Here's The New Video...

So here it is - the new video. Shot on a cold, but sunny morning at Sparsholt College, Hampshire (UK). This six and a half minute video covers the basics of how to start your chainsaw safely and is really aimed at those about to take their CS30 assessment. Find out more after the jump...

In the past I've found that breaking the starting procedure down in to steps, to make it easier, actually makes it more confusing! This video is really aimed to be used as a quick bit of revision if you are about to undertake your CS30 (chainsaw maintenance and crosscutting) assessment.

It covers cold and warm starting, ground starts and standing starts as well as the safety checks and the action to take if these checks reveal something is wrong.

I hope you find it useful and over the next few posts we'll be taking a look at some of the points raised in the video.

PS: No instructors were hurt in the making of this video! When you see the kickback bit, you'll know what I mean.

PPS: If you're an instructor and would like a better quality copy of this, then drop me a line via the comments and I'll send you out a copy on CD (it'll be in AVI format, MOV also available but I'm having trouble with the sound right at the start of the video in this format). You can also drop me a private message via the ArbTalk forum - see right hand side of the page.

Starting The Chainsaw.

With the knowledge that the final touches are being put on the new instructional video, I figured we should have a quick look at a couple of pointers to consider when starting your chainsaw. Find out more after the jump...

Whether you're looking to carry out a cold, or warm, start of your chainsaw, it's a good idea to check around you first. In particular...

  • Check the chain brake is ON. You really don't want to be starting the saw with the brake off and the chain potentially flying around. Keep in all under control and keep it safe - put the brake on.

  • Think about those around you... yep, it's not all about you, you know! Try to maintain a safe working distance of 5 metres when starting the saw, so that no-one is within this 'danger' zone.

  • Don't start the saw next to your fuel - particularly easy to fall in to this trap when you've just filled up the saw. Move away from the saw bearing in mind that 5 metre safe working zone.

  • If you are starting the saw on the ground, try to use level ground that's not covered in mud, brash and so on. Bear in mind that if you are carrying out a cold start you'll be doing some safety checks on the ground too - and that means the chain will be spinning; make sure it's not going to catch anything.

So, whether you're doing a cold start, a warm start, standing start or kneeling on the ground, just be bit careful and check out the site and those who might be around you.

In the next post, I'm hoping to bring you the new video and then we'll probably pick up on a few things from it.


Video Update...

Quick update on the new video - it's nearly done! My little Mac laptop is currently telling me that it's "Preprocessing Movie", and I guess that's a good thing. Find out more after the jump...

The video concentrates on the 'correct' ways to start a chainsaw - i.e. not drop starting it! It takes a look at the basic checks that you might want to get in the habit of doing and what to do if those checks don't quite work out the way you wanted.

It also takes a quick look at warm starts and starting the saw if you don't want to kneel on the ground (like when it's too boggy, or your knee has had it after all those years of climbing...). It finishes off with a short clip to highlight the danger of kickback.

I hope you like it and find it useful - if you're about to take your CS30 assessment, this could be a good bit of revision for you. You'll see it here first in the next couple of days all being well.

New Video In The Pipeline.

Production of another DriveLink video is just about to start this morning. Find out more after the jump...

This video, which will hopefully be the best yet, aims to cover the starting procedure for a chainsaw; it deals with cold starts, warm starts, potential problems and how they should be solved.

I'm literally on my way out now to do it, in order to make the best of the nice weather as it's due to change later on today!

Anyway, look out for it, if all goes well then it should be completed by the end of the week.


Working Edges: Part Two.

In the last post we looked mainly at how cutting angles affected the working edge and how not using the file with an even stroke causes the working edge to become rounded. In this post, we'll compare the working edge of a semi-chisel cutter and a chisel cutter - and look at one of the most common faults when sharpening the semi-chisel version. Find out more after the jump...

We of course know that the working edge should be kept at the correct angle and that the edge itself should be straight. This is pretty easy to see when maintaining a chain with chisel cutter as the top plate very definitely meets up with the side plate. After all, it's this that gives the chisel cutter its characteristics - the working corner that comes to a well-defined point that allows the wood fibres to be severed.

However, the semi-chisel cutter does not have this same defined point as there is a curved surface between the top and side plate. This affects the working edge as it no longer stretches the entire width of the cutter, in fact, it almost looks as if the corner has been knocked off or made blunt! The main thing here when sharpening is to ensure that there is a straight edge running from one side to the other side of the top plate - and this is where I see many people who are just learning to sharpen get it wrong. They tend to stop filing slightly too early, achieving a straight edge which, unfortunately, does not go right across the leading edge of the top plate; placing a straight edge against it shows up the problem. The solution? On most occasions it takes just one or two more strokes of the file to sort it out.

I tend to use the straight edge of a file guide to check this leading edge, it just acts as confirmation, but you should be able to see it fairly clearly in good light. You'll see where the curve starts as it leads from the top plate round to the side plate - there'll be a difference in the way the light hits the cutter and it shows exactly where the edge of the top plate is. Follow this line forward to the working edge and make sure that it's straight from this point to the other corner of the top plate - hopefully the picture shows this better than I can explain it.


Just thought I'd say a quick "Well done" to the guys on the latest CS30 course. They all passed with flying colours which is great news.

So, congrats to Andy, Jim, Tom & Dan - perhaps I'll see you back for the small fell or climbing course?!

Keep in touch, you can use the comments on this site. Cheers, David.