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You won't find a tool with more power per inch than a chain saw. Power like that requires extra attention to safety. All of the new and efficient safety features do not replace training in correct chain saw use, proper cutting technique, caution and common sense.
All tools should be used with caution. Chain saws are no exception. They are powerful tools. A saw blade at full throttle moves at over fifty miles per hour and commands extra attention to safety.
Among the common safety features on homeowner saws are:
All homeowner-sized saws are required to have chain brakes and anti-kickback safety features. Some of the other features listed above are available only on gas-powered saws.
Before you even think about cranking the saw and starting to cut, protect yourself. ALWAYS wear protective clothing, including:
Felling is the act of cutting (or dropping) a tree. Look and look again at what you’re going to be cutting - especially where it will fall. Always determine the angle the tree will fall and make the correct cuts. Falling trees tend to kick straight back. Plan a clear avenue to escape the falling tree, moving away from the trunk at an angle, not straight back. Clear debris that may cause you to trip.
Limbing and bucking is what you do to the tree you just dropped. Just because the tree is down don't let down your guard. Taking off the limbs (limbing) and cutting the tree into manageable pieces (bucking) still require caution. Always work on the uphill side when cutting. See how the tree is balanced and which way it will move if a supporting branch is cut.
Take special care to avoid binding and kickback that can occur when the weight shifts. Binding and kickback are dangerous situations you face when cutting. In either case the operator loses control of the saw.
Binding is caused when the material being cut clamps down and stalls the cutting chain inside of the kerf (or cut).
Kickback occurs when the saw tip touches another object or the blade is pinched. The saw is thrown back towards the user. A saw cutting at full throttle can kick back in one-tenth of one second - faster than a person can react. To prevent kickback, never cut with the saw’s tip.
Above all, read the owner's manual carefully before operating a chain saw. The following list is not all-inclusive, merely a reminder to keep safety first in your mind at all times.