Wednesday, October 23, 2013

What's the best.....

What's the best...
By Tim Ard, Forest ApplicationsTraining, Inc.

Every workshop I hear the same question. I mean every one... What is the best saw out there? What do you think is the best chainsaw made?

I usually answer it this way. Every manufacturer makes one or more great models. They have sold a lot of them. Some areas I go are strong in the sale of one brand, in another area a different brand. But, chainsaws do not make chainsaws, people do! I make this statement because it doesn't make any difference how good the saw you have is, or how many have been sold, at some point and time you are going to need a part or service. Understand, people become the important product selection criteria. The people at the outlet/dealership you purchased from must be able to supply the needed info, service part and or repair you need to keep things working. If not, any brand will make a pretty awesome looking door stop.

The key element in answering my fore mentioned question is the dealer or outlet for the equipment. Are they knowledgeable to help you make the purchase decision? Is there a selection available to meet your application correctly? Have they made a commitment to the product line and your particular model with parts and service training? Do they know more about the saw model than you do? These things will be more important to you than just the discounted dollar deal you received or maybe even your perceived brand loyalty selection criteria, i.e., Ford vs Chevrolet.

So, visit your local saw outlets. Check out the latest and greatest equipment available. Discuss with the personnel and or owner your needs and wants. Ask them to show you their parts on hand for the model you select. Tour their shop and meet the technicians. Have all your questions been answered?

Last question... Did they offer you training sufficient for your needs? Do you have a clear understanding of training needed to operate the piece of equipment for specific tasks you have planned? Personal protective equipment covered and available for your needs?

If so, Good Sawing!

Forest Applications Training Inc. specializes in training and consultation to make sure your purchase, chainsaw ownership and operations are safe and productive. Visit our website then contact us to organize your chainsaw operations and safety training. Email

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, September 2, 2013

Tree Down...

Tree Down...
By Tim Ard, Forest Applications Training, Inc.

The call comes in, or you look across the yard and see an unexpected site. A tree has uprooted and has fallen over in the recent wind. Luckily this one has not taken any toll on structures or fences. It's not even a large, tree so clean up is not expected to be a major task.

This scenario is found often in storm cleanup across the country. More and too often, I hear of incidents involving downed trees like this that unexpectedly cause injury to chainsaw operators.

Saw chain is given the bad rap in incurring injuries in the cutting process when in reality the operator is not abreast of the possible powers to be In the material being cut. Many times the culprit causing the injury is not the chainsaw but the limb or trunk under pressure. When cut its released rapidly and lifts, flips or flies the material and chainsaw into the operator or bystander.

Lets take a look at the tree that's down again.

We need to realize that all trees have root systems of some type. Often the root diameters under ground are as large or larger than the first limbs in the crown of the tree. This means that when roots let go or are broken in a windstorm and the tree falls over, the roots still submerged underground may be bent backwards. Like a reversed spring pole, these roots create a lot of lift potential that can surprise the operator sawing or coworkers helping in the area.

I've been told many stories of injury taking place when an unknowing operator, simply cutting up the trunk from the top, suddenly is surprised by the tree trunk quickly standing back up to its original position. This movement taking the saw and operator cutting the trunk 20 feet down from the butt with it to 20 feet in the air.

One story was not involving a larger tree but a small one. The operator was straddling the trunk, cut the top off the tree, and it launched he and the saw several feet into the air. That makes me cry in pain just to think about it....

Make certain to put together a plan on each cut you make on a tree that's down. Is it going to move when you make the cut? Up, Down, Toward You, Away? If you are unable to discern the expected results- don't do it!

Trees are powerful creatures when standing and can be powerful when down...

Please consider Personal Protective Equipment when working with any saw. Head, Eye, Hearing, Legs and Feet need to be protected. A person is in critical condition in the hospital today that was cutting a limb with a pole saw, the limb came down striking him slightly. He lost control of the situation, fell down hitting his head and has major brain damage. No helmet or other PPE was in use. Please don't take chances with Unplanned Events!

Good Sawing!

More information, articles and training programs are available at

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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Sharp History

Sharp History...
By Tim Ard, Forest Applications Training, Inc.

One of the first chainsaw sharpening tools I used, besides just a file and handle, was a tool introduced by STIHL in the introduction of their saw chain. The Picco Micro saw chain was introduced in the early 80's and one of the accessory items was a file contraption that had a round file and a flat file in it. The tool was marked with a STIHL logo but I later found out it was manufactured by another company in Germany- PFERD.

I was digging through some old boxes three or four weeks ago and found my old Picco Micro tool I used for many sharpening's during my early sawdust days. That sparked the thought process for this article.

Several years later, a friend from Husqvarna (at the time) Mike Marshall, left and became sales manager for PFERD USA. Mike called one day and suggested he send me samples of their ChainSharp tool. I received them, used them and found them to do an excellent job on my chains. I remembered the Picco Micro STIHL tool after I saw the ChainSharp and learned the history of the tool. I began showing the tool and found it easy to sell because it met a huge need of the saw operator. Sharp saw chain and proper depth gauge settings in one pass.

I've practiced using and explaining the benefits of the tool over the last several years and up to this day have found nothing that performs any better job sharpening my saw chains.

This year STIHL introduced a version of PFERD's CSx tool to their accessory line. The tool holds two round files and a depth gauge file. You can easily reverse the tool in your hand to sharpen the left and right cutters. The features of this tool make it even faster to properly sharpen your chainsaw.

PFERD is responsible for a lot of Sharpening History with their round files, flat files and chainsaw tools. Their products are branded by STIHL, Husqvarna and other companies worldwide as well as their own PFERD brand.

Check them out at your local chainsaw dealer or on line

If you are interested, has several articles on the site about the PFERD sharpening tools. Also, Forest Applications Training, Inc. offers hands on training programs on saw chain sharpening, maintenance and adjustments using the PFERD tools. Contact us today at or call 770.543.9862.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, August 5, 2013

Fast Idling...

Fast Idling...
By Tim Ard, Forest Applications Training, Inc.

Starting a chainsaw can be challenging sometimes, especially in the late summer, hot temperatures. Today it's over 90 degrees here in Georgia. I practiced a starting process I was shown that has been working well for me in these hot summer sawing situations.

Most saws I'm familiar with have a fast idle position for starting. Placing the controls in this position, when the saw is flooded or just hard to start, will clear most hot starting problems.

When starting Husqvarna units simply pull out the choke lever and push it back in to place the linkage in the fast idle position. On STIHL saws, depress the throttle trigger, push the lever down to the choke position. Release the trigger and pull the lever up one notch from choke position. This places the linkage in the fast idle position.

Remember - when the saw starts it will be at an elevated rpm. Having the chain brake locked will keep your chain from turning. Then simply tap the throttle trigger to bring the RPM back to idle. Make sure you do this or the centrifugal clutch system could be damaged.

I see operators trying to start saws in class that this system always works on. If you forget to take the choke off after the first fire of the cylinder it will usually flood and require pull after pull to clear the situation. If the saw has been running and you choke it, it will require many pulls to clear and start. Using this fast idle technique will usually solve the problem quickly and save many worn starter ropes.

Good Sawing!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Sharp Never Dull

Sharp is Never a Dull Subject…

By Tim Ard, Forest Applications Training, Inc.

In workshops for many years I have used a large scale cutter tooth to open up discussions on chainsaw safety. It has always been a great icebreaker for my presentations because everyone knows, or believes they do, how important sharpening is to their success with a chainsaw.

Understanding the five cutting parts of a saw tooth helps us to confirm our saw chain will do the job. The real test however, is putting it in the wood. My theory is the cutting rate into the limb or log should be about an inch a second or something is wrong, dull.

I strongly believe, Theory by Ard, that many of the laceration incidents with chainsaws occur because of dull chain. When an operator pushes harder to make the cut, the chance of loss of control or lack of regaining control increases. When we apply more pressure to the reactive forces of the bar and chain, the management of them is truly risky. So the answer - keeping a sharp chain is never a dull subject in chainsaw operation.

I know we all consider ourselves chainsaw file efficient, but every workshop I have attendees come up and state they learned something they didn't know by revisiting the basics.

Check out the articles and info on our website on sharpening. A good refresher if nothing else will produce a much more efficient and safe chainsaw experience.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Chain Saw Issues Workshop

NEW ChainSaw Issues Workshop

By Tim Ard, President Forest Applications Training, Inc.

Forest Applications Training, Inc. is offering a New Issues workshop…

Over 30 years I have travelled this great country, from sea to shining sea, leading workshops on chainsaw safety and productivity and will continue as long as I am able.

We have decided to offer a new one day Issues Workshop that is composed of answers to the many questions I receive during the years of training. I think it will complement your chainsaw operations in a way that is unimaginable until you sit through it. I say sit, it’s more like work...

Everyone considers the safety issues of chainsaw operations in training of employees and personal use. PPE, Planning and Cutting Techniques - but seldom look to the details of why many chainsaw incidents occur. In listening to saw operator statements over the years, it is blatantly evident that the following workshop topics are some of the root cause. These issues are our new workshop’s focus. The 6+ hours are not comprised of felling, limbing and bucking but more toward getting your equipment ready and remaining ready during your chainsaw tasks. It will not replace our other three days of training offerings.

I am convinced that many safety issues with operators are caused by improper saw selection, lack of attention to or ability to maintain the saw and or chain efficiently, and thinking that all of these are someone else’s responsibility. This workshop is not designed nor intended to be filled by bodies but rather by key people who want to make a difference in chainsaw operations, safety and productivity.

For you or your organization, the Issues Workshop is covering the basics and the advanced details, hands-on and how to share it:

1. Saw Selection for Multiple Tasks

2. Understanding Saw Guide Bar and Chain Combinations

3. Reducing Down Time Maintenance

4. Chain Sharpening - hand tools and mechanical grinding

5. Fuels - Mixing and Understanding Two-Cycle Gasoline and Chainsaw Adjustments


Class Size - 12 Maximum

Work Time - 6+ hours


Chainsaws and PPE

2 Saw Chains for Filing (may be new or partial used)


Logs for sawing

Workshop or Classroom

This workshop is not brand specific and you are encouraged to Bring You Own Saw (BYOS). We will be looking at your tools and ability to maximize your efficiency with them.

The Chainsaw Issues Workshop is great for Power Equipment dealers to organize or host for customers and especially for chainsaw operators and shop personnel of any organization, city, county and government operations. For more information -
Contact Forest Applications Training, Inc. for questions, pricing and booking

Monday, March 18, 2013

One Track

One Track Training

By Tim Ard, President Forest Applications Training, Inc.

I was viewing a training video recently from another industry and something really struck home with me that applies to chainsaws and training there of. It stated that our minds are truly one track. We can only process one thing at a time. A brain in thought (in process) cannot process another thought unless the first process is completed or rejected. If we are given a detailed list of information for a task we should make notes without trying to process it as we write it down. If we attempt to think it through (process it) as we are receiving the information we will undoubtedly miss some of the needed important information.

What does this mean? If we are trying to think and process a plan in our head and something or someone else interrupts the process all processes stop until resumed or replaced with the later. I’m confusing myself now….

We need to make sure instruction, or supervision of a task, with an individual or crew allows for thought processing. If we do not have a clear shared plan before beginning, trying to do everything by command during the task, the brain is not allowed to function properly. No one learns and the outcome is questionable. Trying to train while attempting a production situation, on the job training, may not allow for rapid retention of the processes.

In a discussion with a supervisor group recently, they all agreed that it definitely takes longer to bring a new employee up to speed, even on basic tasks, if you are trying to do so in a production environment. Achieving productivity while taking the time to educate on the task is simply hard to do. This is even sometimes true when just moving workers between crews or even to new crew locations with experienced workers.

It’s tough to realize productivity in a new given task. We come up with an imagined goal of what a task should take in time, let’s say like sharpening a twenty inch loop of saw chain, but we don’t weigh in the factors of how a basic understanding of the task is reflected in the efficient use of the sharpening device to accomplish the task. We think a tool is going to be the answer to productivity, in reality it is the operator’s understanding of the projected result that makes the tool faster or more efficient. Production (Production=Efficiency Accomplished Safely) is expected without first building the basis of the task through education/training. We try the tool or technique without reading the manual for proper set up nor understand the design of the tool to maximize its function and accomplish the task.

Training programs (a good one) with maximum results are usually well timed and implemented to the participant’s ability to retain the information. Repetition assists retention outcome, taking time to repeat information enough to maximize results. We all wish we could be proficient at any task we desire to overtake in short order, but some tasks just take longer to master. In rushing the process, it is often clear the basics are overlooked, thinking we are above that plateau of experience. We then have to back up several times to retain the information to move along forward again.

Back to the top - We are told to do something without first given the ability to think through the why’s and how’s of the operation and or task. We fail because of it or the tool or technique is thought to be insufficient to the task. We are back to being told what to do to improve productivity, and we cant think through the reasoning because our brain can’t process it all in a given amount of time.

So, we need to train our brain to understand the basics, repeat as needed to retain the information and then move on…. This must be the reason we are not allowed to finish grades one through twelve in six years. Our one track brain needs one track information and it takes “One Track Training Time” to get us there.

Test Question - Do you consider on the job tasks during productivity a training program?

Try One Track Training and compare the results….

© 2013 Forest Applications Training, Inc.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Sharp Point

Sharp Point Update...

by Tim Ard, Forest Applications Training, Inc.

Way out here in California... with not a lot to do over the weekend, I drove to Dixon, CA to take a look at the progress of Sharp Point, LLC. 

Sharp Point, LLC is a chain maintenance system company that has been working with tree care and logging chainsaw users for about three years. They have a very automated system for sharpening saw chains for these organizations. You collect your chains, USPS or UPS them, in their prearranged shipping packs and drop them at the shipper, or have them picked up. 

SP receives them, cleans them, repairs them, and puts an edge on them that only a factory could match. The complete system is the key to this working in the field and your key to increased production reducing cost. 

They explained to me the next step is doing the same process with complete saws...? Leasing your favorite saw brand model... interesting!

If you are a large user of chainsaws and saw chain in your application Sharp Point LLC could be for you.

Send me a message with subject line Sharp Point to if you're wanting to know more.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Idling to Save...

Idling to Save…

By Tim Ard, Forest Applications Training, Inc.

Since cooler weather has come upon most chainsaw operations this year, I find age old idling problems again to still be a major issue. Consistently, every class and operation observed, at least a couple saws are idling too high or will not stay running at idle.

When a saw idles at too high RPM it creates issues that are just not good...
  1. If a clutch and saw chain doesn't disengage at idle, the operator is put into a position that could end in a loss of control and laceration. Idle should be set low enough to disengage the clutch and the saw chain should stop all rotation.

  2. Excessive heat and wear is created on the centrifugal clutch and drum as the clutch shoes and springs slip inside the drum. Especially when the chain brake is applied.
When a saw will not idle…
  1. When the throttle is released the engine dies and has to be restarted. Often distressing the operator and taking concentration off the work at hand.

  2. The starter system and rope receive a lot more stress and wear than necessary.
There are several steps to adjusting a chainsaw carburetor and you should consult your owners manual or your local dealer before making any adjustments, but the first step to adjustment can be accomplished without a screwdriver.

Is my chainsaw adjusted correctly? Follow these simple checks…

Assuming - Fresh, properly mixed fuel in tank. Engine will start. Air Filter is clean.

  1. Air filter clean, start and warm up to run temperature.

  2. Run up to full throttle. The engine should approach top no load RPM and level out. RPM should not continue to climb. We call this level RPM engine sound a high speed flutter. If RPM continues to climb the H screw adjustment is too lean.

  3. Reduce throttle. The chain should stop any rotation and creep. If rotation continues adjustment to the T or LA screw is necessary.

  4. With the saw idling, apply chain brake and roll the saw over, up and down. It should continue to idle without significant RPM change or dyeing. If idle doesn't continue, the L setting is too rich.

  5. Release chain brake and depress throttle quickly. The RPM should return to high flutter without any hesitation. If hesitation is existent, L screw adjustment is too lean.
These five will troubleshoot for you if adjustment is necessary. Remember, you don’t need to have a screwdriver to adjust your saw. If you know its out of adjustment, you can take it to someone who is trained to use one. If your saw does not pass the five - choosing not to adjust - can also have negative mechanical and safety outcomes.

Make sure your saw is Idling to Save and don’t forget to wear your PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) when checking or operating your chainsaw.

Good Sawing, Tim