How to use a chainsaw correctly. Tangential cut

The secrets of chain saw handling

A chainsaw is one of the essential tools of the off-road traveler. But does everybody know how to use it correctly?? Just in case, we decided to refresh the basics. A few years ago we tested chain saws, and even then I was surprised by the ease with which professionals handled these tools.

At least, saws in the hands of amateurs always work more strenuously and less smoothly. It turns out that the secret is not only in the correct sharpening of the chain teeth, which not everyone knows how to achieve, but also in the general principles of operation.

Observations and conversations with professionals convinced me that comfortable sawing requires a set of skills, some of which are only attained with great experience. But even something that is available to the inexperienced user can make it much easier to clear a trail of fallen trees or to get firewood for a fire.

REGULAR AND RIGHT HARNINGThe first thing to look for is the correct sharpening of the tines. It is important to choose the right angle, and the sharpening jig, sold separately, will help you determine it. A useful thing, especially for those who rarely handle a saw. But even that might be a bit tricky at first, since the template only shows you how to file, but you are responsible for checking the direction of the file. take your time: the time-saving during sharpening is not worth the extra effort when sawing.

it also happens so: the teeth are sharpened as it should be, but the saw still won’t cut. It turns out that you also need to keep an eye on the setting of the stops. If they are too high, the cutting edges of the teeth simply cannot reach the wood. Trimming the stops is quick and easy with the help of another template.NO CONTACT WITH THE GROUND It’s not easy to keep your sharpening. Non-professionals often touch the ground when cutting low branches or clearing shrubs, but they don’t pay much attention to it because they think metal is harder. In fact, the ground feels like a fine abrasive on the teeth of a typical chain. That’s why experts recommend to buy a chain with tungsten carbide teeth. It is three to four times more expensive, but it can handle several touches on the ground without visible and perceptible consequences.

Chain tensioning has no direct influence on speed, but improper tensioning can result in either more wear on the bar (which is not too expensive, but still) or the chain can slip off during operation (time loss guaranteed). Recall that the correct tension is when you pull the chain by hand in the central part of the bar and it moves away slightly, but the guides remain in the bar slot. By the way, the chain is lengthened by heat during operation. Anything, not just new. So you need to check the tension periodically at 10 minute intervals.

THE RIGHT SELECTION OF CONSTRUCTIONThe difficulty of changing and adjusting a chain depends on the design of the saw. For non-professionals it is better to choose models with a light scheme of these works, requiring no tools and special skills. Such products are more expensive, but the convenience is worth it, believe me.

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The amateurs should also like the “easy start” system. Different manufacturers have different names for this design, but the basic idea is the same: Less pulling force on the starter rope and a fuel pump makes starting in awkward positions much easier.

chainsaw, correctly

The saw should be easy to start if it is in good working order, but it does happen that the spark plug gets primed with fuel. Blowing is required in this case, as unnecessary persistence will only lead to more “flooding” of the electrodes. So keep the spark plug wrench with you: you will have to unscrew it. After that it is necessary to turn the saw with a candle well down and pull the starter rope a few times vigorously. Usually extra fuel comes out as a steam, and in especially neglected cases it even pours out. And the candle should be at least wiped, or better to ignite.

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BEFORE STARTING THE CHAINBREAK THE CHAINBREAKS Take special care when starting. Regardless of how you start it (from the ground or by weight), use the overrun brake. Otherwise the chain will move and could come into contact with the ground or your body. The first would not be good for the saw, the second would not be good for the owner.

THE RIGHT CUTTING OF THE FLOOD Now let’s get to work. We don’t recommend felling big trees without special training, and most often we have to saw logs that are already on the ground, so let’s stop here.

Chainsaw Basics: How to Safely Use a Chainsaw

Ideal height to work with a chainsaw is at or below hip level. If there’s a stable position, it’s possible to work at chest level. But it is not recommended to raise the saw higher: it is difficult to control the tool, i.e. work becomes unsafe.

First of all, get rid of branches. You have to make sure that the trunk is between you and the saw. And that’s because there are a lot of branches and you’re more likely to hit them with the front tip of the guide bar. In this case, the tool bounces sharply and very quickly upwards. If you have the saw exactly in front of you, it will be aiming at your face. Even if inertia brake works as it should (and machinery sometimes fails) hitting a chain to the face is not the most pleasant feeling. Otherwise the saw will go sideways.

Another seemingly obvious thing, but not everyone takes it into account. The cutting direction should be from the top down if the branch is not thick and hangs horizontally. And if it’s vertical, you have to saw in the direction it’s tilted.

The experts suggest sawing off the lower branches by turning the tree upside down. But this is not always possible, and you have to work near the ground. Be careful: avoid contact with the ground and watch out for the bar bouncing back.SO THAT THE GUIDE BAR DOES NOT GET CAUGHT

Before dismembering a log, remove any sawn-off limbs and surrounding brush to allow you freedom of movement. You start by making an auxiliary cut to avoid jamming the guide bar. If you want to saw off the hanging end of the log, make an auxiliary cut at the bottom by about a third of the diameter, and then saw up from above. When both sides of the log lie on the support and the sawing must be done in the middle, the first cut is made from the top.

chainsaw, correctly

If the guide bar does get jammed, don’t be nervous about jerking the saw. Only if you damage the chain or bend the guide bar. Stop chain rotation and rock the log parallel to the sawing direction. The guide bar will come free by itself.

Features of the equipment

Starting to study how to use a chain saw “Husqvarna”, “STIHL”, “Druzhba” or other varieties of similar equipment, it is necessary to delve into the features of each tool. All of the existing varieties are divided into three groups.

The first class includes household appliances. They are used in private operation when performing a small amount of work. Such chainsaws have low power. But for the home handyman such functionality will be more than enough. They are relatively inexpensive and lightweight machines.

Semi-professional chainsaws make it possible to cut trees. They are also used for construction or repair work. Working time of the tool does not exceed 8 hours a day.

Professional chainsaws can work up to 16 hours a day. Their continuous operating time is up to 9 hours. This is expensive, heavy equipment. Only specialized companies, enterprises can afford to buy it.

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Principle of wood sawing

It is necessary to saw with a chainsaw at full throttle. The cut should be made with the part of the bar as close to the body as possible. Remember different cutting methods are needed for different materials.


It’s best to start trimming from the bottom of a fallen tree while standing on the left side of the tree. Work at a calm, slow pace, avoiding the nose of the saw. You can cut with either the bottom or the top of the bar, trying to lean the saw against the barrel or against your hip if possible. To cut off branches from the upper part of the trunk the tool has to rest on its side (the chainsaw must put all its weight on the trunk itself). After the branches at the sides and top of the trunk have been cut, you can turn the trunk over and start cutting the branches underneath.

chainsaw, correctly
  • In some cases the trunk of a fallen tree can be supported by a single limb and cutting that may push it over or even cause it to shake;
  • If you find a branch that is too thick, cut it off in parts, starting at the end and moving toward the trunk. If the branch is particularly thick, it may have to be filed on both sides.

Sawing the trunk into sections (bucking)

Do not start crosscutting until all twigs and branches have been cut from the trunk. Saw a fallen tree trunk to pieces from the trunk to the top.

  • Never stand below the trunk during crosscutting if it is on a sloping ground;
  • if the chainsaw suddenly gets stuck in the trunk, stop the engine and then tilt the trunk until the saw comes out of the wood. The saw should not be taken out of the wood immediately.

Felling a tree

To begin with, before you start sawing the tree, you need to determine as accurately as possible where the trunk of the tree will be “most comfortable” to fall. Take into account how many branches are on each side of the tree, the wind direction and the natural inclination of the trunk. Cut the tree in the direction where it feels most comfortable to fall. Pruning lower branches before felling is a good idea so they don’t get in the way. There are now several different techniques for felling trees, which should be chosen depending on many factors. Only a professional lumberjack can choose the best way to fell a tree.

  • If there are people nearby, they should be at a distance from the tree which is at least two lengths of the trunk of the tree you are going to fell;
  • Before felling a tree, make sure there is nothing in the vicinity that could be damaged by the fall;
  • felling trees is not an easy task, so if you do not have experience in felling it is better not to do it, but to entrust it to professionals. If necessary you can ask them to be present when felling.

Expert advice

Safety precautions are instructions, everybody knows about them, but very few people use them in practice, until the accident happens. Husqvarna expert Evgeny Shlensky instructs beginners. He will tell why the wide handle and chain catcher are needed, how and when the inertia brake works, whether it is necessary to apply pressure during the cut. The program shows: correct body position, position of support leg relative to log, correct/wrong ways of sawing with bar nose, how to cut from bottom to top and from top to bottom.

The Still training video is intended for people in the logging industry, but is also good for hobbyists. Audience will learn about how to select tools depending on the hardness of wood, how to outfit the operator, how to determine the direction of the fall, how to clear escape routes. Technology for making felling notches, plunge cuts, multiple felling types, how to use the felling lever, and precautions when faced with rot, slanted trunks. Ways of pruning branches rationally (the lever method and the fence method) are given.

chainsaw, correctly

How to properly cut down branches

Branches are cut after the tree has fallen. And this process also requires the utmost concentration. There is a high risk of kickback and it is therefore recommended that you do not use (or use as little as possible) the fore end of the tool.

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Take note! Most injuries, according to statistics, are sustained by loggers when they are sharpening branches.

You can hold the chainsaw against your hip or against a tree. these are optimal positions. You should first work on branches that were closest to the ground when the tree was still standing. And in the upper part of the trunk it is more convenient to cut branches with the chainsaw turned to the side. It’s okay to cut thick branches piece by piece.

How to start the saw in the right way?

In case you are going to sharpen the chain indoors, clamp the bar in a vise (it won’t hurt the bar). If you don’t have a vice, you can buy a clamp.

If the number of links on the chain is not divisible by 4, it is better to start sharpening the chain with two links going in a row, otherwise you will have to count the sharpened teeth).

You choose a tooth that is curved away from you. The holder must be set at right angles to the bar. The 30° risk must be parallel to the guide bar. Make two or three moves with the file away from you. This way you sharpen through one cutting tooth, then turn the saw over and sharpen the second part. Remember to rotate the file periodically and remove chips to ensure even file wear. The tool holder tells you the chain pitch and diameter of the file you need. Make sure you do not drive the file notch over the mounts, or it will scrape them.

Three grades

Nowadays on the Russian market you can find a large number of chainsaws, which can be divided into three classes:

  • The first class includes simple household devices, which are designed for simple household needs. Most often such chainsaws have low power, but they cope with all their duties very well. This chainsaw can be used for cutting down rotten wood or making firewood for the sauna. Despite the fact that the functionality of such saws is minimal, it is easily compensated by the ergonomic controls and their low weight.
  • The second class includes the so-called semi-professional models, which can perform almost any work. from repair and construction tasks and up to felling trees. But such models have a significant disadvantage. they are not designed for work for 8-10 hours a day. That is why they are called semi-professional. These saws are most often used by loggers as loppers.
  • The third class includes professional saws, which are a great solution for people who specialize in logging. Such devices can be used 10-15 hours a day and they can work 8-10 hours without interruption.

Sawing down

The direction you select when making the felling notch can be controlled by the gunning sight on the shroud and fan housing.

When making the cut, always aim your chainsaw so the gunning sight points in the direction you want the tree to fall. There are several approved methods for making the felling notch and bevel cuts. observe country-specific regulations on felling techniques.

The felling notch (C) determines the direction to cut the tree.

STIHL recommends the following cutting methods:

Make the horizontal cut very carefully. check the direction of the felling swath with the gunning sight

Check the felling notch. make adjustments if necessary


A chainsaw always comes in handy at home. This is a multifunctional device that comes in handy when you need to cut a tree into firewood or boards, as well as when cutting gas and foam blocks. I even go fishing with it in winter, because it easily cuts ice up to 50 cm. thickness.