As you know, a chainsaw is a powerful tool with serrated edges on its chain, and this tool is used mainly to cut wood. When this saw is switched on, it can cause injury if it comes in direct contact with your body.
We have heard of people who started wearing chaps after they had cases of injuries from their chainsaws in action. If you have not had such an experience, you don’t want to have it; it is better to be safe than sorry.
Wearing chainsaw chaps is a no-brainer if you use a chainsaw. These chaps help protect the legs from getting hit by the chainsaw, so it is important that you wear chaps as safety wear to avoid injuries while using a chainsaw.
Having addressed some questions that focused on using chaps, it will be worth reading through this article to learn more about a chainsaw chap and why you should wear it when using a chainsaw.
Are Chainsaw Chaps Worth It?
When cutting wood, you will notice that some area of the wood is harder than the other wood surface.
When a chainsaw hits such an area, a chainsaw kickback (which involves the sudden jolt by the chainsaw in an upward direction) occurs, and this can be very dangerous. It is possible for the chainsaw to jolt back to the user during this process. If such a user is not on protective wear, he or she may get hit by the chainsaw.
Chainsaw chaps help to protect the legs of a chainsaw user from getting hit by the chainsaw. It does this by stopping the chainsaw from rotating and stopping the sprocket of the chain.
The chaps act as a shield to the leg of the user, protecting from injuries, and so are worth wearing when making use of a chainsaw.
What is the Benefit of Chainsaw Chaps?
The most important benefit of a chainsaw chap is the protection of the legs from getting hurt when using the power tool. However, there are other benefits of a chap that makes it to be used by many chainsaw enthusiasts.
Why Do Professional Chainsaw Users Love Chainsaw Chaps?
There are five reasons why chainsaw chaps are used by professional handlers of the chainsaw and they are:
1. Chainsaw chaps are affordable and available: This protective material is readily available and affordable. It is one material you do not need to worry about where to get and how much it costs. With prices ranging from $53 to $63, you can get a chainsaw chap in almost any store.
2. Fluid resistant: Except for acid, which will render a chap useless, chainsaw chaps can resist water, oils, and other liquid, thus protecting you from getting wet or stained. It is safe to say that the chaps are weather resistant because when worn, you can go ahead to use a chainsaw under the rain without the fear of getting wet.
3. Available in different sizes: You don’t need to worry about your size as the chainsaw chaps are readily available in any size. You can get a size that is fit just for you.
4. Adjustable waist: Chainsaw chaps have adjustable straps that can be adjusted to what you want, providing extra comfort when in use, in both hot and cold weather.
Tip: Chaps should be loosely fitted to allow you work without restrictions.
5. Removable: Chainsaw chaps can be removed when not in use if the weather is hot, unlike chainsaw pants.
How Do Chainsaw Chaps Work?
Chainsaw chaps are made of thick fibers, which have been arranged to form a protective layer over the leg. When a chainsaw is in use, the chain moves at a very high speed, making it able to cut through hardwood. The chainsaw kicks back if the blades come in contact with a more rigid surface on the wood.
When the saw blades come in contact with the chap, the chap opens, releasing layers of Kevlar fibers. This fiber jams the chainsaw chains, entangling them until they stop moving.
Note: All this happens in a split second, protecting the leg of the user from getting hit.
Can Chainsaw Chaps Be Reused?
Chainsaw chaps can be reused if no contact was made with the chainsaw in motion when it was used. However, if the chainsaw chap performed its protective function, it cannot be reused.
This is because the chainsaw, moving at high speed, would have cut through many layers of the Kevlar fibers apart before eventually coming to a halt, rendering the chaps useless and unsafe for reuse.
However, as said earlier, chaps are affordable and readily available, so when they are, they can be replaced without much stress. It is much better to replace a bad chap than to treat an injured leg.
Can You Use a Chainsaw After It Has Been Stopped By a Chap?
A chainsaw can be reused after cutting through chaps and getting jammed by the fibers in the chap. However, before reusing the chainsaw, you need to remove all the fibers that have been trapped in the chainsaw chains.
To do this, you need to:
- Stabilize the chainsaw and allow it to cool.
- Carefully take off the parts of the chainsaw and remove the fibers.
Note: Ensure that no Kevlar fiber is left in the chain before its next use.
Once your chain is free from fiber, you can put it to use.
What Are The Different Types of Chainsaw Clothing?
It is very important to consider the coverage required to protect yourself from injuries while operating a chainsaw.
We have heard of cases where someone with Type A chainsaw clothing got injured on his calf because he did not know what clothing to use for the operation he was handling.
Types of Chainsaw Clothing
1. Type A Chainsaw Clothing: These wear are called Apron-design chaps. They protect the anterior portion of the leg; this category of wear is designed to be worn over pants. They are called “Chaps.”
Tip: Use type A clothing (chaps) when standing on the ground to operate a chainsaw, as this wear offers limited protection to the leg.
Type C chainsaw clothing: Type C clothing, unlike type A, protects the whole leg. This wear can be worn as pants.
Tip: Use type C clothing (pants) when operating, especially from a ladder or in a lopsided position, as this wear provides full protection to the user.
Note: In Canada, the clothing that provides full protection to the legs is called type A clothing, and the one that protects only the front part of the leg is called type C clothing, unlike in the U.S.A, New Zealand, and Australia, where the status quo is maintained.
What are the different classes of chainsaw chaps?
Based on the ability of a chap to stop a rotating chainsaw chain when it is running at high speeds, chaps are classified with ratings ranging from 0 to 3. As a result, it is crucial to ascertain the speed at which your chainsaw spins before getting a chap to use with it.
A rule of thumb goes; “the higher the speed of the chain, the higher the rating of the chap used.”
The table below shows the chap ratings and the speed it can handle:
|CHAP RATING||CHAIN SPEED (m/s)|
From the above table, we can deduce that, for a chainsaw with a speed of 16m/s, the suitable chap to use is one with a rating 0.
For chainsaws with a speed of 20m/s, the best chap to use is one with a rating of 1.
For chainsaws with speeds of 24m/s, the ideal chap to use is one with a rating of 2.
And finally, the suitable chap to use to fit a chainsaw with a speed of 28m/s is one with a rating of 3.
Tip: Check the manual guide to know the speed of your chainsaw.
Should I Wear Chainsaw Chaps For All Operations?
It is agreed that chainsaw chaps are a very important protective wear, as it protects the legs from getting hit by a chainsaw. However, it is not in all operations that a chainsaw chap should be used. As a matter of fact, a chainsaw chap can become dangerous if you make use of it in the wrong operations.
Some jobs should not be done in chaps to prevent snagging hazards. A chainsaw chap should not be used in operations that involve climbing as well as chipping. Instead of using chaps, make use of chainsaw pants.
Will Chainsaw Chaps Stop an Electric Chainsaw?
Gas chainsaw engines produce a fluctuating torque, which makes the Kevlar fibers of the chaps stop the chain from moving when a gas chainsaw hits a chainsaw chap.
On the other hand, an electric chainsaw has an electric motor that produces a smooth torque. This torque does not fluctuate, so the Kevlar fiber will find it almost impossible to stop an electric chainsaw from moving due to its ability to hinder the torque of the electric motor in an electric chainsaw.
However, we still advise that you wear a chap before using an electric chainsaw. Wearing the chap is much better than not wearing it at all.
A chainsaw chap will afford some level of injury protection while using an electric chainsaw.
Tip: To avoid slips when using the chainsaw, set up your cut area before cutting, tidy your work surface and ensure to use a sharpened chainsaw to cut.
Do Chainsaw Chaps Have an Expiration Date?
As products are used over the course of time, they deteriorate and become less effective. Chainsaw chaps are not an exception. The chainsaw chaps do not have a specific expiration date and can still be used if not hit, but a new chap will surely do better than an old one.
However, once your chap gets hit by a chainsaw, consider it useless and get a new one. If such chap is reused, you may get injured because once hit; it becomes unsafe to use again.
Chainsaw chaps are undoubtedly very important to wear as they help to protect the legs from injuries. However, before getting a chap to use, know your chainsaw speed and the operation with which you will be using the chainsaw chap to avoid injuries.
Chainsaw chap is more effective when hit by a gas chainsaw than when hit by an electric chainsaw because of the variation in torque movement provided by both of them, so when using an electric chainsaw, be more careful, sharpen the saw blades and, of course, put on your safety chaps regardless.