I take care of some xc ski trails and often have to clean up deadfalls. If they are small I use a hand saw (much quieter!), but with a big storm we get a bunch of trees some quite large. The knowledge in this forum is formidable, so I ask the collected wisdom:
What are the best methods, tips and tricks to use a small (18") chainsaw to cut 18" and bigger downed trees?
Note: I had never had the chain sharpened on my used saw, and when I used a full tank of gas to not quite cut through a 16" tree in 2 places, I decided to have it done. Now it cuts fast and easy, even without using full throttle. Way cheaper than I expected, only $8. They told me I should get chips, not dust like I had been getting.
We've got about 2 miles of xc trail which really isn't that much. But I finally broke down and bought 2 saws. The big saw is a lot to carry around the loop, but I don't want to risk arriving late one night with a big tree down across the driveway and having to use a little saw to get through a big tree in the dark while the family waits.
Also while know I should probably sharpen my own blades, I don't. If I'm having one serviced, I still have the other on hand. Sharp blades are the only way to go.
I know this probably doesn't help, but that's my input.
"You just need to go at that shit wide open, hang on, and own it." —Camp
My advise would be to find a class at your local Cornel Co-Op, assuming you live in NY.
Chain-saws are dangerous! I never work without chaps and a helmet, use wedges often, touch sharpen every gas and oil fill-up. And if I can get away with using a hand saw that is the way I go. Silky Sugawawa or Zubat you will be amazed at what these saws are capable of and how fast they cut.
You want to avoid cutting low near the dirt if you can. Once the saw hits dirt, the chain will need sharpening. Try to cut from the high end of the tree so the rounds open up and fall on their own. Watch out for springing action as you finish each cut! Most saws are 2 tanks of gas to one tank of bar oil. If the saw pulls to one side it's time to flip the bar. Let the saw work, don't force it too much. I prefer the most aggressive chain possible. No anti kick chains. Dremel makes a chain sharpening tool that speeds up sharpening time. Wear gloves and a face shield. Firm grip and take breaks frequently. Hydrate those forearm muscles!
Chaps and a helmet? Prolly good advice, but not something I ever used. Wedge? Cutting a proper wedge SHOULD be enough, but using an actual wedge is probably more good advice.....
If your doing tree work all day long you are gonna fuck up from time to time. Chaps are a must imo. You carry multiple wedges on your person as well and with the really really big trees you are gonna use em.