Chainsaw - yes or no?

Submitted: Saturday, Mar 09, 2013 at 10:09
ThreadID: 100984 Views:4207 Replies:22 FollowUps:14
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Hi all.

Like so many others we are embarking on our trip around mainland Australia for an indeterminate length of time - perhaps a couple of years.

We are limited in what we can and what we might take with us. There is only so much room!

In the Victorian high country a chainsaw has proved to be extremely useful, clearing tracks and of course cutting firewood.

However, do we need one with us in our more general travels which we hope will include everywhere we've read about (i.e. Simpson Desert, GRR, Kimberley region and Kakadu)?

Your feedback and advice would be much appreciated!

Steve
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Reply By: Notso - Saturday, Mar 09, 2013 at 10:31

Saturday, Mar 09, 2013 at 10:31
I usually carry mine, used it only once. The axe is used more often.
AnswerID: 506384

Reply By: rooster350 - Saturday, Mar 09, 2013 at 10:43

Saturday, Mar 09, 2013 at 10:43
I would say no...wood is getting rather scarce around the country, maybe in the more isolated places you would no doubt come across reasonable supplies but not in some of the places you mention. For that reason I made a firebox out of an old tub from a twin spinner washing machine(it has lots of small holes in it)and put 3 removable legs on it , others make them from old gas bottles , I have one of those as well but the smaller tub version works better for us...a couple of hand fulls of twigs boils the billy, cooks a steak or whatever, it is light weight and takes up little room...cheers
AnswerID: 506386

Reply By: KevinE - Saturday, Mar 09, 2013 at 10:44

Saturday, Mar 09, 2013 at 10:44
No! I can honestly say that I've never needed a chainsaw in any of the areas you mention going to on your trip (I have several chainsaws for work though!).

NB: you may find yourself in the poo if you use a chainsaw in a National Park & there are NP's in all of those areas ;)

Cheers,

Kevin :)
AnswerID: 506387

Follow Up By: get outmore - Saturday, Mar 09, 2013 at 15:59

Saturday, Mar 09, 2013 at 15:59
agreen I nevern understood the chainsaw thing ive never needed one. for firewood i usually pull up next to some decent branch and just set it on fire then as the centre burns move the outer peices into the middle
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Follow Up By: Shaker - Saturday, Mar 09, 2013 at 20:46

Saturday, Mar 09, 2013 at 20:46
It's illegal in Victoria to put wood on a camp fire longer than 1 metre, also fire must be no bigger than 1 metre in diameter.
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FollowupID: 783360

Reply By: Member - John and Val - Saturday, Mar 09, 2013 at 10:47

Saturday, Mar 09, 2013 at 10:47
Steve,

Suggest just carry an axe. The saw might be useful where there's sizeable timber to be dealt with, but there's not a lot of that where your thinking of travelling. We have a chain saw but have never carried it on a trip and never wished we had. Even disassembled they are awkward to carry, dirty, need their own (smelly) fuel. We just carry an axe.

Cheers

John
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AnswerID: 506388

Reply By: Barry 2 - Saturday, Mar 09, 2013 at 10:59

Saturday, Mar 09, 2013 at 10:59
Hi Steve
As others have said, no need for a chain saw.
A sharp axe and a good quality Bow Saw with sharp blades is all we have ever used.
It is surprising how big a branch/log you can cut through with a good Bow Saw.

Happy Travels

Barry - Southern Cross Dreaming.
AnswerID: 506389

Follow Up By: Member - Russler - Saturday, Mar 09, 2013 at 11:27

Saturday, Mar 09, 2013 at 11:27
Agreed, we carry a sharp bow saw and a sharp pruning saw. I also used to carry an axe, but no longer. And I cannot be bothered with a chainsaw, because of the issues with carrying a different fuel and because of the possibility of something going very wrong whilst using the chainsaw. We've also toured the Vic High Country extensively.
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Follow Up By: KevinE - Saturday, Mar 09, 2013 at 16:22

Saturday, Mar 09, 2013 at 16:22
Geez mate, how true is that! imagine the chain flicking off, or the saw kicking back in a remote area while wearing shorts! Blow that for a game of marbles! :/

I prune & remove trees for a living & obviously need chainsaws for work, but I have never taken one with me camping/travelling, nor have I regretted not having one with me. At work I wear all the PPE & carry a special first aid kit designed for treating injuries inflicted by a chainsaw (I seriously hope I never need it though!). Who takes any of that camping?
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Reply By: ExplorOz Facebook App - Saturday, Mar 09, 2013 at 11:10

Saturday, Mar 09, 2013 at 11:10
Michael Margot posted this reply on the ExplorOz Facebook page:

There is nothing that requires a chain saw in the bush, only good brain power
AnswerID: 506390

Reply By: MEMBER - Darian, SA - Saturday, Mar 09, 2013 at 11:25

Saturday, Mar 09, 2013 at 11:25
No - all I've ever taken on trips is a cheap carpenter's saw from Bunno's (I prefer that style to the bow) - the saws are razor sharp and will handle a lot of firewood, and the exercise while cutting is often welcome after a day of driving. We take a mid sized axe too, but that has had little use - the saw is the thing.
AnswerID: 506392

Reply By: Noosa Fox - Saturday, Mar 09, 2013 at 12:01

Saturday, Mar 09, 2013 at 12:01
If you plan on travelling for a couple of years, and you like your camp-fires than I would be taking the chainsaw if you have room for it. Later this year I will be travelling to the Cape and around the Gulf to Darwin and Central Australia for 4 months and the chainsaw will be on board.
If you haven't got room for the chainsaw I would say that a Bushman hand saw should be put in.

Brian
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AnswerID: 506397

Reply By: beaul - Saturday, Mar 09, 2013 at 12:30

Saturday, Mar 09, 2013 at 12:30
i would definately buy a chainsaw. I bought a cheap chinese chainsaw from ebay. It is a small petrol powered (One hand pruning chainsaw) I think it cost under $200. It has been great, starts every time. Make sure you cut dead wood (burns better)
I love my fires either for cooking or watching with a cold drink at the end of the day. I have had mine now for 3 years and would not be without it.
AnswerID: 506401

Reply By: Peter_n_Margaret - Saturday, Mar 09, 2013 at 12:42

Saturday, Mar 09, 2013 at 12:42
We used to carry a chain saw.
Not any more. Rarely used, smelly dangerous fuel.
Now carry a sabre saw with long timber blades (plus metal cutting blades) and run it from the inverter.
No noise, no fuel, light weight, cuts ANYTHING.

Cheers,
Peter
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AnswerID: 506402

Reply By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Saturday, Mar 09, 2013 at 13:43

Saturday, Mar 09, 2013 at 13:43
If you really want a chainsaw without the issues of carrying fuel for it, how about a battery chainsaw?
Big enough for firewood and quieter than two-stroke.
Cheers
Allan

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AnswerID: 506408

Follow Up By: Doc - Saturday, Mar 09, 2013 at 14:32

Saturday, Mar 09, 2013 at 14:32
I've got a Ryobi 18V cordless one - wouldn't be any use for felling a forest but is handy for occasional use, and not too expensive. As an alternative you could take a cordless reciprocating saw with a few long wood cutting blades. The cordless chainsaw is still a bit messy as you need chain oil, the recipro saw is much cleaner & will cut almost the same size wood.
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FollowupID: 783332

Reply By: patsproule - Saturday, Mar 09, 2013 at 14:25

Saturday, Mar 09, 2013 at 14:25
We carry one if we go up to the high country and almost always end up using it for track clearing. Given how timber falls across tracks daily up there it's almost essentially, as is a lot of caution in it's use given how precarious some of the tress can be when fallen. but elsewhere we dont bother carrying one.
AnswerID: 506410

Follow Up By: KevinE - Saturday, Mar 09, 2013 at 16:41

Saturday, Mar 09, 2013 at 16:41
Very good point about using caution; my neighbour bought a battery powered pole chainsaw from Bunnings to remove a MASSIVE dead limb off a red gum in his yard. Lucky for him the battery died not long into the cut, as he was standing under a limb that weighed over a tonne, cutting it from a 3 step kitchen ladder! He came very close to making his wife a widow!

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FollowupID: 783339

Follow Up By: Member - John Baas (WA) - Sunday, Mar 10, 2013 at 01:02

Sunday, Mar 10, 2013 at 01:02
Hi KevE.

That's not so much about chn saw probs as about idiot neighbours' brobs; hey... I mean... really.....Lucky widow....one less from the gene pool...

Cheers.
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FollowupID: 783375

Follow Up By: KevinE - Sunday, Mar 10, 2013 at 11:21

Sunday, Mar 10, 2013 at 11:21
He's not alone in making a a mistake with a chainsaw though & that's the point!

There are literally thousands of stories of people hurting themselves with a chainsaw in hand;

Example: a guy near here got a quote from a tree guy to remove a problem tree from his yard. The contractor was very experienced & could see the danger in dropping the tree & based his quote on blocking it down safely rather than felling it (more time consuming & expensive, but safer if you know what you're doing)

Sadly, the home owner decided to fell the tree himself with a chainsaw he bought at one of the large hardware stores.

The tree was leaning badly & did exactly what would be expected when scarfed & back-cut - it slabbed out! When it came down it broke his neck! (it all happens with massive force & very, very quickly!) This was not a very big tree!

I could go on for days writing examples; the lawn mowing contractor who put a chainsaw through his leg pulling a blunt chain through a very small tree trunk, another guy who dropped a large palm into a swimming pool because he had no idea how to scarf..............

IMO; it should be illegal for chainsaws to be sold to anyone who hasn't done some training on how to use them.

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FollowupID: 783390

Follow Up By: Hairy (NT) - Sunday, Mar 10, 2013 at 12:57

Sunday, Mar 10, 2013 at 12:57
Gday,
Some people have done training from a very young age....they used to call it commonsense!
With commonsense, official chainsaw training isnt needed.
I could tell a mob of stories about injuries caused by 4wd's, fires and knives too, but Id hate to see them all become illegal because of some idiot or just human error?

Cheers
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FollowupID: 783410

Reply By: Member - daz (SA) - Saturday, Mar 09, 2013 at 14:48

Saturday, Mar 09, 2013 at 14:48
Leave the Chainsaw home.
The only timber that should be burnt, should be able to be picked up off the ground. Cutting down any type of tree, be it dead or alive is vandalism at its best.
daz
AnswerID: 506412

Follow Up By: Gronk - Saturday, Mar 09, 2013 at 20:32

Saturday, Mar 09, 2013 at 20:32
Fair dinkum ????

I go camping nearly every fournight and the one thing I like ( apart from a nice cold beer ) is a campfire ..

I bought a chainsaw 2 yrs ago because I was sick of trying to scrape together enough wood scraps for a decent fire...not only for heat, but to throw some spuds on ..

In state forests, it's legal ( not vandalism ) and in Nat Parks, we take it in .

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FollowupID: 783358

Follow Up By: Bill BD - Sunday, Mar 10, 2013 at 00:32

Sunday, Mar 10, 2013 at 00:32
Which state forests? Not in WA, where you need to be in a designated wood gathering area (at least near Perth... I think all across WA). Even then you are confined to fallen timber. Unfallen timber is often nesting sites for parrots and cockatoos, whereas, large fallen timber is home to many native animals, thus, we have a vested interest in leaving the upright wood upright and the bigger fallen timber on the ground throughout our forests.

I carry a block splitter. It is heavy enough to break medium thickness stubs/branches of dry wood off larger chunks. The sort of diameter I would need a chainsaw to cut is the stuff that should be left alone.
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FollowupID: 783373

Follow Up By: Member - daz (SA) - Sunday, Mar 10, 2013 at 10:34

Sunday, Mar 10, 2013 at 10:34
So Gronk Tell us what you cut with your chain saw,
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Follow Up By: Hairy (NT) - Sunday, Mar 10, 2013 at 12:22

Sunday, Mar 10, 2013 at 12:22
That maybe the case where you live Daz but not everywhere.
We have plenty of burnable timber and a chainsaw makes it a lot easier to cut up and transport to places that dont have an excess of timber.
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FollowupID: 783397

Follow Up By: Honky - Monday, Mar 11, 2013 at 14:20

Monday, Mar 11, 2013 at 14:20
Its interesting that you read comments that say dead logs are nesting sites for animals.
Recent fires in my area burnt 95% of a national park and I would assume 95% of the animals in it.
when you look at the aftermarth the hollow trees have all been cut down by the fires fighters as they act like a torch with the fire burning up the centre spewing embers into the air like a blow torch and very difficult to put out.
Maybe a bit of thinning with a chain saw in national parks may save trees and animals when the fire hits.
Honky
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FollowupID: 783557

Reply By: Stephen & Claire - Saturday, Mar 09, 2013 at 14:52

Saturday, Mar 09, 2013 at 14:52
Thank you everybody.

I think then the consensus view is to carry a bow saw (or similar) and a small axe.
That gives me more room, less hassle and limits my fuel requirements to the generator - 4 stroke thank goodness.

Cheers.

Steve



AnswerID: 506413

Reply By: Motherhen - Saturday, Mar 09, 2013 at 19:48

Saturday, Mar 09, 2013 at 19:48
We took a small electric chainsaw with us - we have a generator for emergency use. The electric chainsaw (dismantled as it came in its box) took up little room and weight stored under the bed and no risk of petrol smells. We don't have campfires so this was for emergency branch clearing or trimming but in nine months over travel with it during two longer trips it was never needed. You certainly do not need one on regular roads and tracks, nor on any of the places you have mentioned if you don't venture onto any little used tracks in the Kimberley.

Motherhen
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AnswerID: 506427

Reply By: Member - John Baas (WA) - Sunday, Mar 10, 2013 at 00:54

Sunday, Mar 10, 2013 at 00:54
We hardly ever go without our micro Stihl.

It's amazing how quick and easy it is. Just buy a bit of quality kit and keep it sharp; a micro fuel container and same for the 2 stroke. We've saved many barren wet campfires with this.

Cheers.
AnswerID: 506447

Reply By: Wilko (Parkes NSW) - Sunday, Mar 10, 2013 at 07:11

Sunday, Mar 10, 2013 at 07:11
Hi Steve,

I always got my chainsaw with me when camping and use it every other trip. If I'm traveling then I usually dont have it.

Its means I can get the better sized wood from bigger logs.


Cheers Wilko
AnswerID: 506452

Reply By: Member - John and Val - Sunday, Mar 10, 2013 at 11:41

Sunday, Mar 10, 2013 at 11:41
Hi Steve,

I think the question that emerges from some of these posts is how much wood do you need for a reasonable camp fire. Sure, we all like a camp fire, but as with other issues there are now too many of us out there looking for wood so that in many of the more popular places it is hard to find - in some places simply not there. Some people seem to think that nothing less than a blaze a meter across is adequate - then they push their chairs back a few metres because its too hot to sit close to it. Go figure???

Many of the places you mention you either cant have a fire because its in a national park, or there are specific fire and wood collecting restrictions, or you will find good burning wood hard to find. In the tropics and inland areas termites quickly consume wood especially if its down on the ground. Then there is the question of responsible wood use, especially in desert areas where growth is very slow. Also larger wood, whether standing or on the ground, is habitat for all sorts of critters. Yes I have heard the arguments about how wildfires burn everything but we are not wildfires are we.

I doubt that any state allows standing timber (dead or alive) to be cut down without a permit, especially in state forests and on road verges.

Unfortunately there are people out there wielding chainsaws who think that green timber is suitable for a campfire. They dont realise that green timber (anything with bark still attached) contains plenty of water and any heat generated goes to boiling off that water, and all that's produced is a lot of smoke. On our last trip we encountered one such genius who tried to convince us that because a green branch was lying close to the ground it must be dead. Despite our protests he cut it anyway then had to add accelerant to make a very smoky fire.

For the record, we have a camp fire whenever we can, and cook over it if possible. But as we use a small folding BBQ we have a fire that fits under the BBQ so its about one foot across. We usually carry some wood with us and collect wood along the way where it is plentiful - but I'm mindful that there is a risk of spreading weed seeds by doing that.

I'm left wondering why those who take a chainsaw when they go on short camping trips cant just carry firewood with them - or is it because they need large bonfires?

Cheers,

Val.
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AnswerID: 506474

Reply By: The Bantam - Sunday, Mar 10, 2013 at 14:20

Sunday, Mar 10, 2013 at 14:20
AHhh look...chain saws are a thing that produce pashinate feelings.

Some think they are the work of the devil, others think they are god's own tool.

Some consider them dangerous and then go and use far more risky and environmentally damaging methods to clear tracks or garther firewood.

Then of course almost every discussion on chainsaws turns into an argument about the question of fire wood and how collecting firewood is so horribly damaging for the environmemt...and how any chain saw user must be a murderer of cute little furry critters.

The truth is the chainsaw is THE most efficient way of cutting medium to large section timber for whatever purpose.....AND if handled correctly should be perfectly safe.

NOW..we have come out of 10 to 15 years of drought, and in many areas there is a hell of a lot of standing dead trees, or live trees with large dead limbs.....we have come into a period of wet, heavy weather in most areas.
SO expect to see a lot of that dead timber that has stood for quite some time to be laying on the ground.
Laying on the ground ( where laws permit) as fair game firewood, and in other areas blocking tracks that have remained clear for decades.

I know from my little patch of paradise, my need for chain saws has been small in recent years and limited to cutting down trees that have died due to drought and represent a risk to life and property....of late with the heavy weather there is fallen limbs everywhere and I have a couple of large trees that have stood dead for couple of decades that I need to cut down before they fall down.

So....lets return to the practicalities of the matter.
If you are going to carry a chain saw, you need to be properly schooled up n safe methods....
NSW forestry published an excellent manual on chainsaw use....if it is out of print coppies can still be had on ebay or in used book shops.....most of us are not interested is spending 3 days and $1000 on a training course that only covers basic on ground crosscutting.

Then you need to think about the need balanced against your ability to carry the machine and the fuel.

So far I have not felt the need to carry one.....but there are places that I certainly would.

If you come across a large log across the track, several KM in....would it not be far safer and less likely to cause damage, to whip out the chain saw and cut it into safely managable pieces.

cheers
AnswerID: 506489

Reply By: Echucan Bob - Sunday, Mar 10, 2013 at 18:57

Sunday, Mar 10, 2013 at 18:57
Chainsaws are like generators, winches, hi-lift jacks and bull bars: people love toys, and love to show them off.

These devices all add a lot of weight to your vehicle, are completely unnecessary, and are best left at home.

I just treated a guy yesterday who got 20% burns by merely refuelling his chainsaw. Just what you need when you're 500km off the beaten track!

Bob
AnswerID: 506511

Reply By: Member - Beatit (QLD) - Sunday, Mar 10, 2013 at 22:09

Sunday, Mar 10, 2013 at 22:09
Just another thought, I take one mainly for insurance like a sat phone and a spare wheel. I hope not to have to use it but if I am in a position where I need to cut timber I will be happy to have it aboard. The bride does not like fires so it is not a question of firewood but in my experience cutting timber is significantly harder using hand tools.

Kind regards
AnswerID: 506528

Reply By: ExplorOz Facebook App - Monday, Jun 03, 2013 at 16:56

Monday, Jun 03, 2013 at 16:56
Michael Margot posted this reply on the ExplorOz Facebook page:

There is nothing that requires a chain saw in the bush, only good brain power
AnswerID: 512465

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