How Do Chainsaw Chaps Protect You?
A chainsaw is a necessary part of any outdoor power tool set. It’s a powerful and versatile tool, but that power can also make it pretty dangerous. Even pros make mistakes sometimes so it’s important to make sure you’ve got all the safety equipment you need, and that you’re following proper procedure.
Hint: For a look into how to safely operate your chainsaw, take a look at our previous video here:
Chainsaw Chaps are an important piece of safety equipment. These sturdy chaps offer a barrier between you and the blade, so you don’t accidentally slice your leg. Now if you value your limbs, you’re probably wondering how well these chaps work and if they’re worth the investment and the extra weight, so we put them to the test.
In this video, one of our OPE experts, Aaron, will put Chainsaw Chaps through a stress test, and compare how they protect your body compared to a regular old pair of jeans (you can also read the written version below):
We tried comparing plain denim jeans to chainsaw chaps, by using this sturdy tree branch as our leg stand-in.
Denim jeans may seem sturdy in everyday life, but as you can see below, a chainsaw will cut clean through them. When we mimicked a bucking chainsaw hit to our tree trunk leg covered in simple denim jeans, the resulting gash was long and deep, and would definitely have resulted in a trip to the emergency room for a real leg.
Chainsaw chaps on the other hand not only create a barrier between your leg and the blade, but their fibrous material is made to get caught in the blade, causing the saw itself to fail. When we mimicked the same accidental bucking chainsaw action with our chaps on the tree trunk leg, the chaps worked as intended, and the engine stalled quickly. We stopped to inspect the damage and this is what we found.
As you can see, a set of chainsaw chaps could be the difference between a small cut and a trip to the hospital. That said, the chainsaw blade did manage to slightly penetrate the chainsaw chaps before stalling, causing a nick that may have drawn blood. This goes to show that while chainsaw chaps could arguably make all the difference in the world in a life-threatening or permanent injury situation, the best way to avoid chainsaw-related mishaps is to not put yourself in the position to have to deal with injury at all. The key here is practicing some key chainsaw safety principles.
First off, make sure your machine is in good working order. Give your saw a once over before using it, and if you notice anything wrong it’s time to do some repairs. If anything needs to be replaced, make sure you’re stocked with all the chainsaw parts you may need.
If your machine looks good, then its time to check yourself. You’re gonna want safety goggles, thick work gloves, a mask, steel toed boots and as discussed earlier, a set of chainsaw chaps. Ear protection is also recommended.
Keep your saw firmly on the ground while you start it up. Once it’s started, hold the saw firmly with both hands away from your body, keeping it at waist level. You want to avoid kickbacks that could cause the saw to suddenly move in either direction, by cutting closer to the middle of the blade instead of the tip, and by ensuring the blade does not touch the ground.
NOTE: If you have an Electric Chainsaw, your chaps may be less effective and you’ll have to be extra careful. Electric Chainsaws provide a constant torque which can pull through the fibers of the chaps a lot easier than the gas models. Still a good idea to wear them, but be aware that they won’t be as effective.
For information on Electric Chainsaws specifically, take a look at this video:
So get the right equipment, take the proper precautions, and keep an eye on your saw to make sure your trip to the woods doesn’t end up as a trip to the hospital.