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Author Topic: First time with a top handle - what to watch out for?  (Read 242 times)

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Offline alan gage

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First time with a top handle - what to watch out for?
« on: October 06, 2020, 12:43:04 PM »
I bought a new top handle (Stihl 194t) for a lot of trimming/limbing I need to do on my property this fall. All work with the 194t will be done from the air in a boom. Much of the work will be trimming small branches but there are a couple trees close to the house that need to be removed and this will be used to take out the tops before they're cut down to a safer size to drop.

I'm no stranger to chainsaws and cutting but this will be my first time using a top handle. I'd be happy to listen to any warnings and do/do nots. I'm not really worried about getting the job done safely but I'm also aware that most injuries come from things you don't expect and that most learning comes from mistakes. So I'd like to keep the things I don't expect to a minimum and prefer to do as much learning from other people's mistakes as possible. :)

What I expect at this point is that running a top handle saw in the air should be relatively straight forward as most of the limbs will be hanging out in the air and it should be pretty easy to anticipate the loads and direction of fall (down). But I'll need to keep my eyes open and be sure the limb I'm working on isn't crossed up with another that may result in a load other than expected which could close the kerf on my saw.

I anticipate my biggest risk of injury will be to the hand/arm of my non-cutting arm that's holding the branch. And the reason for this hand/arm getting cut would be from a pinched bar that causes the saw to jump out of the cut or kickback from the tip contacting another branch behind the one I'm cutting.

If I pay attention to these things should I be in good shape? Are there unexpected situations I'm not thinking of?

Thanks,

Alan
Timberking B-16, a few chainsaws from small to large, and a Bobcat 873 Skidloader.

Offline lxskllr

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Re: First time with a top handle - what to watch out for?
« Reply #1 on: October 06, 2020, 12:58:47 PM »
Don't hold and cut. If you that, it's a matter of when, not if you get bitten. Try to keep both hands on the saw. There's times it makes sense to one-hand it, but pay particular attention when you do. Don't become complacent.

Offline Al_Smith

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Re: First time with a top handle - what to watch out for?
« Reply #2 on: October 06, 2020, 03:17:37 PM »
I don't actually know if they are more dangerous or not. Depends on who is telling that I suppose .A good one like a Stihl MS 200t will have a nearly neutral  balance .It won't be nose heavy or tail heavy . They could have a tendency  to kick back from the nose so watch how that tip is running in the cut .
Fact we used to race them in cants at a GTG .Soup them up just like a larger saw .I've seen some with tuned pipes even .Fact I've got an old Mini Mac 110 with a pipe but it won't out cut a 200T just makes more noise . :D I wouldn't be surprised if I don't have 8 or 10 top handles from a number of manufactures .Most would run but I'm sure they all did at one time or another .

Offline slider

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Re: First time with a top handle - what to watch out for?
« Reply #3 on: October 06, 2020, 04:40:10 PM »
December will be 10 years working out of a bucket with a top handle . They are like any chain saw respect them and be careful .i have been bit once and most of the time i saw with one hand . it is too slow in our business to tie off on every limb . I would get a lanyard to tie to the saw but not to you,i have dropped 2 one survived.
193,s and 194,s will blow crank seals and it is half the price of the saw to fix them.
They are much easier to crank in the bucket than a 461.
If you are as lucky as me and have a nurse for a wife and get bit just go home have a beer lay down on the porch and let her get the needle and thread out. 
I like your project ,what bucket truck are you using.
al glenn

Offline Tin Horse

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Re: First time with a top handle - what to watch out for?
« Reply #4 on: October 06, 2020, 07:40:07 PM »
Of  3 different size saws I run the smallest is my Husqvarna 540XP as my favorite. Light and easy to handle. However there's a tendency for one hand use while limbing thick downed tree tops mixed in with saplings under tension. I've had no issues ever until recently. While trimming small branches a sapling released and redirected the bar towards my left hand as I was pulling brush away. Touched the tip of my left thumb. Cut the skin through my glove and trimmed my fingernail. Could have been much worse. Being left handed I'd rather keep that thumb. As mentioned earlier; complacency.
Bell 1000 Wood Processor. Enercraft 30HTL, Case 580SL. Kioti 7320.


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