How to sharpen a lawn mower blade safely

Thursday, May 5, 2022
sharpened lawn mower blade

Guide on how to safely sharpen your lawn mower blade

If you are like me, you like to use your lawnmower as a bit of a mulcher machine.

For tough twigs and shit. 

You got to chop 'em up right?

Maybe you like to monster some stray branches or other plant material such as flax (which can go all stringy and cut stuck around the blade) and you simply run over them with the mower to get rid of the waste.

If you do this enough times coupled with hitting the odd stone or when you accidentally manoeuvre the blade onto concrete or brick you've got a blunt blade which makes doing the lawns even harder.

And if you're blade is blunt, the grass isn't being cut as well as it should - meaning more work for you, especially if the grass is wet.

How to sharpen a lawn mower blade by hand with a file

  • Mark which is the downward facing side of the blade with a Sharpie marker or similar. This is so you do not accidentally re-attach it upside down.
  • Remove your blade from the mower and clamp the blade in a vice.
  • Wear appropriate safety gear, especially safety eyewear.
  • Sharpen the blade with a file. Your strokes should go from the inside edge to the out. 
  • You should aim to sharpen at a 45-degree angle. 
  • Your mower blade is sharp enough when it feels like a butter knife - that's suitable enough to cut with, given the force that occurs when it rotates under engine speed. 
  • Reinstall the blade the correct way up. If we have to say it, we have to say it!
A standard file is all you need. 

How to sharpen a lawn mower blade with a drill 

You can use your home handyman drill to sharpen your blade, with the right sharpening attachment.

Usually made of the abrasive corundum (a crystalline form of aluminium oxide), these sharpening aids can be found fairly cheaply on Amazon.

sharpen lawnmower blade with a drill

  • Note which is the downward facing side of the blade with a marker. This is so you do not accidentally re-attach it upside down.
  • Remove your blade from the mower and clamp the blade in a vice with the cutting part of the blade face up. 
  • Add the attachment to the drill. 
  • Put your safety glasses on
  • Line the bevel of the drill up to the blade. This will guide you as you use the drill. 
  • Use a light degree of pressure. 
  • Flip the blade over in the clamp and repeat.
  • Balance your blade

This video tutorial shows an excellent method on how to sharpen the blade safely:

You can also use a rotary tool such as a Dremel, angle grinder or a belt sander to sharpen the blade in the same fashion. Just use the tools in a safety conscious fashion and you'll be fine. 

How sharp should mower blades be?

Blades should be sharpened so they are like a pair of scissors or butter knife, and not like a boning knife. A knife-edge blade will get dull much faster than a correctly sharpened lawn mower blade.

What angle should mower blades be sharpened?

Most blades leave the factory with the blade sharpened at a 45-degree angle.

You should aim for the same.

If you are ever in a lawnmower store, have a feel of the blade - you'll note it is not honed down razor-sharp like say a shaving knife!

Can I sharpen a lawnmower without removing the blade?

No matter how you choose to sharpen your blade, the first thing to do is to disconnect the spark plug by removing the spark plug wire.

This is to prevent the engine from accidentally starting if the blades generate enough pressure to turn the engine - either when removing it or sharpening. 

Yes, you can. It's a little tricky but can be managed. 

As usual, disconnect the spark plug first. 

Turn the mower on it the side so that the air filter and carburettor are facing up (to avoid oil spillage), grab your file and file the blade at 45 degrees. Make sure you do even strokes on either side.

This is a quick and dirty way to sharpen the blade. You do run the risk of sharpening unevenly and make the blade unbalance. 

We recommend you take the blade off, your call though, like most of us, you don't have all day to get the lawns done.

How to balance your blade properly (as all things should be)

After you have sharpened the blade, you can test its balance with a blade-balancing tool. If you don't have such a tool you can try the classic trick of hammering a nail partway into a wall and hang the blade from it (using the centre hole). If the blade hangs horizontally, it is perfectly balanced. 

If one side lowers, you can lighten that side with your file or grinder. It's usually recommended that Material should only be removed from the end of the blade, in the sail area.

How often should I sharpen the mower blade?

Many users sharpen the blades at the beginning of every grass growing season. 

It never hurts to check and give it a tune-up if you frequently use the mower, especially if you've caught a few rocks or mulched some wood with it.

My blade is pretty damaged, what can I do?

damaged lawn mower blade

If your blade has done a diligent service but it's full of cuts and nicks it's probably time to replace it.

You can find plenty of replacements on Amazon. They are usually measured in inches, so make sure the size your order matches that of your machine!

If you are resolute about the blade, you can give it a sharpen but you'll need to accept the blade simply will not cut as efficiently as a well maintained one.

Random question of the day: What is the Star Wars title crawl font?

Can I put a mulching blade on my mower?

If you want your lawnmower to do some heavy action mulching - you might want to consider attaching a blade designed to mulch grass (rather than simply cutting the grass).  When using such a blade, it is usually recommended that you leave the grass to be a little bit longer than you would an ordinary blade. 

You will probably also find you need to sharpen a mulching blader more regularly than a regular blade as they come into contact with the grass more.

Thinking of checking out a cordless electric mower? We've got you covered.

Promise us though that you will never sharpen a blade like this guy pictured below. Sure, he has ear cover and his eyes protected but one false move and he's cut himself so bad, he won't be pushing a lawnmower for a while:

unsafe way to sharpen a lawnmower blade

The best water proof lawnmower covers

Monday, April 4, 2022

Choosing the best cover for your lawnmower

If you don't have a nice and dry place to store your battery powered lawn mower or you want to store your mower for the long term, a waterproof cover will help keep the mower free of dust and rust.

It doesn't matter if you have a push or sit-on mower, both kinds of machinery can succumb to the elements if not stored under some form of cover properly so it's really important to get some heavy-duty cover care.

Have you ever had to replace a spark plug in a mower because it rusted out?

 Chances are poor storage was in part to blame as it was exposed to moisture.

It also doesn't matter if your grass cutter is gas or electric & battery powered, both kinds of engines need protection from the rainy elements and general dampness.

best push lawnmower cover

What to look for in a lawn mower cover?

  • Needs to be waterproof to keep moisture off the engine
  • It should be made of heavy-duty, tear-resistant material
  • Easy to take on and off
  • Is a universal fit
  • It is resistant to mould building up
  • Will block UV light radiation
  • Doesn't need to be a brand name, can be generic

Our recommended product is the ToughCover Premium Waterproof Lawn Mower Cover - it meets our criteria and is good value for money:
The ToughCover features a drawstring around the base to help keep everything snug and will help keep it attached should it be subject to windy conditions if stored outside.

If you are planning to store the lawnmower outside, it clearly needs to be resistant to all kinds of weather conditions - water is the obvious one but it's got to be able to keep the wind out as the wind will place dust and dirt on it. In some parts of the country snow is a problem and so the cover needs to be able to keep that out too - especially when the snow melts!

The WeatherPRO is a slightly cheaper cover:

WeatherPRO decree their cover is made with 100% Marine-Grade advanced Polyester material with special co-polymer additives which assures it offers UV protection and water repellency.

A user left a review on Amazon:

"Very nice cover. I had been using a much more flimsy style cover from another source. Seemed like that particular cover would never last more than a few months in the elements, so I searched Amazon and gave this one a try for a change. This one has been on my mover for a few weeks now, and it does a great job covering pretty much the entire lawn mower. Much more coverage than my old cover did.

It also holds up in bad weather much better than any I've had.

We've had several bad thunderstorms, with the covered lawnmower out in the open, and this cover takes torrential rain and heavy wind like a champ. Lawn mower bone dry under the cover even after the bad storms. Amazed by how nice this cover is for the price. Awesome product"

If that spins your wheels, check out the price on Amazon:
Briggs and Stratton and Husqvarna all make covers but remember, you can simply buy generic, one size fits all options at a cheaper price if you want!

What's the best cover for a ride on lawn mower?

Ride on lawn mowers naturally benefit from covers, especially if you don't have a shed or shelter and they need to be left outside. Aside from the weather, ride on covers protect against pollen, bird shit and debris such as pine needles.

All the big brands such as John Deere make them, and so we're featuring Deere's product:

best ride on lawn mower cover
  • Dual vents let air circulate and help prevent ballooning in winds
  • Elastic shock cord in bottom hem for a quick, custom fit
  • Coated fabric for maximum water protection
  • Handy storage pocket reverses into an attractive storage case
  • Fits all 100 - X300 Series riding mowers.
This cover should fit most standard size ride on lawn mowers. If you need a bigger size, John Deere has it

If you are looking for a cover that's more economical, then we're heading back to Tough Cover for their handy product.

  • The Tough Cover is crafted with 600D marine grade fabric and features double-stitched seams for enhanced durability over its long lifetime.
  • The durable fabric cover is designed to suit most common-size lawn tractors with decks up to 54" and to ensure convenient application and maximum protection.
  •  Allows an effective coverage of the entire surface of your riding lawn mower and comes with a practical storage bag for your convenience.
Check out the price on Amazon:

How to replace string on a grass trimmer

Tuesday, March 1, 2022
replace string on a grass cutter

How to easily replace the plastic string on an electric grass trimmer

When they are fully charged and in tip-top condition, weed and grass trimmers can be the best tools to clean up the garden.

Until the string breaks!

It's not really a string, it's a 'plastic monofilament' which cuts the grass instead of a metal blade such as on a lawnmower.

Strings don't need to be sharped, they just need to stay in place, however, given they smash round and around into grass and weeds and concrete and wooden fences and rocks, the string does snap off and does need to be replaced.

As the line wears from use or breaks off, the trimmer user knocks the reel on the ground so a release mechanism allows some of the line in the reel to replace the spent part.

Newer model weed cutters can also feature an "auto-feed", where a small cutter ensures the exposed length does not exceed what can be swung efficiently.

When this line runs out, the line needs to be replaced

String replacement can be really tricky, especially if the weed whacker is used only occasionally! You can buy edge trimmer replacement string from places like Home Depot or order online from Amazon.

Here's how to replace the string on an electric weed-eater

  1. Unplug the trimmer or remove its battery pack so there is no power and no chance of the unit accidentally starting while you're replacing the string.
  2. Hold the trimmer upside-down to access the 'string spool'. Remove the spool cover by pressing in on the two tabs holding it in place. If there's any issue, consult your manual.
  3. Remove the spool from the trimmer by sliding the spool off its spindle.
  4. Now you have two options. The first is to slide the replacement spool back onto the trimmer spindle. The second option is to re-fill your existing spool by inserting one end of a piece of replacement trimmer line into the spool's anchor hole and winding the line around it clockwise. The replacement line should be of the same length and thickness as the line that was originally on the spoon.
  5. Now feed the free end of the trimmer line through the exit hole opening which is located on the spool-housing hub. This next bit can be fiddly so some patience is required. Align the notch in the spool with the exit hole to make sure the spool is correctly orientated.
  6. Push the freshly loaded spool into place. When it clicks, this indicates that it is secured in place. If your trimmer features a spool cover, now put it back on and press it into place.
The cordless battery powered Ryobi trimmer is one of the best edge trimmers on the market. Lightweight and easy to use, Ryobi string is also very easy to replace.

Other popular weed eater devices include the Greenworks range (of which we have recommended their battery-powered lawnmower ) and the stock standard but dependable Dewalt line of edge trimmer

How to do edging with a weed trimmer

Grass lawn edges can be really bothersome if you don't maintain them regularly - sure you can cut them out with a knife or edge clippers but you can use your line trimmer quite easily.  Simply angle the cutter so that it is in line with the path edge you want to trim. You'll need to invert the unit 90 odd degrees. 

Turn your trimmer on and slowly lower it down to the lawn - try not to place the string too firmly on the concrete path as this can cause immediate wear on the string and damage it. It's the kind of thing you'll get a feel for.

Once you done all the yard work, perhaps it's time to learn how to home brew beer!

Best Personal Locator Beacons for using in the US in 2022

Saturday, February 12, 2022

Have you ever been lost in the Supermarket? 

How about on the trail?

Every year hikers and travellers get lost in the woods and the ones that get saved quickly and safely have been equipped with a personal locator safety beacon - get rescued, get out. 

NASA has a firm estimate of 351 American lives were saved in 2021

Could that be you in 2022?

Here's how to find and review the best locater beacon for personal use.

What is an emergency personal locater beacon?

A distress beacon is a small, lightweight device. You raise the aerial, push a button and it transmits a signal via satellites to tell the local authorities that you require urgent assistance.

Each country has its own Rescue Coordination Centre (in America this is usually the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration that monitors for and then responds to all beacon activations. These units work quickly to find out as many details as they can about who set off the beacon and promptly send search and rescue teams to assist.

A distress beacon lets you instantly signal for help and they work almost anywhere in the world sharing your location so the search part of the rescue operation is easily accomplished.

There is a range of beacons that can be used:

  • PLBs - Personal Locator Beacons for use on land and during recreational activities
  • EPIRBs - Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons for use in boats and commercial vessels
  • ELTs - Emergency Locator Transmitters for use in aircraft.
You may sometimes see these units also referred to as Satellite Messengers (as they use GPS tracking which is done via satellites that roam the heavens).

Obviously, you as a hiker and outdoors person should be seeking the best person locater beacon available per your means. 

Here's the sweet spot for many outdoor enthusiasts in the States:

mcmurdo personal locator beacon 2022

McMurdo FAST FIND 220 Personal Locator Beacon

Featuring a Minimum 24hr continuous operation and no subscription fee to use, the McMurdo Fast Find is a very popular seller on the Amazon site

For use on land or sea (such as canoeing adventures), this unit will give you peace of mind whether you are travelling as an individual or with your family or hiking party.

The unit casing itself is a soft neoprene float case that can be removed for non-water activities.

If you are based in America you will obviously buy the unit for the US market and register the device with NOAA.

A buyer of the Find Fast on Amazon said: 

"Many people have died because they were injured and couldn’t get help. Check out Missing 411 on YouTube. I’m a single mom clearing land deep in the forest and I saved until I could purchase it. It stays strapped on my belt. Once activated, search and rescue will be alerted and help will be sent. I hope I never need it but I sure feel safer and my family feel safer knowing I have it. If someone you love could benefit from one of these it would make a great gift."

Next up on the list of the best personal locater beacons is a classic from Garmin

Garmin is world-famous for making products that use tracking technologies - from pig hunting trackers to walkie talkie radios - and PLB:

garmin inreach personal locater beaconThe Garmin inReach Mini is a quality product that can be paired with the app on your phone and can perhaps somewhat unexpectedly send and receive many types of messages (which can be quite handy if you've set the unit off and would-be rescuers need to have a chit chat. 

The unit offers customized individual text streams, bulk pre-programmed messages (so you don't have to type out the same "I'm doing fine" message to each person), and GPS and web-linked live tracking. 

Be absolutely mindful that this unit is a subscription-based model which requires a monthly fee for use of the service.

The official line says:

"inReach Mini is your go-to connection for maintaining off-the-grid contact. It’s our palm-sized satellite communicator for adventures where size and weight matter. inReach Mini lets you send and receive text messages, track and share your journey and, if necessary, trigger an SOS alert to contact the GEOS 24/7 emergency response team. With inReach connectivity, your family and friends will know they can stay in touch globally."

  • Small, rugged, lightweight satellite communicator enables two-way text messaging using the global Iridium network (satellite subscription required)
  • Trigger an interactive SOS to the 24/7 search and rescue monitoring center (satellite subscription required)
  • Access downloadable maps, U.S. NOAA charts, color aerial imagery and more by using the free Garmin Eathmate app and compatible devices
  • Optional inReach weather forecast service provides detailed updates directly to your inReach Mini or paired device; basic and premium weather packages available
  • Send and receive inReach messages through compatible Garmin devices
Which is some great marketing speak and all but how do real users who have bought via Amazon rate and review the unit?

"Now for the big questions: Does it work? Do I need it? Is there something better for me? YES IT WORKS. The satellite communicator on this newest model works as reliably as the older versions. In other words, if you can find some sky. it will get your messages out and responses back. The time it takes depends on how much sky you can see and how often you check for satellites. The MINI will check once each hour, or you can manually check at any time. There is no additional cost to listen for satellites. As for the new GPS features, they are also reliable as you would expect coming from Garmin. The screen on the InReach is smaller than top of the line dedicated GPS devices. The user interface is not touchscreen, but it works fine in bright sunlight. That's on purpose. Unlike simple GPS units that only receive signals from orbiting GPS satellites, the InReach battery is designed to also send messages to a different group of communication satellites from Iridium located miles in space and still last at least 50 hours in the backcountry. To achieve these goals the battery can't support ultra bright or touch screens. But I have found that by cupping my hand over the screen I can read the finest detail at high noon on a sunny day. The topo maps on EarthMate are fully detailed with altitude rings clearly marked and showing the type of terrain. Even some stores and business names are given in the towns. So to be clear, this is a robust, reliable satellite communicator and GPS orienteering device all in one package with the ability to last 50 hours on a charge if used responsibly. I have had my InReach last well over a month by lowering the screen brightness when not in the direct sun, turning it off at night and contacting friends and family only three times a day at prearranged times to minimize when the InReach needs to seek satellites. EarthMate on the phone will provide ALL of the navigation features even if the InReach MINI is turned off."

One user was not too happy about connectivity:

"This expensive device is just terrible. I purchased it because I spend a lot of time in an area with no cell coverage and I need to check in with staff. It can take 15 minutes for it to find a satellite or it might not find a satellite at all. Even in clear open sky, it won't connect. It's very disappointing."

Bear that in mind, but here's a great user review:

BUY THIS. BUY IT NOW. I can't say enough good things about this product!! We use this for backpacking and hunting purposes. The membership is completely worth your money even when you might think you won't need it... you will. We have been using this for a few weeks now, the battery life could be better but its not horrible. The messaging capabilities is awesome - especially for worried spouses or family members. The Bluetooth part and the Earthmate app is also awesome - especially when you need to send a detailed message via Garmin and can't spell everything out on the Garmin itself. The ease of use and the simple user interface is pretty great and easy for just about anyone willing to learn. The SOS button is an obvious and clear choice of greatness. So far we are loving this product and I like showing it off to my fellow hiker friends!

Just yesterday this item paid for itself 8x over just about... our garage had been robbed and my hiking pack was stolen among other expensive items. Thankfully, the night prior after returning from a hike, I was a lazy S.O.B. and just dumped my bag on the garage floor and went to bed. My awesome inReach mini was in the bag and still on! Thanks to that pesky subscription (that I was almost too cheap to pay for) We were able to track my device to the thief's location and police were able to get 90% of our stuff back. The other 10% was food items and a few charging cables and a cheap small battery charger. Easily replaceable. But we got back over $2000 worth of stuff back because of this Garmin!

What are the best chainsaw safety chaps and trousers to use?

Tuesday, December 28, 2021
using chaps for logging trees

Why you should consider using safety chaps when using a chainsaw 

In many countries, the forestry or logging industry has an extremely high death and injury rates when compared to other workforces.

This makes sense given trees are being felled and a lot can go wrong because of accidents and user failure associated with dangerous machinery.

Now think back to the good old days when chainsaws began to gain widespread use in the logging industry.

Did those crude saws feature safety innovations such as chain brakes?

They sure didn't and many users were horrifically maimed or killed as a result.

If that was bad enough, think of their safety gear.

No chain safe safety chaps were issued by employers 80 years ago. Instead, hungry & honed blades cut through denim work jeans into bone and arteries without a care in the world.

In the present, more safety-conscious age, the modern chainsaw user has a much safer gig when chopping down a tree however they must take precautions and using properly designed safety chaps is a great way to prevent harm to your legs.

It doesn't matter if you are a forestry worker or an experienced weekend warrior, using safety gear should be a standard part of your chainsaw practice.

Let's not waste your time.

If you just want to know which is a great pair of chaps then the Husqvarna protective wrap chaps are quite suitable for most users.

husqvarna safety chaps

These chaps feature:
  • 1000 denier polyester with PVC coating with Tek warp protective layers
  • Can adjust the waist up to size to 42 inches
  • Felling wedge/gear pocket and acetyl Delran buckles
  • Complies with  ASTM f1897, American National Standards Institute z133.1, and OSHA regulation 1910-266
  • Underwriter Laboratories certified

The real question you might want to ask yourself is, do these chaps work?

Here's a picture an Amazon buyer left in his review. He described the situation as that he: "Put a running saw to my left leg while limbing some cedars. Strands stopped the saw and didn't even have a bruise."

chainsaw chaps prevent a leg injury

If that proof is enough pudding for you, check out the price on Amazon

How do safety chaps protect legs from a chainsaw blade?

Let's be upfront and make it clear that safety chaps are not a 'suit of armour' that will save you from every accident.

If you want absolute protection from a chainsaw, then you may as well suit up like a Knight of the Realm. 

However, that's not too practical when chopping wood, so chaps offer the versatility of movement with the knowledge they are designed to reduce the severity of the cut should an accident occur.

What we are saying here is there is a trade-off between practicality and safety here.

If the idea is safety, then placing a user in cut-retardant chaps that are too restrictive or that become too hot in itself is unsafe so many internationals safety standards for chaps and personal protective safety wear recognize this. 

When a chainsaw comes into contact with the safety trousers, the outer layer is immediately cut through by the blade but the inner layer of fibres (such as kevlar) are drawn out by the chain and into the machine. It wraps around the saw's drive sprocket. The tough fibres lock the sprocket in place thus halting the chain and hopefully limiting damage to the chainsaw operator's leg. 

That said the stronger the chainsaw, the more chance of damage can occur to the user. It also depends on how fast the saw is going, the strength and angle of the saw. 

Here's a great video that demonstrates how chaps work when they catch a saw:

Does it matter what kind of chaps I need if I am a casual or a professional user?

If you are simply doing a bit of yard work or lopping the occasional branch off a tree, it might not make economic sense in buying the best professional pants there are. 

You may simply decide to use something that will help keep you safe but is perfectly functional for your needs. At a minimum though, the pants should still be designed to meet a suitable product safety standard. 

To that end Husqvarna's chainsaw chaps are ideal. An economical buy, they fit quite comfortably over your work jeans:

safety chaps husqvarna economic

Do these chaps work? Here's a real-life example described by a user:

"First day of sawing, running a bigger saw than I had used in the past, tired and neglectful that it idled down slowly - saw pivoted in my L hand as I reached for a branch with my R hand, and I felt a "bang" on my left thigh and the saw was suddenly quiet. I looked down and had crossed the blade onto my leg - the blade was now stuffed with white strands from the chaps, and I was unscathed. Saved me from my very own trip to the ER and allowed me to cut another day"

If you don't feel like getting your quads cut, then check out the price on Amazon.

Just be wary of buying pants that are designed only to protect from flying debris / keeping your work pants clean. These are not designed in any way to protect your long limbs from a chainsaw bar cutting into your leg. They are only good for keeping the grass off.

What if I really only want budget pants?

There are a few protective pants out there that are handy for those on a budget.

Remember, you should only wear pants that are designed specifically for use with a chainsaw and thus should have been fully tested to comply with the relevant safety standards.

For the cost-conscious, the Forester range of apron chaps might be the ideal choice. We hate to use the word 'casual' but for those that only use a chainsaw every so often, then these chaps could be ideal.

They provide good coverage for the front of your legs. The only drawback is they are not designed to protect against the really high powered saws and they certainly won't halt an electric engine from rotating. They are do however meet the STM F1897, OSHA 1910.266 standards and are UL Certified. We suggest if your day job requires chaps, then you go upmarket, such as the Husqvarna 587160704 Technical Apron Wrap Chap.

Buying safety gear gives the user the confidence that it will do what is asked of it t - i.e. reduce the chance of severe leg injury. In terms of aesthetics, Forester describes them as "sleek, durable, lightweight, and comfortable chaps are chainsaw oil- and water-resistant". 

The chaps also feature a large side pocket and a flip adjustment belt for a perfectly secure fit.

Again, we always ask - do they work?

This chap on Amazon shared his review and experience:

"I needed to drop about 8-10 small trees and just out of habit put these on. That day it was the smartest thing I did because not only did they save my legs from injury once but twice the same day. The first time I just cradled the chainsaw on my leg and had not set the brake, the chaps stopped the chain from cutting into my thigh right where I bend. I surely would have bled out before EMS got to me."

Check out this picture of a save by this personal protective equipment:

forester chainsaw protective pants

The wearer is uninjured which is a great result because that cutting area is pretty damn close to the femoral artery.

Which, you may know is a pretty major one and a severe cut can result in a bleed out.

If you think protecting your femoral artery might be a good idea, then check out the price on Amazon.

Is it true electric chainsaws will cut through even the best chaps?

Yes, this is true as they are not configured the same as gas powered saws. As they have higher torque than gas engines, electric saws will continue to cut the chap fabric and chaps are generally not designed to withstand contact with an electric saw.

Sure, you should still wear chaps when using an electric saw but do not rely on them to reduce the chance of personal injury. 

What length should chainsaw PPE chaps be?

Chaps (which go over trousers and legs) should be long enough to meet the tops of your boots.

To figure out how long your chaps need to be, measure from your waist (just below your belt where the chaps will sit) to the beginning of your foot. This length will provide suitable coverage and protection.

It's important you order and use the right size - a shorter than necessary chap will probably result in a piece of your leg exposed which if Murphy's law kicks into force, your chainsaw will find it. If your chaps are too long, they could be too loose, which may be annoying at best and at worst, could cause you to trip or stumble.

When ordering chaps it's important to understand that the advertised length is the overall length and not the length of a traditional measurement of the inseam.

When you're thinking about buying safety gear, whether it be chaps, gloves or protective eyewear, it's always really good to remember that no one ever died just because they bought quality gear. Actually, we think the adage is no one ever regretted buying quality but you get the point.

I know we keep talking about it, whatever buying decision you make, you really should consider if your safety gear has met the requirements of the most relevant safety standard.

Your femoral artery might just thank you for it.

Did you know you can wear chaps when lawnmowing? Particularly handy if stones and any wood chips are likely to flick up at your legs. The same goes for an activity like hedge trimming. For both work environs, consider using a helmet with ear muffs and face visor.

If you've got this far, well done. Now, head to Amazon and have a look at the best safety chaps they have.

How to choose the best safety gloves for chainsaws

Saturday, December 11, 2021

What are the best protective gloves for using with a chainsaw?

Any chainsaw operator will know that they can be bloody dangerous machines to use and it can literally be life and limb when things go wrong.

This is why proper use of safety equipment such as chaps and helmets is so important.

Did you know though, un-gloved hands are one of the most likely parts of the body that get cut by chainsaws?

Especially the left!

This is due to the way chainsaws are held.

And that is why safety gloves like White Ox are crucial when sawing.

safety gloves for chainsaw use
Quick recommendation: If you want the best gloves to protect your fingers, then Husqvarna protection gloves are an ideal safety product.

You can find horror stories about fingers and hands being cut off on every corner of the internet. This former police officer cut his fingers and then hand to have them surgically removed.

Apparently, a chainsaw accident will involve, on average, 110 stitches.

Legendary golfer Greg Norman nearly cut an artery in his wrist.

Accidents can happen to the best of them and they can happen to you.

What to look for when choosing safety gloves for cutting wood

The best gloves for using a chainsaw will feature two layers.

The outmost layer exists to protect the inner layer until it needs to come into play. The outer layer will protect against trivial damage but is not designed to protect against a charging chain.

The inner layer of the glove is the most important. Like a good pair of safety chaps, the inner layer will be comprised of long loose fibers such as nylon or Kevlar (yes, like the bulletproof vests). These fibers are drawn out from the glove and quickly get caught in the chainsaw's sprocket. This causes the machine to lock and halts the chain.

So when choosing which glove to use, those with these fibers are the best and will go along way to reducing or preventing harm than an ordinary pair of gardening gloves!

You should also consider if the gloves meet a recognized safety standard. Many responsible manufactures ensure their gloves meet the requirements of EN 381:1999 which is specifically for protective gloves.

You'll also want gloves that offer enough flexibility for you to properly hold and operate the saw itself.

So here are some cut resistance glove recommendations to help you keep your fingers where you like them.

Husqvarna's Protection Gloves

You know this brand.

You know what it stands for.

Husqvarna is a tried, true and trusted brand when it comes to chainsaws. Their safety gloves have the same level of quality that should give all users the confidence to use them.

Husqvarna's gloves feature cut resistance in the left-hand glove which is industry standard for those serious about chainsaw safety.

Both gloves feature a spandex fabric back, goatskin palm, high visibility colors.

Here's a review left on Amazon from an actual user of the gloves:

"The fit is comfortable and as the old saying goes "they fit like a glove". The materials allow your hands the flexibility and comfort needed to operate a chainsaw for a number of hours.

The grip is excellent and the padding on top to protect your hands does not interfere with maneuverability or functionality. Hopefully, I won't have to find out how they are at protecting me from a chain kickback.

While I infrequently do this type of work I can see these gloves lasting for a long time. I compared these gloves to other makes in the local hardware store and for the price and comfort I believe I got a good deal and with great quality."

Endura Hi-Viz Vibration-Dampening chainsaw gloves

You'll find Endura's cut resistant gloves are amongst the most popular and widely recommend safety gloves.endura safety gloves for chainsaws

Why would this be?

They are comfortable and dexterous meaning that you can ably use the chainsaw for many hours. Crucially, the left hand (remember most accidents happen on this hand due to the way the chainsaws are held) features woven Kevlar to stop a chainsaw.

The leather palms are abrasion resistant. The nylon backings are water resistant and the gloves themselves will keep your hands free of debris thanks to the elastic wrists.

The reviews from users on Amazon show these Endura gloves do the business:

"I use a chainsaw a lot and finally got gloves that offer more protection than the run-of-the-mill work gloves. I have used them several times and like them. They fit well and seem to be well-made as far as both material and workmanship. They are comfortable to wear and I have no problems with grip. Another season of cutting should give them a test of durability, but at this point, I am happy with my purchase."

"These gloves go on easy and fit snug while using them I hardly felt them on. Non-restrictive, very comfortable, of course, have not fully tested them as in getting cut by chainsaw blade, but they feel very thick, better than most gloves I have used."

Youngston gloves for chainsawing

youngstown glove utility

Youngstown's utility gloves feature Kevlar fibers throughout the whole glove to offer all round protection from cuts and digital calamity. 

Youngston Glove Company states in their marketing that the outer glove features "non-slip reinforcement on the palm, fingers and thumb for lasting grip and durability".

You better believe it as the gloves meet the ANSI safety standard of ANSI Cut Level 3 and ANSI Puncture Level 4.

Never mistake wearing gloves as being cut proof 

As with all chainsaw safety equipment, gloves are designed to reduce the effects of a chainsaw chain to the hand.

cut resistant utility glove
Youngston's cut resistant utility glove
You could still get cut wearing them as it all depends on the scenario of the cut incident.

They could, however, mean the difference between losing some fingers or simply receiving stitches for your trouble.

Extra benefits of wearing protective gloves

Gloves will, of course, help protect your skin from abrasions and small nicks and cuts when coming into contact with branches, thorns, brambles and the like.

You should also wear your gloves when tensioning the chain to prevent cutting yourself!

How to order the correct size gloves

Your cut resistant gloves won't help your fingers much if they are the wrong size.

A well-made pair of gloves can slide off your hands if they are too big for you. Spending some time checking that the gloves will fit and allow you to do your intended work is obviously really important. Check the size carefully and measure your hand against the stated sizes. Many manufacturers offer size quides on their websites, or google for a PDF. 

What is the best oil degreaser for cleaning hands?

Saturday, November 20, 2021

Best hand cleaner to remove grease and oil

When I was a young lad I used to work in the local butcher as a cleaner.

I'd clean the machines that cooked fat and mince which was turned into all kinds of things.

I'd clean the mincer.

I'd clean the tools & floors.

And I'd get the maggots out of the waste bins using chlorine to kill them all.

Despite using gloves at various times, at the end of my shift, my hands were stinky as. I'd clean my oily hands with a soap degreaser. 

It was the best stuff and it smelled great. I just can't for the life of me remember it's name. 

Now, years later as a real adult who cleans lawn mowers, uses chainsaws, and does the odd DIY car repair, I fully appreciate how a good degreaser can keep hands clean free of oil and gosh knows what else I can get on my hands.

I've also come to realize that most workshops, mechanic floors, and factories seem to use specialized hand cleaners because when time is money, there's not much point wrestling with a bar of soap at the tap when you could be getting onto the next job ticket.

Sure there are plenty of home remedies you can try to clean your hands (baking soda and lemon solutions spring to mind or using a spray of WD40 across the hands...oddly enough, rubbing your hands with some sugar before you add soap can work too) but for this hand cleaning gentleman, I want the heavy-duty product, especially if I've been doing some mechanical repairs!

One thing you're gonna have to learn is that for some reason, the most popular degreasers have orange in them. We presume this is related to marketing initiative where it was deemed that 'orange' would be the manly scent that men would be OK within their oil degreasers.

Not melon.

Not lime.

Not lemon.


great cleaner for oily hands

And so my citrus orientated friend, let's check out Permatex Fast Orange Smooth:

best hand soap for cleaning oily hands

It's kind of the perfect consumer product. Biodegradable, waterless, petroleum solvent-free. It contains no harsh chemicals, petroleum solvents or ammonia (which means no stinging cuts and abrasions which can occur after a heavy workday).

Even though it smells of oranges, Permatex Fast Orange is fortified with aloe, lanolin, glycerin to lovingly condition the skin. Moisturizers are added to replenish the skin of the natural oils that can get stripped out.

But what about its cleaning power?

Permatex boasts that it's product will remove the toughest dirt, oil, grease, grime, paint, soil, printers ink, epoxies, paint, rubber cement, gasket, and even tile cement.

It comes in a 1-gallon container with an easy-to-use pump dispenser.

Check the price on Amazon:

The second of our orange scented hand cleaners is GoJo's Natural Orange Industrial hand cleaner with pumice.

Yes, it's orange but it's full of gritty bits of pumice which will scrub your hands to help clean a broad range of industrial soils, dirt, and grease:

GOJO Natural doesn't have any harsh solvents so it is fairly soft on your hands.

Gojo has been in the business for over 70 years so if the success of a company depends on the quality of their products, you can be sure GOJO's hand cleaners actually work.

Gojo's hand cleaner is definitely for removing oils, grease, and grime. It is not suited for removing paint, dye or adhesives.
zorange zalpon professional hand cleaner
The third orange cleaner is the heavy duty Rozalex’s Zalpon Zorange.

It's a mouthful of a name but that's the point. Zalon Zorange or simply Zorange is an extra heavy-duty hand cleaner containing natural orange oil, pumice and esters.

It's designed for the removal of the most ingrained oils, greases, paints, inks, tar, and general dirt and grime.

It also features pumice pieces and esters to give superior performance over other cleaners and when coupled with moisturizers to relieve hard-worn skin and an obvious orange fragrance it leaves the hands feeling fresh and clean.

There's an alternative to these kinds of degreasers, you can choose to use wipes - if you need oiled removed then a heavy-duty cleaning wipe might just be what you need to get the cleaning job done. These are also brilliant for cleaning tools and parts and engines.

Check out these Brute Strength Wipes:

best wipes for hands

Actual users who've bought Brute Strength Wipes on Amazon have used and reviewed the wipes stating great cleaning results:

'Cuts through grease, soap scum leaves a nice scent.'

'These are great, they clean up well and don't leave a film like feel like some other wipes do. I will be buying more of these.'

'I like how these wipes are thicker, they seem to hold up better and hold more soap.'

'These are durable and cut through engine oil, grease, grime really quick. We use them in our airplane hangar where there isn't easy access to sinks.'

Clearly then wipes are more versatile than just for cleaning hands but are good for working out in the field, out of the office or just for being left in the truck for those moments when you just need to clean some goo off something.

Check out the price on Amazon:
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