The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Chainsaw chaps

chainsaw chaps in action

I tried out the new chainsaw chaps today while we cut up some firewood.

They sort of feel like wearing wet jeans with all the extra weight, and they hold in heat, but the increase in safety feels worth the decrease in comfort.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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According to this page, the average chainsaw injury required 110 stitches (ouch!), and had an average medical bill of $5600. About 2/3 of all injuries were to the hands or legs.

Taking into account the amount of nerves and tendons running through those body parts, the possibility of function loss is serious.

So I think that wearing those chaps is a good thing.

Not so sure about gloves though. When I got safety intruction for working with a lathe or a table saw, they always told me not to wear gloves, because they tend to be be caught by the blade or workpiece and pull your hand towards them.

Comment by Roland_Smith Mon Aug 13 16:53:46 2012
Roland --- That does make it sound like the chaps should be worn at all times! I'm having a hard time figuring out how you'd cut your hands if using the saw correctly, but Mark says it's possible....
Comment by anna Mon Aug 13 18:46:01 2012

At a guess I would say that it is probably improper (or untrained) use of the chainsaw that causes the most injuries. :-/

A possible partial explanation for the hand wounds is the reflex that we have to put our hands up if something is coming at us.

Comment by Roland_Smith Mon Aug 13 19:40:25 2012
I always wear mine, but I don't do much chainsawing during the hot months. I am just not a careful person. I know that and so I take every precaution I can.
Comment by Everett Mon Aug 13 20:05:47 2012
There is a man who comes out to our twice a year work days, always with his pick-up truck full of many types of tools, including his chain saw, chaps, goggles, and other safety items. He gets himself all attired in these things, gets his chain saw and heads off to a dead tree. After all this getting ready, he almost always has trouble getting the chain saw going, or if he gets it going, it stops before he can cut anything. But he is ready and safe!!! Glad Mark has the new chaps. What made him decide to get them?
Comment by Sheila Mon Aug 13 22:16:03 2012

Roland --- That reflex makes a lot of sense (and now I have very bad images in my head.... :-) )

Everett --- I know what you mean. That's why I let Mark operate the chainsaw --- he's much better about not trying to multi-task, and about staying focused on the present.

Sheila --- I could see the equipment reaching that point, but I think Mark'll stick with it. Maybe he'll wait to put the chaps on until he gets to the tree, though....

He decided to get them because he's a big believer in safety first. No ambulances are likely to make it through our mud, so it's better just not to get hurt.

Comment by anna Tue Aug 14 07:39:56 2012

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