Learning Power Tools

Chainsaws — avoiding kickback hazards

The most common and usually most violent kickback occurs when contact is made in the “kickback” zone.

Contact in this zone makes the chain bunch up and try to climb out of the cutting track. This often happens when the saw tip makes contact with something beyond the cutting area, such as a tree branch, a log, or planks.

Take extra care when making pocket cuts. Start the cut with the underside of the chain tip, then work the saw down and back to avoid contact with the kickback zone. Consider the use of a sabre (reciprocating) saw to make pocket cuts.

Be particularly careful to avoid contact with nails, piping, or other objects. This is especially important when making a pocket cut through framing lumber such as a subfloor or when cutting used lumber such as shoring, lagging, or blocking timbers.

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