So you have a chainsaw now or are about to buy one… Is there anything else that you will need to get the job done properly?
Below is a list of our Top 5 Most Useful Chainsaw Accessories that you should consider investing in. Read on to learn what bits of equipment are key to get chainsaw jobs done safely and effectively.
Safety always comes first when it’s time to cut with any power tool, and the chainsaw absolutely is no exception. Chainsaw chaps are heavy duty, protective pant covers – similar to motorcycle chaps – that are specifically designed and woven to prevent serious injury if your chainsaw fights back or suffers kickback. If you’re unfamiliar with kickback, we don’t advise watching any videos showing the results. Kickback causes your chainsaw to violently fly away from the cutting groove – usually toward your person, and it’s so quick you can’t control it. Even advanced and professional chainsaw operators wear chainsaw chaps, because they know it’s something you simply can’t anticipate.
We recommend Forester Chainsaw Chaps. They’re affordable at around $50, and they include a convenient storage pocket for equipment or saw sharpening tools. They also meet the Leg Protection Requirements for OSHA Standards for Chainsaw Operators, so you can be confident they’ll protect you from potentially deadly saw contact. Forester Chaps come in different colors (green, orange, safety yellow, and camouflage) and sizes (Short 35”, Regular 37”, and Long 40”).
Chainsaw Helmet System
When we say safety first, we mean it. On our top 5 chainsaw accessories, that also means safety comes second. A chainsaw helmet system provides a face shield, hard hat and noise-reducing earmuffs. They’re specifically designed to protect your eyes and ears from the debris and noise of your saw. These helmet systems might look a little bulky, but trust us when we say they’re necessary (even the pros use them). Most chainsaws register at or above 110 decibels – enough to damage your hearing in a few minutes, making ear protection critical. Even if you don’t experience kickback, your chainsaw will spit out plenty of sawdust, bark and debris, and you better believe plenty of unprotected operators have lost an eye from even simple lumber cuts.
We recommend Husqvarna’s ProForest Chain Saw Helmet System for its value and protection. This helmet system is very reasonably priced and includes a metal mesh face shield to protect your eyesight. The 25 dB noise reduction hearing protectors help keep chainsaw noise to around 85 decibels, which OSHA considers the limit for safe noise levels. The helmet meets ANSI protection standards and comes in a high-visibility orange for added safety. Be confident with a quality chainsaw brand like Husqvarna to keep you safe when working.
If you’ve ever watched “fail” videos on YouTube, you’ve probably seen the wayward logger or yard worker felling a tree with his or her chainsaw, followed by the surprise collapse of said tree onto an unfortunate house or car. Because of the dangers of felling a tree in the wrong direction, the importance of chainsaw wedges cannot be understated. These simple, tapered planks prevent your subject tree from falling in an unsafe direction. Simply begin your cut around the trunk of the tree to be felled. Drive a wedge into the partial cut with a mallet or hammer, placing it in the direction you don’t want your tree to fall. Wedges also work great for preventing larger horizontal logs from collapsing inward as your cut progresses, trapping your chainsaw’s blade in place.
Chainsaw wedges are universally simple in their design, but we recommend looking at STIHL’s or Husqvarna’s wedges. They’re made from high-impact polymer so they’ll take repeat abuse. Both recommended wedges feature a fine edge for easy placement. Both come in high-visibility orange for around $6 to $10, depending on length.
Chainsaw Sharpening Kit
Sharpening your chainsaw cutting teeth keeps your saw running efficiently and helps you save time and money on fuel when sawing. Most importantly, sharpening helps prevent dangerous kickback. The age-old question of when to sharpen can’t be answered based on time or amount of use, but there are a few symptoms to keep an eye out for which will indicate it’s time to sharpen:
- Your saw won’t carry itself through the wood; you have to force it
- Your saw produces powdery, sawdust-like debris instead of larger chips
- Your saw produces smoke from creating too much friction in the cutting groove
- Your saw pulls to one direction or makes crooked, un-even cuts
Any good, all-in-one chainsaw sharpening kit will include a round file that matches your cutters’ diameter, a file guide to keep your sharpening depths uniform, and a flat file and gauge for resetting the depth gauges on the chain.
We recommend Katzco’s 8-Piece Chainsaw Sharpening Filing Kit because it qualifies as a universal sharpening kit and includes round files for different, common chain sizes (3/8” Low Profile pitch, .325” pitch, and 3/8 Standard pitch). The kid also includes a 3/8” ergonomic handle, a 6” flat file, a depth gauge tool, a filing guide, and a carrying pouch for around $20.
2-Stroke Oil and Chain Lubricant
We lumped these two items together because they’re both critical for smooth, long-lasting operation of any chainsaw. Most gas chainsaws use a 2-stroke engine to maximize their power-to-weight ratio and size. Unfortunately, 2-stroke motors burn oil during use because the oil’s crankcase is actually part of the combustion chamber. What that basically means is every time you use your chainsaw, you burn a little oil with your fuel. A proper oil-to-fuel mixture is critical in maintaining your chainsaw’s components. Most chainsaw manufacturers sell their own mixtures that are specifically designed for their saws, so the cost of picking up a quart or gallon will depend on your chainsaw’s brand, but you can expect to pay between $4 and $8 for one quart of oil.
Chain oil is just as important. This lubricant is continually pumped from your the lube tank to your chain and bar during operation (either automatically or manually), keeping your cutters cycling cleanly without excessive friction or wear. Just to give you an idea of how critical it is to have plenty of chain oil on hand, most chainsaw operators claim to use about a 1/2 gallon of oil to every 1 gallon of gas.
We recommend Oregon 54-026 Premium Chain Oil for its price and quality. Oregon’s mixture averages $12 a quart and is said to provide low friction and faster cutting time. It utilizes high film strength and tackiness to prevent oil being thrown off your chain during use, which will prolong oil life and reduce cost, while also preventing build-up of cutting debris.
Chainsaw Accessories Summary
We hope you have gained some insight into the key accessories you should consider buying along with your chainsaw. Just to re-emphasize, safety is paramount when using a powerful tool like a chainsaw, make sure you assess each job before you begin and are prepared. Other accessories we have talked about hear will make your saw last longer and help you get your jobs done faster. There are plenty of other handy chainsaw accessories that you might want to take a look at here to get the most out of your saw.