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.