Introduction: Manual Chainsaw

About: I experience life through my finger tips and taste buds. Can't stop making new things. In my day job I manage a student workshop, and in my free time I volunteer as an EMT and for a local food rescue organizat…

Everybody loves a good chainsaw, but typically they don't fit in your pocket. On top of that, they are heavy, loud and dangerous. Replace the gasoline engine of a standard chainsaw with your arms and you've got a portable and versatile tool for cutting firewood or trimming trees. It isn't nearly as fast as a motorized chain saw, but it is faster than most other hand held saws and it is much more portable.

For this project you'll need a chain saw chain, some nylon webbing, some waxed linen thread some paracord or similar nylon string, a needle, a hack saw or band saw, and a few matches.

Step 1: Cut the Chain

Start by cutting one link of the chain to break the loop. Chain saw chains are made of hardened tool steel so cutting them is a bit of a challenge. Unlike a bike chain you the pins are flattened on each end, so a chain breaker won't work. I used a bandsaw for this step, but if you don't have access to one, a hack saw will work (it'll just take much longer).

Step 2: Insert Webbing

The best way I found to create handles for the chain saw was to use some nylon tube webbing. Star by cutting a 18 inch piece of webbing and melting the ends with a match or lighter to keep it from fraying. Next, simply insert the end of the chain about 6 inches into the end of the piece of webbing.

Step 3: Sew

Using the waxed linen thread, sew around the chain as tightly as possible to keep it from slipping out of the webbing. Fold over the other end of the webbing to create big enough for your hand.

Step 4: Wrap

The linen thread will not be strong enough to hold up to extended use, so the ends of the webbing should also be wrapped tightly in string. I used a simple lashing method to keep the string tight along the length of the wrap.

Step 5: Put It to Good Use

This saw can be used by either one or two people depending on the size of the branch or tree being cut. Simply wrap the chain over the target branch and start pulling back and forth on the handles. Remember, since the chain was designed to be rotating quickly around a saw, it will only cut in one direction. If you are cutting as a two person team it will probably be a good idea to alternate sides of the saw to give each other a rest.

I haven't gotten an chance to try it yet, but I suspect you could use ropes as handle extensions for hard to reach branches. Let me know if you try that out.

If you have ideas for different handles styles I encourage you to try this project out yourself and post photos of the result.

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