Chainsaw Multi-Tool

Here's a neat took that one of my collegues, Mark, has just got hold of - his downfall was showing it to me! That's it in the picture, find out more after the jump...

This multi-tool is specially designed for chainsaws and it seems like a great idea - so let's take a closer look and see if it could be sticking in your toolbox (or on your belt).

The 'Top Saw Pocket Wrench' is pretty small at 4½ inches long, containing all the useful implements one needs to keep a chainsaw running...

  • Long reach spark plug spanner (16mm / 19mm)

  • 13mm spanner

  • 4mm allen key

  • Torx driver

  • Bar cleaner

  • Small flat screwdriver

  • Large flat screwdriver

The whole lot fits into a nylon pouch with a belt loop, allowing you to keep the tool close to hand for when you need tweak the idle adjust screw, or sort out the chain tension.

The long reach spanner is reversible, although you'll need to unscrew the Nyloc nut, switch the spanner round to the size you need and then tighten it back up again. However, the chances are that you'll only need one size for most saws, so it's not a problem; but I could imagine that if you need to maintain several saws that use both 19mm and 16mm spark plugs / nuts, it would get a bit tedious swapping it round as you'd need to carry round a Philips screwdriver and a 10mm spanner to swap it round. As I said, if your saw(s) use the same size spark plug, it's not an issue. The 13mm spanner fits on to the smaller nuts that hold on the Husqvarna side plate, but interestingly enough this has two small holes drilled through the side of it, allowing a file to be fitted. This turns the tool into a file handle, and you can keep the file guide on the file as well. Having said that, I found that a 4.8mm (3/16") file wasn't held really securely, but a 5.5mm (7/32") does fit better - I didn't try it with a 4.0mm file. The other slight issue is that there's no way to store the file either on the tool or in the pouch. Still, it's a very simple idea and it does work.

The 4mm allen key fits Husqvarna allen bolts - which would be very useful for my 350 as the exhaust bolts seem to have a habit of working themselves loose!

The Torx driver fits the Stihl & Makita screwheads, allowing you to gain access to the recoil starter and chain brake mechanisms. This makes it a really useful tool with the ability to work with Husqvarna, Stihl and Makita chainsaws.

The large flat screwdriver is perfect for setting chain tension, adjusting the idle screw or removing Stihl air filters, and the small one fits the carburettor H & L screws.

The bar scraper tool will help clean out the debris that inevitably builds up between the rails on the guide bar.

So, is it worth buying one? Yes. My order will be forwarded in due course; having the one tool instead of carrying round separate spanners, screwdrivers and so on, and being able to carry it around in a small case makes this a very useful tool indeed. Check it out at

Dealing WIth Hung Up Trees

If you read some of the articles in this blog site, you'll know that I like to use videos and pictures wherever possible, but I've also wanted to try out something with audio too. So, here's a 5 minute podcast about dealing with hung-up trees. It's just a trial, rather than a full program but I'd like your feedback. Find out more after the jump...

This short podcast aims to take you through dealing with hung-up trees. It's only 5 minutes long and that's not enough time to try and fit in every possibility, but it's hopefully long enough to get an idea of what I'm trying to do.

I'd be grateful for your feedback - is this sort of thing useful to you? As it's an MP3 file it could sit on your iPod nestled between Shania Twain and Leonard Cohen!

Latest Update On Assessments

As I mentioned way back in my last blog article, the chainsaw certification process is to be changed at some point in the future, and I had some doubt as to what the changes would be. However, NPTC had made the proposed schedules available and after reading through them and forwarding on my comments before the consultation period ended, I think (on the whole) the changes would be good. Find out more after the jump...

So what are the changes? Firstly they are proposing to amend the actual structure of the certification, as well as changing the schedules. Here, in brief, is a summary of those changes...

  • The risk assessment, emergency planning and various other knowledge elements are to be brought together and made in to a 'knowledge unit' that is to form part of the foundation certificates. The CS30 is the other foundation course and, by and large, remains similar to the existing one.

  • The CS31 small fell is to include rope / winch work (winching is currently part of CS32).

  • The CS32 (medium fell) is to now include the felling of weighted trees. This is a major change and one which makes some sense as although the same cuts are used as small fell, the method of achieving them is different.

  • The climbing and aerial rescue course is to be called CS38 (as it used to be!) and some major changes are being proposed for this; including... a tree identification element where the student will have to recognise 10 different tree species. The aerial rescue will also have to include a pole rescue as well as a 'tree' rescue. I think this is to be applauded and definitely a move in the right direction.

  • The CS39, using a chainsaw from a rope and harness, is to have additional cuts added to the schedule. This will result in the student having to complete both horizontal and vertical cuts, which is basically simulating the cuts required for dismantling.

  • The above summary of changes is only a proposal at the moment, and I'm not sure that anything will happen until LANTRA get the National Occupational Standards approved - which could take some time.

For now, the courses and assessment schedules remain as they are - so I can get back to creating some new videos and writing some more about chainsaw maintenance and cross-cutting.