Chainsaws: Can We Talk?

| 12/12/2013 9:41:00 AM

helmetI've been using chainsaws for many years, have probably owned 5 or 6. These days it's a Stihl Woodboss MS270, 24" bar. Every year I pick up mostly wind-felled oak on country roads, haul it home, cut it into stove-size lengths, then rent a splitter for a day and stockpile a year's or more worth of firewood. I used chainsaws extensively in the '60s and '70s, cutting up redwood (from the beaches or wind-fallen trees in the woods) into bolts, and which I then split into shakes. Point is, I've had a lot of chainsaw experience.

The other day I was sawing through a piece of wood on the woodpile and as I finished the cut, the blade hit a log below it and snapped back towards my face. It sent a chill of adrenaline that I felt somehow in my ears.

Very scary.

I was wearing my Husqvarna helmet, which combines skull protection, ear guards, and a metal mesh face mask. (I've only been using the helmet the last few years, prompted by a log rolling down the hill and knocking me down — I should have had one of these helmets all along.)

This time the blade didn't reach my face, but if it had, the mask would've stopped it from carving up flesh.

I urge you chain saw users: get one of these; $50 or so. Play it safe, please. The more hours you've operated chainsaws, the more the chance of a freak accident. Experience doesn't make you invulnerable.

P.S. I always sharpen the teeth after use, so it's ready when I next pick it up.

12/17/2013 3:44:27 PM

I totally agree that users should wear a cutting helmet when operating a chain saw. However, the mesh on the cutters helmet is not desgined to stop anything but the woodchips. In fact the Operator's Manual will recommend safety galssesbe worn under the helmet at all times.

12/16/2013 11:01:05 AM

I could not agree more. Safety is often overlooked, but should be the first thing to consider when working with such dangerous equipment. I found some good information about head-to-toe protection in this article: Pretty good advice for full body protection.

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