MCW July '13 Program
Jul 18, 2013Public
Photo: A stash of ambrosia maple up for grabs outside.
Photo: Tonight's chain saw program begins outside with a segment on safety and proper (and improper) techniques.
Photo: Program Chair Mike Colella introduces our demonstrator for the evening, Matt Cecil, whose time has been generously provided by the Stihl chain saw company as a community service, not as a promotion.
Photo: Matt's safety gear is purposely "out there" to make a statement about its importance. Note the head gear with integral visor and hearing protection, the body covering (particularly on the legs), and, yes, those are steel-toed shoes.
Photo: Matt is a dynamic speaker, and he really knows his stuff and how to teach it. A little humor helps when talking about safety.
Photo: Safety and proper technique go hand in hand. Learning how to use the saw safely is the goal. Matt reminds us that a chain saw does not "cut" flesh, it removes it! You don't want to go there!
Photo: Matt's approach to speaking is to constantly involve his audience and to make sure everyone is tuned in to his outline and each topic in it, and has their questions answered before moving on.
Photo: There were lots of good questions from the audience.
Photo: There are two safe ways to start the saw. The first is on the ground. Engage the chain brake. Begin with this leg position. Matt prefers this to putting his toe through the hand grip from the near side (as is recommended in the manual) because it could slip out. (Don't ask him how he knows.)
Photo: Balance your weight over the saw and give the handle a pull with your right hand while pushing down with your left hand. When the saw is safely started, the chain brake may be released.
Photo: Alternately, here is another safe method to start the saw. Engage the chain brake. Hold the rear handle tightly between your legs, just above the knees. Hold the front handle firmly with your left hand; your thumb should be under the handle. Pull the starter grip slowly with your right hand until you feel it engage, and then give it a brisk, strong pull, while pushing down the front handle with your left hand at the same time. Release the chain brake after the saw starts.
Photo: If you are afraid of the saw, and cutting like this, put it down and quit and get a lesson. You are off balance, and the saw is out of control. [Note: you would never cut a log on end-grain orientation like this; Matt is just using it as a prop at this point.]
Photo: Do not look down the chain as you're cutting!  That's the "line of fire".  Stand to the side of the saw so if it should happen to kick back strongly, it will miss your head.
Photo: Another no no.  Cutting like this (without the spurs on the saw body engaged in the wood) will suck the saw into the wood, with resulting loss of control of the saw, and possibly throwing you off balance.
Photo: Improper technique could also result in a "push back", whose result might look like...
Photo: ... this. Oh no! Not the leg!  Matt recommends ALWAYS wearing chaps.  He also emphasized that the chaps are only there to give you an extra second to pull the saw away.
Photo: The first rule of using a chain saw is to keep everything away from this location -- the top quarter of the tip. That will provide a very nasty kickback.
Photo: This is the part of the saw you want to be cutting with for safety and stability.
Photo: The group is tuned in to Matt's detailed and fast-paced program.
Photo: Matt asked where the log should be cut, and Gary and Bert jumped right in -- and they agree!  Right there! (It might have been better with the camera on the other side.) :)
Photo: Safety gear in place, Matt has rotated the log segment into proper side-grain cutting orientation and stabilized it on a pallet.  First, he sets the spurs into the end of the log to stabilize the saw.  Make note of his firmly-balanced stance with the saw completely under control and offset to the side of his head.
Photo: With the saw at full revs, Matt begins the cut, letting the saw do the work.
Photo: He angles the bar parallel with the outer surface for a nice clean rip cut. This is the correct way to cut a log segment in half.  Never cut straight into end grain (as when the log was being used as a prop).
Photo: Long, spaghetti-like shavings coming straight at you from a sharp saw being used properly for ripping. Alternately, when cross cutting, distinct chips should result. If you get any dust, from any orientation, your chain is dull and needs to be sharpened or replaced.