Advice for chainsaw users.

rdaystromDecember 28, 2007

Most chainsaw users (myself included) do not realize at first how fragile the cutting ability of a chainsaw is. The first time I used a chainsaw I thought it could cut anything. My brother told me about dirt and it took a few years before I realized how right he was. Dirt on a chainsaw chain is like throwing water on a fire. Here's what happens. You get a tree down and start cutting it up and pretty soon the saw is cutting through the log and close to the ground. Most people get somewhat careful at this point and try not to get the saw in the dirt but it almost always touches the dirt. Guess what? You just lost 50% of your sharpness. One micro second in the dirt, one touch of the tip of the saw in the dirt, and it's pretty much over. It will still cut but not as fast. Raise the log up on something, roll it some, or whatever it takes to cut it without EVER touching dirt. You have to treat the chain like it's a bomb and if it touches dirt your dead.

A chainsaw that is running good, has a sharp, tight, and well lubed chain will cut all day and tomorrow without a problem except to refill the oil, gas, and maybe a tension adjustment. My neighbor's son-in-law had a brand new saw out there trying to cut some ice storm damaged tree limbs. After cutting a few limbs on the ground and cutting into the dirt a few inches he spent the next thirty minutes trying to saw an 8 inch pecan tree limb off. It was funny to say the least. It was smoking so bad I thought he would catch the tree on fire. I couldn't stand it. I carried my $75 Craftsman over there sharp and ready and cut that limb off for him in about 10 seconds. You know what? He never changed. He never figured it out. Later he spent a month cutting up another fallen tree that way. Listen folks. Get your saw sharp, tight, and well lubed, and it will cut great for a long time if you never, never, never touch dirt. Did I emphasize the dirt thing enough? Any dirt will do your saw in. Got that? Oh careful. That saw will cut a groove in your leg or arm 4 inches deep in the time it takes to say Huh on the word Husqvarna. Be careful!

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canguy(British Columbia)

A sharp properly tensioned chain is the most important part of the saw as with any other cutting tool. It is designed to cut clean wood only, not dirt, nails, brick, wire, the driveway or anything else.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2007 at 9:51AM
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gator_rider2(z8 Ga.)

I worked with group of 25 crews logging in southeast 36 years a chainsaw will cut 5 hours with one sharpen pine are hardwood size makes no difference wood are saw lunch time need a resharpening 3 stokes eat tooth. chain guide tool is needed some guides don't cut away aneff metal away to get long saw dust chip hardwood 1 1/2 to 3 inches pine 3 to 4 inches in chip pile from saw not all just some. You use the back thumb nail check point on chisel sharpnest if trys cut into nail its sharp if slides its dull. All new chains come with poor sharpening there sharpen with rocks files are best.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2007 at 10:49AM
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masiman(z7 VA)

Once you take down the stem and even the branches, try to clean off any dirt that might have gotten lodged in the bark. It's nice if you have a hose around for this. Otherwise look for a clean section to cut.

If you do enough cutting on larger pieces think about getting a cant hook. A peavey is a cant hook with a pointed spear tip. I understand the peavey to be useful for loggers moving wood in water.

They do make a tool similar to a cant hook called a "timberjack". A hand timberjack is used to lift a log up out of the dirt for cutting.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2007 at 1:47PM
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Very good advice IMO, Only thing I can add is even if you don't touch dirt you saw should never be put up without a few strokes with the file on the teeth and cleaning out the bar for good oiling. No oil equals hot chain, hot chain is a smoking dull chain. IMO they go hand in hand. This especially applies to the home owner saws. They IMO are not going to cut till noon like the pro's saws do before they need attention. IMO you can tell if the chain is sharp by the way it cuts and leave chips.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2007 at 8:06PM
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turnage(z7a TX)

Cheapest tool I ever made was a bar groove cleaner from a wood clothes pin. Couple of cuts with a pocket knife and you're in business.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2007 at 6:24AM
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A peavey is useful for moving logs anytime that you need to seperate the logs from others, that is what the point is for. A cant hook is more aptly used on a sawmill, where cants are made and handled. I know that many people use the cant hook in place of a peavey but they are only making their work harder.

BTW, it should be understood that hosing down logs that have been dragged is only going to be marginally effective as dirt will be embedded in the bark and will not wash off. Sometimes it is more practical to remove really dirty bark but it`s always a good idea to cut with the chain pushing or pulling the dirt away from the wood rather than cutting so the dirt is dragged all the way through the cut.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2007 at 9:28AM
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masiman(z7 VA)

Hey barbedwire,

I have never used either a cant or a peavey. Is there any difference other than the spear point? I can't see how the point would be useful if I were only working on the ground and not with floaters. It seems like the spear would get in the way of rolling on the ground. I am pretty sure you have to roll toward the spear. Very curious because I will probably need to pick one up this year. I was thinking 36", maybe 48".

I agree about the washing of the dirt off. In typically only works with loamy type soil. Forget about getting clay off. Great point about not pulling the dirt through the cut.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2007 at 2:00PM
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Hey masiman,

No the point doesn`t get in the way when rolling a log. Approach the log with the handle of the peavey between 45° and parallel to the ground with the hook hanging down and shove the handle forward as you contact the log so engage the hook, now push up using mostly your legs and the log rolls. You do roll towards the point for log rolling. The point is essential for getting between tightly jammed logs.

I know that some guys prefer a cant hook to a peavey for log rolling but I expect that is probably due to never using a peavey, or log hook. I`ve used and own both and I prefer the peavey for the reasons stated.

When buying a hook get the longest that is comfortable and handy for your average work. This is usually somewhere between 48" to 60". The relatively new LogRite brand tools are quite nice but then there is nothing wrong with the wooden handled ones if you don`t leave them out in the weather for extended periods.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2007 at 3:34PM
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