What do Your Toothbrush and Chainsaw Have in Common?

chainsaw tips, chainsaw know how, chainsaws, using chainsaws, owning a chainsaw

Four basic chainsaw tips for the would be chainsaw operator:

Many people who want to pursue a greater degree of self sufficiency and a simpler lifestyle eventually find themselves considering the purchase of a chainsaw. Chainsaws can be extremely handy, saving loads of time on various chores, even making some tasks possible, which might otherwise be next to impossible.

A Chainsaw can be extremely useful.

However, chainsaws can be extremely dangerous. They can also be downright cantankerous. Over the years, some of my most frustrating moments have had to do with chainsaws. Yet, one slip up, one moment of carelessness while using a chainsaw could cost you your life or the use of a limb.

Stihl chainsaw, tips on chainsaws, chainsaw safety

This blog post obviously can’t be a “complete guide to chainsaws,” but let’s take a few minutes to cover a few tips.

Have a knowledgeable person teach you how to use a chainsaw.

Handling a chainsaw, like keeping bees or handling a firearm, is something that cannot be learned in books or on the Internet alone. You need a coach and teacher. You really do! There are too many little things that can go wrong, which could cause you great physical or economic harm to be learning by trial and error. I’ll give just one example: an improperly adjusted chain can jump off the bar (blade) with little warning and cut your hand really badly.

If you only need a chainsaw for a few hours a year, hire someone to do it.

To safely, efficiently use a chainsaw requires much knowledge and practice. If you so much as make one wrong cut, it’s possible not only to hurt someone, but also to cause great (costly) damage  to the saw. If you’re not going to use one a lot, just hire someone to do the job. You’ll probably save money and much frustration.

If you do purchase a chainsaw, get a good one.

Box stores sell fairly inexpensive chainsaws. They’re not worth it. A quality saw will do the job better and save you much time. If you aren’t confident in recognizing a quality saw versus a cheapo, drop in at a local small engine repair shop that works on and sells chainsaws. Chances are very good they will steer you right. Such a shop might even be able to arrange proper instruction before setting you loose with a chainsaw. Listen to them. If they fix’em, they’ll probably tell you the straight scoop on any given model of chainsaw.

So, what does my toothbrush have in common with my chainsaw?

I should loan each of them about as readily. Unless the person wanting to borrow your chainsaw assuredly knows as much or more than do you, don’t do it! I’ve been persuaded to loan a saw, a couple of times over the years. Each time that venture has cost me big money in parts, repairs, or replacement of a chainsaw. So, don’t loan your chainsaw unless you know that person knows a whole lot about chainsaws.




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2 thoughts on “What do Your Toothbrush and Chainsaw Have in Common?”

  1. That was some really sage advice about not loaning a chainsaw any sooner than you would loan your only toothbrush. Not to mention very good advice about not buying a “cheapo” chainsaw from a big box store. I have the same model chainsaw as the one pictured in your article. A Stihl MS-250. It has lasted through about 85 ricks of oak and hickory wood so far, with no need for any parts other than an air filter and a spark plug. You can’t beat a Stihl chainsaw. I didn’t think that before I worked in Washington State for two years, talking to real loggers about real saws. I lived in the Cascade Mountains, near Issaquah and Snoqualmie. There was a logging truck on our backwoods road about one truck every two minutes. Loggers up there swear by the Stihl brand. When I came home, I ditched my Poulan and my Husqvarna. From now on, I only buy Stihl. No Poulan would ever come close to lasting through 85 ricks of Cherokee County, hardwood and flint rocks.

    (Speaking of flint rocks, I’ve even seen a tree with a rock inside it). A sapling with a twin growing beside it can pick up any debris that happens to be laying between the two as they grow taller and closer together.) I once cut a tree that had an old, antique, 10-2-4 Dr. Pepper bottle inside it. Not to mention all the times I’ve cut into barbed wire, hog wire, nails, lag bolts, dog chains, or screws inside a tree. The nails, screws, dog chains, lag bolts, and things like that, mostly happen near houses or in town; often when people with good intentions give you “free” wood, and all you gotta do is come and cut it. When you arrive on a job like that, you’ve got to stop and think, “Who knows what kid might have had a tree house up there 20 or 30 years ago?” The barbed wire or hog wire can happen anywhere there has ever been a homestead in years past. You never know what you might find inside an old tree.

    1. Great advice Ron! The first tree I ever cut down on my own was a really large honey locust. I didn’t know much, so when the chainsaw started throwing sparks, I just kept working away at it, destroying my chain. I had to leave that tree standing, as it just wasn’t possible to cut it down. A week or two later we had 30 mph winds at night and we heard it fall. I went over there in the morning and discovered a PLOW SHOE in the middle of that tree!

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