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Chainsaw Wisdom
Arborist of the Future
Payback Time:  Mentoring the Next Generation

Here are a few helpful tricks that I picked up from other tree workers that might help you out too: 

  1. Make a spreadsheet with every life-supporting or PPE item you have and add a column with dates that items entered service, and a column for inspection date and condition. Save it, and print one for your clip board. The sheet is easily updated when you get new gear, and you can print off a new sheet whenever you complete an inspection. You will have more time to thoroughly inspect gear and will spend less time documenting it.
  2. Write your job site address in dry-erase marker on the top of your windshield inside the vehicle cabin. Doing so doesn’t obstruct your view of the road (assuming your handwriting isn’t 6” tall) and eliminates the temptation to look away from the road at your work order if you’ve forgotten the address you’re travelling to. Don’t fear, dry-erase markers wipe-off  windshields completely.
  3. Use a permanent marker to write inside your hard hat the day that it entered service. Every time you inspect your hard hat, you will know immediately how long it has been in use.
  4. Don’t throw away beat-up felling wedges. Use a belt sander to remove axe or cutting damage, and to reset the taper. Wedges may not cost a lot, but they are often unnecessarily discarded without a second thought. Repaired wedges become uniquely sized and can be very useful in smaller diameter felling tasks.  How many junk wedges are sitting on your truck right now? 
  5. Drivers: Learning how your city roads are planned can reduce frustration and distraction while planning a route or searching for an address on the road. A central arterial intersection will be defined by most cities, and is where arterial (aka truck routes) street numbers begin at #1, increasing in 100 blocks in all directions outwards. North or West-side addresses will typically be even numbers. South or East-side addresses will be the opposite.
  6. 100% Polyester sweaters make superb rain wear for climbing. A generic hooded sweater will offer excellent mobility, breathability, warmth and rain absorbing capacity over a surprising period in downpour conditions. The added benefit is that this “technology” is inexpensive and shred-resistant, and water doesn’t roll off your sweater onto your chainsaw pants like it would with a rain jacket. Pack extra sweaters for a full day of wet-weather protection.
  7. The ultimate in anti-fog protection for your eye wear is surprisingly within reach. Avoid tilting your head up or down and you will find that steam rises off your face without fogging your lenses. 
  8. Keep a small Rubbermaid tote for essential items that become mobile easily on the bench seat of the truck, and often go missing (such as water bottle, notepad, the ever-elusive extra pens, DBH and linear measuring tapes, sounding mallet, secateurs, your phones, etc.). The tote stows nicely under or on the bench seat, and your items are easily shuttled from one truck to another and back to your locker. 
  9. Not happy with shared workplace tools? Buy your own. Communal company items (linear measuring tapes, handsaws, secateurs, pole tools, gloves, ) will often disappoint, and although it doesn’t impact your wallet to use communal tools, it certainly can impact your enjoyment and lead to unnecessary fatigue and injury (Note: This does not include PPE or fall protection. Workplace provided PPE and fall protection is often a requirement by employers.). 
  10. Wherever detail cleanup must take place and when you can safely do so, position yourself for chainsaw bucking work so that saw chips are distributed or contained to one small area. This includes chunking down a tree from an aerial lift or by climbing. An enormous amount of cleanup time and effort can be saved.

 

-  Gary Oaks

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