Chainsaw Kick-Back

Discussion in 'Shop Talk' started by Cabin Fever, Jan 18, 2007.

  1. Cabin Fever

    Cabin Fever Life NRA Member since 1976 Supporter

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    Didn’t what to steal the chain brake thread, so I’ll start a new thread here. I have a rather embarrassing chainsaw question that I should know the answer to, but I don’t. My question is, what exactly is “kick back” and what causes it. I’m no novice to cutting wood. In my life time, I’ve cut hundreds of cords of firewood. None of my early chainsaws have had chain brakes. My last saw, which I bought 3 years ago, is the first saw that has ever had a chain brake. In fact, the first time is locked up, I had no idea what the problem was….I thought the engine had seized! At any rate, I do not believe that I have ever experienced “kick back.” What is it? Why have I never experienced it?
     
  2. Steve L.

    Steve L. Well-Known Member

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    Chain saw “kick back” occurs when the center/lower tip of the chain contacts something that causes the whole saw to rotate up and back around its center of mass (about where your hand is on the top handle). It's really the saw tip 'running up' or 'climbing' a piece of wood. This happens very fast. A big saw with a long bar can darn near split you in two. It's real likely to happen when you're trying to make a plunge cut. That's why you start a plunge cut with the top of the tip, NOT the center.
     

  3. ace admirer

    ace admirer Well-Known Member Supporter

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    exactly as Steve L says....think of the nose of chainsaw bar as being the front sprocket and track of a bulldozer running 500 mph. it happens as fast as a baseball hitter swinging a bat. guy and two sons were cutting wood around here a few years ago. sons picking up the cut wood too close to father cutting. the chainsaw kicked back and ran up one of the sons face. its bad, bad, bad, the brake is a very good idea to TRY to stop the damage resulting from kickback.

    next time you're in a chainsaw store, pick up a few plastic wedges. they're great for cutting large logs to keep the chainsaw bar from being pinched as the cut progresses or if felling a tree.
     
  4. ericjeeper

    ericjeeper Well-Known Member

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    when bucking a log. Making a downward slice. The log will basically collapes and pinch the top of the bar,with the chain rotating fast. it will sometimes shove the saw right back at you.. Been there done that.. 65 dollars for a pair of chaps is a great investment.. I cut wood for years. recently bought a hotter chainsaw.. figured better save a leg.. so I invested in a set of chaps for me. and safety pants for my 15 year old son. he only uses the 36 cc saw.. but it will still cut a leg.. PPE worth every penny
     
  5. Country Doc

    Country Doc Well-Known Member

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    It can send the running saw tip straight back to your face and head. Wear a helmet. Terrible injuries to take care of .
    Also a "Widow maker" is a lose limb falling out of a tree you are cutting down and hitting your head. Another reason for the helmet. The last thing I do is not in the books but I always wear a good belt so I can put it on a bad arm or leg laceration. Safer than a tourniquet.
    I like an inertia chain break like on my Stihl.
    I have seen one leg amputated below the knee. The chaps Eric is using would have prevented that.
     
  6. fishhead

    fishhead Well-Known Member Supporter

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    You can also have kickback if you happen to hit another piece of wood that is hidden beyond what you are cutting if you hit it with the tip. Any time you have the tip in contact you have the chance it will rotate back towards you.

    One of my classmates in high school caught it across his cheek. Not good.
     
  7. Countrybumpkin

    Countrybumpkin Well-Known Member

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    Was cutting an old phone pole off at the base once...chain hit a piece of metal half way through-by the time i realized the saw had kicked back, it had already went through my boot and big toe...lotsa blood, and 30 stiches later, i was back home, a lot wiser for the experience, for sure!
     
  8. tyusclan

    tyusclan Well-Known Member

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    Kickback usually (not always, but usually) occurs when the saw is being used incorrectly. As others have said it can sometimes happen when you don't see something the bar comes in contact with. The main reason you've probably never experienced it is that you're attentive and careful when you're running the saw.

    The old bow saws were notorious for kickback because a lot of people wouldn't take time to set the dog on the log before starting the cut. That's why they're only available to professional sawyers now, and not sold as a consumer item.
     
  9. Old Vet

    Old Vet In Remembrance

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    Most chain saws have a nose on the bar to keep you from having a kiclback. I never use the nose for anything the only way I would have a keckback is when I hit a piece of metal or sometning that doesn't cut. I hold the saw firmly all the time. I have never had a kiclbac at all but I have had the saw bind and die because the blade would not turn. I keep my left arm straight and it would keep me from geting the saw in the face without kicling me back also.
     
  10. Rockin'B

    Rockin'B Well-Known Member

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    I also keep a big gauze compress bandage under the webbing of my helmet. It's always where I am and I don't have to try to get back to the truck or house with a bad cut and no bandage to use for direct pressure.
     
  11. Rockin'B

    Rockin'B Well-Known Member

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    Another thing too many people do is to put the thumb of the hand holding the bar over the top. If a saw kicks back it will slide under that hand.

    With the thumb wrapped under the bar a "v" is formed that will help keep the bar in your hand.

    It's amazing to see how many people get in the habit of putting that thumb over the top of the bar with the rest of their hand.
     
  12. Columbia,SC.

    Columbia,SC. Thats MR. Redneck to you

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    I try to avoid this by cutting and holding the saw to the right of my main body,, if that makes any sence. I am standing to the left of the blade so if it kicks back I will not be there. I never stand right square behind the saw.
    I have used BOW and straight blade saws and have been very lucky! (KNOCK WOOD) We had a friend of the family hit across the face back in 73 and my mom had a fit when Grandpa hit a squirrel getting this guy to the hospital!