Should I get a chainsaw?

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Mattical
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Should I get a chainsaw?

Post by Mattical » Sun Jun 25, 2006 5:39 am

I’ve got some pretty big branches to cut up in the back garden, but I’m not sure as to whether buying a chainsaw is too dangerous for me.

Has anyone had any experience? Are they hard to use?
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Post by Ralph » Sun Jun 25, 2006 7:59 am

They're not too common here in Manhattan. :)
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RebLem
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Post by RebLem » Sun Jun 25, 2006 11:58 am

You have four choices--buy one, rent one, borrow one, or hire an arborist to do it for you. Remember that a 24-48 hour or weekend rental of anything is usually about 1/3 the cost of a brand new item, so renting is often very uneconomical in the long run. It does make sense, however, if you need a powerful machine to make up for years of neglect (I hope its from a previous owner :P ) and then buy a much smaller saw for more frequent maintenance work going forward. Go to the rental center first and tell them your concerns. They will want to rent it to you, but if they have a healthy awareness of where their own self-interest lies, and most do, they will give you expert instruction in how to avoid injury, probably in front of a witness or two. A partial list of things they should tell you--

1) Wear good, strong, leather shoes, preferrably boots, steel-toed if you can.

2) Wear jeans or other thick, full length trousers, and a long sleeved shirt, no matter how hot it is outside. Actually, if you are injured, it is more likely to be from the falling branches or flying chips than from the saw.

3) Wear goggles and thick work gloves.

4) Don't try to save time by chopping off a branch with a lot of other things branching off it. Cut the small stuff off the main branch you want to remove, first, then go for the denuded branch. Much safer, and besides you're going to have to do it all eventually anyway, in order to get it into the garbage can, dumpster, or into the compost bin or whatever.

5) Ignore the Tim Allen Home Improvement mantra, MORE POWER. Don't get a bigger or more powerful saw than you need to get the job done. The bigger and more powerful it is, the less likely you are to be able to handle it.

6) You're probably going to need a ladder. Make sure it is sturdy and can support your weight. Make sure all its legs are on solid, level ground. Make sure you will be standing far enough away from what you are cutting to be able to avoid things hitting you. And, always, have at least one other person there as a spotter, preferrably with a cell phone, who can help out immediately if you do get into trouble.

Its really mostly simple, common-sense stuff if you stop to think about it. If you know a high school industrial arts teacher, you might want to contact him.
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Re: Should I get a chainsaw?

Post by Corlyss_D » Sun Jun 25, 2006 12:59 pm

Mattical wrote:I’ve got some pretty big branches to cut up in the back garden, but I’m not sure as to whether buying a chainsaw is too dangerous for me.

Has anyone had any experience? Are they hard to use?
Hey, welcome to the boards, Matt.

I've had several over the years. If you follow the instructions, use a little common sense as Reb notes, and don't use it in the rain (if you have an electric one), you'll be okay. I needed one again this spring, to cut down the devil's spawn, a prolific junk weed called Elm here in Utah, and I went looking for something light-weight with a smallish blade. I found the ideal thing in something called a Pole Saw. It bolts to a pole that's included in the package at Lowes' for $99.

Let me be clear: I think the original idea is nuts for home use. However, you don't have to use it bolted to the pole. The saw is light-weight and has a 10" blade and is electric. Absolutely ideal for me, since I already had two 100' lengths of heavy-duty electric cord. Gas powered saws for home use are too much sugar for a dime - and they are often too heavy for me to handle comfortably. In fact, even the electric powered ones are too heavy for me if they have a blade longer than 12". I don't use one often enough to need a heavy-duty saw anyway. So there you have my two cents worth.
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Ralph
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Post by Ralph » Sun Jun 25, 2006 3:16 pm

Can you play music on a chain saw like you can on an old-fashioned one?
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RebLem
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Post by RebLem » Sun Jun 25, 2006 3:35 pm

Ralph wrote:Can you play music on a chain saw like you can on an old-fashioned one?
If its in the Soviet Futurist style of the 1920's or a la Antheil, yes, I s'pose so.
Don't drink and drive. You might spill it.--J. Eugene Baker, aka my late father
"We're not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term."--Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S. Carolina.
"Racism is America's Original Sin."--Francis Cardinal George, former Roman Catholic Archbishop of Chicago.

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