If you’ve some woodworking experience, a chainsaw shouldn’t be an unknown tool. Similarly, protective clothing items like chainsaw chaps aren’t new to you as well. Since the moving chain of a chainsaw cannot be guarded, it may become hazardous requiring preventive steps. So, chainsaw safety chaps come into the discussion and very logically. Today, I’m about to give you a thorough overview of these chaps to help you form informed opinions.
Chaps are several times safer than a tough pair of jeans. They are designed to slow down the chainsaw’s rotating speed and reduce the risk of an injury. They can stop a saw spinning at 2,750 to 3200 feet per minute. If you haven’t bought your chaps yet, see the best ones here.
What Do Chaps Mean for Chainsaw Workers?
The primary role of safety chaps is to safeguard your legs when cutting a tree. If you accidentally drop your power saw, the layers within your chap can offer your limb maximum defense. Besides, chaps will protect you from the flying splinters.
To be distinguished from a typical logger, you should wear protective equipment. Moreover, safety equipment like protective chaps for chainsaw will give you a neat and professional appearance. Also, chainsaw chaps can offer further benefits. They are
- Readily available and affordable
- Oil and water-resistant
- Available in different sizes
- Have adjustable waists for extra comfort
- Made of heavy and thick fabrics to offer the most reliable protection.
How to Measure/Size Chaps for a Chainsaw Worker?
If your pair of chap has the right size, you will feel comfortable in it. Safety chaps should be measured from your belt loop to their bottom area. However, if you already know your outseam length, selecting the right chap is easier. Some manufacturers provide their chaps in varied outseam lengths, ranging from 32 to 40 inches. So, how can you measure correctly?
For half-length ones, here are the steps
- Measure around your calf – Sit down with your feet flat on the ground. Measure the widest part of your calf with a tape measure.
- Measure the height of your chap – This is done from your ankle to the kneecap. This measurement, if taken correctly, ensures that your half-length chap allows you to bend the legs comfortably.
For your full-length chaps
- Take your thigh measurement – Measure around the biggest area while wearing jeans. This is about two to four inches beneath the area your thigh bends.
- Measure both your thighs; add one to two inches to your figure.
- Select your chaps based on the measurement deduced above. However, get an inch larger for a tauter fit and two inches bigger for a looser fit.
If you don’t need your chaps to hang over your heels, have them cut to your best length. Sit down and take the best length measurement to ensure that your chainsaw safety pants aren’t cut too short.
Things to Know About Chainsaw Chaps
So far, you have realized how essential safety chaps for chainsaw are and how badly you should get some. As there are several safety chainsaw pants on the market, you can get confused when selecting. Here are the main factors to consider
- Types of fabric – Construction materials (especially fabrics) are categorized into three classes; these define the number of resistance fabrics is against an operating chainsaw. So, focus on class 3 fabrics as they will offer the most resistance and maximum leg protection.
- Outer layer – Did you know that the outer surface is the primary protective layer for you? So, an excellent chainsaw chap will have a smooth and super strong outer layer that can withstand the saw’s impact and damage from liquids and oils.
- Kind of chaps – There is Type A and Type C where Type A only protects the front area of your leg. Type C chaps have a front and back, cover the entire leg and are popularly known as chainsaw trousers.
- Flexible and comfortable – Woodworkers need to feel comfortable and move freely while wearing their chaps. So try on your chaps and if you cannot move unreservedly or feel hot, leave the pair alone.
- Resistance to oil and water – If your chaps are water-proof and oil-proof, they will be easier to clean and maintain. Besides, these protective clothing for chainsaw users will keep you dry when working in the rain.
- Pockets – When cutting down trees, you should have some handy tools in your pockets rather than in the toolbox. So, get chaps that have conveniently big pockets for storing tiny tools of work.
1. Standards for Chainsaw Chaps
While it is not a must for chaps for chainsaw protection to abide by the chainsaw mechanism/principles, read the label to know if yours meet the principles set for your job. There is a standard for testing chaps, ASTM F 1414-92A (1997), and another for chap performance— ASTM F 1897-2008. Still, there is a certification program by the Underwriters Laboratories and chainsaw chaps specification by the U.S Forest Service: 6170-4F.
2. Approval for Chainsaw Leg Protection
Several of the top chainsaw chaps should conform to the rules and regulations set for chainsaw safety and leg protection. These organizations provide these
- OSHA – Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
- ASTM International Safety & Security Standards
- ANSI – American National Standards Institute.
- Compact, casual-use chainsaw that’s designed to start up easily
- Low kickback safety features, including built-in safety break, reduces risk during operation
- Lightweight chainsaw is compact and maneuverable with excellent ergonomic comfort features
- Automatic oiler delivers a steady supply of chain lubrication for safe and effective use
- Husqvarna 16 in. chainsaw for homeowner use is ideal for everyday tasks such as tree pruning, hobby work or firewood cutting
3. The Ability of Chaps During the Chainsaw Operation
According to OSHA, each chainsaw worker has to wear leg protectors like chaps. The purpose of chainsaw chaps is to reduce the degree of an injury should a chainsaw accident happen. Depending on the brand and model of the chainsaw you own, a good pair of chaps will stop a saw running almost at full throttle (4000 feet per minute). And as they stop a running gasoline power saw, you can get a chance to respond by moving away.
4. Suitability for Electric Chainsaw Operation
There are hardly any chaps for use with electric chainsaws. These have higher torque and front a different sort of hazard when compared to gasoline-powered chainsaws. Thus, it’s a bad idea to use chaps with an electric chainsaw.
5. Other Uses of Chainsaw Chaps
Protecting the user’s body while working with a chainsaw is the only recommended task. But, some people use them for other purposes, such as gardening, cutting firewood, etc.
6. Care and Maintenance for Chaps
When it comes to cares and maintenance for your chaps, focus on two things: repair and cleaning. Always ensure that you repair small cuts and holes in the outer layer of your chaps at once. Use a product like Seam Grip to repair any damage to the nylon shell. It creates an abrasion-proof and a water-proof patch that will safeguard your Kevlar pad from contaminants. Avoid damaged chaps.
As for cleaning your chainsaw chaps, wash them with hands and hang them outside to dry. However, if your chap’s manufacturer has provided a technique for washing and the right commercial detergents to use, follow these carefully. Otherwise, clean them as you would a pair of jeans and hang outside to dry.
Wearing a perfectly sized pair of chainsaw safety chaps cannot be emphasized enough. It can shield your legs from a power saw accident that could quickly leave you disabled. Don’t be unwise; always put on your chaps when using your chainsaw.
If the saw can cut through a thick tree trunk in a few minutes, it could slice your limb in seconds. Have you already chosen your chainsaw chaps? If not, what are you waiting for? Just stop the risk now by getting certified chaps that will fit you comfortably.