10 Steps To Sharpen A Chainsaw

My recent Prepography article “8 Tips For Using A Chainsaw” gave the basics on using a chainsaw. Having a sharp chain is very important for safety as well as productivity. Chains will dull very quickly, especially if cutting an extremely hard wood such as hedge. Knowing how to sharpen a chainsaw is an important skill to have. Not only will it increase the effectiveness of your efforts, it will save you money to boot because you’ll use fewer saw lubricating oils and won’t have to pay someone else to do it for you.

How To Sharpen A Chainsaw In 10 Steps

oregon sharpening kit - How To Sharpen A Chainsaw In 10 Steps1) Determine Your Chainsaw’s Gauge – You will need a rotary grindstone or chainsaw file that matches the size of the chain’s teeth. You can also buy a chainsaw sharpening kit that has everything you need in it, like the one to the right.  Typical sizes are 3/16, 5/32 and 7/32 of an inch in diameter.

2) Thoroughly Clean Your Chain – Use a brush and solvent to clean dirt, dust and debris off the chain.

3) Inspect Your Chain For Damage – Look for chipped, broken, or bent teeth. These will make a chain dangerous to use. If a tooth is worn short, it is at risk of breaking during operation, which is extremely dangerous to the operator. Replace any chain that is worn or damaged.

4) Place Your Saw On A Solid Surface – For safe and accurate filing your saw must be stable and the blade firmly supported. Use a vise to clamp the bar while allowing the chain to rotate freely is the best option.

5) Locate Your Start Point – The lead cutter on a chain is the shortest cutting tooth on the chain. If you can’t locate it, just take a permanent marker and mark a tooth as the starting point.

6) Set Your file Into The Notch On The Front Of The Cutter – The cutter is the angled “tooth” on the front of the flat surface of the chain link. Your file should exactly fit the curve of the face of the cutting tip. The top 20% of the file diameter should be above the top of the tooth.  The file should be at the same angle as the cutter. Also check your saw’s specs to find out what that correct angle is. Usually it is a 25 or 30 degree angle

7) Push The File Across The Face Of The Cutter – Using a twisting motion push the file across the cutter. The twisting motion help get the metal filings out-of-the-way. Do this on every other tooth until you have made one full rotation of the chain.

8) Reverse Sides And Repeat – Once you have sharpened all the teeth from one side, switch to the other side of your saw and repeat step

Be sure that all the cutters, on both sides, are filed to the same width. This is important, because the teeth need to take the same size “bite” from the wood. This will make for a smoother cutting process.
Chain Tooth Parts

Chain Tooth Parts
(Image courtesy of http://www.forestapps.com/)

9) Check The Clearance – Check the clearance of your depth gauges which are also known as the rakers.  These curved hook shaped pieces link the cutters. They govern the amount of wood that the cutter removes on each pass. They should be about one tenth of an inch lower than the cutter. A special tool called a Depth Gauge Tool is available online or from chainsaw dealers or hardware stores. You can eyeball it if you don’t have one but the tolerances are pretty small so use the depth gauge if possible.

10) Oil The Chain & Check Tension – Saturate the chain with oil. Then, check the tension to ensure it is not too loose, or tight. Adjust as needed, and you should be ready to cut again.

Self Reliance Skills: Teach Someone Something

Why learn new self reliance skills

Living a self-sufficient lifestyle, and trying to cut down your reliance on outside entities is not something that comes out of the blue. It is something that must be worked on and fostered. Part of that entails learning the skills and gathering the knowledge to do so. Without continued learning, your efforts stagnate, and you never achieve your goals. There is not a single person that I know who is traveling the path towards self reliance who is not constantly trying a new technique, or reading some book or manual in order to learn new skills and accumulate more knowledge.

Teaching4Why pass on your self reliance skills

For many, a natural progression after gaining, or mastering, new skills, is to pass them along. The obvious answer as to why they do this is that they are propagating the idea of self-reliance and independent living. On the other hand, many people don’t consider themselves teachers and don’t have the confidence to teach others what they know. If you fall in to the latter category, there are a couple of reasons why you should reconsider becoming a teacher or mentor, if for no other reason then for your own self-improvement.

The first reason is that by teaching others, you are forced to critically break down the process. You gain a more intimate knowledge of what you are teaching. By doing so, you become better at whatever you are passing along. The second reason for teaching others what you know is that you expose yourself to new ideas and outlooks on the subject matter. A student may give you fresh angle on the topic, or impart some knowledge you don’t have.

Andrew’s Note:  In my Army life I’ve always volunteered to teach topics that I struggled with…preparing to teach others is the best way to learn a difficult topic or perfect your knowledge.

Teaching Fire Making Skills

Teaching Fire Making Skills

How people learn new self reliance skills

People learn new skills and knowledge in through three primary methods. We all incorporate all three methods when we learn. Everybody will gravitate towards one primary method dependent on their personality and hard wiring. It is important to know how your students learn and what method(s) are best suited to your topic.  Tailor your class to have the maximum impact by incorporating multiple teaching methods appropriate for your topic.

The three types of learners are:

  • The visual learner – This person gathers most of their information through their visual senses. They like to watch videos, read and take notes. They tend to organize the information in a format that is balanced and aligned.
  • The auditory learner – This person’s primary learning input is via listening. They prefer lectures and often ask questions. They tend to prefer discussions over what they don’t understand, and remember verbal instructions well.
  • The tactile learner – This person learns best by doing. They prefer to attend “how-to” workshops, doing labs and studying with others. They tend to dislike lectures and prefer to be active in their learning process.
Cody L. giving a class on survival techniques

Cody Lundin giving a class on survival techniques

Techniques for teaching self reliance skills

Since we now know the primary ways people learn, let’s go over several ways to go about teaching people the skills you know.

  • Direct instruction – This technique uses lectures to pass along information. It is good for passing along large amounts of information in a short amount of time. The drawback of the technique is that is very inflexible.
  • Problem based – This technique gives the student a problem, and then allows them to come up with an answer. It is used to develop critical thinking skills. The downside to this method is that it takes more teacher guidance, supervision and time.
  • Co-operative – The technique allows students to share and develop their knowledge with group members. Not to be confused with simple group work, true cooperative learning activities are highly structured. Again, it takes a lot of teacher supervision and guidance.
  • Field based – This technique takes students out into the real world to experience new information firsthand while being able to use all their senses. The upside to this is that it accommodates all learning styles well. The downside is that it is dependent on multiple environmental variables.

Teaching5Effecting teaching of self reliance skills

Now that we know how people learn, and several methods of teaching, it is important to touch upon some personal skills that will help you translate your skills and knowledge into student learning:

  • Communications – The ability to effectively communicate is key to keeping students engaged. This applies to the written word as well as the spoken.
  • Presence – Patience, demeanor and leadership are paramount in the classroom. Remember that the students are always watching you, and their behavior will be a reflection of what they see.
  • Planning – Have a good lesson plan. Even if you know the material inside and out, a good plan will help you stay on track and make the most of your time.
  • Flexibility – Be flexible, the unexpected will happen. Be ready to change directions and still keep the students attention.  Capitalize on mishaps, surprises and mistakes as ‘teachable moments.’

“I can’t teach anyone the self reliance skills I know!”

“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” – Ben Franklin

AJ teases me about being an “evangelical prepper”, because I am constantly trying to bring new folks into the fold.  I gladly take that title on, and so should you.  Your teachers and mentors passed along the self reliance skills and knowledge that you are using to live a more self-reliant and independent lifestyle.  Pay it forward and teach and mentor others even if the thought terrifies you. At the end of the day, you’ll have gained more than you gave out, and chances are that you’ll have learned something along the way.

Sheriff Clarke on Defending Yourself – Today’s Quote

I need you in the game…  With officers laid off and furloughed, simply calling 911 and waiting is no longer your best option…  You can beg for mercy from a violent criminal, hide under the bed, or you can fight back. … Consider taking a certified safety course in handling a firearm so you can defend yourself until we get there.

Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke Jr. via Wisconsin sheriff urges residents to arm themselves | Fox News.

Building a Bug Out Bag – Part IX, Personal Health, Fitness & Medical Preparedness

This entry is part 9 of 11 in the series Building A Full Spectrum Preparedness Bug Out Bag

In Building a Bug Out Bag Part I we discussed why building a Bug Out Bag is important and what type of bag to select.  In Part II we discussed the Transportation Items to consider, in Part III it was Water preparedness, in Part IV it was Food preparedness, in Part V we tackled Shelter, Clothing and Protection from the elements, in Part VI we considered Communications options, in Part VII we discussed Security Preparedness and in Part VIII we explored Financial & Identity preparedness for your Bug Out Bag.  Today we’ll discuss Personal Health, Fitness and Medical preparedness and Bug Out Bag elements to consider.  Remember, this is your last ditch, carry on your back, walk away from trouble Bug Out Bag…not what you hope you can get to your bug out location if your car, SUV, or Ford Falcon Coupe/Interceptor makes it.

(more…)

Wound Care for Specific Types of Wounds

Andrew’s Note:  Today we present the final article in this week’s series on Wound Care from our Military Pedagogy series.  These discussions, are from U.S. Army Subcourse MD0576, Wound Care [Approved For Public Release; Distribution is Unlimited].  Today’s article discusses Wound Care for Specific Types of Wounds.  It’s important to note that military first aid and field medicine focuses almost entirely on stabilizing patients and moving them rapidly to the rear for further treatment. Needless to say, seek professional medical care immediately in the event of illness or injury and take action yourself only if you have been properly trained. 

Abrasion

(1)    Description. Friction or scraping causes an abraded wound or an abrasion. This type of wound is superficial. The outer layers of skin or mucous membrane have been damaged or scraped off. A person falling on his knees on a sidewalk will suffer an abrasion.

(2)    Treatment. Treat as follows:

(a)    Irrigate the wound as previously stated.

(b)    Apply antibiotic ointment such as bacitracin.

(c)    Cover the wound with a dry, sterile dressing.

Contusion

(1)    Description. A contusion or contused wound occurs as a result of a blow from a blunt instrument, such as a hammer. There is no break in the skin.

(2)    Treatment. First apply cold compresses for 12 hours. Pad the affected area and wrap an ace bandage around the area snugly.  If the area is on an arm or leg, elevate the arm or leg. Use R.I.C.E.–Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation.

Puncture/Perforation (more…)

General Wound Care

Andrew’s Note:  Today we present the first of a new set of lessons from our Military Pedagogy series.  These discussions, are from U.S. Army Subcourse MD0576, Wound Care [Approved For Public Release; Distribution is Unlimited].  Today’s article expands our previous wound discussions and extends our discuss General Wound Care.  It’s important to note that military first aid and field medicine focuses almost entirely on stabilizing patients and moving them rapidly to the rear for further treatment. Needless to say, seek professional medical care immediately in the event of illness or injury and take action yourself only if you have been properly trained.

Immediate Care

Initially, control the bleeding from the wound. Nature usually stops bleeding. For example, a person cuts his finger. Blood will gush from the lacerated blood vessels. These vessels constrict which tends to lessen the bleeding. The clotting process also stops bleeding. When blood escapes from an artery or vein, the blood undergoes changes which cause it to clot. The blood clot seals off the injured blood vessels, and bleeding stops. If the wound is large or clotting does not occur, apply direct pressure over the wound to stop bleeding. Use sterile pads if possible, but if they are not available, use a handkerchief, clean cloth, or even a bare hand as a last resort. Then, check the entire body for injuries. (more…)

Physiological Responses to Injury

Andrew’s Note:  Today we present the another article in our Military Pedagogy series drawn from U.S. Army Subcourse MD0576, Wound Care [Approved For Public Release; Distribution is Unlimited].  Today’s article builds on our previous discussions of Wound Terminology  and Wound Healing and Complications by discussing Physiological Responses to Injury.  As we’ve previously discussed, military first aid and field medicine focuses almost entirely on stabilizing patients and moving them rapidly to the rear for further treatment. Needless to say, seek professional medical care immediately in the event of illness or injury and take action yourself only if you have been properly trained.  This series focusing on first aid will run through the weekend and we’ll start Monday with a guest author who’s written an article I’m really excited about.

Physiological Responses to Injury

Once the skin and tissue have been injured, the process of healing begins.  Many factors influence the body’s ability to grow new tissue.

Age. Very young and very old people heal more slowly than those in other age groups. People in these age groups have less ability to fight infection, and fighting infection is a major part of the healing process. The endocrine functions in infants are sluggish, and infants have limited reserves of fat, glycogen, and extracellular water–all which are necessary to fight infection. Healing is slower in the elderly because cardiovascular, renal, pulmonary, and musculoskeletal functions may be slowed down by chronic disease or perhaps just by the wearing out of body parts. (more…)

Wound Healing and Complications

Andrew’s Note:  Today we present the another article in our Military Pedagogy series drawn from U.S. Army Subcourse MD0576, Wound Care [Approved For Public Release; Distribution is Unlimited].  Today’s article builds on yesterday’s article on Wound Terminology by discussing Wound Healing and Complications.  It’s important to note that military first aid and field medicine focuses almost entirely on stabilizing patients and moving them rapidly to the rear for further treatment. Needless to say, seek professional medical care immediately in the event of illness or injury and take action yourself only if you have been properly trained.  This series focusing on first aid will run through the weekend and we’ll start Monday with a guest author who’s written an article I’m really excited about.

Wound Healing

Wound healing is a complicated process. A wound is a break in the continuity of tissue. The body must have a special procedure to take care of the skin injury and dead tissue. The injured area must be able to signal distress, and there must be some way to get rid of the dead cells and replace them with new cells.  The process of wound healing is a way of restoring living tissue so that the entire body is covered with skin.

(1)    The body’s first response to cell damage is inflammation. The reaction is similar regardless of the cause–cut, burn, bruise, or pinch. The injury starts a reaction which may be the release from the dead or injured cells of one of their substances such as histamine. The released substances affect the capillaries. The capillaries dilate, widely increasing the blood supply that they can bring to the injured area. If the injury takes place in the skin or in the tissue close to the skin, the increased amount of blood in that area causes the area to look red. Because the injured area has a greater blood supply than the surrounding area, the wound site is warm to the touch. (more…)

Wound Terminology

Andrew’s Note:  Today we present the first of a new set of lessons from our Military Pedagogy series.  These discussions, are from U.S. Army Subcourse MD0576, Wound Care [Approved For Public Release; Distribution is Unlimited].  Today’s article lays the foundation by explaining Wound Terminology.  It’s important to note that military first aid and field medicine focuses almost entirely on stabilizing patients and moving them rapidly to the rear for further treatment. Needless to say, seek professional medical care immediately in the event of illness or injury and take action yourself only if you have been properly trained.

Definitions:

A wound is a break in the continuity of the skin, the break caused by violence or trauma to the tissue. A wound may be open or closed. In a closed wound or bruise, the soft tissue below the skin surface is damaged, but there is no break in the skin. In an open wound, the surface of the skin is broken. Here are some terms referring to wounds that you should become familiar with.

Figure 1-1 Abrasion

Abrasion

(1)  Abrasion. In this type of wound, the outer layers of skin or mucous membrane are rubbed or scraped off (figure 1-1).

 Incision

(2)  Incised. This type of wound is cut smooth and straight. The rate of bleeding varies and there is minimal contamination. A surgeon makes this type of wound (incision).

Figure 1-2 Laceration

Laceration

(3)  Laceration. This wound is a torn, jagged cut which has gone through the skin tissues and blood vessels (figure 1-2). The wound can be made by blunt instruments such as shell fragments. Lacerations are usually very dirty.

Figure 1-3 Puncture

Puncture

(4)  Puncture. A puncture wound (figure 1-3) is made by a sharp object such as a splinter, knife, nail, or some other pointed object. These wounds bleed very little although the object may pass through nerves, bones, and organs, causing internal damage. Puncture wounds are usually very dirty.

Perforation

(5)  Perforating. A perforating wound is one in which there is an entrance and/or an exit. Such a wound might be made by a bullet.

Mutilation

(6)  Mutilating. This is the term for wounds which result in disfigurement or loss of a body part.

Figure 1-4 Contusion

Contusion

(7)  Contusion. This wound is caused by a blunt object. The damage is done to underlying tissues or organs, and the wound is closed with no broken skin (figure 1-4).

Andrew’s Note:  Subscribe or check back as we expand this discussion to Wound Care, Physiological Wound Responses, as well as General and Specific Wound Treatment.  First Aid is an important component of the Personal Health Preparedness Function.

Medical Aspects of Cold Weather Survival

Andrew’s Note:  Today we present another lesson from our Military Pedagogy series.  This discussion, from FM 21-76, the U.S. Army Survival Manual [Approved For Public Release; Distribution is Unlimited] is on the Medical Aspects of Cold Weather Survival.

When you are healthy, your inner core temperature (torso temperature) remains almost constant at 37 degrees C (98.6 degrees F).  Since your limbs and head have less protective body tissue than your torso, their temperatures vary and may not reach core temperature.  Your body has a control system that lets it react to temperature extremes to maintain a temperature balance.  There are three main factors that affect this temperature balance– heat production, heat loss, and evaporation.  The difference between the body’s core temperature and the environment’s temperature governs the heat production rate. Your body can get rid of heat better than it can produce it.  Sweating helps to control the heat balance.  Maximum sweating will get rid of heat about as fast as maximum exertion produces it.

Shivering causes the body to produce heat. It also causes fatigue that, in turn, leads to a drop in body temperature.  Air movement around your body affects heat loss.  It has been calculated that a naked man exposed to still air at or about 0 degrees C can maintain a heat balance if he shivers as hard as he can.  However, he can’t shiver forever.

It has also been calculated that a man at rest wearing the maximum arctic clothing in a cold environment can keep his internal heat balance during temperatures well below freezing.  To withstand really cold conditions for any length of time, however, he will have to become active or shiver.

COLD INJURIES

The best way to deal with injuries and sicknesses is to take measures to prevent them from happening in the first place.  Treat any injury or sickness that occurs as soon as possible to prevent it from worsening.

The knowledge of signs and symptoms and the use of the buddy system are critical in maintaining health.  Following are cold injuries that can occur. (more…)

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