Chainsaw Safety

It is firewood cutting season here in the Moab Valley. We thought it would be timely to post  a series of chainsaw tips for all of you do it your self-ers out there.
I started running a chainsaw when I was 12 or so. A hurricane came through and knocked down about 20 large trees at our house and I got to stay home from school and cut wood. In the mean time I have learned a lot, from other professionals as well as Matt our Stihl dealer. 
90% of chainsaw work is preparation and safety.
It doesn’t matter how good you are, if you run a saw long enough you will come in contact with a running chain. 
Safety is several parts:
Gear- chaps, helmet, sturdy shoes, glasses. These are a must. Otherwise you are just being dumb. 
Headspace- Go slow, take your time, make sure your saw is in top shape, your in top shape, and that you know what you are doing and what is going to happen.
Environment- Make sure that the area around you is safe- trip hazards, snags, other people. 
Prep your saw before you go out to cut. Has it been a while since it fired? Get it running at home so that you are ready.
Tip #1 - if you do not run a chainsaw every day you should use a pre-mix gasoline.  Pre-Mix is more expensive but has a better shelf life at home and in your tank. Pre-mixed fuel does not use ethanol so you avoid the carburetor issues that send most occasional use saws to the dealer and it delivers more power, making your work easier. 
A check list for your saw :
mix fuel
bar oil
a sharp chain
a back up chain
Scrench (chain tool)
A clean bar
The chain is taught but not overly tight (it should pull out about 1/8” from the bar)
The air filter is clean
the spark plug is good and snug
Starting the saw is always a tough one. Follow these steps:
Make sure the chain break is on
Choke it and pull until you hear a quick fire (not running but movement)
Know your saw (they all behave differently) but if you pull more that 6 or so times you may flood it- Switch it off and continue to pull the cord clearing the cylinder then back to choke or on and pull. repeat this process until it starts
Upon running, disengage the chain break and point the tip down towards the ground and run full throttle until you see oil mist off the tip and form a line on the ground- now you have good oil. 
check the chain tension (chain tension is important so that the chain does not come off but also so that the cut is straight and does not bind
make cuts close to the saw body- not the tip. 
More on cutting and felling later
Triassic planning a series of workshops and a chainsaw giveaway soon. Look for dates in the coming weeks

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