Basic Chainsaw Use & Safety for Beginners

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WHEN: Tuesday, September 21, 2021 8am-4pm (FULL, waiting list only)

Location: The Lands of the Watershed Center (4783 Plank Rd., Bristol, VT)

Cost: $200

WHAT: This course is designed to introduce the safe handling of the chainsaw, and to boost the confidence level of anyone who has very little or no experience with a chainsaw. Gain confidence and skill with using a chainsaw in the woods or on the firewood pile in this internationally recognized program.

NOTE: This course is taught by the same excellent instructors (from Northeast Woodland Training) who teach the Game of Logging chainsaw training courses we offer. It is not a prerequisite for taking the Level I course, but is excellent preparation for it.


Download printable PDF of course description

This hands-on full-day course will include:

  • Basic saw maintenance
  • Starting the saw
  • Daily engine and bar maintenance
  • Chain sharpening – learn when to sharpen or change the chain
  • Basic bucking and limbing techniques (The instructor will fell the trees. All participants will get hands-on time bucking and limbing.)
  • Practice cutting “cookies”
  • Challenge cutting through log but leaving bark, emphasizing control.

Safety principles covered will be:

  • Understanding the reactive forces that need to be controlled by the operator.
  • Push, Pull, Kick back.
  • Safe and proper body mechanics to minimize the risk of slips, trips, and falls when operating a saw.
  • Possible review of electric chainsaws, if group interest.

***Workshop participants will not be felling trees. This course is designed to prepare a beginner saw user with the fundamentals of chain safety and maintenance.

Designed for the first-time saw user, this course is an excellent foundation for someone to attend future Game of Logging Level 1 – 4 trainings.


  • You will use the instructor’s chainsaw, so you do not need to bring one. But if you own a saw, bring it along. At the very least, you can show to the instructor for feedback, and you may be able to use it for your cutting practice.
  • Hardhat with eye and ear protection
  • Chaps (In the past, instructors have loaned chaps with participants who don’t own them, but have suspended that practice during the Covid-19 epidemic. We’re not certain at this point what the rules will be in September. Please assume that you’ll need to bring a pair, and we’ll let you know if that’s not the case. They strongly encourage you NOT to buy a pair just to attend the workshop, since they’ll be telling you about the pros and cons of different styles. Try to borrow a pair from a friend or neighbor.)
  • Sturdy boots
  • Gloves (optional)
  • Clothes appropriate to a full day in the woods, rain, snow, or shine (If it’s really cold, hand- and toe-warmers are great to have!)
  • Lunch and beverages
  • Cloth facemask
  • Drug- and alcohol-free body
  • Positive attitude. Remember that you will be in a course with up to 9 other participants, all of whom will take turns with chainsaw practice. You will learn a great deal by watching and listening closely to other participants’ chainsaw handling.
  • There are no bathroom facilities, so be prepared to take care of business in the woods, following Leave No Trace practices.

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