Training and safety make a saw point

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This week, enough of the seasonal frivolity. Time to get back to some proper, serious, smallholding issues.

Like pig muck and frozen finger ends. And chainsaws.

As the owners of two fallen trees (remember my near-death-by-falling-tree episode just before Chrimbo?), chainsaws have become a hot topic of discussion. Not in a confrontational Jeremy Paxton/shamed politician stylee, more in Mrs Merton/heated debate sort of fashion.

I used to love Mrs Merton’s gentle masterclasses in sarcasm (remember The Mrs Merton Show when she famously asked Debbie McGee: “So, what first attracted you to the millionaire Paul Daniels?” Priceless).

After hand-sawing the smaller bits off both trees it was time to get the chainsaw out. It was also time to sharpen the chain with the newly-purchased bench-mounted sharpening gizmo, and therefore time to fix something to the new gizmo so it could be clamped to the workbench in order to sharpen stuff on it. Sorted.

Next step, work out how to use it. Hmmmm.

The instructions that came with it were – in my humble opinion – written by the same person who works for Ikea, writing their flat-pack assembly instructions, but on a freelance basis. Late at night. After a few bevvies.

Mr E found it mildly annoying to say the least when getting it wrong might actually make the teeth more blunt instead of sharpening them.

YouTube to the rescue. It’s amazing the amount of downright odd, widgety, weirdness is lurking out there on YouTube. There were also chainsaw dealers giving hints and tips on maintenance and servicing. Very handy.

And before long, as these things tend to do, our conversation drifted on to chainsaw use in general, and how, basically, if you have a chainsaw for personal use, as long as you are over 16, you can stroll into a shop, buy one, take it home and immediately start chopping down trees in your mum and dad’s garden.

Although this is definitely not to be recommended if your mum and dad are a) very proud of the garden, and b) you are living at home and wish to continue to do so. But more importantly ,shouldn’t you have safety equipment and some training? However, it is perfectly legal.

There are chainsaw courses, but these are for professionals who now have to have a chainsaw ‘licence’, and tend to run over a couple of days for each block of training and cost quite a bit. Not really an incentive to the young Texas Chainsaw Massacre-ist.

Tempting as it might be, despite the rather relaxed law on chainsaws, I would still think it rather unwise to stroll through Kelso Square in a menacing fashion, wearing a hockey mask and brandishing one. I think this is a look only Eminem could get away with.

Wonder if he has a relevant certificate of competence?