The chainsaw is most often thought of as a wood-cutting tool, used to cut down trees, remove limbs and to cut firewood. In fact, it is a critical piece of equipment in forestry, used not only for simple tree trimming, but it is also used by:
* Tree surgeons to remove branches and foliage.
* Fire fighters to create fire breaks in an effort to control wild fires.
* Artists to carve sculptures with amazing detail.
A Brief History
It is commonly believed that the first chainsaw-like tool was made by a German orthopedist to cut bone. Developed in 1830, it was called an osteotome and had a chain that carried small cutting teeth. It was operated by turning the handle of a sprocket wheel which in turn moved the chain around a guide blade.
It wasn’t until 1926 that the predecessor to the modern chainsaw was developed and patented by Andreas Stihl. In 1927, another entrepreneur by the name of Emil Lerp developed a gasoline-powered version of the versatile tool.
Early versions of the tool required two people to operate them because they were so heavy. In fact, the first saws were so heavy that they had wheels similar to those on a drag saw, which preceded the chainsaw as the tool of choice to make wood cutting easier. It wasn’t until after the Second World War that industrial advancements in aluminum and engine design allowed manufacturers to produce a saw that one person could carry.
More Than a Wood-Cutting Tool
Today, specialized versions of the chainsaw are available to cut stone, rock, concrete and brick. While the saws use chains that are similar to the wood-cutting varieties, their cutting edges are embedded with diamond grit. These saws are lubricated with water to remove stone dust and to control the high friction that results from their use.
This version of the tool is commonly used in construction and building restoration to remove large chunks of any of these rock-hard substances, without causing damage to the rest of the structure. They are also used by stone sculptors to remove large pieces of rock as they prepare it for the more precise carving that will follow. Finally, fire fighters use these heavy-duty specialized chainsaws to gain access to fires that are hidden behind the decorative rock-like materials that are often used in commercial buildings.
No matter the use, chainsaws are available in many different sizes, ranging from small electric versions for home use to much larger versions often referred to as lumberjack saws used for commercial and forestry projects.
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