There is no mistaking the distinctive sound of a chainsaw, screaming as it bites through a hunk of wood or the bark of a tree. There are even chainsaws which are used to cut through concrete, brick and natural stone. Chainsaws are perhaps one of the most convenient power tools available, and can save a lot of time and effort in construction and felling.
Although the origin of the chainsaw is debatable, it is determined that the first chainsaw was made around 1830 by Bernard Heine, a German orthopedist. This chainsaw was used for cutting through bone. Although this may have been for a more gruesome purpose, the idea was born! Nowadays, chainsaws have almost completely eradicated the use of simple hand-held saws in the forestry sector.
A chainsaw is basically a mechanized saw that is normally portable and handheld. It is widely used for felling trees, cutting branches, harvesting firewood and cutting through wood for various other reasons. It normally has an engine that runs on petrol, electricity or even a more advanced internal combustion motor.
As mentioned previously, there are chainsaws which can be used to cut through stone. Chainsaws that are used to cut through stone or concrete are almost identical to a regular chainsaw. The only difference is that the cutting edge will be made with diamond, and the chain can only be lubricated with water to avoid friction. A normal chainsaw for felling wood will be lubricated with oil or the fuel that runs the motor. Chainsaws that cut through stone or concrete are normally used in construction, and are very precise in helping to avoid damage to the surrounding structure.
There are stringent safety measures to adhere to when operating a chainsaw. The most dangerous thing about a chainsaw is the "kickback" or "push-back." This is when the tooth at the tip of the guide bar catches on the wood instead of cutting through it. This can throw the bar with its moving chain straight up towards the operator or anyone standing nearby. Push-back frequently occurs when the top of the bar is used for cutting. To avoid push-back you should always be alert to forces or situation that may cause the material to pinch the top of the chain. No more than one log must be sawed at a time, and the saw must never be twisted when you are withdrawing the bar from a plunge cut.
Another chainsaw danger is pull-in. This is when the chain on the bottom of the bar is suddenly stopped. The chain on the bottom of the bar stops when it is pinched, caught or encounters a foreign object in the wood. The reaction of the chain pulls the saw forward and may cause the operator to lose control. Pull-in frequently occurs when the bumper spike of the saw is not held securely against the tree or limb and when the chain is not rotating at full speed before it contacts the wood. The trick to avoiding pull-in is to always start a cut with the chain rotating at full speed and the bumper spike in contact with the wood.
There are many more risks associated with chainsaw operation. The danger of timber falling and trapping the operator is something to take into consideration. The chain must be maintained properly, and you should never use your chainsaw to cut into inappropriate materials. Even just the vibrations of the chainsaw can cause White Finger Disease. Protective clothing should be worn at all times. Some recommended protective gear is a hard hat, safety glasses, thick gloves and ear muffs. In most countries, you will be required to undergo training in maintenance and operation before you will be allowed to use a chainsaw.
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