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Tree Felling, Chainsaw Safety and Maintenance

Course Overview

A chainsaw is a powerful tool that requires a specific set of skills to safely operate and maintain, even if those skills are put to use only on an occasional weekend at the cabin. This course will be one part logging history, one part maintenance, and one part in-the-field experience. Day one will cover how to remove, clean, replace, and adjust the bar and chain, clean the air filter, how to hand-sharpen the chain, and dress the bar. An emphasis will be placed on safety practices and good maintenance habits. The second day will move into the field to a nearby tree felling site where each student will have the opportunity to fell a tree. Day three will also be in the field and will allow for more hands-on practice. Students will learn some tricks of the trade, such as judging wind direction and tree position on the hillside, as well as the use of felling wedges, come-alongs, push-poles, and how to make an “Indian Jack” to change the mind of a stubborn tree. The goal is simple: learn to safely and effectively use this powerful tool—and have fun while doing it.

Throughout the course, the instructor will share his extensive knowledge of the historical practices of hand tree felling before the advent of chainsaws, how a logging job was organized at that time, and how techniques and traditions have evolved as the technology changed and/or improved. The first day of class will also cover felling and limbing techniques; different types, sizes, and species of trees; and methods for removing (skidding and hauling) firewood and saw bolts from the woodlot or timber sale. The second day will include the collection and assembly of hand-logging tools. A note from the instructor: "I learned the information I will share in this class after operating a chainsaw part-time in the woods for ten years in Northern Minnesota and Alaska (even working on one log house and building another during that time) and I couldn’t believe how much important (especially regarding safety) information I had not learned in those ten years."  Even advanced chainsaw operators might learn (or teach the instructor) something they did not already know!


Fri, Nov 9th, 2018  –  Sun, Nov 11th, 2018

Course Details

Length: 2½ Days
Skill Levels: Beginner to Advanced
Hours: Day 1/2: 9am-5pm Day 3: 9am-1pm
Intergenerational age: 16+
Registration Cost: $270.00
Includes materials fee of $35.00

Required Tools

You will need the following tools for this class:

  • Cold weather clothing -Wool or fleece shirt, wool pants or overalls, rain gear possibly. Dress in layers, as we will start out with some classroom time. 
  • Two pair of insulated gloves (they can get wet). Oil and and pitch stains can ruin expensive clothes, so bring work clothes.  
  • Winter boots, with safety toe if you have them.
  • Bag lunch for the field Saturday and Sunday.
  • Water bottle or thermos

Optional Tools

  • chainsaw  (instructor has two saws that students can use for the class.)
  • chainsaw chaps (we will have some available to use if you don't have them)
  • hard hat (with screen visor and/or ear muffs, OR hard hat with safety glasses and ear plugs.

More Information

Once registered, students will receive a confirmation email with further class information. Please call us if you haven't received it within 24 hours.