There is lots to think about when you decide to heat you home with firewood. If you’re not buying it, you need to be equipped to cut it yourself. This includes safety equipment, proper tools, knowing the laws, not overloading your truck and so on. If you are just starting out cutting firewood here are some tips to make this a safer and more efficient experience.
1. Have the proper wood cutting safety equipment
With all the debris flying around while you are cutting firewood, it is essential that you protect your eyes. Eye protection is not expensive and can save you from a serious eye injury. You can choose from safety glasses, safety goggles, or face shields.
- Safety glasses protect your eyes from normal levels of dust and debris. Some people choose them because out of all the choices they mostly resemble sun glasses and are not burdensome.
- Safety goggles form a seal around your eyes, and provide more protection than safety glasses from dust flying debris. Goggles are a better choice than glasses because they keep out the majority of debris flying through the air whether directly at you, from the side, below or above you. They are a bit more cumbersome than safety glasses, but I think you will appreciate the added protection they provide. Choose ones that are scratch resistant and have foam padding and air vents. Another cool feature is that most safety goggles fit over prescription glasses.
- Face shields are great for protecting against chips flying directly at you or above you but since they are open at the bottom do not provide protection from below. This means that dust and smaller chips can still fly in behind the shield.
Continuous loud noise can cause hearing damage. That’s why it’s important to wear some sort of ear protection while running a chainsaw. Chainsaws product a loud noice, very close to our ears and we typically run them for long periods of time. The best protection is from earmuffs. Earmuffs have a hard shell that covers your ears, while the inside is made of foam that absorbs the loud noises made by the chainsaw. Some people just use cheap earplugs, but that is not ideal.
Not a super cheap accessory, but an investment that you will use over and over again. Chaps are worn over your clothes and attach at the waist and around your legs. Chaps are designed to protect your legs in the event your chainsaw comes in contact with them. Like most safety equipment, you will wish you had taken the time to put them on when a serious injury occurs. You may spend around $70 on a great pair, but they will feel PRICELESS when they save your legs from a serious injury and huge emergency bill.
Most injuries while cutting firewood occur from the waist down. That’s why it’s important to wear chaps, but also consider protecting your feet.
Having a heavy log come crashing down on your unprotected feet will leave you in a lot of pain and possibly a broken foot. Steel-toe boots or safety boots have a protective reinforcement in the toe to protect your feet when logs come crashing down on them. The toes are typically made of steel, but not all companies use steel. Some companies use a composite material that preforms similarly to steel.
Steel-toe boots can be pretty pricey, but again this is a piece of equipment you will use over and over again and be glad you made the investment. You can purchase steel-toe shoes as well, but you’ll want to purchase something that comes up high enough on your ankle to prevent wood chips from getting stuck in your socks while cutting firewood.
Wearing a good pair of gloves is important when cutting, moving, or even stacking firewood. You will find that there are many different options out there ranging from leather work gloves, anti-vibration gloves and even Kevlar lines gloves. All of them will work great, just choose the one that fits your needs the best.
Wearing a helmet while cutting down a tree is important especially if part of the tree is fragile or decaying. Part of the tree could break off and fall on you causing serious injury or even death. You can buy helmet packages that include eye goggles and ear protection.
It’s very important not to cut firewood when you are feeling fatigued. You are more likely to make a mistake and injure yourself when you are tired. Taking breaks to drink water will keep your body hydrated and your mind focused. Don’t think that just because it’s cold outside you aren’t sweating up a storm. It’s just as important to drink water in the winter as it is in the summer.
A way to call for help:
It’s best not to cut firewood alone. Practice the buddy system. That way if one of you gets injured the other person can get help or be there to assist. If you are alone, make sure you have some form of communication at your side. This could be a cell phone in your pocket if you are in an area with cell coverage. It could include a walkie talkie hooked to your belt so that you can communicate with someone back at the house or at another area on your property. Whatever you choose, make sure it is reliable and useable. You don’t want to get stuck out by yourself with a bad injury and no way to communicate with anyone.
First Aid Kit and Manual:
Carry a small First Aid Kit in your vehicle and leave it there. Also include a First Aid Manual to help you in the event a serious injury occurs. All kinds of injuries can occur while cutting firewood. It’s a good idea to have bandaids and antiseptics on hand to treat minor wounds.
Know how to lift properly:
While your body is not a piece of equipment you will purchase, it is essential that you protect your lower back by using your legs to lift heavy logs. A lot of people injure themselves because of improper lifting. Wearing a back brace may help you if your back is not strong already.
2. Have the proper firewood cutting tools
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