Saturday, March 05, 2011

Chainsaw Use For The Woodturner

   Very quickly, woodturners learn that one of the difficulties of woodturning is the acquiring of wood large enough for faceplate turning. It is both difficult and expensive. However, there is often a good supply of local wood in log form if the means to deal with it are available. A chainsaw makes the handling of logs and their processing into turning blanks readily accessible.
   One of the first things to know about a chainsaw is its danger. A chainsaw is one of if not the most dangerous power tools in the woodworker's arsenal. The working part of the saw is a bar covered with a moving cutting chain that is designed to crosscut through hardwood. As such it will not even pause for flesh. In addition it is a simple matter to catch the tip of the bar in such a manner so as to make the saw kick back or jump at the user with amazing speed and power. With this said, there are many people who use a chainsaw day in and day out without problem. While the risk of using any power tool rests with the user, it is a good idea in this case to get instruction from an experienced user before handling the saw on your own.
   Chainsaws come in a variety of types and sizes but for most woodturners there are some simple considerations to think of when buying. Saws are sized by power and bar length. As a general rule subject to all the dangers of generalities, a sixteen inch bar will be long enough for most turners and twelve will be a little short at some point in the woodturning career. Another general rule is to buy the most powerful motor you can afford. It is easier on the user and the saw assuming the weight is also good for the user.
   The power source will be either electric or gasoline. Gasoline is more convenient outside the shop but there is a danger form carbon monoxide when running an internal combustion engine indoors not to mention the huge noise from the motor. Electric saws require heavy extension cords and in general cut slower than gas saws, but are quieter and get the job done.
   The turner should learn to sharpen and maintain the saw. Chains dull quickly if they hit rocks or nails in the wood and sometimes they touch the ground when cutting logs to length. A chain that hits the ground is dull and needs sharpening. This is not difficult to learn and files for sharpening are cheap. If the saw is kept with the bar oiled and the fuel for a gas saw mixed properly, a routine maintenance check by a good repairman or dealer is all that will be needed for long saw life.
   Chainsaws need not be fearful for the woodturner to use and will make the gaining of bowl blanks and the like much easier. Good instruction can make all the difference in the pleasure added to getting ones own wood for woodturning.


Anonymous said...

Hey everybody! I was just seeking for some information on this topic. Does anyone know more good forums or other similar resources about this?

Darrell Feltmate said...

Sure. Take a look over at
It goes from cutting the log with a chainsaw to finishing the bowl. A hunt through the accessories will show a sawbuck for turners.