Medium / Large Fell: space available.

There is a space available on the medium / large fell course at Sparsholt College.

The course, which runs in January from the 27th-31st used to be the old CS32, but is now the Level 3 Award in Felling and Processing Trees Over 380mm.

In this course, you'll learn a variety of different cuts and deal with winching operations, as well as legal and environmental considerations and health & safety issues.

To find out more, you can visit the NPTC website where you  can find details of the assessment requirements at or contact Sparsholt College at 01962 797213 (Gill Yeeles).

Need a chainsaw trainer?

Apologies again for not putting up more posts - especially as we now have the new NPTC units to deliver. With the ending of the old CSnn units, and the creation of the new Level 2 and Level 3 Awards which came into force back in June, there have been some changes to the training. So, here on DriveLink we'll be taking a look at some of those changes, and also a 'new' felling cut that has appeared in the L2 Award in Felling and Processing Small Trees (was CS31).

But first, one of the reasons why I've not been posting on here is that I left my job as Forestry & Arboriculture Short Course Manager at Sparsholt College to go out on my own. At the time, I was busy with woodfuel and the wood heat industry, as well as continuing to deliver some training at Sparsholt.

This post then, is just to let you know that if you require a contract chainsaw trainer, please do get in touch with me directly on 0790 067 7715 or via the contact form to the right.

My experience:

I spent 8 years managing and delivering forestry and arboriculture short courses at Sparsholt College:

  • CS30 / L2 Award in Chainsaw Maintenance & Cross-Cutting
  • CS31 / L2 Award in Felling and Processing of Trees up to 380mm.
  • CS32 / L3 Award in Felling and Processing of Trees over 380mm
  • CS38 / L2 Award in Tree Climbing & Aerial Rescue
  • CS39 / L3 Award in Aerial Cutting of Tress
  • as well as stump grinding, woodchipper operations and MEWP operations.
I'm also a qualified teacher and mentor, holding QTLS, Cert. Ed. Certificated Mentor, BA(Hons) in Post Compulsory Education & Training, an NVQ assessor (A1), and a member of the Institute for Learning (M.IfL) and Associate Member of the Institute of Equality and Diversity Practitioners.

I have an excellent reputation for training, and believe in providing inclusive training to help everyone achieve their goals.

Contact me via the form on the right, or call me on 0790 067 7715 to discuss your training requirements.

Woodfuel: Heating The Nation

You may have noticed that the image at the top of the site has changed... and this is because I have embarked on a new project that I'm really excited about - and also the reason that posts may slow down here for a bit, as I put a lot of my spare time into the new project.

However, I'm not leaving you, the site will still be active and please do contact me if you want to see something specific related to chainsaws on here. I'm also holding off doing any videos for the moment as I want to work out how to best bring you the new structure for chainsaw units.

But what of the new project? Well, I've was fortunate enough to record and photograph a woodfuel conference in Surrey, back in September. Fast forward to the end of December and I had an idea that I wanted to increase awareness of the industry through the creation of a documentary about it, or rather those people that are involved. If you are in the timber industry, a woodland owner, or thinking about fitting a wood chip / wood pellet boiler, then this project might interest you.

I've been really lucky, and although I'm currently only at the pre-production stage, I've been lucky enough to get agreement from several businesses, organisations and individuals in the industry, allowing me to interview and film them. I'm hoping to start this phase at the end of January / start of February.

If you would like to keep up to date with what is going on, I've created a Facebook page at and have more in-depth (but less frequently updated) posts at - I'll also post up here about it occasionally too.

So, please do visit and "like" the page at and keep up-to-date, or tell me your news and what you are doing in the woodfuel industry. Have you thought about supplying it, but didn't know how to start? Post a comment and I'm sure someone will help you out.

Dealing With Stihl Chains: Part 3

Apologies for the delay for getting part 3 of the Stihl chain series to you. It's probably worth a very quick recap on what we've done so far, before carrying on with this part. Let's take a look at this Stihl chain...
...from what we know so far, it's not one of the latest chains as it has the pitch marked on it, rather than just a single identifying number. How do I know that? Because it says "3/8" on the depth gauge of the cutter - therefore it's a 3/8" pitch chain. For a bonus point, how would still now mark a chain with this pitch?

Now look at the drive link, that's got a 6 on it. So now, double or quits... what does this number tell you? No peeking!

So how did you do so far? The new chain would mark the depth gauge with the number "3" for a 3/8" chain. The 6 on the drive link tells you that it's a 1.6mm gauge chain. Knowing this, we can tell this is a model 36 chain. But in this post we want to know about the letters that Stihl would use to identify this chain.

The third character of the model identifier is a letter and it is either an "R" or a "P". The "R" denotes a Rapid chain, a "P" is for a Picco chain. What's the difference? The Rapid chain is a standard height chain and is the one shown in the picture. The Picco chain is a lighter-weight chain often found on the smaller chainsaws. One quick thing, the older Picco chains were easily identified as they had the letter "P" stamped on to the depth gauge, and Picco chains were 3/8" pitch.

So, we now know that the chain in this image is a model 36R-something, and in the next post we'll have a look at what the 'something' is.

New for 2013...

Happy New Year for 2013, and I'd like to wish all of you best wishes. This year promises to be a busy one, with a fairly major project just getting started - more on that in a moment. Later on this week, I'll be getting back to completing the short series on dealing with Stihl chains, and after that it might go quiet for a little while. Why..?


I'm working on producing a documentary about the woodfuel industry. I've already got several key people ready to be interviewed, and late last week it started to turn international, with help and information from the US, Belgium and Zambia.


I've set up a Facebook page at - please take a look, "like it" and check it out on a regular basis as I'll be posting up various questions, news and views and some behind-the-scenes stuff going forward.