 2016
In reply to Baron Weasel:

Where are you getting your logs from, are they seasoned and dry? <20% moisture content?
1
Rick Graham on 14 Apr 2016
In reply to Baron Weasel:

> That's an interesting point about power, though noise is important at home as we have had a long and nasty battle with our neighbor regarding a nuisance dog and its a bit of a hornets nest i don't want to prod.

I try and do as much cutting as possible where I collect the wood.

Saves a lot of sawdust at home and carrying 5% wet timber home I will never use.

The ideal is only to use the splitting mall at home.

Season and dry the wood properly, otherwise any heat produced is only evaporating the water content, not heating the house.
1
Baron Weasel - on 14 Apr 2016
In reply to paul__in_sheffield:

Dead wood, mostly Sycamore stacked by fire for immediate use and green wood is going into a stack for next year. Had a nice windfall of wood when a local factory cut some trees last week and left wood for locals.
1
summo on 14 Apr 2016
In reply to WildCamper:
> (modern huskys are rubbish)

would disagree, I run two 560xpg's, another several older ones. The first year they came out there were some issues, but they've all been ironed out. Bit excessive a saw for just chopping fire wood though.

I would buy the brand that your nearest hardware or garden store/centre sells that you normally buy things from. They'll have most knowledge of parts and problems with that brand and various models.

Even a two day course CS30, or 31 if you are flush, is more than worth the money and could potentially save your life.
Post edited at 17:13
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arch - on 14 Apr 2016
In reply to Baron Weasel:
Just did our refresher a couple of weeks ago. The instructor was raving about these.

http://oregoncordless.com/product/chain-saw-cs300/

The self sharpening gizmo was good and can be fitted to other saws. We had a go with it, just seemed weird. No noise, no starting, stopped very quickly. We use a Stihl MS180, nice saws.



Edit: Not much safety gear on the video.
Post edited at 20:08
Baron Weasel - on 14 Apr 2016
In reply to arch:

Ooooh, that looks nice! Bet it's out of my price range though.
RockAngel on 14 Apr 2016
In reply to Baron Weasel:
Safety gear and some training might be useful too so you don't have an accident. Saws are dangerous tools if you haven't had proper training. Knowing how to cut and log safely without incurring injuries to yourself, saw & environment is important
Dave - on 14 Apr 2016
In reply to Baron Weasel:

Bought my first saw a couple of years ago. I live in Finland which must have one of the highest chainsaw ownership rates anywhere (along with guns) and was recommended Stihl or Husqvarna and not to bother with a budget one. I bought a Husqvarna 435, which might be a bit over your budget but you can pick them up on Ebay, and it has been very good. I also bought protective trousers gloves and shoes, use an old helmet and face guard and read the safety and instruction manual very carefully and set off. The only other advice I would have in addition to whats said above is don't use it when you are tired or in a hurry.
1
LeeWood - on 14 Apr 2016
In reply to Baron Weasel:

What section - diameter is your firewood ? In France folks commonly use an elec circular saw kitted with a swing log holder. Are these available in UK?

https://www.leboncoin.fr/materiel_agricole/841467979.htm
Dave Cumberland - on 14 Apr 2016
In reply to Dandan82:
> I've owned and used a chainsaw for the last 2 years without incident but after reading this thread I've a strong urge to go on a course, I feel like its some kind of statistical anomaly that I still have a full complement of limbs...
At some point, everyone has a serious issue with a chainsaw, usually once. So much so that a friend of mine, a forester of 60 years experience, lecturer, private contractor - he refuses to use one.
If you play a musical instrument, climb fingery routes - think about a good bow saw, they are quick, sharp and easy.
I personally will not use a chain saw either.
They always bite back at some point, when it's too late.
Gimme a bow saw with a fresh blade.
DC

3
arch - on 14 Apr 2016
In reply to Baron Weasel:

I've got a pair of chainsaw wellies you can have FOC (we,re given boots now) trouble is there size 13.
Baron Weasel - on 15 Apr 2016
In reply to arch:

> I've got a pair of chainsaw wellies you can have FOC (we,re given boots now) trouble is there size 13.

Yes please! Being a size 13 is normally the bain of my feet's life

I will send you a message amigo!
TheDrunkenBakers - on 15 Apr 2016
In reply to Dave Cumberland:

Ive had two nasty accidents with a hatchet and saw recently, both which saw me in minor injury units (stupidly cutting logs and kindling when slighly worst for wear). My wife has put her foot down about a chain saw.

I use a bog standard saw and maul now which can be hard work but its satisfying and gives me exercise. Ive chopped a few tonnes now.

Ive tried bow saws but didnt get on with them.

Chainsaws are tools which demand respect. Im sure id have one accident but with a CS one is enough.
graeme jackson - on 15 Apr 2016
In reply to Baron Weasel:

can't recommend a chainsaw - mine's electric and we get our firewood delivered in builders bags already quartered anyway. However, I will recommend this for a really good read - 'Norwegian Wood: Chopping, Stacking and Drying Wood the Scandinavian Way'.

Get your wood in and seasoning now for next winter.
TheDrunkenBakers - on 15 Apr 2016
In reply to Baron Weasel:
> Recently had a wood burner fitted with a view to becoming self sufficient for our heating needs. I am currently using a hand saw to chop logs to fit in my car and then process further with an electric chainsaw when i get home. I have decided that the next step is to get a petrol chainsaw and could stretch to £150, but would prefer to spend less. I would prefer the saw was quieter if possible, but it is not essential.

> So UKC what are your experiences with budget chainsaws? Which are good and which should I avoid?

Yep, great read even if you arent into chopping wood yourself (Im a bit of a wood nerd) in a similar way that you can read and enjoy The Pictorial Guides without even setting foot in the lakes. He makes the whole process sound so therapeutic and some of the pictures of stacks are amazing.

Ive got three large stacks seasoning now and 2 cords of beech which I salvaged from a local development which needs to be logged and split ready to be seasoned. Some of the logs are as think as my trunk so will take some doing.
Post edited at 10:02
Rigid Raider - on 15 Apr 2016
In reply to Baron Weasel:

I bought a 33cc Ryobi chainsaw with a 14" bar off the internet and it does a pretty good job. The exhaust isn't too noisy and it can deal with some pretty big stuff as long as the chain is sharp. IIRC it cost about £140. Ryobi is not a fashionable or macho brand but I have a couple of Ryobi power tools and they work very well.

The next most destructive tool I own is a splitting maul, which is huge fun. Be sure to get one with a hickory handle, not plastic.
1
wbo - on 15 Apr 2016
In reply to LeeWood: These circular saws are much better for cutting to log lengh sections than a chainsaw.

LeeWood - on 15 Apr 2016
In reply to wbo:

but it would depend on the logs already being 'maniable' (can't think of english!) and smaller section
Jim Hamilton - on 15 Apr 2016
In reply to Rigid Raider:

> I have a couple of Ryobi power tools and they work very well.

That's one of the brands I won't buy! - had one of their jigsaws which was awful. Have a McCulloch chainsaw, bought years ago when B&Q stocked them, and it's been very good, although I'm sure someone will have reason to slate them!
MarkJH - on 15 Apr 2016
In reply to Baron Weasel:
> So UKC what are your experiences with budget chainsaws? Which are good and which should I avoid?

I bought a very cheap petrol chainsaw (spear & jackson I think) from argos about 5 years ago (£60-70) if I recall correctly. I don't use it that often, but has taken down 3 medium sized trees and a couple of smaller ones plus a reasonable amount of firewood cutting.

No real problems from it. Periodic maintenance only for the most part. I'm sure the build quality isn't quite up there with the premium brands, but in terms of value for money it has been very impressive. They don't get great reviews though, so maybe I have been lucky.
Post edited at 13:15
wintertree - on 15 Apr 2016
In reply to Baron Weasel:

I got a 35cc Titan with a 14" bar for £99 from Screwfix. It has happily helped me cut down, limb and log about 50 mature cypress leylandii. The blade needed sharpening and replacing once and we're not done logging yet.

When it comes to safety, training and gear or not, remember to always be mindful of what you are doing and to think about every action, be it a foot placement before cutting or making a cut. I have to work hard to stop my brain switching to full auto.

I use a circular saw for logging smaller branches and have more fun using the log splitting axe than I do the chainsaw...
summo on 15 Apr 2016
In reply to wintertree:
> When it comes to safety, training and gear or not, remember to always be mindful of what you are doing and to think about every action, be it a foot placement before cutting or making a cut. I have to work hard to stop my brain switching to full auto.

I think that many people come unstuck because they have this vision of how a chainsaw will help them effortlessly cut their wood in a dreamy haze, like the happy logger heading off into the forest care free, leaving the world behind. The reality is you have to be constantly alert and paying full attention to everything you do. If you are not accustomed to physical work, then using a saw properly for even a half a day is tough work, it is great for outdoor sports if you are cutting a lot, arms, shoulders, back and the core stability muscles get a good work out for many hours.

Whilst I've never had a chain snap, I've had one or two come off and worn a out a few bars where from front sprocket detaches into the bar. But, I don't run budget saws or chains, perhaps the odds of chain snapping increases with these. You really don't want to be stood badly, or looking over the top of the saw if you have 30" of chain whipping round. Or not wearing some protection.

Final recommendation, run your saw on Aspen2, much better for the environment, engine and the worker.
richprideaux - on 15 Apr 2016
In reply to Baron Weasel:

Chainsaws, as everybody says, are potentially quite dangerous. But so are angle grinders, table saws, circular saws, routers and every other tool that involves bits of sharp metal moving quickly near human flesh, and they don't get anywhere near the clamour for training and "leave it alone" that chainsaws get... Not understanding the physics at work, being lazy with regards to sharpening and maintenance and the dreaded "I'll just do this quickly!" are the things that really bugger up your future as a fully-limbed human being, not the tool itself.

Stihl and Husqvarna are the biggest brands and the best dealer/spares chain with more information available online, but they are not necessarily the most reliable. The most reliable saw I've owned or used has been a Timberpro ( http://www.timberpro-uk.com/ ). The bar and chain that comes with it is rubbish but if you buy the Oregon equivalents you will have a fairly decent combo for home and light use. If it costs a third of the equivalent Husky or Stihl but only lasts half as long then you've probably done OK.

Spend the money you've saved on decent kit (including some Celox and a CAT tourniquet and a first aid course) and some training on cross-cutting and felling, and do everything slowly. A small branch under load (trapped under the tree that you are trying to clear) can easily spring back with enough force to break your nose or kick the saw into somewhere you don't want. Don't work alone, don't work in poor light or when tired, do things methodically and clear yourself a good working area.
1
Rick Graham on 15 Apr 2016
In reply to richprideaux:

A tree surgeon once explained to me why they nickname Sycamore trees " the Widowmaker ".
1
jimjimjim on 15 Apr 2016
In reply to richprideaux:

None of those tools you mentioned are anyway near as dangerous as a petrol chainsaw. Sure there's risks with all power tools but the potential for damage when kissed by a chainsaw is flesh rippingly massive. They deserve the highest form of skill and caution when being used.
1
summo on 15 Apr 2016
In reply to richprideaux:
> The most reliable saw I've owned or used has been a Timberpro ( http://www.timberpro-uk.com/ ). The bar and chain that comes with it is rubbish but if you buy the Oregon equivalents you will have a fairly decent combo for home and light use. If it costs a third of the equivalent Husky or Stihl but only lasts half as long then you've probably done OK.

I knew a few who've tried having timberpros as their second saw, most claim they lack the power of their equiv engine size in better brands, have more vibration and require some odd fuel/oil mixes which prevents aspen use. For a few days cutting firewood a year, then of course none of this makes any difference. As the saw will still out live the irregular user. I also like the little luxuries of heated handles, easy chain tightening, easy start etc..

> Spend the money you've saved on decent kit (including some Celox and a CAT tourniquet and a first aid course) and some training on cross-cutting and felling, and do everything slowly. A small branch under load (trapped under the tree that you are trying to clear) can easily spring back with enough force to break your nose or kick the saw into somewhere you don't want. Don't work alone, don't work in poor light or when tired, do things methodically and clear yourself a good working area.

Would agree not working with poor light, most of us have helmets that take head torches and many chainsaw ones do now as well, so there are no excuses.

Tourniquets I think are the one thing that could save my life if it ever goes wrong(that and a mobile phone in service), I often work alone and remote, any error is going to result in a serious bleed. But, I don't take any risks. I never chance my arm if the wind is blowing hard from the wrong direction, just hoping it will still go. Windblown I never work alone and generally use the arm on the trailer as much as possible for the really tensioned stuff. For stuff that might be 50/50 how I want it to go, I use a winch, so know exactly where it will go and when. Even if I'm popping out to just cut something quick, 5 mins work, I always wear trousers and boots. It's not the kind of game where you can get away with many mistakes and I prefer to stack the odds in my favour.

I have friends that have never done a course who only use saws for cutting firewood etc.. several of them have nicks out of their chainsaw trousers!
Post edited at 18:31
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richprideaux - on 15 Apr 2016
In reply to jimjimjim:

I'd beg to differ on the angle grinder (or any of them, particularly the ones people use near their faces or their groins) having first-hand seen the aftermath of an arbocutter biting into the thigh of somebody working on the same site. They also don't have kickback brakes or require their users to wear kevlar, and they do bite people quite often.
1
richprideaux - on 15 Apr 2016
In reply to summo:


> I have friends that have never done a course who only use saws for cutting firewood etc.. several of them have nicks out of their chainsaw trousers!

I'd be curious to know if any of them have experience working with power tools, particularly ones with big rotating blades?
2
summo on 15 Apr 2016
In reply to richprideaux:
> I'd be curious to know if any of them have experience working with power tools, particularly ones with big rotating blades?

I spent Tues and Thurs this week cutting planks and beams for various building projects, in a sawmill, unshielded circular blade of roughly 1.4m in height, with 650mm cutting height. Was cutting cut through a 6m long, 500mm deep log, long ways in about 5-6 secs. The biggest stuff I've even done on this 7.5m long 4"x10" for a roof. It will cut much thicker than 650mm, but once you've gone through the log, you have to finish the cut standing over it with a chainsaw.

Does this qualify?

Or my 3 phase bench saw at home, grinders that cut or sharpen, routers they are pretty good too, various hand held circular saws, a belt driven circular saw on a frame with rocker for cutting logs for fire wood...

Should I go on?

I have a duetz hay spinner, it spins around too?

ps. if you hit your trousers with a chainsaw, it's a sign you've been doing something very wrong and should get some training, or have someone watch you and see how you move etc..

EDIT - forgot my tiger saw, there might be more yet. I'll keep thinking.
Post edited at 20:02
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richprideaux - on 15 Apr 2016
In reply to summo:

I asked if THEY (your friends who haven't been on a course but keep hitting their legs) had any experience...
1
summo on 15 Apr 2016
In reply to richprideaux:
> I asked if THEY (your friends who haven't been on a course but keep hitting their legs) had any experience...

one is a paramedic who should know better, another a pilot who you would hope possessed both common sense and good eye / hand control.

The difference with a chainsaw and other power tools, is the potential for any injury causing you to bleed out very quickly. Most other power tools aren't as heavy, don't have such exposed moving parts and not cutting objects which are prone to moving... I could go on.

If you think people are above the need for training in using a chainsaw, that's fine, I simply think it's an accident waiting to happen.

I'm quite happy using a huge range of tools and but I still learnt something on my course, although it was 10 or so years ago now. A refresher or a day cutting with someone just off a course wouldn't harm.
Post edited at 20:08
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richprideaux - on 15 Apr 2016
In reply to summo:

I think you should re-read my posts before reacting to this one...

Chainsaws are dangerous tools - but lots of other powered cutting tools can be in the hands of novice users. A good portion of people who want a chainsaw for home use will have only used something like a cordless drill, a jigsaw or a lawnmower before they bought that woodburner/need to drop that small tree and so on. Regardless of how good they may be at their job, they may not yet know that spinning blades have a gyroscopic force, or that some materials can kick back if they are under tension when being cut through. So training is a very good idea (as I recommended in my first post)

> one is a paramedic who should know better, another a pilot who you would hope possessed both common sense and good eye / hand control.

See above.

> The difference with a chainsaw and other power tools, is the potential for any injury causing you to bleed out very quickly. Most other power tools aren't as heavy, don't have such exposed moving parts and not cutting objects which are prone to moving... I could go on.

Lots do have exposed parts, and safety systems are often removed, not fitted or modified/broken by users without realising what the stakes are. Older tools (the sort you might get cheap on eBay) may not have had them fitted in the first place. Chainsaws are just worse because they have more power and are always uncovered, as you quite rightly say.

> If you think people are above the need for training in using a chainsaw, that's fine, I simply think it's an accident waiting to happen.

I think I said exactly the opposite of that...

> I'm quite happy using a huge range of tools and but I still learnt something on my course, although it was 10 or so years ago now. A refresher or a day cutting with someone just off a course wouldn't harm.

Indeed. There are still certain tools in my workshop (table saw and band saw) where I stop and have a couple of seconds to check I've done everything properly before turning them on or putting wood to them.

1
wintertree - on 15 Apr 2016
In reply to summo:

> If you think people are above the need for training in using a chainsaw, that's fine, I simply think it's an accident waiting to happen.

I'm with you in spirit, but a bug-bear of mine with the modern world is this insistence on "training" - there are a great many potentially very dangerous things that intelligent adults are quite capable of learning through some combination of independent study, thought, careful experimentation and peer interaction. The modern world increasingly impinges on this with the concept of "training" being The One True Way.

I would say its possible with many skills to be beside the need for training, rather than above it. Edit: That's not to speak against a training course - a good course can be a much faster way of picking up skills and getting feedback on technique and safety.

Climbing is a nice example, come to think of it. How many climbers die in fatal accidents climbing? How many climbers die in fatal accidents with the occasional chainsaw usage? How many climbers take formal training in climbing? Okay, clearly there are some dodgy assumptions at work in my thinking here...
Post edited at 20:26
1
wintertree - on 15 Apr 2016
In reply to richprideaux:

> or that some materials can kick back if they are under tension when being cut through

I was reminded of this when cutting away small brambles below knee level with long handled hand shears. One of the brambles was restraining a two meter long ash sapling (~1 cm diameter at the base) that turned out to be under a surprising amount of tension and whipped me in the eyeball. After letting the eyeball return it its natural shape (2 hours) so that I could focus again I still had double vision; one homemade a little slit lamp and it was apparent I had been whipped/cut across my cornea.

Luckily the cornea heels very well, and without any scaring.

Gardening is surprisingly dangerous...
1
TheDrunkenBakers - on 15 Apr 2016
In reply to Baron Weasel:

What I have found too when using simple hand saws and a splitting maul is that one should be sawing and splitting the wood as soon as is possible.

Cutting already seasoned logs will drive you mad and blunt your tools.
1
richprideaux - on 15 Apr 2016
In reply to wintertree:

It happened to a friend of mine (an eminent geologist). He was helping somebody clear a few small fallen trees and ended up with a zygomatic fracture and a face that is now a little less even than it was. The branch was about an inch thick...
1
TheDrunkenBakers - on 15 Apr 2016
In reply to richprideaux:

> Chainsaws are dangerous tools - but lots of other powered cutting tools can be in the hands of novice users. A good portion of people who want a chainsaw for home use will have only used something like a cordless drill, a jigsaw or a lawnmower before they bought that woodburner/need to drop that small tree and so on. Regardless of how good they may be at their job, they may not yet know that spinning blades have a gyroscopic force, or that some materials can kick back if they are under tension when being cut through. So training is a very good idea (as I recommended in my first post)

Hahahaha, that's me all over. Im pretty good at DIY and have lots of common sense however my judgement fails when Ive had a glass of red or two and then that's it, Im off into my large wood shed armed with dangerous steel things and a wireless. One incident involved a gruesome cut across my thigh and one involved a very painful bash across my opposite hand with a freshly sharpened hatchet which went clean through my leather gloves and resulted in a broken metacarpal and lots of blood.

Id love a chainsaw but my wife has strictly forbidden me. I think she's probably being wise.

LeeWood - on 15 Apr 2016
In reply to wintertree:

> this insistence on "training"

Interesting that in France there is NO insistence on training, or indeed PPE. Top-handle chainsaws or commonly acquired for processing wood at home. When I first trained up I was zealous in following best practice at all times - but since coming abroad I've got pretty slack. In truth I think UK regs are OTT ... and that the french are lax ie. reality lies between. There is significant difference between processing firewood at home and working in forestry or tree surgery. A few basic rules would cover users in simple use at home.
1
Baron Weasel - on 15 Apr 2016
In reply to graeme jackson:

Yep, I am going to buy Norwegian Wood. It came onto my radar recently and your review seals the deal. How are you anyway Graeme? Did I see that you'd left the band?
Baron Weasel - on 15 Apr 2016
In reply to TheDrunkenBakers:

You should look at getting a one man x cut. I acquired a 1930's one similar to the one from how it's made: x cut saw. It just requires a triangular file to keep it sharp. I'm not too keen on bow saws either. I have used Japanese pull saws and and they cut fast and clean for smaller stuff, but just don't have big enough blades for big stuff.
Baron Weasel - on 16 Apr 2016
In reply to all: Thanks for all the input, even from my dislike stalker! Think I am going to wait until I have some proper safety gear and some lessons from my mate before I chainsaw again.

Arch has said he will try to find some second hand stuff for me FOC so in the spirit of what goes around I will make a donation to Clapham CRO. Regarding which saw to buy, the seed has been planted for an Oregon cordless electric if I can get Mrs W's approval, if not I'll go for a Husqvarna 236.

Spent some time watching a Stihl safety video and it reckoned that the average number of stitches for a chainsaw accident is 110, so stay safe fellow wood cutters!
1
TheDrunkenBakers - on 16 Apr 2016
In reply to Baron Weasel:

> You should look at getting a one man x cut.

From where?

Baron Weasel - on 16 Apr 2016
In reply to TheDrunkenBakers:

Thomas Flinn and Co, Sheffield ;-)
Baron Weasel - on 16 Apr 2016
In reply to TheDrunkenBakers:

Watch the how it's made on youtube, basically they are medieval chainsaws!
Gerry_Doncaster - on 16 Apr 2016
In reply to jimjimjim:

> Agreed, you only have one accident with a chainsaw.

> I to would highly recommend a entry level chainsaw course. There's lots of little thing you can do to make it safer to use which is always a good thing. Basic maintenance is also covered. Buying and using a chainsaw is a serious thing and should not be taken lightly.

Very valid points. Supposedly in the aftermath of the great storm of 1987 casualty wards across the South East were inundated with people who had severed limbs using chainsaws they'd bought/hired/borrowed without training or safety gear to clear up fallen trees in their gardens.
LeeWood - on 16 Apr 2016
In reply to Gerry_Doncaster:

So, dealing with storm toppled trees and shrubs chaotically tangled with other objects/materials is a different proposition to cutting logs in your backyard.
Baron Weasel - on 16 Apr 2016
In reply to LeeWood:

Of course they are, but I for one found it an interesting point. Trying to say they are the same is like saying watching porn and visiting a brothel are the same, though both carry the risk of harming a relationship, just to different degrees ;-)


Moley on 16 Apr 2016
In reply to Baron Weasel:

When I started to use a chainsaw I was about 21 years old and got a job with a firm of forestry contractors in the South (early 1970s). In those days we had no instruction and no safety gear - though encouraged to buy your own steel toecap boots rather than without toecaps!
After a while we were simply given a McCulloch (our gang favoured Macs, others gangs used different makes) and off we went, needless to say there were quite a few accidents and copious quantities of blood. Some people you just knew were going to cut themselves, having no concentration or appreciation of the danger. I saw some nasty accidents.
Later we were given helmets and advised to use them, but it took a while before we all accepted them , a bit like the first car seat belts. I never had other kit and cut myself once, thankfully not badly but very, very close, a wake up call. I was also climbing on a tree surgery gang and the climber for our gang when roping trees, usually without a harness or any safety gear. I have no idea how I survived.
When I bought my own chainsaw years later, the first thing I did was buy full safety equipment and have always used it. I've seen enough blood thanks.
Seocan - on 16 Apr 2016
In reply to Dandan82:

dandan82, you and me both. I have the helmet , mask and ear muffs, but as i only cut logs on my saw horse i never saw the need for anything else. I appreciate they're dangerous but so are many things when handled carelessly.
Having said that I too might look into a course (if only to learn how to sharpen, as i put mine to a dealer to get it done) as the tone of this thread is definately one sided.
jimjimjim on 16 Apr 2016
In reply to Seocan:

I thimk with chainsaws when logging that trousers are the most important thing. I bought some chaps with a helmet and gloves from amazon for about 60 quid. No brainer
1
LeeWood - on 16 Apr 2016
In reply to Baron Weasel:

What a bizarre analogy - I won't dare to guess its origin :D

I would have used: its the difference between driving a vehicle ... around town OR offroad in challenging terrain
LeeWood - on 16 Apr 2016
In reply to Seocan:

So you're cutting wood at a sawhorse; chainsaw pants aren't relevant but a helmet is ???
Seocan - on 17 Apr 2016
In reply to LeeWood:

sorry leewood, i didnt realise i had said, relevant, oh thats right, i didnt.
the helmet has a face guard which keeps the bits out of my face.
jimjimjim on 17 Apr 2016
In reply to Seocan:

Yeah but you obviously think they're not relevant by not wearing any. Your choice of course.
Baron Weasel - on 17 Apr 2016
In reply to jimjimjim:

I'm with you on this ^ jim. This thread has highlighted my ignorance and as such have ceased using my chainsaw until such time as i have the right gear. If in light of what I've learned I had an accident without the right gear I'd be a proper dumbass.
Baron Weasel - on 17 Apr 2016
In reply to Baron Weasel:

Just ordered an Oregon cs300. Way over budget, but not having to deal with two stroke fuel or fumes, quiet running and self sharpening chain seem worth the investment. Arch has kindly offered me some hand me down PPE and in return I'm going to donate £20 to brain injury recovery charity www.birdcharity.org.uk/
My mate has also said he will give me some training so happy days!
LeeWood - on 17 Apr 2016
In reply to Baron Weasel:

> If in light of what I've learned I had an accident without the right gear I'd be a proper dumbass.

but in fact - the same case for anyone who climbs without a helmet, sport or multipitch
1
Toccata on 18 Apr 2016
In reply to Baron Weasel:

Having used a chainsaw for 25 years (without incident) and in possession of helmet/eyes/gloves/trousers/boots I thought I was pretty safe. Reading this thread has made me realise I'm in the 'experienced but untrained' which I'm sure is up there with 'accident waiting to happen'. Does anyone know of basic skills courses that last half a day or even a day? Unfortunately a 2 day course would not be possible.
TheDrunkenBakers - on 18 Apr 2016
In reply to Baron Weasel:


> Thomas Flinn and Co, Sheffield ;-)

Blimey. They must be good at that price.

Baron Weasel - on 18 Apr 2016
In reply to TheDrunkenBakers:

I've got one that's I think is around 80 years old and can still cut 2' oak branches so it's a case of buy right, buy once.
Alex Riley on 18 Apr 2016
In reply to Baron Weasel:

The guy running my saw course had one that was mangled to bits and ancient that we had to list 20 or so faults. After doing this he asked what we would do with it. We also said scrap it, he said for £80 worth of parts it would run fine.

It hade been run over by a landy also..
summo on 18 Apr 2016
In reply to Baron Weasel:

> Just ordered an Oregon cs300. Way over budget, but not having to deal with two stroke fuel or fumes,

too late now, but new saws will run on aspen2, so no oil mixing, it runs less hot so the engines like it and has much kinder fumes for the user.
summo on 18 Apr 2016
In reply to Seocan:

> dandan82, you and me both. I have the helmet , mask and ear muffs, but as i only cut logs on my saw horse

I still wear full gear. If I'm cutting I don't want to be distracted by a log landing on my toes etc.. so boots all the way. Gloves are pretty critical too, they help reduce vibration and it's the only thing that will save the back of your hands if a chain ever comes off (rare, but not impossible), that is why the padding on the back of one glove is thicker than the other. Trousers are a given too.
Morgan Woods - on 18 Apr 2016
In reply to Baron Weasel:

I have recently acquired a Stihl MS180 and for a small saw it can comfortably get through logs up to a foot or so in diameter. It cost me about $200 second hand so I imagine it might be half that in your fancy British pounds and could be a good budget option.
Timmd on 18 Apr 2016
In reply to Baron Weasel:
Stihl 260 saws seem to be common on ebay and their spare parts do too, my chainsaw instructor up near Goole said that when he eventually got proper training after using chainsaws from growing up on the family farm he rather wondered how he'd managed to stay alive, with us already being on the course having paid to be there I don't think it was marketing talk. It may be a bit over powered for what you want I guess, but with a sharp chain you wouldn't be trying to force the saw to cut through things - which wouldn't be a bad thing.

A refurbished 260 for around £250 would probably be a fairly decent buy if it came with a newish chain and guide bar too. Always maintain 100% focus.
Post edited at 15:23
Timmd on 18 Apr 2016
In reply to summo:
> too late now, but new saws will run on aspen2, so no oil mixing, it runs less hot so the engines like it and has much kinder fumes for the user.

I remember one of the people who helped to train me, an 'old woodsman' type who checks that chainsaw instruction is being done correctly, used Aspen 2 in his husky chainsaw, the amount of anecdotes and information he came out with made me realise how much that going on a course is only really the start of gaining knowledge to do with chain sawing and learning about how wood can behave. IIRC it's ash which can occasionally split along it's length up the trunk while it's being cut, and break your leg or throw you backwards depending on the size of the tree.
Post edited at 15:24
summo on 18 Apr 2016
In reply to Timmd:
>. IIRC it's ash which can occasionally split along it's length up the trunk while it's being cut, and break your leg or throw you backwards depending on the size of the tree.

some folk call it a barbers chair, because of the way it splits, tilts and then swings or tips back. Wind blown, damaged, leaning, tensioned trees of any type can do this and the traditional safe places to stand tend to go out the window. Better to give it legs in the opposite direction if you see it starting to go, it's too late and nothing will stop it. It's not common and generally preventable, but once is potentially enough to stop you ever working again. Bound to be some videos on youtube of near misses.

In Sweden if you work on other people's land you can aren't allowed to use a chainsaw without being qualified now and if you work on wind blown stuff (on your own or anybody elses land) you can't work alone.
Post edited at 16:10
Bjartur i Sumarhus on 18 Apr 2016
In reply to summo:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CUIpFeXT6QM

at 4.10secs

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PLEBOfp4OlSasVPwOWMmXGc4Y0PUOMxjlT

I think they could do with some training
Post edited at 16:57
Timmd on 19 Apr 2016
In reply to Toccata:

> Having used a chainsaw for 25 years (without incident) and in possession of helmet/eyes/gloves/trousers/boots I thought I was pretty safe. Reading this thread has made me realise I'm in the 'experienced but untrained' which I'm sure is up there with 'accident waiting to happen'. Does anyone know of basic skills courses that last half a day or even a day? Unfortunately a 2 day course would not be possible.

I wonder if you could pay somebody to come to you?
Timmd on 19 Apr 2016
In reply to Seocan:
> dandan82, you and me both. I have the helmet , mask and ear muffs, but as i only cut logs on my saw horse i never saw the need for anything else. I appreciate they're dangerous but so are many things when handled carelessly.

> Having said that I too might look into a course (if only to learn how to sharpen, as i put mine to a dealer to get it done) as the tone of this thread is definately one sided.

You'd find a forum full of people who do chain sawing for a living similarly one sided too to be honest.
Post edited at 00:58
Timmd on 19 Apr 2016
In reply to Dave Cumberland:
> At some point, everyone has a serious issue with a chainsaw, usually once. So much so that a friend of mine, a forester of 60 years experience, lecturer, private contractor - he refuses to use one.

> If you play a musical instrument, climb fingery routes - think about a good bow saw, they are quick, sharp and easy.
> I personally will not use a chain saw either.
> They always bite back at some point, when it's too late.
> Gimme a bow saw with a fresh blade.

I'm wondering how much might be to do with the chainsaws, and how much might be to do with things like the fact that most accidents with them happen (and other kinds I suppose) after 2pm in the afternoon - meaning it's to do with human quirks while doing something dangerous? I definitely know of a few people in their 60's who've not had an accident with them.
Post edited at 01:14
LeeWood - on 19 Apr 2016
In reply to Timmd:

> Stihl 260 saws

I have an MS250 which has been fine mostly during 10+ yrs. However it has a 'no-spanner' mechanism for getting at the chain/bar. Avoid these - much more secure with bolts and actually less fiddly in the end.

summo on 19 Apr 2016
In reply to Timmd:

> I'm wondering how much might be to do with the chainsaws, and how much might be to do with things like the fact that most accidents with them happen (and other kinds I suppose) after 2pm in the afternoon - meaning it's to do with human quirks while doing something dangerous? I definitely know of a few people in their 60's who've not had an accident with them.

I think there is some wisdom in that. In Autumn or early winter, I'll only cut for a few hours, slowly getting the muscles accustomed, a tired body general encourages lazy practice. In full winter, I'll cut all day, but take breaks and if tired I'll start driving wood out, if feeling good I'll keep cutting. But, then I'm my own boss and don't have someone breathing down my neck to do more.

Also though there is the unseen, damage and rot within a tree, change in wind direction, there are clues but it's not 100%, so you need to cut in a fashion that leaves a margin for the unforeseen. I bit like in the mountains something just tells the back of your mind you are going off route, a sixth sense built on experience.
Jenny C on 19 Apr 2016
In reply to Baron Weasel:

As others have said factor in the cost of PPE, at the very least you need:
Trousers (I think other half just paid around £75?), or chaps
Ear and eye protection (earplugs and safety glasses are sufficient)
Alex Riley on 19 Apr 2016
In reply to Jenny C:

Ideally you should be working as if you were a professional, it's no use saying the minimum you need is this if the information isn't necessarily correct. If you can't wait until you can afford the ppe, perhaps think hard about whether you have the skills necessary to operate a saw.

This is what you should be aiming for:
http://www.hse.gov.uk/treework/safety-topics/chainppe.htm
1
Timmd on 19 Apr 2016
In reply to summo:
> I think there is some wisdom in that. In Autumn or early winter, I'll only cut for a few hours, slowly getting the muscles accustomed, a tired body general encourages lazy practice. In full winter, I'll cut all day, but take breaks and if tired I'll start driving wood out, if feeling good I'll keep cutting. But, then I'm my own boss and don't have someone breathing down my neck to do more.

> Also though there is the unseen, damage and rot within a tree, change in wind direction, there are clues but it's not 100%, so you need to cut in a fashion that leaves a margin for the unforeseen. I bit like in the mountains something just tells the back of your mind you are going off route, a sixth sense built on experience.

It was the person in charge of the chainsaw course I went on who told us that most accidents happen after 2pm, it's stuck in my mind ever since for whenever I'm doing something practical. It was Andrew Morton near Goole for anybody whom that's handy for in the UK. Whatever you need to learn about for working outdoors which requires a ticket, he seems to run a course on it.

With the OP needing it for cutting up fire wood rather than cutting down trees, it may remove one element of uncertainty, with him not having to think about cutting down trees which could do something unpredictable. If his chainsaw is well maintained, I guess he only really has himself to think about to do with if he's feeling alert, and about cutting his wood in a safe and methodical way.
Post edited at 23:59
Seocan - on 20 Apr 2016
In reply to summo:
cheers summo and timmd, good answers,
as theyre only 60quid i'll maybe get work to get me a pair anyway
Post edited at 20:26

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