the importance of chainsaws

Well, Hurricane Sandy has past and thousands of trees are being chopped apart and removed. In many natural disasters the chainsaw becomes an important part of the cleanup. But chainsaws run on gasoline right? We have blended fuels that at alcohol to gasoline, but gasoline with alcohol added can shorten the life of small engines. We add fuel stabilizers and purchase the highest octane we can and this helps. But it still takes a toll. Add to this that gasoline has a self-life it deteriorates over time. Why does this matter. Well, if you have a chainsaw and you know a storm is coming you will want to get fresh gasoline BEFORE the storm and make sure the chainsaw is working properly. You want enough bar oil and a sharp chain. You need to prepare before you know you need the chainsaw. Now let’s look at another scenario. Again, I will go to my favorite extreme case “Doomsday Preppers”. Most of these depend on wood for heating and cooking. But what happens when the gasoline runs out or the chainsaw breaks? Well I remember when this happened to me. It was over four decades ago when I was a teenager in Alaska. We had to move a small bulldozer threw an area of tundra. This is a swamp with moss growing on it. Well, our chainsaws broke!!! So we went back to the cabin and got grandpa’s cross-cut saw, two bow saws, and a number of axes. I have never worked so hard in my young life. Cutting wood by hand is labor intensive. You not only had to cut the trees down you have to remove the branches so you can drag the tree to the log road. I quickly learned the value of a sharp saw or axe. My grandpa had no sympathy for me. He reminded me he cut and dragged every log in the cabin I was sleeping in. And that every year he had to cut and split enough wood to get through the winter. That was back before he had chainsaws. It was a very humbling experience. Well we got the chainsaws repaired and I still value the lessons I learned on the old hand tools. Today there are options that did not exist today. Below are some links to options that could be considered to cut trees without gasoline powered chainsaws.

I am editing this because of a comment I received on this post. That was about how dangerous a chainsaw can be. I have personally seen the results of kickback where the blade jumps up. Of blades breaking and flying into people and other chainsaw accidents. Today’s chainsaws are much safer than the ones I first used. But you have to learn how to use them properly. I am not going to go over proper chainsaw use since there are so many resources that do a great job of this. One thing I will say is that it is always a good idea use that chainsaw for the first time with someone who has experience using it. Where I lived in Alaska there were always old timers willing to teach us teenagers how to safely use a chainsaw. There were also dealers of chainsaws who would have clinics. They showed us how to properly use and care for our specific brand of chainsaw. They also showed us what could go wrong or common mistakes people make. So yes part of being prepared is knowing how to use the chainsaw correctly. You also need to  make sure you have used your chainsaw to actually cut wood. It is a good idea to practice with it at least twice a year. And to make sure your chainsaw is in good repair.

Quasiturbine Pneumatic Chainsaw Electric chainsaws The Timber King Pneumatic Chainsaw Battery 12 types of hand saws Crosscut saws Marshall tree saw Bahco bow saws Fiskar axes Japanese Pattern Crosscutting Timber Saw


2 thoughts on “the importance of chainsaws

  1. Timothy (Tim) Riecker

    Having a chainsaw can be important – but be sure to know how to use it! There have been many disasters with limited casualties where the number of casualties increased post-disaster from ‘weekend warriors’ taking out their chainsaws (which haven’t been used for two years) and injured themselves.

    1. alexanderkeenan Post author

      You are most correct I have seen my share of chainsaw accidents. So I have approved your comment and also updated the post to reflect your advice.


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