There is no need to waste the fallen wood around your house. Whether big or small, you can make use of them in more ways than you could have imagined. In this article, we are going to see the techniques which you can use to make the most of these woods.
Tool we are focused on
The tool that will be on the spotlight throughout this article is the chainsaw. Generally, the chainsaw is used to cut the very large size of wood or slices from tree. It is also very handy in cutting big logs. In fact, one of the fastest ways to cut wood is by using the chainsaw. Moreover, it is even possible to cut small pieces with it. But you need to know the techniques or methods of cutting and how to use this saw properly.
Let’s get familiar with our tool
Before starting the work, it is obviously important to know the machine you will be using. Now, I know for sure that most people do know this tool, but still it is better to discuss them. Because there might be some who are just starting out as a DIY worker. Besides, if you are all too familiar with its parts and functions then you can just skip this part.
With that being said, here are important parts of a chainsaw and their functions.
- Chain catcher: When the saw is broken down or derailed then it helps to save the user from possible strikes. The chain catcher is usually of metal. But, it could be plastic too.
- Flywheel: After each use, the saw is bound to get hot. So, it needs cooling. The flywheel does exactly that for you. It helps to cool the machine. In addition to this useful function, the flywheel also controls the speed of your engine.
- Clutch: It is the part attached to the chain sprocket. The driving part of the tool is controlled by the clutch.
- Decompression valve: This valve is an important part of the machine. The saw compression is released because of this part’s functions. And this release of saw compression allows you to steer the machine with ease.
- Hand guard: From the name you can understand that this part acts a guard. It guards the user’s hands against potential kickbacks. Usually, it is of plastic.
- Anti-vibration handle: With this kind of tools, it is easy to get shock. To prevent unnecessary stress on the user’s hands, the anti-vibration handle is used.
- Throttle: The saw’s volume of fuel to the cylinder can be increased or decreased. This can be done with the throttle. And by doing this, the throttle regulates the saw’s RPM. The chain will be stopped when pressure on the throttle is released.
- Throttle interlock: It is used to control the throttle. When it is pressed, it will prevent the throttle from being activated.
- Chain brake: It is another part of the saw that is used for safety. If somehow a kickback occurs, then the chain brake will stop the saw’s chain. And so save the user from getting any kickback injury.
- Muffler: It does not contribute in any way to the cutting. But, it helps in reducing the tremendous amount of noise that a chainsaw usually generates.
Also, there are other parts like the on/off switch, the rim, the bearring, spark plug, etc. And of course, how to cut wood slices with chainsaw without the chainsaw blade. There is no need to go through all the parts because that is not the main topic we are discussing here.
The chainsaw is a tool that demands respect. You must not take this machine lightly. It has the capability to hurt you. If you do not take protective gears and beware of its dangers, you might have trouble with this machine. So, here are a few dress code points that you should not avoid when you are using the saw.
- When you cut with this particular saw, there will be a lot of little pieces of wood, chips and what not, flying all over the area. These might come flying at speed on your hands and your arms.
To prevent unnecessary injury, you need to wear hand gloves. But, hand gloves are not enough. It will only protect your hands, but your arms are still open to injury. For saving your arm from disaster, wear long-sleeved shirt. A skin tight long-sleeved shirt is recommended.
- Of course, the flying pieces can also hit your face. And because protecting the eyes is more necessary, it is very important that you wear goggles (especially if you are working for a long period of time). But, it will be even better and further helpful if you can get a helmet with a screen to cover the face.
- When working with woods and saws, there will be a lot of dust that is going to be generated. Sawdust is something that gets difficult to handle for a lot of workers. So, it is better to wear a mask to protect yourself from breathing in the sawdust. And especially if you have any breathing difficulty conditions then you must wear a mask.
Things to decide before you begin
Before beginning the work, there are some things that you need to decide. And some tools you need to have. In this point, we will go Para by Para discussing these important things.
There are two types of chainsaw available. The gas and electric saw. Both will not give you the same result. You need to decide which one will give a better result and in which type of work too.
Now, the gas saw will give you a better outcome if you are willing to cut large logs. For wood pieces that are not that big and for jobs around your house, you can use the electric one. But, if you are going to work for long hours then go with the gas chainsaw. You can cut wood slices with chainsaw, electric and gas both.
Assess the material. I cannot say enough about how important this point is. You need to make sure that you assess the piece of wood or log that you are going to cut. How big the diameter of the log is, the size of the wood etc. is going to dictate your choosing of the needed saw.
Feed the machine its required fuel and have some in reserve. You do not want your saw to stop in the middle of a cut. Having in reserve will allow you to provide the machine with enough fuel so that it does not stop in difficult time.
Get a claw bar. It is an important tool to have when you are cutting large pieces of wood. Especially when you are cutting large logs, you might want to turn the big log over to cut from under. A claw bar will help you to do that.
The first step of splitting the wood is driving the wedge into the wood. Now, you need a simple hammer or sledgehammer which is going to help you to enter the wedge into the log or wood. You can also use a splitting maul which also does the same work pretty much. It is a heavy tool but it is going to help to pound sharp edge into the log.
And remember to wear the protective gear we talked about earlier. Super important!
Cut Wood Slices with Your Chainsaw
Now, this is an important point that needs to be discussed. So, we are going to do this step by step.
It is in fact already discussed. And I have to add it to step number 1. And step number 1 is the protective gear. Do not act like a tough guy. Wear the gear and stay safe.
The end of the log you are going to slice needs to be off the ground. A six to seven inches above the ground will do. You can get a scrap wood for this. Place the scrap under that end which you are going to cut. This will help in cutting with much ease. Now, as there will be space between the ground and the log, your saw will not hit the ground anymore.
This same work can be done with other than the scrap wood. You can use sawhorse to keep the material off the ground. If the log is too large then use two sawhorses for the job. To keep the log above ground, you can also use a log jack.
This method of keeping one end above ground is called log supported on one end. [We will discuss the cutting methods in later step]
Generally speaking, large trees or logs are usually used to create pedestals or platform. Also, rustic table tops are made using large logs.
But, beware not to make too big slices because it is going to be hard to dry them later on. Unless you have a kiln to dry the too big slices, it is better to slice small to medium size.
Check your saw. Make sure that your saw is in good condition. See if it has enough fuel to finish the job all the way and it is not going to stop in the middle of a cut.
Also, do a warm up cut. You can cut a small piece of wood that is not too hard. This will allow you to realize your saw’s condition. And you will know if your saw is running smoothly or not.
Clear the area and position yourself the right way for the cut. You need to have a good amount of space to do this work. So, ensure that you have enough space to work with. Make sure that nobody else is going to come from behind you. This can make you lose concentration. And that is something you do not want in this type of work.
You might think that the posture or your position depends on your comfort. In a way, it does. You do need to feel comfortable when you are working. But, there is an ideal position you need to keep in mind.
The ideal position is to keep your legs wide. Your legs should be separated from each other the same length as your shoulder. This will give your upper body stability and enough support to complete the work with much ease.
All of the logs will not be suitable to cut. There will be knots present in the wood. Don’t know what a knot is? A knot is a blemish in the wood that is normally circular in shape and darker than the surrounding area of the wood.
You must not cut through any knots. There are plenty of reasons why you should not cut through knots. But, the prime one is that the knots are harder than the surrounding area. This could be dangerous for you and the saw itself.
So, what you need to do is look around the wood and find the knots present. Then mark them with a circle using permanent marker. Now, you can avoid cutting through the knots. If mark cannot be seen in the wood then use colored tape.
Mark your cut. With cutting slices, you have to be precise. There is not much room for inaccuracy. To help you in precision, this step is very necessary.
Of course, how thick of a slice you are going to cut depends on you. But, for measurement, you can use the measuring tape to judge the thickness.
Marking will require you to get a permanent marker. Mark the lines you are going to cut with the marker. But, again if mark is not visible then use masking tape. The masking tape then will act as a guide for you in cutting the wood.
Now, the cutting method differs. There are several methods which you can follow. I will just mention a few here.
Over bucking- It is a cutting method where the log is cut from the top. And the entire log sits on the ground. This is perhaps the easiest and simplest way to cut log.
Log supported on both ends- In this method, the log will be supported on sawhorses or scrap wood. The middle portion will remain without any support. This method is generally used to cut in the middle of the log.
Log supported on one end- This is the method where one end of the log will remain on the ground and the other end will be supported on sawhorse or scrap wood. This end will be the end that is going to be cut.
This last method is the one we already discussed. This way is recommended for cutting slices.
There are other methods also. But, like I said one end supported is the method you should use for cutting wood slices.
It is necessary to get a firm grip on the saw. Make sure you use both of your hands to hold the saw. You should keep your left thumb around the front handle.
Keep it above the marked line. Turn the saw on and slowly lower it to the wood.
Do not give too much force or pressure. Let the saw do the cutting. You just have to guide the saw. This will give a much cleaner and finer cut.
The sound of the saw can be intimidating. Do not give it much attention. Keep your concentration on the cut you are making.
If you want only one slice of the wood then you are finished with the cutting. But for more than one slice, you need to remember and follow this step.
After finishing and getting the one slice, you have to move that one slice and make room for the next one. Then follow the above-mentioned steps again and remove the sliced one again.
In this way, you can cut as many slices as you need.
Drying is rather pretty easy. For the edges, you can use a nylon brush. Use the brush to clean up the edges of the slices. There might still remain some barks after the cut, using the brush will remove the barks.
For a better and nicer finish, you can sand the slices. You can sand both the flat sides of the slices. This will diminish any rough or uneven areas that remained after the cut. Especially if you are slicing for table tops then you might desire a nicer finish. Use the sanding method.
Now, you need to dry of course. You can use the oven to dry your slices. If there are too many then put them in batches. Make sure that the slices are not touched with one another. If your slices are too big to fit into the oven then use a kiln to dry them.
Follow the steps we discussed and it will be like cutting butter with a knife. And be sure to keep the safety rules in mind. I am telling you, all these reading will make it easy to cut wood slices with chainsaw. Have a safe slicing!