Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Prolar by Elvex

A few days ago during video work for the Elvex Corporation I cut into a leg chap with a Stihl 361 chainsaw running full throttle. The chap wasn't on my leg luckily, I had strapped it to a log simulating my leg. In my findings however, it would have been a positive experience.

Chaps are not designed to be cut proof but hopefully do reduce injury should an accident occur.

The Elvex Chap, made of Prolar pads, totally amazed me. I have cut into many a chap leg over the years at shows and training events. Some have cut through slightly and some have stopped the saw and didn't cut through. The cut I made this time in the Elvex ProChap stopped the saw with only 3 to 4 of the Prolar pad layers. This combination of woven and felt material is a winning combination!

You should always wear leg protection when operating a chainsaw. It only takes a millisecond to have an accident that can damage you and change life forever.

Read more on Elvex products at www.Elvex.com and at www.ForestApps.com

Good Sawing,
Tim Ard

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday, December 5, 2010

A Bar Tip...

A Bar Tip...

By Tim Ard, Forest Applications Training, Inc.

For viewing the article with photos click this link

If I were to offer you a tip on chainsaw operation that is most misunderstood it would be the one discussed here in this writing. I strongly believe that every chainsaw operator should know how to efficiently and effectively use the technique. I don't believe every operator should use it, but all should be aware. I hear about situations, and sometimes injury incidents, that occur from the lack of use of this tip. Often I hear that it should never be used by some, but I think more issues occur from the lack of its use. The Tip - Use the tip of the bar to create a bore or plunge cut.

First, as told over and over, a chainsaw operator needs to completely understand the reactive forces of the chainsaw. On top of the bar is push back, on the bottom side is pull in and on the upper tip is Kick Back. Familiarize yourself with these reactions in your owners manual or visit http://www.forestapps.com/tips/tips.htm . You must be aware and know how to control the use of the bar tip to perform the bore cut technique.

Understanding the above, why is it a technique that can be considered safe for a trained operator to use? The danger is as much or more in the nonuse as it is in the use. Let me explain what I mean here. If you are not aware of what can cause a dangerous situation you cannot choose to avoid it in your planning and execution of the task. You may always choose to not do something, if you are aware of why not...

This year in training workshops I have seen the need for the tip to prevent possible injury. The operator planned the task. They had a very complete plan of surrounding hazards, lean recognition of the tree, how to cut and have an escape route. They had a clear picture how much hinge or holding wood they wanted to maintain. They chose a commonly used back cut, starting from the back of the trunk. I was concerned with the heavy forward lean of the tree and asked them to consider a bore cut to remove the center fiber of the tree and establish the hinge or holding wood first. This process to make sure to not have more than 10% of the trees diameter in hinge width.

The trees were virtually impossible to cut, fast enough, and eliminate what happened. They were hurriedly unaware of the results to quickly follow. The pictures surrounding the article depict the outcome. All operators remained unharmed and alive, other than near heart failure from the surprise and high PuckerFactor that accompanied the completion of the plan.

Why did these situations occur? Probable answer - The weight of the tree caused the fiber to split up the trunk faster than the saw operator could reduce the thickness of the splitting fiber of the moving, falling trunk. If they would have been positioned behind the trunks or didn't retreat fast enough, there would have met injury or death. So it is so important that chainsaw operator's know how to deal with this dangerous situation or don't attempt to cut a tree.

What could have be done to complete the tree removal safely? That would be contingent on the information taken but a few of the options...

1. Have the tree removed from the top down.

2. Remove some of the limbs to decrease the weighted lean.

3. Use a bore or plunge cut to produce the hinge first and release the tree with the back strap.

To accomplish any of these three solutions you must involve yourself in training, planning and practice.

The bore cut technique is not new and was introduced to me by Soren Eriksson. It has been around since modern design chainsaws. If you are uncertain about its strengths and assets, in my opinion, is because you have never planned and used it. It is not a professional or advanced technique, it is a basic technique. Not a technique to necessarily use every tree, but especially to know when too. That's your Tip! Use the Tip! Good Sawing!

The bore cut technique can be seen illustrated in Tim's Tips on the www.ForestApps.com website and in our eVideo DVD and YouTube videos.

(c) Copyright 2010 Forest Applications Training, Inc.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Our Action

Our Action
By Tim Ard, Forest Applications Training Inc.

What is it thats thought to be so hazardous about chainsaw use? Often when people hear what I do they say something like, "do you still have all your limbs" or "a lot of people need that!" I guess this thought process is rightfully so as the CDC published a statement that said there are 36,000 chainsaw incidents a year occurring across the nation. That's just over 98 incidents per day! Most of the incidents that I hear are usually credited to the saws reactive forces of Kick Back, Push Back and Pull In.

A phrase I came up with years ago, that I use often, goes something like this, "I believe the majority of cuts or lacerations from a chainsaw happen not as much from the reactive forces of the saw but our reaction to its action."

What does this mean? In most of the explanations behind incidents, people share with me in my travels, there is a common thread that I hear coming through. I have listed some of what I hear...

I was stepping over a log...
I slipped and lost my footing...
The saw went through the limb and right into my knee...
I was moving some brush and my hand hit the chain...
The saw slipped off the limb...
I was moving brush and limbs for my friend that was sawing...
I was cutting some brush and the saw kicked and hit my leg...
The saw kicked and came right back into my shoulder...

What can we do to clearly understand and learn from these communications?

Check to make sure the limbs and logs we plan to cut are not in bind or under pressure that might be released, throwing the saw or causing us to lose control of the chainsaw.

Make sure the saw chain is sharp. Having to apply heavy pressure to the chainsaw to cut makes it much more difficult to react to any unplanned actions. The saw chain should cut the wood with very little or no pressure applied from the operator. It should cut about an inch of material per second. If not, it's time to sharpen.

When stepping over or really taking a step with a running chainsaw, use the chain brake as a parking brake. Simply let the saw idle, apply the brake, and your chances of contacting a moving chain is reduced. Moving around with a chain turning is a sure incident invitation.

Take care in selecting your footwear for the task. Heavy duty boots with hard toes, ankle support and good traction soles are important. If you work daily with a chainsaw you should consider the above with the addition of chainsaw resistance added to the design.

Keep both hands on the chainsaw at all times unless the chain brake is applied or the switch is in the off position.

Maximize your distance from the saw chain at all times. Watch and plan your position so as to give you as much reaction time as possible before you begin a cut. Don't lean over the cuts and always balance your weight on your feet to be able to control the forces of the saw and your balance.

Never cut with the saw above shoulder height while looking in line with the spinning bar and chain. When cutting vines or clearing low limbs turn the saw to the sided or on an angle, so as to not align yourself without the guide bar. A great tool for this task may be a pole saw instead.

Never cut a limb or any other material with someone holding it. Stand back from a chainsaw operator when they are cutting a minimum of 10ft. When the operator completes the cut then the material can be removed from the work area.

Personal Protective Equipment consisting of hard hat, safety glasses, hearing protection, chainsaw chaps, gloves and proper footwear offer the best insurance you can buy to reduce injury should an accident occur. Consider it part of a chainsaw investment.

Read and or re-read your owner's manual to familiarize yourself with your saws controls and other safety information it contains. This is especially true if you only use your chainsaw occasionally. Any tool will work better with practice.

If you would like to know more about available training programs for chainsaw applications visit http://www.ForestApps.com

Tim Ard is a nationally recognized chain saw applications and training instructor with over 30 years of experience in communicating the mechanics and use of the chainsaw. He is founder and president of Forest Applications Training, Inc. He can be reached for questions at info@ForestApps.com

(C) Copyright 2010 Forest Applications Training, Inc.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, November 22, 2010


I hope you are all set for a great week of Family, Friends and Turkeys!

Laura and I wish all of you the best during this Thanksgiving Time. We are so thankful for all of you and for the Magnormous Abundance God allows us to partake of in our training endeavors.

The article this week is regarding a few thoughts on the use of wedges and rope in your tree work. It can also be found on my Blog at www.ForestApps.blogspot.com pass it along to friends and workers.

I am pleased to announce a new endorsement relationship for 2011 with Elvex Corporation and its safety products. If you are not familiar, check them out at www.Elvex.com They have been producing PPE for Chainsaw Operators for many years and other safety items in several work industries. ForestApps will be assisting them with product marketing, dealer and distributor PPE education and most of all having a great time using their products and working with their great Elvex Team! I have been using Elvex products for about a year now and I am impressed with the design and quality. They will impress you too!

The upcoming week is a great time to look over items in our eStore for your holiday gift giving. Let me recommend or in stock items-- my Cross-Sight Height Gauge, The ForestApps eBook, Jeff Jepson’s To Fell a Tree, Original PFERD ChainSharp Tool’s and Elvex PPE. Just click the eStore link for our website – www.ForestApps.com

Next week Rob Lagerstrom and I will be working to produce a new group of product awareness and use videos for Elvex here at my shop in GA. These videos, on several facets of PPE, will be available on the internet and DVD for your training use and viewing pleasure. If you would like to put your name on the list for these when they are completed, send me an email with Elvex Videos in the subject line and we will keep you personally updated as to when they are ready. The videos will be free to the first requesting... info@ForestApps.com

And Thursday – Gobble Up!

Good Sawing,

Tim Ard
Forest Applications Training, Inc.

O 770.222.2511

Friday, November 19, 2010

Wedges and Rope...

Wedges and Rope...
By Tim Ard, Forest Applications Training, Inc.

I have used wedges in directional felling of trees almost exclusively since my learning years with Soren Eriksson. He taught me to calculate how many wedges and what they can do; wedges assisting in lifting and supporting trees during the felling process.

When beginning to train with a lot of tree care and storm related workshops, I began to learn from the Arborist's the value of ropes and rigging. How to calculate what is necessary to understand the limitations and the right knot or attachment accessory to make the rope assist successful.

A Participant in a class recently explained it and defined my stand completely on Wedges and Rope work with trees... Don Roppolo said, "I always use a wedge when rope is used in felling a tree, but I don't always use a rope when I use a wedge."

Both the wedge and the rope do basically the same thing- they assist to lift or support a tree to a desired felling plan.

The wedge in felling can afford the chainsaw operator the ability to finish, or set up the felling cuts without the tree binding the saw. This eliminates the need to have someone or something pulling on a rope, while the sawyer is cutting, to keep the tree from binding the saw. The rope is a great tool if there is resistance in the top of the tree and to reduce the hammering of the wedge work.

I hope you realize the wedge or the rope will not steer a tree to a targeted lay. The notch and hinge is the control and steering in the plan.

How to place the wedge? How many wedges? How far to pull and just how much rope do you need?

It all starts to come together as you complete the plan...

For answers and or more information visit www.ForestApps.com

Good Sawing!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, November 15, 2010

PFERD ChainSharp CS-X

I have written a new article outlining the first impressions of the NEW ChainSharp tool from PFERD.



Good Sawing,
Tim Ard

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Collect, Prepare and Promote

Collect, Prepare, Promote

By Tim Ard, Forest Applications Training, Inc.

I am so fortunate to be part of an occupation and the operations of collecting, preparing and promoting information that eventually makes someone’s life easier, more efficient, profitable and hopefully safer. In whatever you endure and pursue in life the most gratifying is when you are afforded the opportunity to hear of and see positive results of your efforts. For someone’s life and wellbeing to be transformed by your actions and knowledge.

Years now I have been making an annual, sometimes bi-annual, trip to New England to hold workshops. From a training standpoint it has evolved from basic chain saw safety demonstrations, to having several three-day totally committed programs. Organizers are always striving to have large numbers of attendees at the demonstrations and to fill the specific programs. We by design know chain saw safety demonstrations were, and still are today, to excite attendees to continue forward. Continue forward with what training is all about - hands on events, then followed by practice and application. This makes training worth the time, cost and effort. The organizers in New England have done an awesome job with building an amazing training culture. People seem to love training in New England.

The training process related to any chainsaw application or operation doesn’t however end with the last day of a workshop or program. The process must continue in practice, updates and a continued search by the organizers and participants to stay aware, strengthening their safety culture - collecting, preparing and promoting.

Collect- Training in chainsaw applications and safety is a collection of processes. The process of collecting and understanding what you need in equipment, technique and application to make it all work with and for the person that picks up a chain saw.

Prepare –Training should prepare the chain saw user for the future task or operation. It must provoke them to think and plan, excite them to find out more and to use what they learn. It should prepare and provide them with a basis to build upon.

Promote –Training must promote a work habit, one that is used, spreads and grows from the inception. If it’s not fluid, if its not alive, the training will not evolve into a culture. Great training will and should be magically promoted by attendees to other work partners, crew, company and or organization.

Where to begin?

Well back to the chain saw safety demonstration. If it is to work successfully, training must excite an attendee to seek more. The first step of training according to most manufacturers and even OSHA is the operator’s manual. This is the written handbook or guide that accompanies the product. This product instruction manual usually covers basic switches, function basics, maintenance outlines and most likely any concerns involving generic safety of the item or product. All of you are very familiar with this information right? That’s the same with the second step and the reason for the large demonstration. It’s the second step in the process. It covers some basics in demonstration.

At 2am in the morning, with your headlights on a tree across the road, most likely you are not going to pull the owners manual out of your back pocket to review. It’s the reason to continue on with your training advancement to pick up processes or techniques to handle a different task easier.

That’s why it must be a culture like…. Collect, Prepare and Promote.

I present the reason for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), how the products work, the design and why it’s needed. I’ve done this in every demonstration I have made for years. The attendees are asked if they have chainsaw leg protection available and use it? If they do have it, over 70% don’t raise their hand that they use it every time they operate a chainsaw.

What about the other stuff- Hardhats, safety glasses, hearing protection?

It’s not a culture until it exists and is habit! More Collect, Prepare and Promote is necessary. Our ForestApps training can help you successfully change these issues.

Find out more on training and chainsaw related applications and safety at www.ForestApps.com Contact- info@ForestApps.com or 770.222.2511

Twitter- @ForestApps     Face Book- Forest Applications Training, Inc.

© Copyright 2010 Forest Applications Training, Inc.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Tectra Helmet

Safety Cap gets Product of the year award!

Elvex new Tectra safety cap challenges the appearance and functionality of traditional safety caps.

Tectra offers a choice of ventilated or dielectric versions, as well as pin-lock and ratchet suspensions. The helmet is designed especially to accept accessories Tested to ANSI Z89.1-2009.


Monday, October 18, 2010


Some updates…

Ethanol Fuel

The powers that be have approved the sale of E-15 fuel. This means that distributors and retailers can begin to market 15% Ethanol fuel through fuel stations across USA. They did so with a stipulation that the pumps must be marked with use in 2007 vehicles and newer. That’s going to create some confusion with auto fill-ups and especially, because they don’t say anything about us little engine users, require big time carburetor changes and possibly even more engine failure problems.

As I have mentioned, in previous articles on fuel, most two-cycles in the field will adjust to 10% Ethanol fuel. However, current equipment carburetor adjustments will not meter the 15%+ range. The adjusting screws are set to be lean on today’s carburetors and the fuel flow orifices are rather small. You can’t open the screws wide enough to allow the Ethanol fuel through at 15%+. It causes the engines to run lean in most all situations.

Next is the higher the Ethanol content, the more moisture is collected in the fuel system and storage facilities. This separates gas from oil in your mix and causes havoc with aluminum and magnesium parts, like carburetor body castings. Also the solvent action of the Ethanol deteriorates the rubber fuel lines and seals. More careful inspections and rotating fuel supplies are going to be required.

Seek out Non-Ethanol fuel sources as soon as you can!


I was a little concerned about carrying a case of TruFuel in the truck on our recent trip to Colorado. You know when you go up in elevation; almost 11,000ft where we drove, the contents of canned goods sometimes becomes over pressurized and pops something… like the tops. Well, we didn’t have any leaks at the elevations. The fuel ran super also! The saws all ran great at the high elevations and the dryer humidity. I really like this stuff! They have a new website up www.TruFuel50.com Check it out. They are also on Twitter now @TruFuel50


The folks at Gransfors Bruks are ready to get you warmed up for winter with their Woolpower products. These socks and undergarments, as well as jackets, are some great investments for the winter months to come. You can link off our website to theirs (Homepage or eStore).

Stihl MS230

I am impressed with this saw for home use and some government storm work. The saw is small but with the PowerSharp kit from Oregon it pulls chips very well. I have cut and dulled the PowerSharp chain, then sharpened it in a few seconds, over and over. Amazing system. I will also say that the chain that came on this Stihl unit, the Picco Duro is also pretty sharp… its gonna be hard to beat the quick sharpening of the PowerSharp chain though.


I’m going by to meet with Elvex management next Monday. Those of you who have received one of the helmet systems from our training or if you have the Elvex ProGuard helmet system that you purchased and wear, let me know your thoughts back in a quick message. I want to now what you like and dislike about the system. Also any new ideas for head, eye and ear protection you would like to have Elvex consider to produce.

Ya’ll have a great week!

Laura and I are traveling around Massachusetts this week and next. Then we are off to the Norfolk, VA area for training with the US Coast Guard. We are finally going to make it home about Nov. 10th. It’s been an awesome training tour so far. Thank you for all your participation in our programs.

Good Sawing!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Tools of the Storm

Tools of the Storm…

By Tim Ard, Forest Applications Training, Inc.

The past two weeks on the training trail, I have been using an awesome chain saw combination for handling storm clean up tasks. The saw is the Stihl MS230. It is a quite impressive small saw. You can check out all the saw details at http://www.stihlusa.com/chainsaws/MS230CBEDURO.html . The saw came equipped with the carbide tipped Stihl Duro saw chain. It is a rugged chain and could be a loop that lasts a long, long time for the homeowner and even be a great combination for storm cleanup for government agencies.

Now for the combination I have been using. I mounted an Oregon PowerSharp system on the MS230. This is a top sharpening saw chain that is different to look at, but is really different when you put it to the wood. This stuff is smooth and cuts like crazy. You can find out more at http://www.PowerSharp.com

I ran the saw for five tanks of TruFuel50 and just began to feel the cutting speed dropping. I then clamped on the sharpening device and gave it a 3 second hit of PowerSharp. I was right back to work at full cutting capacity. This product is an unbelievable accessory to any small chain saw that uses extended pitch 3/8 saw chain.

Questions? Contact Tim at TimArd@ForestApps.com and check out the www.ForestApps.com website for chain saw operations and training.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

The Stick...

The SAFETY Stick…

By Tim Ard, Forest Applications Training, Inc.

When I discuss training for storm cleanup with towns and others operating chain saws; I always discuss the hazards of helping too much. I have heard several stories over the years of swamper’s, spotter’s and various crewmembers that were accidently injured by a chain saw.

One story was after hurricane Opal several years ago. A saw operator turned around and a coworker was standing close behind them. The coworker was cut across the midsection with the chain saw. An unplanned event…

Another story was about a chipper operator working on a roadside with a saw operator. The sawyer became bound in a small tree, attempting to cut it down after a storm had leaned it over. The sawyer recruited the chipper operator to push as he removed the saw from the bind. Why he kept the saw running I will never figure out, but the assisting chipper operator was cut on the leg while helping. An unplanned event…

Still another story, a coworker trying to assist a chain saw operator, clearing a downed tree on a road after a storm, was only trying to speed up the process and was pulling limbs as the sawyer severed them. He pulled, as the limb was being cut, causing a reactive force or either he simply pulled the saw with the limb into the leg of the chain saw operator. An unplanned event…

Reading recently a message from the USFS, they have had incidents where sawyers and swamper’s are working too close together and causing unplanned events.

What’s the answer to this continuously hazardous situation? SPACE! Slow down and give space for reaction time.

Let’s look at some very important math. If a six-foot person is holding a chain saw with only a two-foot guide bar and they, for some reason fall, what is the potential (minimum) reach (radius) of a danger zone for a crewmember or bystander? Person (6’ + 2’ min. arm length addition) + Saw (2’ bar + 1’ power head) = Minimum Danger Zone (11’). You can probably get more scientific than my simple equation, and possibly a lot more imaginative, but you can see the potential. So why do people want to be so close to an operator and a chain saw. They simply don’t understand the MATH.

Let the sawyer make the necessary cuts and when they are ready they will call you in to make the move on the brush and limbs. The sawyer must be in charge- take charge, of the work area. However the assistant, whatever you call them, must understand the math and get back from the work. Some have told me, in a wild fire situation or in a road is closed scenario, they don’t have time to stand back and wait. The situation calls for a lot of hurry up… Folk’s there is nothing that will slow down a hurry up project more than someone getting cut, hurt or killed in the process. An unplanned event… takes away time.

I don’t know if you are aware of this tool and technique. I learned it the first time from a crew harvesting Christmas Trees in North Carolina. It was brought to my attention again a couple years ago from a company in New York that does seismic right of way work all across North America. It is an amazing tool for gaining distance from a sawyer’s chainsaw and it is an amazing tool for moving and windrowing brush and small limbs. The fabulous miracle tool I am speaking of – A stick.

Find yourself a sapling or a limb section, approximately six feet long. You may find a little longer or shorter fit’s you better. This tool can be easily customized. The large end should have a diameter of about two inches so it fits your two handed grip well. The small end should have a fork at the end, about a three-quarter inch diameter- see sketch. You can use this to comfortably stand and rake limbs back or pitch them forward to the side. You will see how amazingly this can move and spread brush with just a little practice.

In summary - The Stick gives you distance from the saw. Can be used to hold brush for the sawyer to cut. It can windrow and spread limb and brush debris. The best thing is – ITS FREE! Unless you just want to for some reason mail a check to the one that turned you on to it….

Remember to always wear PPE! Head, eye, face, ear, gloves, leg protection and boots when working with or around chain saws.

More information for chain saw operators can be found at the Forest Applications Training, Inc. website www.forestapps.com

© Copyright 2010 Forest Applications Training, Inc.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Taking a Stand

Taking a Stand

By Tim Ard, Forest Applications Training Inc.

It is always very hard to do- to stand up for something we believe in. Well, your safety when working with a chain saw depends on a very firm stand. Your stand- and you had better believe it! When you pick up a chain saw you are wielding a very powerful tool. Its rotating, sharp cutting attachment is capable of slicing and dicing just about any material it comes in contact with, especially operator's parts. So when you pick one up- you must take a stand, one you are certain is solid and stable. Take note of the following...

Don't Over Extend- The fatigue process begins immediately when you pick up a chain saw. The saw's weight alone seems to multiply when you hold it in a correct position. When you extend the weight outward or upward, the weight tends to multiply as muscle fatigue begins. It doesn't take long, so make sure your stance is strong and correct from the first chip.

Understand Your Opponent- The reactive forces of Push Back, Pull In and Kick Back are common on all sizes of chain saws. Know these forces and their locations on your saw. Your operator’s manual should be your first source of information regarding these forces and proper maintenance of your chain saw equipment.

Defensive Approach- When you begin to make a cut with a chain saw you must remember the reactive forces and their ability to knock you off your stand. Realize your responsibility is to combat the reactions of these opponents. For example, when the saw pushes back; your stand must maintain balance and control.

Secure Your Stand- Before you depress the throttle and rev the chain saw for a cut, make sure your stance is considering the reactive forces and ready for action. Both feet should be positioned to complete the work. You shouldn't move your position unless the saw chain is at idle or in some situations, the bar and idling chain are on an opposite side of the log from you. Trips and falls can cause cuts and bruises, so limiting movement removes some potential for injury.

Plan Your Stand- Remember that often times the material you are cutting can be under pressure. The severed piece can roll, flip up or down, or even rapidly shoot back toward you when you cut through it. Because of this potential for attack, step back if necessary, make a thorough plan, understanding what could happen before you cut. Proceeding too quickly or without a complete plan can result in an unplanned event- an accident.

Parking in Place- Just as in parking a car or truck, you can apply your saw's chain brake to make sure the chain doesn't roll unless you are in control. When starting the saw and also when moving more than a step or two, lock the chain brake.

Wear Protective Equipment- It is sometimes warm and uncomfortable but it is so important to wear a Hardhat, Safety Glasses, Face Screen, Gloves, Saw Chaps or Pants, and make sure you have good heavy duty Boots. Boots with good traction soles, shank and ankle support should be part of your selection process. Some occupations require boots with chain saw resistance built into them. Waterproof design is also an asset for many tasks. Anyway you want to look at it, PPE is important. Boots are especially important to your stance.

For more information questions can be emailed to info@ForestApps.com Visit www.ForestApps.com for articles and information on topics of chain saw safety, applications and operations.

© Copyright 2010 Forest Applications Training, Inc.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Strong, Stabile Oak's

Strong, Stabile Oak's

By Tim Ard, Forest Applications Training Inc.

I have said it before that it amazes me the connections that have been afforded me across this country all because of chain saws. I have learned so much from the chain saw and the people who operate them.

Over the past few weeks the electronic world of communication, Twitter, has connected me with new friends. I have been a fan of Joe Bonsall and the Oak Ridge Boys since the middle 80's. My ORB contact, Joe Bonsall, began his career with the group in 1973. He is a man who enjoys working with a chain saw around his farm in Tennessee. He is an awesome tenor, a well-read author (his books are available from all the major outlets), and a performer with a greater purpose. When I learned that he uses a saw a good bit on his farm projects, I sent some things to keep Joe and his chainsaw in good shape. We have chatted back and forth on Twitter about his saw and his constant travel schedule on the bus.

Laura and I were able to catch up to the Oaks at their show in Wheeling, WV. We sent a Tweet and were able to meet Joe and had the opportunity to talk with him a while in the afternoon and then to attend the concert that night. In our conversations we covered topics of chainsaws, pets (he loves cats more than Laura does cats and dogs I think) safety in our work and travels on the road, family, the group and how he and others in the Oaks have and are dealing with life. We discussed how the music industry has changed and a lot about other artists they had met and worked with. I started thinking during the conversations, there is a lot of similarity in the music business and the chain saw training business.

You see the Oak Ridge Boys have been performing for years since the 40’s. The current members came together with the latest addition of Joe Bonsall to the group in 1973. The group began as a Gospel Group and received a lot of flack for branching out to country music. They have kept their roots however firmly planted and stabile in their committed message. Like talking safety to people who don’t want to hear it, the Oaks have taken the Gospel portion of their heritage and performances to casinos, clubs, fair’s and places that most Gospel groups would never set foot into. They’ve made it big in country music but they haven’t severed their strong, stabile Oak’s roots of their history.

Hits like Elvira, Thank God for Kids, Bobbie Sue, Trying to Love Two Women have given them the opportunity to go and share their wares at some of the largest music gatherings. They have performed for several of the U.S. Presidents and other country dignitaries too. They are even adding a few current music styles to their performances to keep the ear of the younger generation. Yes, Strong, Stabile Oak Roots and still lifting the branches up and out… The Oak Ridge Boys are the only 35-year plus country group out there that are just as interested in their peers and their ability to prosper to satisfy the music fans. Legendary!

During the show performance I was watching and now understanding, how the group had planned the event to the point of perfection all for their audience. The group, including the musicians, from the moment the lights came up, was striving to get their emotions and message in song through to those watching and listening. They felt the needs and response of the audience with a couple songs and then began to make sure the audience was with them totally. Flawlessly they weaved the roots and grew the evening to a standing ovation. They accomplished their plan.

Those of you who know me are aware there are three things that mean a lot to me, yes, actually other than chainsaws. It is my relationship with God, my family, and music. The Oak's maintain strength in all of those areas well. Thanks Joe and ORB for allowing me to step into your training world.

Twitter @OakRidgeBoys

Chain Saw Training sessions for storm work and clean up should contain the same desire for accomplishment and reaching the attendees. Important is the information of equipment, tools and technique; also the attendees must feel the instructors desire and passion in the subject. Forest Applications Training is dedicated to the example.

For more information in designing a chain saw training program for you or your organization email info@forestapps.com or visit www.forestapps.com

© Copyright 2010 Forest Applications Training, Inc.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Chap Works...

Chap Works…

By Tim Ard, Forest Applications Training, Inc.

I can remember back in the early nineties when I was preparing for a training program in West Virginia. Ed Murriner of WV Forestry, at that time, and I, were discussing the use of PPE in the state among professional operators. The first demonstrations for the Logger Certification Program there, we had huge turnouts, but we had very few show up with hardhats. I asked how many used hardhats on the job. Very few hands went up. When I asked how many used saw chaps, I had even fewer hands raised.

I also remember calling around and asking if there were any records of sales, from three different manufacturer/suppliers of chaps, shipped to WV. The report was less than 150 pairs. I could have carried every pair of chaps sold in WV, to that date, in the back of my S10 Blazer. I would have to say, in my opinion, that most of those were probably used by and belonged to the Forest Service in the state.

One thing the OSHA regulations did shortly after that time in history, for the private sector of businesses, was to enforce and excite the purchase of leg protection. The OSHA requirement (OSHA 1910.266) of chain saw leg protection (chaps) has definitely saved a lot of chain saw cuts to operators.

Saw Chaps are working today for many, many chain saw operators and especially the USFS. The US Forest Service has been religiously requiring and using saw chaps for many years. They were the first organization to really push the issue to their workers and volunteers in fire service.

I recently read the 2010 Gransfors BruksSwedePro catalog, which showed chain saw injury statistics, compiled by the Consumer Products Safety Commission for the year 2008. They are showing 27,170 incidents in 2008, 11,904 of them were to the legs.

The breakdown:

Head 1,786

Upper body. 816

Arms and hands. 11,107

Legs. 11,904

Feet 1,557

PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) is so important for part time and full time operators of chain saws. It’s the cheapest insurance you can buy for chain saw use. It’s not going to eliminate all accidents and incidents but it sure can lessen an injury if one occurs. Remember, an accident is an unplanned event. No one in their right mind plans an accident! I can tell you also from my discussions with operators across the country that experience is a great teacher but it doesn’t always mean a lot should you miss something in the planning process and something unplanned happens.

I was so pleased when I received a copy of this message from the USFS Region 6 Health and Safety Chain Saw Specialist (THE U.S. Chain Saw Boss) Winston Rall.

Good morning all,

We have had a large number of "chap cuts" this year and the good news is that chaps work and we have had no injuries. On the other hand we need to be aware that when PPE is damaged it is the last line of defense from injury and that we need to look at what actions led up to that damage.

It is the busiest time of the year but let's take the time and ask our instructors and crew leaders to conduct tailgate sessions specific to avoiding saw contact with legs before the next project requiring saw work.

Here are some contributing actions to the chap cuts that we have had to cover in those tailgates.


Winston Rall

R6 Health & Safety

Here are some things to reduce the number of cut chaps

·   TThe chain is stopped and brake set before resting saw on leg.

·      Do not cut over extended left leg.

·      Be aware of fatigue. Hydration, work rest cycles.

·      Working distances. Two arms length between swamper and sawyer.

·      Saw weight to body strength.

·      Proper bar length for the task

·      Proper chap size and fit

Then I received another message with some additional comments from the field… Dan Peterson, Safety and Occupational Health Specialist USDA Forest Service Region 8 & 9

·      Using the chain brake when taking more than 2 steps

·      Only stepping or moving feet forward with the brake on or saw bar on opposite side or top of tree/log when limbing

·      Stance when brushing/limbing so legs are reasonably safe distance from guide bar

·      Reviewing kickbacks and how it can happen while limbing/bucking/felling and cause the bar to contact the chaps/legs or feet

I want to say thank you to Mr. Rall and Mr. Peterson for allowing me to reprint this super information. It’s a great testimony to the effectiveness of PPE and it’s also important info for many of you to realize that Saw Chaps can work for you too. In this case, every cut chap represents less pain and suffering for the operator, their coworkers and their families.

If you do not have PPE to use… buy it! The Professionals and Volunteers of the USFS use it and it pays!

For more information on Chain Saw Chaps, Cutting Pants, other PPE and Training visit the Forest Applications Training, Inc. website http://www.forestapps.com and look over the items available through our endorsed manufacturers. Purchasing Links are available through our eStore too…

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Chain Saw Injuries

Listed for 2008


Head 1,786
Upper body. 816
Arms and hands. 11,107
Legs. 11,904
Feet 1,557

US consumer products safety commission.

Info taken from Gransfors Bruks SwedePro 2010 catalog

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Monday, August 9, 2010

Run Check....

Run Check

By Tim Ard, Forest Applications Training, Inc.

How should a saw perform once it is started? What do you look for to make sure it is going to run and do the Job you need it to?

Five areas to check out to make sure the saw is performing as it is designed:

1. Clean Air Filter - you must make sure the chainsaw nose (filter) is breathing properly. If the filter is restricted the airflow for proper adjustment will be low and cause smoking, low power and poor running results.

2. High Speed Levels to Flutter - let the saw warm to running temperature before attempting to determine if high-speed settings are correct. This will take a couple minutes or so after starting to accomplish. Then hold the saw at wide-open throttle for a few seconds. The rpm should come up to a full throttle position and then level off. It sounds kind of like a flutter or a slight blubbering tone. The flutter sound must be in any two cycle high speed run to make sure you have sufficient lubrication and fuel for the engine. A digital tachometer can be used to check if the run is set to design parameters suggested by the manufacturer. A tachometer will only tell you when an engine is in adjustment - it won't however tell you when it's out of adjustment. An engine can show within the design a maximum RPM setting thats within specification but can have an air leak or other engine problem and can still be running in a lean state. That's where the operator must understand a two-cycle flutter and make sure the saw at top end is fluttering. If not major damage to the engine can and most likely will take place. The high-speed setting is done with the H screw on the carburetor.

3. Chain Stops at Idle - now bring the engine back to idle for the next observation. We want to make sure that the engine is at idle for a couple reasons. The first is safety because you do not want to be walking around with a chainsaw where the chain doesn't stop turning at idle. This also indicates that the engine is idling low enough, if the saw chain stops, to disengage the clutch mechanism and let the low speed fuel circuits in the carburetor take over. When the chain turns at idle you adjust the T or LA screw to raise or lower the RPM to disengage the clutch.

4. Idles In All Positions - now that the chain is stopped and the saw is at idle, the saw should idle in all positions until it runs out of fuel. If the saw is getting too much fuel at idle it will puddle up in the crankcase area and as soon as you roll it over it will flood the port and the engine will stall. The L screw on the carburetor adjusts this scenario. In this case you would close the screw slightly clockwise to reduce the fuel flow.

5. Accelerates Without Hesitation - next the acceleration should be checked. Open the throttle quickly and the RPM should come up without hesitation. If the engine hesitates before quickly rising to wide-open throttle, the L screw on the carburetor should be opened counter-clockwise to allow more fuel flow. It takes fuel to create the power to rotate the engine.

You should remember that you could damage the saw engine quickly if you do not run it properly adjusted. I hear often that supervisors and shops do not want the operator to have access to a screwdriver, nor to adjust the screws. They state that they don't want the saw blown-up from someone who doesn't know how to properly adjust the screws. I agree, but I have said for years that I think I see as many saws and trimmers blown up from lack of adjustment as I have adjustment. If the operator doesn't know when it is out of adjustment they just run it. You do not have to have a screwdriver yourself however to adjust the saw. If you know when it is out of adjustment you can simply take it to someone who does.

Think about - anytime you turn a carburetor screw to the right, clockwise, you take a chance of causing engine damage. You remove fuel and lubrication with a clockwise turn of the screw.

Operators should all be aware of how to check the run of any two-cycle piece of equipment. If they are going to work safely and productively with the machine it must be in tune...

More information on carburetor adjustment can be found in our ForestApps eBook available from www.BarnesandNoble.com and from the eStore at www.ForestApps.com .

Check out the articles on carburetion and fuel under the info/articles link on the homepage. Good Sawing...

© Copyright 2010 Forest Applications Training, Inc.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Hardwood Whups...

Spring Poles – Hardwood Whups….
By Tim Ard, Forest Applications Training, Inc.

Down South they often call it SmellWood. They come so close to your nose sometimes you can smell the wood. Too often however, chain saw operators are surprised by them and they cause injury. They can pack a powerful punch. Spring Poles, Whips, Whups, whatever the name you give them they are dangerous!

The following is an excerpt from the Forest Applications eBook. More information on this subject and other chain saw techniques can be found at www.forestapps.com

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Monday, July 26, 2010

Chain Saw Mileage

Chain Saw Mileage

By Tim Ard, Forest Applications Training, Inc.

For years I’ve challenge myself to plan out every drop of fuel used in my saw for training programs. You would think that’s kind of ridiculous, but when you walk away from the truck or carry fuel and oil over to the cutting site, it can be a quite a distance sometimes, so I always try to calculate it as closely as possible. I hate to leave a training group just standing around.

When I was involved years ago with saw testing at logging and tree care worksites we always kept up with run time on the saws by tanks of fuel. We knew if an operator went through two gallons of gas in a day he had so many hours of operation on the machine. It was very easy to calculate that way and could easily be recorded by the supervisor or operator.

In later years I have realized there are several things that effect the run time on a piece of equipment. If the engine is adjusted too rich, the fuel consumption is higher for sure. If the operator applies a lot of pressure on the saw chain while cutting it tends to use more fuel. Finally the main denominator – if the saw’s chain is dull you will see your fuel economy and productivity go way down…

Recently I was part of a Community Makeover project that had me running a saw at three or four sites in my area. I enjoy donating time to these projects as it is for a very good cause. I had other volunteers to pull brush to a chipper and clean up so all I had to do was the easy part - sawing. My work portion was to cut down, take off larger limbs and buck the pieces where they could be moved by hand or fit a loader bucket on to a chipper.

I cut for three mornings at the projects (I wimped out close to noon each day because the heat index was over 100 degrees). I cut, limbed and bucked twenty some odd trees over the three mornings. I had three or four that were just less than six inches but the average diameters were in the fourteen-inch range with four in the eighteen to twenty-six inch size. There was a substantial amount of brush clearing around the trees at one of the sites. So, a good bit of sawing was going on with my 20” Stihl MS362 I chose to use.

I nicked one rock the second day with my chain and had to remove some damage but was able to make it through all the sawing with the one Oregon saw chain loop and sharpened seven times over the three mornings. I still have about 1/8” of chain top left before the witness mark. Maintaining the sharp chain was easy with the PFERD Chain Sharp.

I didn’t write this bragging about my abilities but the combined efforts of equipment, accessories and operation to reference my amazement at being able to complete the entire project with a little less than two quarts of TrueFuel50 premixed fuel. That’s great Chain Saw Mileage in anyone’s project logbook. Think about it…. That’s Impressive.

In closing, all the work was accomplished, even in the outrageously hot temps, in full PPE. I am committed to my safety and others. I wore Elvex’s new Tectra helmet system and their safety glasses (with 1.5 bioptic lenses), SwedePro Logger Pants, Tool Vest, Saw Mittens and Boots.

The reason I endorse the mentioned products is the simple reason…. If combined and used properly they achieve awesome results.

To find out more about the items discussed, ask for them at your local saw dealer or visit our website at www.forestapps.com . Good Sawing!


Friday, July 9, 2010

Business That Cares!

It is such a privileged to work with companies and organizations that care about their people... That is truly the case this week in South Florida.

A company contacted us, JM Family Enterprises, that wanted to hold formal chain saw training for their volunteers for a program they call Associate Disaster Restoration. The purpose is to locate and restore property of associates if they are struck by a hurricane or other natural disaster. First to find out if the associate is OK. Second is to help them to get their home or property livable should they be damaged during the storm.

This company cares about its employees! It's not a small project either... They have about 1000 associates in South Florida and then a few thousand more across the USA. Their main business - they are the largest Toyota distribution and dealer network. Mostly in the southern states but also have finance and support facilities across most of the east and central states.

The group this week was comprised of mostly occasional to little or no chain saw operation experience but they did super felling, limbing and bucking some good sized Australian Pines that were designated to be removed from a lot being turned into a community park. They are dedicated, determined and like literal sponges absorbing every bit of information they could to be ready for future work taking care if their associates should the need arise.

You want to know more about a business that does it right... Look em up. They are in the top 100 of privately owned businesses in America.

Good Sawing,

Tim Ard

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Community Makeover

Local Churches, about 80 of them, have combined volunteers to help people, family and school facilities in a huge community makeover. The organization Engage Atlanta coming from ministries of WestRidge Church.

The outreach is over about a six county area. Projects will range from cutting grass to major home renovations.

Laura and I will be working on various tree trimming and removal needs at about four of the projects.

Sharing your Blessings with others is what CMO is all about.

Good Sawing...

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Fueled by Ethanol

Fueled by Ethanol
By Tim Ard, Forest Applications Training, Inc.

Today it is getting more and more important to know what your chain saw and trimmer are drinking. Alcohol in excess is bad news for you and your two cycle machines.

Chances are pretty high today that the fuel location you purchased from last year for your two cycle fuel is not the same this year. The difference is that most gas stations today have a minimum of 10% ethanol in their blending at the pump. Ethanol or alcohol in any form can have some ill effects on your chain saw or trimmer.

Alcohol fuel can corrode aluminum and magnesium parts, collect moisture, doesn't mix well with your oil additive, can cause a rapid drop in volatility, and most important it can produce an erratic tuning that could cause major internal engine damage.

If you have one or more of the following issues you may be Fueled by Ethanol.

If you notice your trimmer or chain saw will not start or refuses to start quickly when cold or warm you may have a fuel problem.
If your saw or trimmer idles unevenly you may have a fuel problem.
If the saw or trimmer doesn't accelerate quickly upon trigger response you may have.....
If the trimmer or saw runs away at full throttle you may have ......
If your saw or trimmer takes a long time to return to idle you may have a ......
If your fuel lines are gummy or cracking you ......
If your saw or trimmer engine dies when you let off the throttle trigger you may have ....
If your saw or trimmer billows out smoke and or an obtrusive odor you.....

Yes, you may have a fuel problem!

I received a call from a friend recently complaining that his trimmer would start but wouldn't rev when depressing the throttle. He had been using the trimmer with no problem prior this season. Recently he had purchased a new supply of gas and mixed it as he always has. I suggested he try opening (counter clockwise) the carb adjustment screws slightly and the problem went away. Evidently the new gas purchase had a higher volume of ethanol in it and caused the engine to run slightly leaner. Too lean of a fuel setting to accelerate.
Alcohol in the fuel requires more flow to maintain power needs. In two cycle engines the fuel flow can also relate to lubrication needs. It takes a more open, counter-clockwise adjustment on the screws, to allow enough fuel to run properly. Most carburetors will adjust 10% to 12% but will not accept any higher percentages very well. You should try to a locate a gas supply without ethanol if at all possible.

One of the easiest ways to insure an ethanol free fuel source is to use a bottled fuel like TruSouth's. They produce a premixed 40 to 1 and 50 to 1 fuel (TruFuel or 50Fuel) that is a very convenient and consistent fuel alternative. The TruFuel is in special one quart cans. Your fuel container or mixing is not required. The product is high octane for an even and efficient burn and there is no ethanol. A correct mixture of oil and stabilizers is already mixed in which insures a fresh, properly mixed fuel - good for over two years. Ready for your two cycle machines.

More information on fuel, adjustments and issues can be found under the articles/info link at www.ForestApps.com .

(c) Copyright 2010 Forest Applications Training, Inc.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

JT McCorkle

Our grandson JT McCorkle has arrived June 14 about 10 pm cst . Our 8th grand baby. Congratulations to our daughter Brittany and her husband Bryce on a handsome son. 7 lbs 4 oz. 21" long. All are doing well...

JT- Jayden Taylor McCorkle joins the "Grandclan". Kayla, Kensey, Dalton, Bryson, Tiyana, Canan and Gabriel.

Good Sawing!
Tim Ard

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Sunday, June 13, 2010

Number Eight... JT McCorkle

In the next few hours we are expecting our new grandson to be born. Our daughter Brittany and her husband Bryce are expecting their first, a boy, Jayden Taylor McCorkle.

JT, as I will call him will be number Eight for Laura and I. We are blessed to have such a prolific family...

I wish we could be there for the birth but we will be home soon for the pleasure of getting to know him. More details to come in the next few hours.

Good Sawing!
Tim Ard

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Saturday, June 12, 2010

At Idle

You know it is always good to idle down and take some time to rest. This is especially true when operating chainsaws. When you start to tire it's time to sit down and take a break. Fatigue is understood to be one of the major causes of accidents and injuries with equipment operators.

A chainsaw should idle sometimes too. Like when you let off the throttle, the chainsaw should stop rotating the chain. You see, when the chain is turning you stand a higher chance of cutting something. You don't want it to be a part of your body.

Chainsaws have a centrifugal clutch system that is a major part of it's operation. When the throttle is released, the clutch disengages and the chain is released from its drive system. The clutch has weighted shoes and springs that are activated by the rotation of the engines crankshaft. The weights are centrifugally thrown outward at above idle rpm to engage the sprocket drive drum to turn the chain loop on the guide bar. When the throttle is released the chain should stop rotating.

If the saw chain doesn't stop turning it greatly increases your chances of the reactive forces of push, pull or kick-back coming into play unexpectedly.

If the chain turns at idle it may be caused by one or more of the following:

1. The saw's idle screw (T or LA) is set too high.
2. The centrifugal clutch springs are weak or broken.
3. The roller bearing on the crankshaft is seized or dirt bound.

Some of the common problems caused by a clutch that doesn't work properly:

1. The saw is hard to start because of the resistance of the chain.
2. The engine dies when the throttle is released.
3. The chain brake band is worn or over heated.
4. The operator is exposed to a higher risk of injury.
5. Saw control is greatly decreased for accurate cutting.

So when you take a break your chainsaw should also. Never, never operate a chainsaw that doesn't rest when you do... When you let the engine idle, the saw chain should too.

Remember - review your operator's manual regularly and put on your PPE before starting your chainsaw work.

Good Sawing!
Tim Ard

More information on chainsaw operation and safety can be found at Tim's website www.ForestApps.com

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Friday, June 11, 2010

Old Stand

I recall visiting two preserved forests in the States over the years that I just couldn't understand why things were let to naturally die away. One of these forested areas is in the San Francisco, CA area and another in Spruce Knob, WV. Whether it is Redwood or large native Spruce the situation is the same. Not knowing if it was originally a forest or another man had planted or changed it's lifestyle a hundred years ago, it's evident anyway that they have overgrown themselves and are so thick and depressed that they will most likely not be around for our children. Which is exactly why I think the parks were established to begin with... When we fence off, so to speak, an area and herd lots of people through - it does change things in a forest.

Now number three- today Laura and I visited a beautiful overlook area here in Molokai, Hawaii where there were two paths built to the overlook. The trees were so dense they were dying off at what looked to be a higher rate than most of the similar area forests. Now as the trees naturally die, because there is not enough food on the table for all of them, they are creating hazard situations along the trails.

I think it is ashamed these areas are set aside to preserve them and then no management is allowed in, whether planned by man or natural. Most of the parks I discuss my thoughts with say the budgets just are not there, nor the manpower, to properly maintain them. Volunteers, who are usually a little more on the "don't cut this" side of maintenance are the only ones cleaning up the trails and park facilities. That thought process is usually to maintain less work for some or because of some ecological beliefs of others. Thanks to both of the groups though for at least doing something. A medium point of education and understanding would prosper the results better I think.

Soren Eriksson used to tell me that a forest should be maintained so people can safely walk and even run through the trees. I think he is right. The preserved forests in some park areas and woodlots are so thick they cannot be enjoyed outside of a beaten paved trail or tent pad.

If you were to go in and change the density or build more access trails, the trees are so close together they would fall over in the next little breeze. The root systems have been so protected for so long they are not strong enough to support thinning or storms now. It appears to me they are just slowly dying out. There is no room for new growth. The worst that's evident is the overhead hazards, the fallen and ready to fall stressed and dying trees.

Maybe in the near future we will see more groups and or land owners start to form new recreation areas with management plans from the seed up...

Good Sawing!
Tim Ard

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Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Maui, Hawaii Complete

Completed the Maui programs today. The cutting site was a little limited here for great instruction but it worked and we had an awesome couple of classes.

Because of State Furlough's we had to make the classes a little too large, but we wanted to accommodate as many workers as possible. The trees were very small, so time wasn't a factor in completing the course material, but we were kind of limited in situation discussions. The planning sessions were super and the saw control was well discussed.

I hoped to be able to get the planning process' under way here in preparation for any storm work they may have to do in the future. This is the first formal saw training they have experienced and they learned a lot in taking and acting on information at the tree.

The conditions on the islands, with the tropical tree species and the irregular terrain, make for some super tough and dangerous cutting conditions these occasional operators have to experience.

They are super dedicated people and very hard workers at the Maui DOT. We had a great time here with them, but it's off to Molokai, Hawaii for another class next week.

Good Sawing!
Tim Ard

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Friday, June 4, 2010

Rot and Fire Damage

Rot and Fire Damaged
By Tim Ard, Forest Applications Training, Inc.

I had a great question come in this week regarding the difference between working on a green healthy tree and one that many sawyers have to deal with -- dead, rotted or fire damaged trees. Some may be standing, others may be hung in another tree or just lying there to clean up after falling to the ground. This is an awesome question, but a tough one to write about and illustrate in words. During hands on training I can go over many situations or at least address them with a similar tree in front of the class. Without having you in front of a tree to show and discuss it's hard to justly describe and write about a technique and even harder for one to see with the minds eye. I will attempt to cover some of the more explainable things however...

Let me say this first to reemphasize my ever important stand on the use of the hinge in felling and bucking. You must understand how a hinge should be considered or established in these discussed operations to see their effectiveness and safety. Sounds complicated? It is, unless you can first define it - The hinge is a predetermined section of wood, that connects the stump to the falling trunk stem or a log or limb section to another. Predetermined means you have a clear thought in your mind as to how much hinge you want to leave attaching the two parts. You just don't simply cut, you plan it.

The hinge dimension (rule of thumb) is approximately 10% of the diameter in width and 80% of the diameter in length. The diameter is a measured cross section of the tree or wood/log section. This calculation gives you a very predictable place to start in establishing a successful controlling hinge.

Now to our issue's of burned or rotted trees.

The planning process remains the same as with every tree to cut- establish the five steps - 1. hazards, 2. leans, 3. escape, 4. hinge dimensions and 5. how to cut, selecting tools and kerfs (back to front or bore cut).

I wish I could explain everything regarding what to look for in hazards and leans assessment but it is probably best left for a class or video and still you would not completely cover all the possibilities. Listing out all the possibilities may overwhelm some people. I still find sawyers, including myself, that forget important things sometimes to watch and plan for....

To identify just a few of these obstacle and hazard considerations --
Broken hanging limbs and tops (widow makers).
Rotted or severely burned tops or large limbs that may break loose during movement.
Cracks or channels that have occurred in the trunk from stress or rot.
Noticed splits,cracks or wear areas on the trunk or limbs.
Vines that attach to limbs or other adjacent tree tops.
Root systems that may be burned out causing unstable lean potential.
Obstacles, power lines, cables, structures, adjacent trees.
Ground hazards and terrain issues.
Odd shapes or missing fiber from rot or burn in the desired notch and hinge area.
Chimney effect burns. Forest Fire damage from the inside out on some burned trees.
Fiber that is hard and dry from burn exposure.
Fiber that is powdery, rotted or just weak from rot.
Be aware that rot or fire damage can cause a trunk or limb to be unstable several feet up. This can result in a tree folding back toward an operator when it begins to fall or strikes another obstacle.
Face notch's should be open for travel until the trunk is virtually parallel to the ground and should have no bypass or Dutchman in the apex of the notch. These things can cause a shaking action to the trunk that can snap out tops or unstable limbs.

Regarding initial techniques used to cut the tree or log; after your plan is established, burned or rotted fiber is usually found in the tree in a couple scenarios. On burned or rotted surfaces of the tree the outside wood needed for a hinge may be soft and offer little or no usable hinge material. Other trees may be hollow, limited the placement depth of the hinge into the tree. With either of these scenarios, the sawyer must look at the available wood or the lack of and make sure there is enough for a sufficient hinge to be established. A hinge may be sectioned or open in the middle, similar to hinges of a tall door however and still offer steering control and safety. On larger trees especially, two hinges can be formed, one at each side of the notch. If the tree is hollow and the notch extends back into the hollow, the two hinges located on the sides will still be successful to direct and support a tree as long as there is not too much side lean. Hollow trees, if you can establish a working hinge in the good fiber it only means you have less to cut.

Trees with rot in the hinge area, rotted or unstable fiber, can not be felled from the ground with complete confidence and control. Without hinge control, safety is a questionable issue. If a tree has lean in a favorable direction you may be able to notch and back or bore cut to fall the tree safely. If the plan information has obstacles or hazard situations that can affect the fall, you must decide to leave the tree. It will have to be taken down from the top by bucket, crane or a climber that can suspend from another adjacent tree or structure. If the tree base is unstable it's not safe to support a climber either. Leaving a tree in the woods you can't safely plan to cut means you have to mark off the area - at least the height of the tree or as is usually suggested, two tree heights so no one enters the area. In a residential area mark the area well, especially any walkways, until the tree can be removed. Don't leave a situation for another unsuspecting person or animal to enter the zone and be surprised by the tree falling on them.

The commonly used Definition of a Hazardous Tree is one with a Target. If the tree shows any sign of instability and there's a chance of people or property damage, it's a Hazard Tree! Stabilize it or remove it as soon as possible.

Practice your saw cuts and become proficient in making notches and hinges on practice blocks or stumps before ever attempting to work in rot or burned situations. Your chainsaw must be sharp and in perfect running order. Read your owners manual and be familiar with its content. Wear your PPE and if you are not comfortable with the plan you are able to devise... Call someone who is.

Good Sawing!

The ForestApps eBook, "The Complete Guide to Chain Saw Safety and Directional Felling" is available from our website and downloadable from www.BarnesandNoble.com . We have recently completed filming some very good video footage that we hope to have out in the next month or so regarding a few storm damage situations. So stay in touch with our website or by ChainPoint.

If you have questions or feel other explanations are necessary regarding this article there are training programs available from Forest Applications Training to better your understanding. Write to Tim Ard info@ForestApps.com or visit our website www.ForestApps.com .

(c) Copyright 2010 Forest Applications Training, Inc.

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Thursday, June 3, 2010

Storm Training

Awesome to hear something like this...

A large distributor of Toyota automobiles has contacted us to look into training some of their volunteer employees to help out customers and dealers with hurricane preparedness and clean-up in the Gulf area.

That's the sign of a great company when with all the negative press received over the past few months about their products- they are progressively looking to the future and the well-being of their personal and business family.

Good Sawing!
Tim Ard

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Sunday, May 30, 2010

Life and Wood Chips

Life and wood chips are two things that have become close to my heart as I go down this forest road that God has assigned for me to travel. We will not know till we take our last breath here among the trees if we have taken the right path but after we will, if we know the One who designed the forest and the road. Life is always a wooded challenge! Wood Chips have made mine a pleasure!

I guess you could say I have life today because of three healers of Jewish decent, a Baptist missionary and Trees... Dr. Seth Rosen, Dr. Bruce Goldsweig, and above all the Great physician Jesus Christ. The Baptist missionary? That would be my wonderful loving wife, Laura.

Two years ago this time, May 30th, 2008, I was in surgery to remove everything Dr. Rosen could find of signs of colon rectal cancer from my body. The team of doctors had determined from tests that I was in stage four of the disease and prospects were not great but the surgery would tell more about my future prognosis.

I had been battling symptoms for quite some time and basically ignoring them. They were not seeming to get any better. In April of 2008 my wife Laura had finally convinced me to go in for a colonoscopy. My first one, at age fifty-two. Laura made my appointment with Dr. Flood in Villa Rica, Ga. His PC, Dr. Anni called to discuss the findings. We were in Connecticut working and she suggested we return quickly to see Dr. Flood and his referral to Dr. Rosen. Following more tests they diagnosed the problem and the tests showed the cancer. I went to doctor Rosen to discuss the first step, surgery to remove a baseball size tumor. The end of May, Memorial Day Weekend, I had the surgery.

Dr. Rosen removed the large tumor and twenty-one lymph nodes around and below it in the several hour long surgery. He also found two small spots on my liver and an area on one of my lungs, but didn't think they were cancerous. He put me all back together and then fed me ice chips for the next thirteen days. Nice guy, huh. Tim Ard not eating for that long a period is a miracle in itself. They did finally start some bottled food intravenously after the first eight or so days stay. I had lost some weight before the surgery, down from 198 lbs to about 186 lbs, but during my hospital stay I went down to 173 lbs. (Funny note, Dr. Rosen and his son are avid fans of Ask This Old House and had seen my episode on felling trees recently. Small world....)

I recuperated at home the next few weeks with the best care a human could have from my loving wife Laura, family and friends. They took great care of me as I lived in a recliner for several weeks.

Dr. Rosen then connected me with Dr. Goldsweig at the Georgia Cancer Specialists clinic at Cobb Hospital. We found out he also had an office and chemotherapy facility not but two miles from our house. He was there two days a week.

July 7th, 2008 I began a regiment of chemotherapy called Folfox 5. It was given intravenously. The first dose combination I took on every other Monday for about five hours then they attached a pump that gave me another chemo slow dosed until Wednesday and then a shot of a bone marrow stimulator when they removed the pump. Thursday's I died to the world! It took everything I could do to just stand up and you had to often, as the next two days, you spent very close to a restroom. The stuff also makes you think you are swallowing broken glass chips if you forget and drink anything cool and especially cold. It also will cause tingling to a level of almost pain if you pick up anything cold. Its amazing how these chemicals do this. You soon learn not to aggravate the situation though. Everything you put in your mouth must be room temperature or warmer. This regiment continued every other week until mid-October.

Still today, two years later, I have little feeling in my finger tips and the ball's of my feet and toes. It does change from day to day. Its a reminder of the work the chemotherapy did but is very bearable compared to the alternative.

In August 2008 we had to get back to some training to keep a roof over us so we started traveling and training every other week I was off the chemo. Let me say this also, Husqvarna, Cary Shepherd and David Breeden, kept FAT going with Laura orchestrating the days even through my time away. Thanks so much to them for all they did to keep everything going! There was a lot of interest in training programs at the time and if it wasn't for them, many classes could not have been completed.

You can't imagine all the friends and co-workers I have had the pleasure to know over the past thirty-six years in this business. Yes, It's been a long and fantastic time in this industry of Outdoor Power Equipment. You know, most all of it has been because of those great acquaintances that I was able to make it through the industry forest, as well as survive the cancer. Thoughts and the prayers of these special people have kept me going.

Dave Zerfoss, at that time the president of Husqvarna USA, called weekly. Dave has been a great friend and influence in my life. His integrity and charisma has given me direction and desire to achieve more and more.

I didn't speak to them every time others called to check on me, Laura took most calls, but so many business associates like Dave Z. kept in constant contact. Just to name a few Mike Bolin, Jeff Cathcart, David Perkins, Bill Fyfe, Robert Albritton, Kathy Burns, Juli from HI LTAP, Cary Shepherd, David Breeden, and many, many others. I know I am missing some important friends and recollections so, Thank you all! These people were brought to my side mostly by Wood Chip's over the years.

I am so blessed when I recall all the good times and relationships that have been afforded me in Life from family, Church, cutting wood and making Wood Chips during training classes all over the country. You know, since the cancer, we haven't slowed much. The groups are smaller but the days are as many as ever. Over 2500 participants, in mostly hands on training, since that Memorial Day Weekend surgery 2008.

God has always had a strong influence and hold on my Life. He has allowed me through many experiences to survive and always prosper in my endeavors. I know one day He will take me home, and I'm ready when He is, but it seems Wood Chip's are the reason I'm still around. Good Sawing Everyone!

Written over the Memorial Day holiday weekend, Maui, Hawaii 2010. A training project for Hawaii LTAP. Tim Ard is president of Forest Applications Training, Inc. Http://www.ForestApps.com

Good Sawing!
Tim Ard

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