Ah, the adventure that is playing with chainsaws. Some days you just want to hear the shrill whine of a chainsaw and watch the chips fly. Oh, how I love the smell of two stroke exhaust in the morning! One day, while walking around the property, I spied some poplar logs lying around that needed to vamoose. But what to do with them? I have more wood awaiting the fire-pit than I’ll ever burn, so what else could I do with them?
They weren’t terribly large, and I had milled a couple of the larger ones to see if I could get any usable lumber out of them, but the jury will be out on that experiment while I wait for the milled wood to dry. I decided to try out my new Stihl MS 193 C that I had just purchased to use as a detail carving saw. Cutting a few small notches might help to break in the new saw, and it would give me some valuable cutting practice, as well as let me decide whether I made the right choice in saws for giving the carving thing a try. After cutting a couple of notches, I decided to try making a rough three piece bench from a downed poplar. I had recently milled a small log and the slab waste had a nice grain to it. I thought it might make an interesting seat to a bench. A few cuts later, a little notching here, a little shaving there, and I had a pretty rustic bench fitted together.
A simple three piece. Looks alright, but the smaller diameter logs are a bit wobbly.
I always knew that I would have to do something with the troublesome trees that started me down this road to chainsaw and blogging obsession. It wasn’t a question of “if” but of “what”. Then along came Carver Kings and their episode on carving/building a massive medieval table (see review here), and it hit me: I need a new table and I need something to write about in this crazy quest to create the world’s best chainsawing adventure blog. Why not combine these two things into a new adventure? I had already purchased a Granberg chainsaw mill and had planned on milling some of this wood into useful lumber of some sort. Why not a table top? Now all I needed was something for a base. The Carver Kings had used stumps for their base, and it looked freaking impressive. I happened to have a couple of stumps that I had thought might make good fodder for a foray into carving. Why not use one for the base?
Poplar stump excavated, cleaned and awaiting surgery.
Deciding to use one of the stumps for a table base was easy. Anybody can decide , “Hey, I’ll use one of these stumps as a table base.” Deciding is easy. Getting the sucker out of the ground without doing too much damage to the stump, myself, or my chainsaw would prove another matter. My design for the base involved incorporating some of the root structure, and incorporating the roots meant digging to expose those roots for surgery. Digging the roots was a bit of a chore, but the use of a small Karcher K2.27 CCK pressure washer helped both in softening/moving the earth away from the roots, and in cleaning as much abrasive dirt off of the roots as possible in the hopes of not totally destroying the chain on my saw. Of course, the problem with digging and cutting roots lies in the danger of hitting rocks and dirt which can dull (or break) a chain in an instant.
While cruising the net in search of videos that expand or elaborate on using chainsaws safely and effectively, we come across many that are filled with people doing things that are so unsafe that we find ourselves cringing in front of our monitor screen. Afraid of what we are about to see, but unable to look away. We’re no snuff junkies; we do not search the internet for videos of death and destruction, but sometimes, in our quest for practical knowledge we come across videos that are filled with things that just aren’t right. What is truly scary is that these videos are shared with the world under the guise of how to videos. When searching the world wide web, it truly is caveat emptor. Although these types of videos are ripe with material for this blog, we will not be directing readers to them. The internet is filled with people who tear down the works of others, and we will not add to the storm of negativity. However, in our quest to make this the best chainsaw blog possible, we will gladly direct readers to videos and articles that offer enough value to be worthy of your time and our praise.
In a previous post, we praised the Husqvarna series of videos on the safe operation of a chainsaw. The Husqvarna series of videos have tremendous value for a person just starting out on the road to adventure that is playing with the king of power tools. Another series of videos that are very good at instructing people in the use of safe chainsaw techniques are the Wildfire series of videos on chainsawing. These videos cover much of the same material that is covered in the Husqvarna series, but their production values are a little lower, and the videos seem a little older which lowers the sound and video quality in comparison to the Husqvarna series. The Wildfire videos are a good companion series to the Husqvarna’s as they cover the same material with different instructors and camera angles which might help to clarify any techniques or procedures you are unsure about. This series of videos is broken down into smaller chapters of segments which is also an advantage when seeking clarification on a particular skill or technique.
This is a long video with some great tips on cutting conventional notches. Winston gives some great tips on proper gunning cuts, and he gives tips on keeping level and in the right plane.
This video provides instruction on how to make an open-face notch with a bore cut to set the hinge. This is one of the best techniques for leaners.
After deciding to take the plunge and purchase a chainsaw, I realized that when it comes to the safe operation of a chainsaw, I was relatively clueless (of course, the truly clueless are those who do not realize that they are in need of knowledge). Anyone can cut a tree down with a chainsaw, it’s not rocket science, but felling a tree safely without endangering life, limb, and property is another matter. In my searching of the interwebs in an effort to acquire clear instruction in how to safely accomplish my mission to fell the trees near my home, I came across many different articles and videos on how to safely operate a chainsaw. All of the major brands had their own videos, as did countless others. Some of the videos were by skilled and knowledgeable individuals, and some videos left me cringing as I wondered if I was watching a snuff film.
Finding good, quality chainsaw instruction videos on the interwebs can be hard.
Of all the videos I watched on chainsawing, the video series that I found to be the most well done and informative was offered by Husqvarna. Although the other major brands also offer informative videos, the following Husqvarna series succeeded on the strengths and abilities of its instructor, who, for me, presented the material in a clear, concise, and professional manner. I would love to praise this individual by name, but, as of yet, I have not tracked down his identity.
There were three videos in the series that I feel are particularly worthy of your time. The first video is quite short, clocking in at three minutes and twenty-five seconds, and it explains the proper stance and position for safely operating a chainsaw. In addition to demonstrating the proper stance, the instructor also presents the various ergonomic design elements that have been incorporated into the modern chainsaw to make felling a tree easier and more intuitive.