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Thread: chainsaw usage - advice please

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2003

    chainsaw usage - advice please

    I've got a couple of small logs that I want to cut into smaller chunks for use in practicing with my lathe. These two logs are too large to consider using my bandsaw. So I've borrowed a small electric chainsaw. But the bar looks like it's a little shorter than the diameter of the largest of the two logs.

    If I try using the saw to rip the log in half, will there be a problem with the end of the bar buried in the log.

    I've had enough of unsafe operation of tools, so I'm considering the safe way to handle this. If a longer bar is needed (assuming I power saw them) then that's what I've gotta do. If two passes with a short bar are o.k., then fine.

    what say you?

  2. #2
    Hi John,

    I have a full sized gas powered saw that I use to take stuff down and cut into manageable pieces....And like you, I bought a little electric saw to do what you are doing. The combination of the two saws is nice because the little electric one can be moved about without much danger of kickback---(there's just not much power or weight there so it's easier to manhandle)

    I can easily rip a log into a 4X4 and I use several passes so I stay straight. If it has one of those chain guards at the tip, I recommend you remove it. Keep the chain sharp and it's not too bad. Let it dull and it's more work than it's worth.

    Not as good as a saw mill...but my saw mill is still at the store.
    "There's nothing wrong with Quiet" ` Jeremiah Johnson

    I live in Steve Schlumpf's basement...under the stairs

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Richland WA/Lafayette, LA
    I rip them with mine - a 20" chainsaw. I had to cut trees down to make my driveway when I moved on the property.

    You really need a sharp chain. At the end do NOT get the chain in the dirt, it will dull it faster than you can say it.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Benbrook, TX
    Make sure that chain is very sharp and well-tensioned (it shouldn't sag). In fact, unless your friend is the sort who keeps his tools well-tuned, it might pay to put a new chain on it.

    To rip the log wider than the bar, support it on something to get it up off the ground, like some 2x4 scraps notched so it doesn't roll. As soon as the bar is completely into the log with a couple of inches behind it, drive a wedge (2 if it's a really wide log) into the cut to act as a splitter. You can get plastic felling wedges where ever chainsaw supplies are sold, they're about $2.00 apiece for the small ones. You're not felling here, you just need something to act as a splitter, so wooden wedges should work, but make they stay in and add more as you go to keep the kerf open.

    The reason some chainsaws have a guard at the tip of the bar is because that's where kickbacks usually occur. If you cut with the bar parallel to the ground (holding it horizontally) and the log is wider than the bar, this portion of the bar is working, and towards the end of the cut the top piece is going to sag and bind the chain. Wedges will keep it supported and help prevent a kickback. Even better would be to use the wedges and cut with bar perpindicular to the ground, that way, there's no weight on top of the bar.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    New Zealand
    If I try using the saw to rip the log in half, will there be a problem with the end of the bar buried in the log.
    Not really. Although the bar will be buried in the log the top section of the tip wont be cutting. Thats the danger area. Follow the advice the others have given re sharp chain and using a wedge ( some home made wooden ones would be OK for this job ).
    Make the cut from one side, hold open the cut with a wedge and cut down to the bottom of the log. Then go around to the other side and complete the cut.
    I have no problems felling and bucking 36" trees with my 20" chainsaw, just takes a bit of care and planning.

    Just be carefull and you will be OK

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Thanks to all for their thoughtful replies.

    If I'm going to be doing any turning, it seems a chainsaw seems a useful tool to have. I am simply concerned about the safe use of a tool with a lot of exposed "blade". Thanks again.

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