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How to Use a Chainsaw Safely

Learn chainsaw basics with This Old House landscape contractor Roger Cook

In this video, This Old House landscape contractor Roger Cook demonstrates chainsaw safety.


1. When using a chainsaw, be sure wear a hard hat and earmuff-style hearing protection.

2. Protect your eyes with safety goggles that are equipped with side shields.

3. If the hard hat has a face shield, use it to protect your face from flying wood chips.

4. Over your pants, wear apron-style chaps made of ballistic nylon.

5. Be sure to wear work boots that have good traction and side-to-side stability.

6. Protect your hands with non-slip work gloves.

7. Check to be sure you're not wearing any loose clothing that can get caught in the saw.

8. Choose a chainsaw that has a throttle interlock, which requires your hand to be fully inside of the saw's handle before the chain will accelerate.

9. Be sure the chainsaw has a chain catch that will stop the saw if the chain slips off the bar.

10. Check that the saw is equipped with a spring-loaded kickback guard that activates a chain brake should the saw kick back toward you.

11. Start by filling the chainsaw's fuel tank with a mixture of gasoline and two-cycle engine oil.

Fill the lube reservoir with chain oil.

12. Set the chainsaw on the ground, step inside rear handle to secure the back end of saw.

13. Flip on the saw's ignition switch, pump the primer, and lock on the trigger.

14. Pull open the choke, yank the starter cord until saw fires, then push in the choke and pull cord until the saw starts.