4 Tips for Chainsaw Safety

Chainsaws are not toys.  They are serious tools with serious repercussions when mishandled.  Chainsaw injuries come in all shapes and sizes, from lacerations to the arms and legs to kickbacks to the chest or head.  No matter the form of injury, chainsaw injuries may be life threatening.  The best way to ensure you make it through your project unscathed by a chainsaw is to use proper safety gear and take other sensible precautions to reduce the possibility of causing harm to yourself.

Fortunately, chainsaw manufacturers, like U.S. SAWS, have been working to improve chainsaw safety options as well as educating users through owner’s manuals and operating guides to include instruction for proper use and proper safety measures while using your chainsaw.  Chainsaws have included safeguards, such as the automatic chain brake, to reduce the occurrence of kickbacks. Kickbacks are one of the most disastrous chainsaw hazards, and occurs when the chainsaw guidebar suddenly pushes upwards, typically aiming towards the users head or chest.  No matter the safety improvements made to chainsaws, it is always best practice to adhere to the manufacturer’s safety guidelines.

Below are four key recommended safety measures to take to keep yourself in one piece when handling a chainsaw.

Dress for Success

Learning how to use a chainsaw safely starts with the right protective clothing.  Step one is ensuring you have comfortable, breathable clothing that allows you freedom of movement, but is not baggy.  Overly baggy clothing risks getting caught in the chainsaw.

Typically jobs that require chainsaws usually come with flying debris, which can be hazardous to your hands and your eyes.  Proper fitting gloves are essential.  Gloves not only help protect from flying debris, but also help ensure you do not lose a finger in the event of a kickback.  Safety glasses are also imperative to avoid potential debris.  Regular eyeglasses or sunglasses leave open gaps on the side that allow debris to potentially become lodged in your eyes, which in turn, may cause permanent damage to your vision.  It is always best practice to utilize safety glasses in these situations.

Foot protection is necessary too.  Steel-toed boots with protective fabrics are the go to in this industry.  This heavy duty footwear protects the user from falling branches and even from that accidentally dropped chainsaw.  This type of footwear also comes in waterproof rubber for those wet cuts that require immersion in water.

Leg protection is equally as important.  Chainsaw chaps are leg protectors that are made out of Kevlar and work to deflect any accidental interaction with the chainsaw.  These protective coverings come with a variety of options to ensure you have the right gear for the proper conditions, including oil resistance and water resistance.  Many even come with open backs to provide breathability for your legs.  Chain saw jackets also operate in the same way as chainsaw chaps, protecting the chest area from the potentially traumatic effects of a kickback accident.

Helmets provide excellent protection for heads, and many come with visors that may provide an adequate replacement for safety goggles as a two in one piece of safety gear. Helmets are critical to reducing the damage from an errant kickback.

Finally, ear protection is a must.  Chainsaws are loud.  It is recommended that when exposed to noise levels above 85dB for an extended period of time, ear protection is required to prevent hearing loss.  While gas chainsaws are the loudest, many times electric and battery powered chainsaws can reach levels that will also cause damage to the ears.  Two options for ear protection include (1) in ear protectors, like earplugs, and (2) over the ear protectors which cover the entire ear area.

Get a Grip and Stay Grounded

Maintaining perfect form is not just for Olympians.  It is also key to properly and safely using a chainsaw.  Ensuring you have the right stance with the right grip on the chainsaw allows you to reduce your exposure to dangerous situations.  Chainsaws are heavy, and maintaining your balance helps keep your arms and legs from rapidly wearing out.   Keep a steady grip on the front and rear handles with your stance wide and with staggered feet.  Ensure the thumb of your left hand remains under the front handle.  This will reduce kickbacks.  Remain on steady ground.  Standing on ladders or rocks will throw you off balance and increase the potential for injury.

Maintenance Is Key

Properly maintaining your chainsaw is another vital component to chainsaw safety.  Always make sure your chain is sharpened. Sharpened chainsaws are more efficient at cutting, and dull chainsaws have a greater chance of causing kickback.  Make sure you are using a chainsaw that is sized properly for the job.  Guidebars come in different sizes and are made to work within the parameters of their sizing.  Cutting large branches with a small guidebar is never a good idea.  Cleaning debris out of the saw after each use is important in preventing unnecessary wear and tear on the chainsaw.  Unnecessary wear and tear opens the chainsaw up to malfunctions which can cause serious injury.  Keeping the chain and guidebar lubricated are critical to the well-being of your chainsaw.  If the chain and bar are not properly lubricated, friction builds, which can cause the chainsaw to overheat and may cause accidental burns to the user.  Ensuring the chain has proper tension with the right lubrication and sharpness is also key in preventing kickbacks.

Remember Emissions

While lacerations and amputations are the most widely known hazards of chainsaw use, chainsaw emissions can cause real damage as well.  While gasoline powered chainsaws may be the most powerful on the market, they come with a danger of their own.  Toxic gases, such as carbon monoxide, are emitted during the use of gas powered chainsaws.  It is imperative that these chainsaws are not used in close quarters or indoors.  Carbon monoxide poisoning is dangerous.  Exposure to carbon monoxide may result in nausea, vomiting, increased heart rate, impaired judgment, shortness of breath and even loss of consciousness.  If the project that needs completing is scheduled to be done indoors or in tight quarters, it would be best to locate a chainsaw that requires alternative power sources such as battery operated chainsaws.

Learning how to use a chainsaw and maintaining proper chainsaw safety precautions may seem overwhelming, but it does not have to be.  Contact U.S. SAWS today to determine the best chainsaws and protective gear to use for your project.

Tips to Choosing the Right Chainsaw

U.S.SAWS is an industry leader in the manufacturing and sales of outdoor power equipment.  Their chainsaws offer an exceptional level of safety and accuracy when cutting ductile iron pipe, PVC, or concrete and are frequently used by municipal water departments, underground, utility contractors and professional cutters. U.S. SAWS chainsaws are available as gas, hydraulic, or air powered saws. With an extensive range of powerful chainsaws, from lightweight all-rounders through to powerful workhorses, there’s a U.S Saw’s chainsaw for every potential job. With such a wide variety of options and models in their inventory, there are three key factors to consider before choosing the right chainsaw for your job.

The Size of the Job

Before spending a large sum of money on a fantastic, top of the line chainsaw, the first consideration should be about the size of the job at hand.  Not every job requires a large blade chainsaw with diamond chains.  Instead, it is best practice to get a general idea of how deep your cut will need to be, what type of material you are cutting,  and then gauge the setting in which you will be doing your cut.  For example, a utility worker may find him or herself in need of a chainsaw for cutting a submerged water pipe.  U.S. Saws has a great option for this scenario:   U.S. SAWS Air Chain Saw Model ACH-GB16.  This strong air powered chainsaw has no emissions while running, has very few moving parts, and has no kickback, which is optimal for tight quarters.  It comes with either a 16 inch blade or a 20 inch blade depending on the required depth of your cut.  In situations where minimal excavation occurs and irregular shapes are needed, U.S. SAWS offers the 20 inch Ductile Iron Cutting Air Chain Saw Package.  This outdoor power equipment package comes with a heavy duty chainsaw, bar, chain, storage bag, pipe clamp and chain extension.  The pipe clamp takes the back breaking work out of pipe cutting.

Your Experience Level

The second factor to consider is your experience level.  While some may think that bigger means better, that’s not always the case when it comes to chainsaws.  Not only is it important to choose a model suited to the tasks for which you will be using the chainsaw, it is just as important to choose a chainsaw that is comfortable for you to handle and is suited to your experience level.  As DIY projects become more prevalent with more people working from home, many new homeowners are excited by the prospect of using chainsaws for their new projects.  Chainsaws are powerful and can be very dangerous in the wrong hands.  It is important to realize that chainsaws are can be very heavy, and a heavy chainsaw will wear out your arms faster than a lighter chainsaw, which opens you and those around you to potentially dangerous situations.  However, using a smaller chainsaw for a large job will also cause the same problem.  Much like tale of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, it is important that the person using the chainsaw finds one with the proper weight and fit for the user’s size and strength and balances that with the size of the job at hand.

The Power Source

The third factor to consider when preparing to purchase a chainsaw is the type of power source.  Much like blade size and weight, chainsaws offer a wide variety of power sources which are dependent on the type of job for which the chainsaw is intended.  Depending on the scenario, more power is not always the best option.  U.S. SAWS offers chainsaws that are powered by gas, hydraulics or air, all of which are great in their own ways and suited to different users and tasks.  The choice of power is reliant on the application.  Air powered chainsaws, or pneumatic chainsaws, are typically lightweight and easy to maintain, but they do require the operator to be tethered to an air compressor, which is then also fueled usually with diesel fuel which drives up the cost of using a pneumatic chainsaw.  Hydraulic powered chainsaws are long lasting and are great for use in wet conditions and also have reduced emissions, making it a great option for use in tight spaces.  Gas chainsaws are real powerhouses.  Their motors provide more power than pneumatic or hydraulic chainsaws.  However, one of the best benefits to gas powered chainsaws is their portability.  As they are not attached to a power outlet in anyway, they can be used in the field where electrical outlets are scarce.

No matter the size of the job, the experience level of the user, or the power source of the chainsaw, make sure to always wear your safety gear!

U.S. Saws is an innovator in outdoor power equipment.  Contact U.S. Saws today to find the right chainsaw for your job.

 

Core Drilling with the Cordless Core EZ

As concrete gains popularity in the municipal, commercial and residential world, the need for specialized tools to work with this durable material increases.  Concrete core drills are a must-have for construction and utility workers alike.  Core drilling machines and core drilling bits are useful tools for cable installers, electricians, plumbers, and air conditioning technicians.

Core Drilling Machines

Core drilling machines are a form of drill used by a variety of industries, but particularly the concrete industry, that drill a hole and, upon removal of the drill bit, extracts a core sample.  A concrete core drill is equipped with a specialized bit that not only drills into the concrete, but because the core drill bit is hollow, it drills into the concrete and extracts the material, leaving a perfectly cylindrical hole with which to work.  These concrete core extractions may even be tested to determine strength and durability. While popular for use with concrete, core drilling machines are also good to use with wood, stone, and even ice.  These particular tools are useful for the installation of plumbing systems, and even for electrical wiring or cable installation.  Heating ventilation and air conditioning systems require large, cored-out holes for the creation of ducts, which aids in creating climate-controlled areas of homes and businesses.  With the right concrete drill bits, concrete drilling machines are able to cut neat, clean holes with diameters ranging from three-fourths of an inch to six feet.

As with all concrete cutting power tools and machines, it is important to use the proper safety gear when using core drill bits especially when dry cutting concrete.  Make sure you wear protective eye coverings and a mask or respirator over your nose and throat.  Dust particulates that are released while cutting can cause serious health problems when inhaled.

U.S.SAWS’ Cordless Core EZ

U.S.SAWS’ Cordless Core EZ is a top-of-the-line, high-precision core drilling machine.  This machine is lightweight, comparatively speaking, weighing in at sixty-five pounds.  No offset holes are required with this tool because traditional rigs are not necessary, as the Cordless Core EZ is mounted on a center guidepost.  The center guide post works by drilling an anchor hole, setting an anchor pin, removing the nuts from the anchor bolt, mounting the guidepost, adjusting the anchor point, and tightening the guidepost until it is secured and centered.  It’s important to ensure the guidepost is well lubricated and clean.  Then the gearbox and grinder are slid over the guidepost and locked in via the locking pin on the hex drive.  This guidepost allows for accurate and efficient drilling, by reducing vibration and supporting the weight of the core drilling machine throughout the entire drilling process.  The Cordless Core EZ makes easy work of all vertical drilling floors and horizontal drilling walls, with clear instructions for the easy removal of the related cores.  This entire unit comes with a wheeled carrying case for easy portability.

Core Drill Accessories

Besides supplying top-of-the-line core drilling machines, U.S.SAWS is also the place for all of your quality core drill accessories.  Better quality tools and accessories will increase the likelihood of the accurate and successful performance of the tools.  The Premium Core Bits are the right core drill bits for the Core EZ.  These high-end drill bits make easy work of advanced coring in concrete, brick, and block.  The drill bits are available in sizes ranging from three-inch bits to ten-inch bits.  U.S.SAWS also supplies a reputable Hudson Sprayer.   This 3.5-gallon sprayer makes the perfect water supply piece for your Core EZ for all of your wet cutting and wet drilling needs.  For all of those times you find yourself needing to drill at an angle, U.S.SAWS offers an Angle Drilling Washer, making the job that much easier. These washers are important to have, especially in those tight-fitting situations where angled holes are necessary.  Finally, the Cordless Core EZ’s mounted guide post system requires a top-rated concrete anchor to ensure stability.  U.S.SAWS offers a 3/8’-16 x 5” length zinc plated concrete anchor to ensure the guidepost system is secure.

Contact U.S.SAWS to discuss how we can make core drilling easier for you.

Handling a Walk Behind Saw

As the use of concrete rises to meet commercial, residential and municipal demand, the need for concrete cutting saws has expanded. Concrete has gained popularity due to its durability and erosion resistance, as well as the ease of sourcing materials to create concrete and its fireproof nature. Beyond that, the ability of the material to transform from a basic sidewalk into being used as luxuriously polished, high-end flooring at economical rates has gained acclaim from utility workers to interior designers.  In order to ensure the concrete is meeting the needs of its intended use, workers must ensure they are using the right tools to handle the job.  Concrete cutting is back-breaking work, and concrete workers around the world applauded the advent of the walk-behind saw.  These power saws offered an option beyond the general handheld saw for larger concrete cutting jobs.

What is a Walk Behind Saw Used For?

A walk-behind saw is exactly what it sounds like.  It is a large saw that has a frame, handle and wheels, allowing operators to use it from a standing position and walk forward or backward as necessary while sawing.  Many are even self-propelled.  Walk-behind saws are the perfect saws for cutting sidewalks or asphalt or even concrete flooring in warehouses or basements.  Many times these saws are used for repairs or modifications like additions are being done to commercial or residential buildings.  Walk-behind saws are also great for road workers who need to repair parking lots or patch up roadways.  Many of these power saws come with diamond blades for precision cutting.  Cutting a large and thick slab of concrete is made much easier through the use of a walk-behind saw with a diamond blade.  These concrete and asphalt cutting saws allow for larger engines with more torque, allowing operators to complete projects at a faster rate.

Safety Measures to Take While Operating a Walk Behind Saw

As with any saw, it is imperative for the operator to understand how each particular saw they intend to use works and take any precautions necessary in the operation of the saw to prevent injury.  Concrete cutting saws like walk behind saws come with a multitude of potential hazards and their instructions for use should be followed to the letter.  Serious or even fatal injuries can occur if these power saws are not handled appropriately.

Eye protection, or even a face shield, should be worn to ensure no dust or debris gets in the eyes.  A mask to cover your mouth and nose or even a respirator is necessary.  Concrete cutting is well known for creating fine dust and particles in the air.  You definitely want to avoid getting that dust in your lungs.  Gloves will protect your hands from any cuts or heat that may be generated from using the saw.  Ensure you are not wearing loose-fitting clothing during the operation of the walk-behind saw.  Loose-fitting clothing increases the risk of entanglement in the blade.  Steel-toed boots offer a protective covering for your feet in case there are any issues with the blade.

Inspecting your saw prior to use is also helpful in preventing injury during use.  Ensure that the blade is properly fastened and check for cracks or warping prior to use.  Make sure there are no worn or missing parts to your saw.  During use, do not force the saw.  Forcing the saw may cause the blade to jam or break or even overheat.  It is also important to make sure there are no bystanders to avoid injuring them as well.

Understanding the material you will be cutting ensures you are using the proper tools for the job.  Having the proper tools helps protect you from injury.  Make sure you are using specialized wet blades for any wet cuts you plan to make.  Dry blades, obviously, should be used for dry cuts.

The FSB-150 Heavy Duty Walk Behind Air Saw

For utility and transportation workers needing to make street repairs or cut sidewalks, U.S.SAWS has the perfect Walk Behind Saw for the job.  The FSB-150 Heavy Duty Walk Behind Saw is a game-changer.  The FSB 150’s weight is perfectly balanced, removing any potential rocking motion from the saw.  Weighing in at 110 pounds, this walk-behind saw is compact for easy transportation, with a heavy-duty frame to reduce vibration.  This package through U.S.SAWS comes with a gearbox, 20” blade capacity, water feed kit, whip hose, oiler, wrenches, and 1 quart of ice-free oil.  This power saw is fume-free for use in confined spaces, protecting you from carbon monoxide inhalation.  As an added bonus, it is operational in water as well!

Contact U.S.SAWS today to locate the perfect concrete cutting, walk-behind saw to fit your needs.

Diamond Tooling: Best Applications

When we think of diamonds, our first inclination is to think about stunning diamonds set in gold or platinum and displayed in rings, necklaces, and even crowns across the world. However, diamonds are also one of the hardest materials on Earth, ranking as a 10 (out of 10) on the Mohs scale of hardness, lending itself to many more unique uses other than fantastic jewels.  For instance, diamonds make fantastic tools not only due to its hardness, but also because it is chemically inert, corrosion resistant, and abrasion resistant.

Diamond Tooling:  How Is It Used?

Diamonds are used in a wide range of cutting tools including saw blades, diamond chains, and diamond pipe beveling.  One industry that predominantly utilizes diamond tooling technology is the concrete grinding industry.  A growing trend among business owners and homeowners alike is concrete flooring.  Concrete is a versatile material that, when polished with a concrete diamond grinder, produces a beautifully smooth surface that can be sealed, coated, and/or painted at a reasonable cost.  Diamond grinders for concrete floors contain bits of diamond that repairs pits and divots in the concrete.  The size of the bits depends on the intensity of the job.  If you’re faced with a challenging job that requires intense grinding efforts, larger diamond bits are the best option.  If the purpose of the job is to polish, the smaller diamond bits are the right choice.

Synthetic diamonds are used in diamond tooling. Synthetic diamonds allow manufacturers to control the size and shape of the diamond bits.   Chips of diamond are then suspended in a bond, typically of resin, metal, carbides, or a hybrid.  The type of bond depends on the job.  Resin-bonded diamond tools are the most popular as they are the most aggressive and have the most applications.  Metal bonded diamonds are excellent for removing adhesives.  Carbide bonded diamonds are best for jobs involving sticky adhesives, where a smooth finish is required.

Diamond Blades

Diamond blades are the best tool for “cutting concrete,” be it for a sidewalk, flooring, or even countertop.  While we say the blades cut the diamonds, the process works less like a diamond “knife” and more like an intense friction that grinds a piece of concrete to create a “cut.”  Diamond blades are known for their durability and ease of use.  They are perfect for the construction crew or even the DIY homeowner.  The larger the slab of concrete the more difficult it is to cut, but with a diamond blade, cutting through slabs of concrete is a breeze.

Heat plays a major factor in the performance of a blade, and diamond blades are no different.  Diamond blades work best for wet-cutting concrete surfaces.  Wet cutting ensures the longevity of the diamond blade while reducing heat and reducing the number of dust particles in the air.  Dry cutting, generally with a segmented blade, is not off-limits with diamond blades, however, but it is usually used for smaller jobs and should be done outside due to the amount of dust created.

U.S.SAWS has a wide variety of diamond blade saws for all jobs great and small.

Diamond Chains

Chainsaws benefit from synthetic diamonds as well.  The chains contain utilizes diamond segments which are fused to the chain in place in the usual chainsaw teeth.  Much like the diamond blades, the diamond chains grind away materials in order to create a cut and are used with concrete, bricks, and stones.  The benefit of these diamond chains is that they are much safer to operate than the standard chainsaw as they do not produce any kickback.  Diamond chainsaws also use a long, flat guide bar that allows the saw to cut deeper than any circular blade. While diamond chains may come at a higher cost, the benefits reaped from no kickback and deeper, cleaner cuts make the price tag much more palatable.

U.S.SAWS offers multiple diamond chains and chainsaws, including a Heavy Duty Gas Concrete Chain Saw with ProForce Diamond Chain.  This incredibly versatile gas-powered saw offers guide bar lengths of 12” to 16” and uses a powerhead series of diamond chains.  It is best used on concrete and stone.

Diamond Cup Wheels

Another handy diamond-infused concrete tool is the diamond cup wheel.  Much like sandpaper, the diamond cup wheels are measured by grit.  The diamond cup wheel is mounted to the concrete grinder and used as an abrasive force to grind down concrete for a smooth finish.  Much like the diamond blade, diamond cup wheels may be used for wet or dry cutting.  They also come in a variety of grits depending on the job at hand, from adhesive removal to profiling hard surfaces.

 

U.S.SAWS is able to take care of all your diamond cup wheel needs, including a 5” 4 Single Row Quarter Round PCD Cup that is great for handheld grinders being used to remove thick coatings like epoxy or urethane.

Contact U.S.SAWS today to add some diamond power to your toolbox.

 

STAY SHARP!


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