Chainsaws — Can We Talk?

I’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 windfallen 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 facemask. (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.

   PS I always sharpen the teeth after use, so it’s ready when I next pick it up.

About Lloyd Kahn

Lloyd Kahn started building his own home in the early '60s and went on to publish books showing homeowners how they could build their own homes with their own hands. He got his start in publishing by working as the shelter editor of the Whole Earth Catalog with Stewart Brand in the late '60s. He has since authored six highly-graphic books on homemade building, all of which are interrelated. The books, "The Shelter Library Of Building Books," include Shelter, Shelter II (1978), Home Work (2004), Builders of the Pacific Coast (2008), Tiny Homes (2012), and Tiny Homes on the Move (2014). Lloyd operates from Northern California studio built of recycled lumber, set in the midst of a vegetable garden, and hooked into the world via five Mac computers. You can check out videos (one with over 450,000 views) on Lloyd by doing a search on YouTube:

4 Responses to Chainsaws — Can We Talk?

  1. Kev Alviti says:

    I must admit its one tool I always go all out for safety on as you don't get a second chance. I alwasys wear a helmet and the proper trousers and never try to rush what I'm doing. Good advice though.

  2. daltxguy says:

    and chainsaw chaps and steel toed boots.
    Too many people use a chainsaw like a handsaw. Those teeth are moving at 70mph!

  3. Anonymous says:

    Glad you're unscathed, Lloyd!

  4. bayrider says:

    Nothing like a chainsaw for dangerously thrilling satisfaction, I love using my Farm Boss to cut up deadfall oaks on our property. Then I split it up by hand over the summer, also very satisfying.

Leave a Reply

Please use your real name instead of your company name or keyword spam.