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Chaps for woodcutting ?

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Cold Front
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12/3/09 9:54 AM CST
I am finding myself spending a lot of time cutting firewood. My neighbor mentioned that chaps would be a very wise addition to my equipment. I admit that I do cut wood alone alot and have come close once. What type and features should I be looking at? Thanks. Mrt.

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big mac
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12/16/09 3:11 PM CST
phish

Great advice!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I will try to take care of the safety issues more since I read your post. Chaps will be on my must buy list.

Have a safe and Merry Christmas, Big Mac

phish
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12/16/09 7:47 AM CST
I've been an arborist for 17 years so I'll chime in with a few tips. First off, look into the Husqvarna Chainsaw pants. They are definitely worth the extra money. Trust me on this one but if you are going to buy the chaps, look for extra long that husqvarna sells. They wrap completely around your calf and go down to your boots. Its seems idiotic to me that most of the chaps available out there don't even go down to the ankle. Most of the cutting done is near the ground so it makes sense to me to have protection all the way to the ground.

Chainsaw operation: if you look at the way a saw is designed, the back handle is offset, this allows you to hold the saw to the right side of your body. A lot of guy like to hold the saw between their legs in like a 3 point stance. dont do it. if it for some reason it kicks back, the tip of the blade is going to hit you in the face turning your nose into burger. Unfortunately, I've seen what a nose looks like after this has happened and it aint pretty. Hold it to the right side of your body and should it kick back it, you've got a lot better chance that it wont hit you.

Get into the habit of using the chain brake. If I take one step, the brake is applied PERIOD. think about what happens if and when you trip or stumble. your natural reaction is to tense up. with your finger on the trigger and you tense up, your saw will be running wide open. this could obviously lead to disaster.

Back to the chaps. If you are in the madison area, stop in at Englehardts and take a look at the set of chaps that I gave back to them 2 days after I bought them that one of my ex employeses ran an 066 Stihl into. Everyday I had to remind that dude to put his chaps on which is completely ridiculous. That fateful morning he made it 5 minutes with his chaps on before sinking the saw into them. can't imagine what would have happened had he not been wearing them.

Lastly, keep the saw out of the ground and sharp. Most saw injuries occur trying to force a dull saw through wood. Have a back up chain or 2 with you or learn how to put an edge on a chain.

Be safe

Cold Front
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12/8/09 9:26 AM CST
Looks like chaps are on my Christmas list. Mrt.

Alex the dog
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12/4/09 4:07 PM CST
Cold Front, Chaps are a must. Aside from the safety factory, it keeps your pants or bibs from getting beat up, legs seem to stay alittle warmer wearing the chaps. My Stihl were a bit stiff at first but now fit like a broken in leather glove. Don't cut with out them.

Your BIL

Gone 4 Now
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12/3/09 4:38 PM CST
Anytime there is a timber harvest on public land the contractor and his crew are required to wear all the safety gear. Also FYI, The chain brake on all Stihl saws and most others is designed to apply during kick-back by itself, you just need to hang on with both hands and pray. The brake is made to apply by 1) contact with your left wrist & 2) inertia will also set it so if your cutting on the stump and encounter kick-back inertia will set the brake. As mentioned earlier, get in the habit of putting the brake on when starting , walking , and setting the saw down. especially starting, I see many people start a saw without the brake on ! Very Dangerous.. DLAMA, You have good taste. You too cds.

gatorguy
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12/3/09 4:20 PM CST
when i worked for ASPLUNDH we were requiered to wear them and i must say they are a leg saver and prob a life saver... i ripped up a few when i worked there but i was working on the right away in the middle of no where in thick brush easy to hit a branch or have a tree kick out,

DLAMA2
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12/3/09 3:58 PM CST
I cut a lot of fire wood every year......over 10 cord last year.

BUY THEM!!!! I have it all from chaps, hard hat with ear muffs and face screen, safety glasses on top of that, gloves and a good pair of boots.

Never needed the chaps until last year but they were will worth the money (Stihl). Was cutting a branch (trimming up an inlaws tree....green wood) and I had a pile of limbs that I had cut off the tree, well was cutting those down so we could move them(with my new 290.....love that saw) and one of the branches had a lot of pressure on it that I could not see or tell. Well I was just about through the branch and it snapped pushed the saw into my leg from my knee to the upper part of my inner thigh. It happened so fast that there was NO way I could have hit the brake....BUT the pants stopped the chain in an instant.....instinct was hit the brake but hand was still on the throttle to hang onto the saw......with the branch still pushing against me...pushing me tight to the tree.

I have no doubt I would be a dead man right now with out my chaps. Would have bleed to death in a matter of minutes. Had a bruised knee and felt it on my thigh........ugly.

Never do a dang thing(using the saw) with out them period now.

cds
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12/3/09 3:09 PM CST
I don't wear chaps,but I'm not cutting firewood. Most of my day is using a smaller topping saw. In addition,my lower body is somewhat protected by the bucket....or I'm climbing,and chaps would severely restrict my mobility

That said,I do a number of things I don't recommend anyone else doing. Plunge cuts come immediately to mind.

Also,most of my work pants have a small hole near the front pockets. It's from saw chains "winding down" when I pick up and carry a bigger saw saw after a cut when I'm on the ground. I use the chain brake ALMOST religiously but sometimes I'm "in the zone",in a hurry,and wreck another pair of jeans.

I DO recommend chaps,especially for the continual cutting that firewood entails....If you're doing a lot of cutting,I'd guess the odds to be about 1 in 3 that you'd be using the Stihl 290,with a 20" or 24" bar. That's a decent sized saw with a fair amount of power. There's a good chance of kickback,or slipping,or something in the course of cutting multiple cords of wood,and you'd be glad for those chaps then. I know of 3 accidents where chaps would have prevented injury - 2 by landscapers who were very familiar with chainsaws but didn't use them all day,every day. The third was by a friend with a competing tree service.

Comfortable ear protection. ...I wear safety glasses because I have to be able to see someone approaching my "drop zone" from the corner of my eye,or other hazards that I'm not really look at (or for). But I visit the eye doctor several times each year to have wood chips removed,and a bothersome chip in my eye that doesn't require a doctor is an almost weekly occurrance (including today)....Safety glasses don't keep out those little bits of "dust" on windy days,either.

I recommend the mesh face shield AND safety glasses. You might as well get the hardhat with face shield. Kickback HAS occurred that parted the victim's hair. And skull....Some of those have ear protection built in.

Good leather boots. Don't ever use a chainsaw wearing tennies. Gloves are good too - at the very least they dampen the vibration of the saw. I almost always wear them when using bigger saws.

My accident happened 8 years ago. I was using a topping saw 1 handed,above my head,holding a branch with the other hand. 60 stitches to that "other" hand,and I was lucky...Don't get too comfortable with that saw. I guarantee you that a chainsaw does not cut flesh like a knife. It's more like a meat grinder.

Gone 4 Now
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12/3/09 2:47 PM CST
Good one Benny,, I have a Stihl shop and our good chaps are $89.95. That's alot less than stitches.

.westsidebenny
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12/3/09 1:15 PM CST
I would highly recomend employing some chaps on your endeavor. A couple of stout lads broad of shoulder, short on brains and willing to work for below minimum wage makes any job that much easier.

fetch-um-up
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12/3/09 11:57 AM CST
You can pay premium for them to say Stihl on them or by an off brand for half the price. Haven't priced them lately. If you have access to the internet Cool, you can do a search. I know Menards probably have them for cheaper price..................

augernaut
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12/3/09 11:29 AM CST
How much do chaps cost on average?

Cold Front
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12/3/09 11:17 AM CST
You know, I never thought about using the chain break. I always thought it was an automatic shut off for kickbacks but now that you mention it, it does make a lot of sense to just flip the guard between cuts when moving around. Keep the tips coming! Most of us know just enough to be dangerous. I always wear a helmet with a shield and muffs. I had a limb fall and smack my old one. My melon was fine but it busted the straps on the inside. Lesson learned and reinforced! Mrt.

[This post was last edited on 12/3/09 at 11:24 AM]
moneypit
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12/3/09 10:52 AM CST
that would be a good question for cds isnt he a wood chopper (tree doctor)?

fetch-um-up
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12/3/09 10:19 AM CST
Any place that sells chainsaws will more than likely have chaps for sale. They come in 3 or 4 sizes and cover the front of you from the waist to the lower shin. They will stop a running chain in very short order if you slip and make contact. Along with chaps, always use the chain break when walking with a running saw or when putting it down between cuts. Some of the most serious accidents have happened to the most experienced sawyers who have gotten lax in their respect for this tool. I have used a chainsaw in sizes from 12" to 36" for over 23 years professionally and feel the smaller saws are usually the ones people have the least respect for, sometimes using them one-handed and therefore are inherently the most dangerous...............I hope you are wearing eye and ear protection and always have your cellphone in your pocket, just in case................

[This post was last edited on 12/3/09 at 10:23 AM]
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