Newly Certified Sawyer - Advice and Mistakes to Avoid

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JohnStirman62
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Newly Certified Sawyer - Advice and Mistakes to Avoid

Post by JohnStirman62 » January 28th, 2021, 4:58 pm

Howdy folks! I live near the Pinhoti Trail in Alabama (Talladega National Forest) and after packing around loppers and a folding Silky F100 for a few months I recently had the golden opportunity to get my Crosscut Sawyer Certification. There are good seasoned crews I can work with and learn more from.

So my question to other Crosscut Sawyers is this... what do you wish you had known when you got started as a Crosscut Sawyer?

I have the proper PPE, but am holding off buying my own first crosscut saw, ax, wedges and such until I have worked with a few of the local seasoned crosscut vets. If you have good recommendations on any of those, I welcome your comments and suggestions.

Thanks,
John (Guardian) Stirman
Section Hiker - AT and Pinhoti
Trail Maintainer and
Newly Minted "Certified" Sawyer :D
John (Guardian) Stirman
Section Hiker - AT and Pinhoti
Trail Maintainer and
Newly Minted "Certified" Sawyer

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PATCsawyer
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JoinedCOLON February 19th, 2011, 5:27 am
LocationCOLON Northern Michigan

Re: Newly Certified Sawyer - Advice and Mistakes to Avoid

Post by PATCsawyer » January 29th, 2021, 10:25 am

Are you carded as an A sawyer or B sawyer? Regardless of your rating you will learn practical sawyer skills from a seasoned crew. Watch how the lead sawyer approaches the tree to be cut and don't be afraid to ask why a particular cut plan was chosen. Even as an apprentice, the lead sawyer should be asking you and all members of the crew if they see something that was missed in the first assessment. Don't be afraid to speak up. If you're the new guy on a crew that's had the same members for several years, they may not be as vocal.

I was a crosscut sawyer for many years before I took an actual class, since a certification wasn't required on the trails I maintained. Wish I could've gotten that training sooner than I did. Early on, I didn't have as great an appreciation for old saws vs new ones. They all looked the same to me. Actually becoming a saw filer made me more aware of saw quality and the time takes to make a saw run right. When you spend ten or twelve hours filing a saw, you tend to take better care of it (and not let it out of your sight). Avoid buying any retail saws.

Let the saw do the work, you're not competing in a timber sport competition. Use your ears and listen to the tree giving up its cut fibers. How soon that popping starts is a good indication of how tensioned the tree is, something you may have missed in dense cover.

Profile your axe. You will be chopping with it, not splitting firewood. Keep it sharp and don't lend it to anybody.

I could provide you with a saw, as could others on this site when you're ready to get your own. Just shoot me PM.

Trailsawyer
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LocationCOLON SW Washington State

Re: Newly Certified Sawyer - Advice and Mistakes to Avoid

Post by Trailsawyer » January 29th, 2021, 10:49 am

Congratulations on your Crosscut Sawyer Certification, and welcome to the forum!
As you will be working with trail crews in your area, waiting until you have been to a few work parties is a good idea.
You will see what tools are best suited for the area and type of work you will be doing. Of course, we all come across "deals" on tools
that we know we will "need" someday, or that we just really want.....
WARNING! acquiring good tools can be addictive!
I've been "acquiring" and using tools for a long time... but I've only bought one more saw this month! Sometimes I just can't pass up
a 6 ft. Simonds 520 with Simonds handles....... they are great for our northwest trails - and I'm sure it is happy to be in the rack
with several of its friends!
Gary

JohnStirman62
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JoinedCOLON January 25th, 2021, 7:14 pm

Re: Newly Certified Sawyer - Advice and Mistakes to Avoid

Post by JohnStirman62 » January 29th, 2021, 5:45 pm

Great advice and counsel folks! Had the training session only a few weeks ago and we were told at the time it might be a while before we heard back on our class ranking as it had to proceed through the USFS heirearchy.

One thing I did notice at the class... none of the instructors and experienced Sawyers had a "new" crosscut saw. Every saw we used was vintage :)
John (Guardian) Stirman
Section Hiker - AT and Pinhoti
Trail Maintainer and
Newly Minted "Certified" Sawyer

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Jim_Thode
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LocationCOLON Onalaska, Washington State, USA
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Re: Newly Certified Sawyer - Advice and Mistakes to Avoid

Post by Jim_Thode » January 29th, 2021, 9:37 pm

JohnStirman62 wroteCOLON
January 29th, 2021, 5:45 pm
Great advice and counsel folks! Had the training session only a few weeks ago and we were told at the time it might be a while before we heard back on our class ranking as it had to proceed through the USFS heirearchy.

One thing I did notice at the class... none of the instructors and experienced Sawyers had a "new" crosscut saw. Every saw we used was vintage :)
In general vintage saws are much better quality then anything you can buy new.
If you have not reviewed the following, do so:
Chain Saw and Crosscut Training Course - Student's Guidebook http://www.fs.fed.us/t-d/pubs/pdfpubs/p ... dpi300.pdf
The Crosscut Sawyer Video, This 43 minute video is a companion to the Forest Service "Chain Saw and Crosscut Saw Training Course." http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xdq6pdpK ... re=related
Saws That Sing - A USFS Guide to Using Crosscut Saws - Full PDF Document http://www.fs.fed.us/t-d/pubs/pdfpubs/p ... dpi300.pdf

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PATCsawyer
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LocationCOLON Northern Michigan

Re: Newly Certified Sawyer - Advice and Mistakes to Avoid

Post by PATCsawyer » January 30th, 2021, 5:34 am

The interesting thing about those vintage saws is that they're inexpensive to buy on eBay or FB Marketplace relative to what a new saw would cost. Either way you'd need to get it filed, as none of those new saws are trail-ready. Best to start with a good blade and spend some money having it reconditioned rather than putting lipstick on a pig. Practice with your crew's saws and see which one feels right to you. Solicit advice from experienced sawyers in the field.

I once had a log twist and drop unexpectedly on the release cut. My saw, a Simonds #13, was literally bent into an S-shape and the size of the tree prevented me from freeing it quickly. Other sawyers looked on in horror at what appeared to be a ruined blade. As the saw was freed from the tree though, it sprung back to near original straightness and I continued to use it the rest of the day. It only took a little hammering back home to true it up. That was a testament to steel quality. If I'd been using a Jemco, it would've remained twisted like a pretzel if not broken all together.

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