The chainsaw is one of the most favorite power tools for most of the DIY workers and also for professional woodworkers. When it comes to cutting large wood logs or felling trees or cleaning branches of big sizes which cannot be cut with a pruning saw, the chainsaw is the best tool to use. Apart from all their benefit, the chainsaw is still one of the most dangerous power tools which have caused many accidents and sometimes deaths. The reason behind all these accidents in most of the cases is chainsaw kickback.
The chainsaw kickback can be defined as the sudden strong strike of the guide bar of the chainsaw in upward or backward direction to the user. Do not think of the kickbacks as a slight push in the opposite direction. They are nastier than your imagination. Most of the accidents caused by a chainsaw are because of this kickback.
- 0.1 When does kickback occur?
- 0.2 How does kickback occur?
- 0.3 At a Glance
- 0.4 Share this Image On Your Site
- 0.5 Why does kickback occur?
- 0.6 Armor yourself
- 0.7 The “Danger Zone” or kickback
- 1 How to bring down chainsaw kickback ratio?
When does kickback occur?
First of all, kickbacks occur if you are not careful when using your chainsaw. If you want to know about the time of the kickback; kickback only occurs when your cutting with the saw does not go according to the will of the chainsaw. When the nose of the bar of the chainsaw or the tip of the bar of the chainsaw gets obstructed in the middle of cutting while the saw chain is running at full speed; kickback occurs. Or, when the bar of the chainsaw gets pinched in between the large wooden logs in the middle of the cut when felling or making crosscuts on a stem of big diameter; kickback occurs.
How does kickback occur?
The chainsaw runs on a very powerful motor. This motor gives the chainsaw chain a monstrous speed. This is why the chainsaw cuts so much efficiently. But; if the chain of the chainsaw which is running at a tremendous speed happens to stop suddenly or could not run because of sudden obstruction, what will happen then? How will this obey the laws of physics? We all know from Newton’s third law of motion that there is an equal and opposite reaction to every action. But what happens to the force of the chainsaw chain which could not apply the force on cutting the wood because of the barrier? The answer is simple. It obeys Newton’s law of motion by kicking you back instead of cutting the wood.
When the chain cannot move forward during cutting, or when the chain is forced to stop while running, the momentum of the chain transfers back to the saw from the bar. The force of the chainsaw remains the same. It only acts in the opposite direction and thus, it delivers kickback.
At a Glance
Why does kickback occur?
There could be several reasons for a chainsaw to kickback. The most common and major reasons are stated below:-
- If the body parts of the chainsaw are not installed correctly.
- If the chain becomes dull and not sharpened properly.
- If the sharpened angle of the chain is not equal.
- If the tension of the chainsaw chain is correct.
- If the rivets are loose.
- If the bar of the chainsaw is broken, bent or cracked.
- If the maintenance of the chainsaw is not appropriate.
- If the shape of the depth gauge of the chain is uneven.
Dressing up in protective gear is first and the foremost thing to do before working with any dangerous equipment. And when it comes to using the power cutting tools, it should not be told a second time. What are you against the things that cut down large wood branches or metals or stones?
There are many kinds of safety gears available in the market for every kind of power tools. In this article, we will only discuss the chainsaw safety equipment required to use for operating a chainsaw.
- Safety goggles
- Kevlar chaps
- Wearing work gloves is also better
- Helmet especially for cutting in forest areas
- Sturdy boots
- Dust mask to protect yourself from the tremendous dust storm
The “Danger Zone” or kickback
There is a part in the chainsaw which is responsible for a kickback is so much that the part is named as the danger zone of the chainsaw for kicking back. The part is the tip of the chainsaw bar and the nose of the tip of the chainsaw bar. I have already said earlier in this article about when chainsaw kickback occurs. There I have also mentioned about the role of the tip of the chainsaw bar in chainsaw kickback. When the tip of the bar faces any obstruction when the blade is running then it strikes back brutally with by kicking back. This is why it is known as the potentially most dangerous risky zone for chainsaw kickback.
How to bring down chainsaw kickback ratio?
There is no way of getting rid of chainsaw kickback permanently. But there are some techniques which can decrease the kickback rate of chainsaw if followed properly.
Be ready to face kickback any time while operating a chainsaw. It will never come by announcing its presence before.
Be always aware of the position of the nose and the tip of the bar of the chainsaw. Try to keep it away from anything near it.
When you start cutting with the chainsaw, do not ever start the cut by touching the tip of the bar.
When you are cutting branches with a chainsaw, be extra careful. Most of the kickback from the tip of the bar occurs when cutting branches. When you are cutting a branch, the tip of the bar or the nose of the bar can touch or get obstructed in other branches in front of the branch you are cutting. If there are no braches and you are making the cuts in a downward direction, you could accidentally touch the ground with the tip of the bar.
There is an emergency chain brake in every chainsaw. This chain brake can stop the moving chain immediately when the brake is applied. Check if the chain brake is working properly before starting to cut. If the brake is not ok, then you should consider fixing the brake at first and then start cutting with the chainsaw.
There are some chains available in the market nowadays called the low kickback chain. These chains have a low kickback rate because they are made specially made for reducing kickbacks. So consider using such a chain in your chainsaw.
There are also bars which have a narrow nose for reducing chainsaw kickback. It will be a bit safer if you use such bars in your chainsaw.
Keep the chain of your chainsaw sharpened always. Make sure all the cutters and the depth gauge are at their respective optimum position.
Make sure the tension of the chain of the chainsaw is perfect. Too loose or too tight tension of the chain could be problematic.
Always start cutting when the chain of the chainsaw is at full speed.
When cutting with the chainsaw try to stand not directly in front of the cutting area and the saw. Stand a bit at the side.
One should not cut above the shoulder height when operating a chainsaw.
Do not try to cut multiple workpieces at a time. Instead, cut one branch or log at a time.
When you are crosscutting with the chainsaw, do not let the bar to get pinched in between the big tree branch. Otherwise, you will have to face chainsaw kickbacks.
Anyways, enough of all these scary talks about the chainsaw. If you use it properly, it would never harm you, so if you are interested in buying a chainsaw, here is one of our review articles on the best small chainsaw.
If you are a newbie chainsaw you should know about the chainsaw uses. Don’t worry we have an article how to use your chainsaw in which we have described in details.