Friday, April 30, 2010


This has been a great week! This was our second time of training with the MIIA organization in Massachusetts. Started last year with them and it is exciting to work with them. They are a risk management and worker's comp provider for town DPW workers and Police and Fire employees. I can tell you they care about the workers...

The organizer and contact for our work is Lin Chabra. She does a super job getting everything organized with the townships. We have presented to 125 town representatives across the state from the Cape to the NY border. A great group of saw operators and Lin and MIIA's office and field staff did such a great job making all of them feel appreciated.

We will be back with them again in the Fall - looking forward to it for sure...

Good Sawing,

Tim Ard

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Chain Tension...

How To Tension Your Chain

by Mike Kelly Field Services Manager Oregon Cutting Systems

Never tension your chain right after cutting. Chain tensioned while hot can cool and shrink,

causing tension to be much too tight. REMEMBER- LET YOUR CHAIN COOL FIRST.

  • when tensioning your chain always wear protective gloves

  • Turn engine off. Let chain cool

  • Loosen the bar-mounting nuts on the side of your saw.

  • Pull the bar nose up, and keep it up as you adjust the tension.

  • Adjust tension accordingly:

Solid nose bar- Turn your saw's tension-adjustment screw until the bottoms of the lowest tie strap

and cutters come up and just touch the bottom of the bar rail.

Sprocket nose bar- Tension must be tighter than on a solid nose bar. Turn your saw's tension-

adjustment screw until the bottoms of the lowest tie straps and cutters come up and contact the

bottom of the bar rails, at this point add a quarter of a turn to your tension adjustment screw.

  • With either type bar, hold the nose up and tighten your saw's rear bar-mounting nut first, then

  • tighten the front nut.

  • You should be able to pull the chain by hand along tie top of the bar several times, from the

engine to the bar's tip, Chain should feel snug but still pul1 freely.

  • If you have a sprocket-nose bar you should now perform a snap test. Grasp the chain along the bottom of the bar, pull down, and let go. Chain should snap back to its original position, solidly contacting the bottom of the bar.

  • Check tension often during operation, especially during the first half-hour. If chain loosens: stop,

  • let chain cool, and readjust tension.

  • Improperly adjusted chain can result in premature bar wear and chain wear.


Oregon Cutting Systems, Division of Blount, Inc. 4909 SE International Way

PO Box 22127, Portland, OR 97222-2127

Return to Forest Applications

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Susanville, California Workshop

We are holding another Train the Trainer Workshop, this time in Susanville, CA July 19-23, 2010. The TTT workshops are not only for instructors but for anyone who wants to be able to explain what they learn and pass it to others.

Information can be found on the ForestApps website at

If you know of anyone who would like a training experience in chain saw unequaled anywhere... tell them to register for Susanville.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Bucking Storm Debris...

We had a small group today and we did a little work with some storm situations. It is so impressive when plans are made following some guidelines. I don't know if there is a great way, or best way, to organize your thoughts before making a cut but we had some super results from this planning format:

1. Hazards

2. Roll or Twist - side pressure

3. Up and Down pressures

4. Back and Forward pressures

5. Make the cut

If you take the time to go through these steps you will ultimately reduce the time you are hung in the limb or log and surprised much less by quick unexpected happenings.

One advantage of this five step plan is to quickly agree with the rest of the crew as to what to do. Without a defined planning process you are probably going to spend more time discussing what could happen rather than taking the information, confirming the plan and agree upon actions to get the job completed safely and efficiently.

Most important - once you have a plan for the cut, choose a technique from the toolbox that works. The notch and hinge used for felling works in bucking scenarios too. You don't always need a big, wide notch because there may not be enough movement required for a large opening but just sliding the bar across the compression side makes a notch of sufficient operation to reduce twists and gain control.

The new Storm Debris eVideo is going to be an awesome training / review tool for outlining this process and open a lot of eyes to how great the system works.

Good Sawing,


Monday, April 19, 2010

Two-Cycle TroubleShooting

One training class that's fun to do and very important to chain saw users is the two-cycle troubleshooting workshop. The class is a tear down session that investigates the four areas of two stroke theory and design.

Air - Spark - Compression - Fuel

These areas are are discussed in detail as the saw power heads are torn down and reassembled. The course is not designed for the mechanic bit rather an operator. The concept is that an operator can Reduce Down Time and keep a saw running longer if they understand the workings of the engine.

One subject that is very important today is the Fuel section. Participants take apart carburetors and understand the effects of fuel (like Ethanol Fuels) on the carburetor body and how important adjustments are to the life of the engine.

To find out more information you can look under programs at or contact .

Good Sawing,

Tim Ard

Monday, April 12, 2010

A Notch in Time...

A Notch in Time…

By Tim Ard, Forest Applications Training, Inc.

In the past couple months I have led training workshops and demonstrations in several areas of the country and met several people who have been operating a saw for years.

Preparing for the eVideo I watched a passel of videos online that show felling, bucking, limbing and other chain saw techniques that cover and display a wide range of skill and applications. Hundreds of face notches, bore cuts, miss-matched cuts of various configurations are visible on these websites. I have heard statements of how techniques used originated and how they have been “the way I’ve always cut”, they say.

I have been following chain saw training in the USA very closely since 1983. Even before that, in the late 70’s, I remember the name Soren Eriksson in and on chain saw related materials from Scandinavia. Jonsered and Husqvarna had Soren in pictures, films and poster materials back in the early 1970’s. Soren made some of the first training visits to the USA in the late 70’s working on projects for Weyerhaeuser and Westvaco wood products companies. Jonsered distributor, Tilton Equipment organized many workshops with Soren and Dan Tilton was one of the first to begin spreading Soren’s Swedish Logging Techniques throughout our country.

The first time I met Soren Eriksson was in 1983 at a Stihl function but it was in or about 1986 when I finally was afforded the opportunity to assist in putting on a demonstration in South Georgia where Soren was brought in to work with a group of loggers for the Stihl Distributor Meier and White Equipment. At that time I was the Shop Manager for MWE and was responsible for technical training. I held some basic chainsaw safety meetings for local dealers and power companies but it wasn’t until the logger workshop that my eyes and ears were open to the possibilities and huge need of training for the chainsaw operator. Logging was Soren’s focus venue but I knew the techniques were something that could change all chainsaw operators everywhere.

I researched it heavily and it was Soren Eriksson who had pioneered the techniques of “Open Face” and “Bore-Cut” into the USA but the real accomplishments of his techniques; Soren Eriksson brought thought, safety, planning processes and professionalism into USA chainsaw operations. Soren’s major promotion arm in his early days in the states was the American Forest Resources Association (at that time called the American Pulpwood Association) and Dave Zerfoss of Stihl, later US President of

Husqvarna. Soren’s training really took off when he and one of Scott Paper Company’s foresters organized the first Game of Logging.

When I went to work nationally for Stihl was when I began to travel with Soren and organize his training and the GOL events. I wrote the above to more or less illustrate this in the timeline…. There was not any use or discussions of big notches and bore-cuts before Soren Eriksson brought them to the USA through his training programs. When I became involved in promoting Soren Eriksson and his training with Stihl and later Husqvarna, I can assure you not many knew anything of what he was doing and fought against the training and techniques in both the eastern and western states.

So from now on, when you make that face notch you have always made, bore-cut to establish a hinge you have always used, after putting together a five step felling plan you’ve always used-- you can say a quick thank you to Soren Eriksson – a logger and training instructor for bringing them to you. Yes, those logging techniques work well for Tree Care, Logging, Government Crews, Disaster Volunteers and me and you! Every recognizable training organization in the USA teaches with Soren’s techniques and training formats. They just make them their own… they think!

Thank you Soren for being persistent in training, techniques and design to make our chainsaw work safer and more productive.

Good Sawing!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Tough Brakes...

Tough Brakes….

By Tim Ard, Forest Applications Training, Inc.

Innovation takes time to be tried, tested and perfected. New ideas taken from concept to commonplace often take decades.

The chain brake has been readily available on chain saws since the early 1980’s. It was designed and available as an accessory to certain chain saws a

few years prior. The chain brake has proven its worth in saw safety and has become standard equipment on most chain saws for close to thirty years. In my opinion it is one of the most significant developments in safety of the chain saw operator to ever be offered to date.

Today a couple manufactures are competing to make the chain brake system even more user friendly and better fit the applications of current chainsaw operators. Retaining operator productivity and offering new designs for improved brake operations has challenged manufacturers.

In my training I emphasize awareness of the reactive forces of the cha

in saw and discuss the chain brake working to stop the chain rotation giving the operator greater reaction time. I also discuss the important technique of using the brake system as a parking brake. When you take a hand off the saw the chain brake can go on to remove some chance of the spinning chain coming in contact with the operator. Applying the brake before removing a hand and then release the brake to begin work removes a lot of incident potential.

Two manufacturers, I am aware of, have added new innovations in chain brake designs to a couple saw models. Stihl(R) and Husqvarna(R) are reviving the Battle of

the Brakes.

I requested a Husqvarna(R) saw with a TrioBrake(TM) for evaluation to compare to the Stihl(R) C-Q Brake. I was hoping to compare side-by-side but to date they haven’t sent the saw. So I am going to complete the comparison, evaluating the TrioBrake(TM) saw at a later date. I have included my findings on the Stihl(R) unit. So enjoy!

In the following review I have written the evaluation of the machine basically right out of the box. I reviewed a fresh unit with the open mind of an operator and/or a chainsaw mechanic… Here are my findings.

Stihl(R) MS 362 C-Q

First Impressions: CES Rating* – 5

Unpacked the saw from the box, filled it with bar oil and 50Fuel (Your Stihl(R) dealer will do the set up for you). The engine started (from dry) in 4 pulls with compression release on. Compression seems good on the unit right out of the box. I’ve had problems starting some new saws in the past using the compression release before the engine is broken in. Saws are usually a little hard to start until the compression gets seated. The MS 362 starter system is smooth with or without the compression release engaged and the recoil rope didn’t attempt to snatch my fingers (some light weight, high compression saws will jerk at your fingers when you pull the rope, this one did not at all).

The chain oiler primed quickly and was ready for use in less than a minute with sufficient oil all around the bar surface.

I warmed the saw up and ran it up to top rpm. High speed had a good flutter. It seems like there may be a governor system in the saw but the tachometer didn’t show any change in reading so, I assume the compensator designed air box is managing the situation and not electronics. The high speed no load is said to be 14000 rpm in the owner manual. I left the adjustments a little rich on the high screw for a couple tanks of fuel, just to get everything seated and broken in a bit. I have since turned it up to just under the 14k (maximum) since I have several tanks through it now. Carburetor adjustment is easily set and is very consistent on this engine. The fuel economy (gas mileage) is much better at the proper setting and runs out well with little smoke from the exhaust. Good deal!

The air filter element is a two-stage design and is fed with pre-cleaned air pulled (or pushed up) from the flywheel area creating a three-stage air cleaning system. The two cleanable elements however are a little tricky to reinstall, you have to take your time and get them seated correctly. I will practice a bit on it and see if it’s me or design. Right now it’s easy to distort the element shape and you have to really be particular that the filter seals to its mount. Sawdust gets around the top edge of the pre-filter element easily if not. The total (three stage) filter system seems to stop all particles however with the primary element the last stop before the carburetor throat. Tapping out the secondary pre-filter occasionally throughout the workday keeps the primary element virtually clean as new.

Checking the fasteners right out of the box, I found the screws slightly loose on polymer parts but all others were tight on the crankcase, carburetor area and starter housings. After running it for several tanks all the screws are still snug. Top covers on saws are notorious for screws that vibrate loose. The MS 362 has twist locking style fasteners (similar to Dzus®) on the top cover that hold it down securely and are ready for 200mph plus. This type of fastener has been used in racing applications in the auto and motorcycle industries for years, glad to see them used here. They are quick and they work!

The new chain brake system on this MS 362 is much improved. The first Q-C units I observed and ran in the field with the two-position chain brake activation, I had difficulties performing carburetor adjustments, chain sharpening and chain tensioning because of the rear brake activation lever. It was a two-person task, as someone had to work the two brake controls. It seemed in the earlier versions, the brake levers were somehow tied together and it was hard to work independently with these areas, performing adjustments. On the new version the system now works like a usual brake lever in front with the added rear release lever activating the brake if your hand is removed from the rear handle. When your hand is removed from the rear handle the brake is applied. If the front brake handle/guard is engaged forward, the brake is applied. It engages in two ways to tighten the brake band to the clutch drum during work applications. Stopping the rotating saw chain quickly.

The brake system also engages with a push or kick of substantial force. It is designed to be inertia activated. I found it to take a fairly strong inertia force to trigger the front brake. I couldn’t get it to trigger in a fairly strong kick on the tip. I had to drop the saw bar hard into a wedge (without it running) to trigger it. So the inertia feature is working but shouldn’t trigger without reason and if the saw operator actually lost control and the saw left their hands, the release of the grip on the rear handle would immediately activate the brake because of the rear activation feature. In all - the new system works super for reactive force situations as well as loss of control scenarios such as slips and falls. That is a great feature!

Fit and finish of the MS 362 C-Q is very precise and the see through fuel tank is a great feature. You can observe fuel volume quickly during operations without opening the tank cap. The fuel cap and the oil cap take some added attention to make sure you start the twist locking action in the right place. If you don’t start the twist in the right position, when you flip over the twist lock, the cap will leak around the seal. With a little practice it’s not really a problem, unless you do not start it right.

I haven’t put this much run time on a StihlÒ saw in several years. I found it to be a pleasurable experience. Especially since the AV system is now spring mounted- it’s firm but has very little vibration felt at the handles. The two-position chain brake activation is the reason I wanted to run the saw and I am glad I did. It’s a new system that has great potential of reducing loss of control lacerations and reactive force incidents of chain saw operation.

I have used the MS 362 C-Q in several training classes now and feel very confident it can offer added safety to operators who for some reason have a habit of removing a hand from the rear handle to grab or move an object or brush. It’s a great innovation in chainsaw safety advancement. I endorse this innovative unit and highly recommend it for your chain saw applications.

For more info on the MS 362 go to

* To define the ChainPoint Endorsement System (CES Rating) use the following 1 through 5 rating.

  • 1- 1 Not impressed at all– back to the design bench

  • 2- 2 Could have limited applications

  • 3- 3 Suggest closer evaluation

  • 4- 4 Recommend it

  • 5- 5 Endorse - Highly Recommend it

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Easter ChainPoint

Hi Everyone,

It has been a very busy three weeks. It seems getting ready for the Rugged Quarter Training, the great week of training following the preparation and then a quick training trip to SC filled the past two to three weeks exceptionally. It was a great time!
The latest ChainPoint eNews...

  • I have written a few comments in follow-up to the recent wedge article. It’s found below.

  • The Rugged Quarter workshop produced a winner. Adam Fyfe took the high score position and kept the Husqvarna 575xp (my last prize saw- thanks Husqvarna for supplying over the years).

  • We are tentatively planning two other Trainer Workshops for later this year. One is being discussed for California and the other in the Memphis area. Stay tuned to ChainPoint for more information on these. The first one at RQ was a huge success! Thank you Bill and Juli for making it possible and producing the winner too. I also want to thank several of the ChainPoint manufacturers for supplying some other samples to the trainers; Gransfors/Woolpower, PFERD, TrueFuel50, Oregon Cutting Systems, and Elvex. ( ) Thank You!

  • The eVideo Introduction DVD’s are in the house and we are preparing to mail out the first 150 free ones in the next week. They look great! Rob Lagerstrom at Streamline Studio did a super job! If you didn’t get in line for the first 150 free grades' via TruFuel wanting to introduce you – you can order your copy for $19.99 from the eStore at .

I pray that you and yours have a super and safe Easter weekend and realize the Grac

e that was given to each of us on this weekend in Jerusalem hundreds of years ago. Know the Gift is Yours!

Good Sawing,
Tim Ard
Forest Applications Training, Inc.


A Wedge Up...
By Tim Ard, Forest Applications Training, Inc.

Comments and questions came in from readers of my recent wedging article. One was regarding compression of the fibers and lift potential at the wedge site. During the RQ workshop I

lifted two trees to illustrate heavy wedging techniques. One of them a white oak with more than12 feet of back lean and the other an 18” with 5 feet back lean on a soft pine. Both were successful and no fiber compression was encountered.

The first of the trees, a 10” white oak, I placed three wedges to lift it just over 10 feet.

The pine, I did not get a picture - but 14 witnesses can attribute to the lift of the weight with double stacks at 90 degrees and there was no measurable fiber compression at the wedge sites.

So many times the notch, hinge, top obstructions cause the plan to be unsuccessful with wedging but with a little understanding and practice wedges are amazing. One of many tools in the box....

I mentioned several times at the RQ that ropes and wedges both do the same work- they lift or support. The real work is done and safety comes from the hinge. With these two trees you would have had to
been there to realize the strength of the hinge. The Hinge=Friend!

Good sawing!