Reduce The Chance Of Chainsaw Kickback

In my article on the McCulloch MAC 738 chainsaw, I mentioned the three types of kickback you should beware of when operating any chainsaw, Rotational Kickback, Pinch Kickback and Pull-In. These are extremely dangerous to the operator. In this article I will highlight some points that could help you to reduce the chance of kickback.

First of all, you should be aware that however experienced you are at using a chainsaw, kickback can – and will, happen. A severe kickback is definitely the most dangerous thing that can happen when you are operating a chainsaw. It can cause very severe injuries, even death.

Chainsaw Kickback

Diagram shows path of kickback

The most frightening thing is, that it can happen in a fraction of a second. If you have a basic understanding of what it is and what causes it, you can avoid being caught off guard which is when most of the accidents happen. The video at the foot of the page is compelling – if you have time to watch it, I would definitely recommend it.

You should never let the moving chain at the tip of the guide bar come into contact with any object.

Avoid Kickback

Keeping your working area clear of obstructions will help you to avoid kickback

You should always keep your working area free from obstructions that your chainsaw could hit whilst you are cutting a piece of wood.

Always keep the cutting chain of your saw sharp and ensure that it is properly tensioned as a loose chain or one which has been allowed to become dulled can increase the likelihood of kickback happening.

Always follow the instructions in the manual supplied by the manufacturer of your chainsaw with regard to how to sharpen the chain and routine maintenance instructions. If you have bought the saw second hand with no manual or you have mislaid the original, you are likely to be able to download a copy of it in pdf format by typing in the chainsaw make and model number into your internet search engine.

Make sure that you check the tension of the chain regularly and NEVER do this with the engine running, ALWAYS do this with the engine off. Check the clamp nuts that secure the bar each time you check the tension and ensure they are securely and correctly tightened.

Always bring the chain up to full speed before you make your first cut and continue cutting with the chain rotating at full speed. Slower speeds increase the chance of kickback happening.

Only ever try to cut one log at a time and use extra care when you re-enter a partial cut that you have already started.

You should not attempt ‘plunge cuts’ i.e., cuts which start with the tip of the bar.

Take extra care that the piece of wood you are cutting is not going to move and close a cut or pinch.
Use a reduced kickback guide bar and a low kickback chain as specified by the manufacturer of your chainsaw.

The Dangers of Chainsaw Kickback


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