Saturday, December 1, 2012

No Adjustment

Very Soon No Adjustments

By Tim Ard, Forest Applications Training, Inc.

Recently I had the opportunity to sit through a very interesting presentation at one of Stihl’s dealer training activities. Twenty years ago, I would have never imagined that one day a laptop would replace a screwdriver to tune up a chain saw…

To check the run history and current fuel air adjustments, newly released and future two-cycles, will be connected to a laptop to read its electronic brain (so to speak). Simply plug it in and it will tell you several hours of the engine’s running history. Fuel mix, ignition spark, heat history, all can be displayed right on your computer screen. This information allowing the technician to analyze the past running, or failure, and adjust the engine for future performance.

These electronic screwdriver controls will help keep ethanol fuel (some effects) and other run situations from taking down your favorite two-cycle power plant. It will keep a running engine in tune to its peak performance during all your sawing, cutting and trimming tasks.

If you think James Bond stays up with the latest technology -- check out some of the latest available to you at your local chainsaw dealer.

Good Sawing!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

It Begins...

It Begins...
By Tim Ard, Forest Applications Training, Inc.

The summer thunderstorm and hurricane season has began again this year with marked devastation in the southern states. Heavy rainfall with high winds from the tropical storm Debby has lingered over the Florida Gulf area for several days and the effects have been felt northward for many miles. In the west, Colorado has been experiencing some of the hottest temp days in years accompanied by thousands of acres being devastated by wildfire. Those directly in the path of these disasters feel there is little left to the future other than many hours of clean up and rebuilding. Life continues, it begins again...

Somewhere, everyday, damages to life and property from storm and fire take place. Time after time the first tools to be placed into action are chainsaws. When the equipment is put into action, are plans in place to orchestrate this work process? Has training been previously conducted? Has an action plan been reviewed and incident prevention revisited before - It Begins...

Organized disaster relief has already made efforts to pre-train their workers if done properly. They know where their expertise resides and they concentrate on these properly placed skills to maximize their effectiveness and maintain an incident free work process. This organization and training must take place before the storm hits. It's documented that the cleanup operations, over time, have taken more people to the emergency rooms than the storms and fires themselves.

Sawing safely begins with a plan not the pull of the rope...

It Begins with...
Personal Protective Equipment
A chainsaw properly applied to the task
Understanding of the saw's owner's manual
Knowledge of the saw chain
Organizing saw supplies and accessories for operation
Plan and analyze the work area
Plan each cut
Communication with other workers
Know your limits!

Train for the future, don't wait till work begins.

Make certain you and your work team have had the proper beginning...

Sawing safely begins with a plan not the pull of the rope...

Tim Ard is President of Forest Applications Training, Inc. Find out more at before the storm.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, February 13, 2012

Deep Freeze

Deep Freeze
By Tim Ard, Forest Applications Training, Inc.

Winter has been kind of elusive this year but I'm certain its on the way back...

I travelled up to Highland Park, IL a couple weeks ago. They've had some snow but I couldn't believe, when arriving in February, it was going to be over 50 degrees. That's my kind of winter! Chicago usually has to deal with a deep freeze and it's when they do most of their tree work. The off-season for parks is when tree maintenance and clean-up work happens in cold country.

Questions this time of year- How does cold weather effect tree and limb control? Saw chain?

It's important to understand the deep freeze because ice and snow storms will be back....

Let's start with the easy one, Saw Chain.

Super-cold can make lubricating saw chain and the guide bar a challenge. It can work, but it's sometimes a challenge. Rapid saw chain chassis wear and bar rail flaring or peening can occur because of the cold weather lube breakdown.
Frozen wood is wet wood. Water and saw chain are not ideal partners. This situation makes lubricating tough and rusty saw chain is never your friend.
Frozen wood is hard on saw chain. It dulls saw chain more rapidly. Ice coated wood rolls the edges and point if you apply pressure. You must let the chain do the work in deep freeze situations.

Now, what about the wood...
Cold weather doesn't really freeze the wood fiber. It does freeze the moisture content of the wood. The crystallizing and expanding moisture makes the wood fibers separate and in turn break easily when they are moved, or should we call it stressed during movement.
Many frozen fibers seem to react like rotting or dried brittle fibers. They move very little before breaking. You know fiber must be flexible to be a plan-able control factor.
So important to use a perfect notch opening to allow this somewhat inferior fiber situation to perform to your expectations. An Open-Face notch of 70 degrees or more will allow the fibers to perform without resistance.
Level back cuts will lessen possibilities of fibers collapsing as the kerf is made. A back cut level to the notch apex limits vertical movement. Fiber collapsing, as it breaks from back to front, cause these holding fibers or hinge to prematurely fail.

To maintain safety and control, hinge fiber is mandatory. Understanding how to deal with different fiber conditions can be challenging. However, in the deep freeze, the path of little resistance is the best technique.

Send any questions you may have to Visit our training website at .

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Back to Basic's

Back to Basic's

By Tim Ard, Forest Applications Training, Inc.

Have you ever had an experience that after it you said, “Duh, how dumb”, to yourself?

I have always been one to instruct others about the importance of the basics. Planning and execution of the basics usually achieves better results, safely and more productively. As an educator in the field of chainsaw applications and safety I feel more and more everyday that this is most important.

Well, as usual when I get busy doing something I have done over and over or have successfully accomplished in the past, I tend to get a little complacent and skip the basics process. Have you ever done this? When I forget the plan, trying to rush the task, I find my results are usually not what I want them to be.

The past few weeks I have began a new education, something I have always wanted to do. I have thousands of miles and hours riding in commercial aircraft but I have never been in the pilots seat during flight. So, one of my life list items is to accomplish the task. I want to get a pilot’s license. I looked on the internet and found a flight school located just a mile from our new property in Rome, GA and contacted the company. The owner and head instructor, Earl Tillman, called me and invited me over for a test flight. After an hour with him, as I thought I would be, I am hooked.

During the first flight Capt. Tillman asked me what I do for a living and I explained. He started telling me about a project he had going on at his home. He was working a project to open the view from his recently constructed new deck. About an acre of Mimosa trees of 2” to 8” had grown in to block the view. They needed to come out… I agreed to help (to trade out some instruction time). I am glad I did as he has over 6000 hours in small airplane piloting and instruction but he was going to hurt himself with all the intertwined tops of these trees and vine cover. He is amazingly very good with a chainsaw bucking and limbing though! His South GA upbringing (raising) gave him a few hours good training.

During breaks, in what turned out to be a part time three day project, I gave him some instruction in felling. How to notch and back cut after taking information. Putting these weed trees right where you want them to finish the bucking and limbing. He caught on very quickly.

I have learned so very much from this pilot/flight instructor that began his piloting career in about the year I was born. He’s still going strong and again I mention he has taught me so much about flying. Then the other day, taught me something even more important about instructing and achieving anything you set out to do.

I’ve made just over 50 takeoffs and landings since beginning my flight training the week after Christmas 2011. At first I was so nervous, trying to absorb everything and keep it straight, but with a little help from Capt. Tillman, talking me through, the landings were getting better. Then windy days seemed to make it a little more challenging, but I was still able to get the little Cessna 150 to the hanger without any damage.

Around about 40 landings though, I found myself trying to drive the plane through the winds and get it to the runway. Wow, it turned out to be scary. The harder I tried, the worse I seem to get. I couldn't believe I was getting worse at landing that little plane rather than better. Capt. Tillman was there, ready to bail me out of trouble, staying calm and seemed unconcerned with my downward spiraling landing progress.

Then on about one of the rougher landings Capt. Tillman made a statement, as I was taxiing back to the hanger. He said, “You know, they always say that the trick to a good landing is a proper approach.” “Set up your speed and elevation, then line up, look down the nose at the runway and let the plane land.” Now he made the statement that made me understand how great an instructor he is. He said, “Not having it set up right is like trying to cut a tree without a face notch, just with a back cut, trying to get it to do what you want it to do.”

Now folk’s, that 55 years or so of flying just made him an awesome chainsaw instructor too. He just took me back to the basics of technique and instruction in just those couple easy, but profound, sentences.

No matter what you are trying to achieve you can’t overlook the basics of executing the complete plan! Now back to the training!

Good Sawing and Flying!

For chainsaw basics - visit our website at or eMail for information on our training programs.