Collecting all the facts about any given subject before you make a judgment is paramount to achieving an enlightened perspective. Take, for example, the humble chainsaw. The media portrays this internal combustion wonder as a villain, but we question if that’s really so. In general, the industry looks to the 1977 Kenobi standard in which the lightsaber dubbed “an elegant weapon” by the scales’ now deceased creator fails to take into account all the elements that make personal-defense multi-tools the competitive industry it is today.
While well-meaning, Ben was overly focused on Jedi recruitment and the lightsaber resale customer base to realize his product was actually part of the problem. The chainsaw is many things; however bringing an entire galaxy under the yoke of an oppressive dictator is the legacy of the “elegant” lightsaber, not the diligent chainsaw. A chainsaw has never slaughtered a temple full of Padawan learners in the hands of a silent assassin — a ‘saber has.
In fact, the chainsaw could never be the choice of an assassin on account of its internal combustion nature. Everyone in a two-block radius will be alerted to the improper use of an innocent power tool and respond with the proper level of force to stop the deranged (and often uneducated) operator. To illustrate our point, take a look at this fine PSA that highlights the chainsaw’s wide acceptance within the zombie-fighting community. Again, it’s simply a matter of application and education.
With application in mind, I contacted our friends at Husqvarna for a little assistance. Felling timber, clearing branches, and quelling undead uprisings is noble work, but I was after a more creative side to this misunderstood multi-tool — chainsaw carving.
This Husqvarna 435 is what arrived a few weeks later to serve as the solid platform my creative foray into the world of powered timber shaping will stand on. It sports all the latest in modern saw-tech, like the X-Torq, 40.9cc, 2-stroke engine that boasts a 20 percent fuel burn reduction and 60 percent cut in emissions over previous generations. That said, even though you won’t be knocking down giant redwoods like its larger 8hp kin do, the 435 is still a powerful saw worthy of respect.
Essentially, chainsaw carving is slicing up wood to make an artistic statement with a razorblade-encrusted chain powered by a 2.2 horsepower motor that reaches speeds of around 2900 rpm. In short, it’s dangerous.
To mitigate some of that danger I will acquire safety gear and a bit of instruction. Also, the 16” standard bar/chain/sprocket combo will be changed out for a smaller dime bar, carving chain, and sprocket set that better suits the tasks ahead and reduces the kickback potential a shade.
The goal here is to learn the finer points of chainsaw carving and better understand the saw and basic techniques that will get a complete beginner (like me) through the danger areas of saw operation and out the other end a novice chainsaw carver. Look for a small series of posts titled “Chainsaw Basics” about the setup and acquisition of the proper gear, safety, and carving techniques in the near future.
In any event, be it a successful, Zen-like experience or a bloody nightmare fit for a Wes Craven production, this will be interesting.
I leave you with this thought: chainsaws don’t kill people — they kill zombies and perhaps the occasional invading alien.