Chainsaw maintenance, Cross Cutting and Felling and Processing Trees up to 380mm 20-03 & 20-04

City and Guilds / NPTC Level 2

(Formally CS30 & CS31)

Chainsaw maintenance, Cross cutting and Felling and Processing Trees upto 380mm 20-03 and 20-04 (formally CS30 and CS31)

The CS30 – CS31 is a 4 day practical course for people with little or no experience of chainsaws, who require certification in the safe use of chainsaws and the felling and processing of trees up to 380 mm, in order to comply with the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 Regulations.

This chainsaw course enables you to:

  • successfully identify the required personal protective clothing;
  • apply the Health and Safety law surrounding chainsaw operation;
  • maintenance and performance;
  • know how to take corrective action should a problem arise such as freeing trapped saws from logs;
  • follow starting procedures, pre-start checks and adopt the correct stance and posture.

This course will also teach you to:

  • fell trees using wedges and felling bars;
  • carry out at least three different types of cut;
  • identify potential hazards and stresses and select the appropriate techniques to assess and work with timber in compression or tension.

You will also be trained in how to take down hung up trees safely and in line with relevant legislation.

Please be aware that this course has physical demands. for example carrying equipment in woodland and forest environments.

Award in Chainsaw maintenance and cross cutting (20-03) and Felling and processing of trees up to 380mm (20-04).

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the course you should be able to:
1) Understand operator safety during chainsaw maintenance.
2) Carry out routine and periodic maintenance of a chainsaw.
3) Start and check a chainsaw before use.
4) Understand operator safety during chainsaw use.
5) Safely cross cut timber that is less than a guide bar in diameter.
6) Stack cross cut timber.
7) Identify the risk assessment and emergency procedures on a work site.
8) Select and prepare equipment required for safe and effective felling.
9) Fell small tress safely and accurately, using an appropriate method.
10) Fell leaning trees using a safe technique.
11) Remove branches safely and in a manner appropriate to the branching habit.
12) Cross cut stems accurately and safely to a given length and diameter specification.
13) Stack timber using appropriate manual handling techniques.
14) Take down small hung up trees safely using appropriate hand tools.

20th – 23rd January 2020 – spaces

17th – 20th February 2020 – spaces

9th  – 12th March 2020 – spaces

30th March – 2nd  April 2020 – spaces

27th – 30th  April 2020 – spaces

18th – 21st May 2020 – spaces

22nd – 25th June 2020 – spaces

6th – 9th July 2020 – spaces

Please note that the assessments are to be confirmed and you will be emailed with a date once the assessment has been scheduled.

We do try to ensure that the assessment is consecutive but cannot guarantee this.

Training fee £375 +VAT = £450 per person

Assessment plus City and Guilds registration fee £312 per person (no VAT).

Total £762 per person.

All fees are payable upon booking,

Four days for the training.

One day approximately for the assessment (on a fifth day).

Please note that the assessments are to be confirmed and you will be emailed with a date once the assessment has been scheduled.

We do try to ensure that the assessment is consecutive but cannot guarantee this.

You will require:
1) Chainsaw footwear.
2) Chainsaw gloves.

All other PPE and equipment can be supplied by Lowe Maintenance at no extra cost, under the proviso that any damages and / or losses are replaced by the candidate.

Please get in touch with us if you wish to use your own equipment and machinery to check its suitability.

Award in Chainsaw Maintenance and Cross Cutting 20-03 and Felling and Processing of Trees up to 380mm 20-04.

Do you need a refresher? HSE advises that you complete a refresher every 5 years, although some insurance companies state every 3 years. We can help. We tend to run the courses when we have four people requiring the same units for refreshing, if you get in touch we can add you to the list and let you know when the next refresher date is planned for.

Equally if you have a group of people we can put a date together just for you.

Chainsaw maintenance and cross cutting 20-03 (formally CS30) – one day refresher £100 +VAT = £120 per person.

Felling and processing trees upto 380mm 20-04 (formally CS31) – one day refresher £100 +VAT = £120 per person.

You will receive a Lowe Maintenance Certificate of Completion.

Don’t need a qualification? Your insurance company are happy for formal training only? Then we can help. We can carry out formal training with no accredited assessment.

Two days, training fee £300 +VAT = £360 per person.

You will receive a Lowe Maintenance Certificate of Completion.

What safety features are fitted on a chainsaw?

  1. on / off switch
  2. rear handguard
  3. two stage throttle trigger
  4. safety decals
  5. chain catcher
  6. directional exhaust
  7. anti-vibration mounts
  8. chain brake
  9. safety chain / limits kickback
  10. bar chain cover

These are the standard safety features but there are others, it depends on make of chainsaw. There may also be other adaptations of these features.

Why do I need a maintenance course?

It’s easier to follow someone showing you how to maintain your chainsaw than to read the manufacturer’s instructions, also the odd little quirks with each chainsaw’s maintenance can be explained in more detail. If you want a certificate of competence, the trainer can steer you through the standards required to pass the test.

Some stickers are missing on my chainsaw, is this a problem?

All stickers on a chainsaw are required to be legible and fully in place, there are some that provide specific information and are classed as an insurance / HSE fail if they are not in a good readable condition.

How long can I leave fuel in the tank?

An alkylate fuel is very good and can be left for a long time. However, if you are using a self-mix two stroke fuel, don’t leave it too long as it can separate, and this is not good for the cylinder.

How do I know I’ve got the right chain?

If you have a chat with your supplier, they might advise you. It depends on what you plan to do with it, what you are cutting and how often. The user manual will also have information as to type and size of chain. If you attend a Lowe Maintenance course all will be explained in detail with different examples shown.

What products can I use to clean my saw?

Most suppliers will have a good cleaner available or an industrial wet wipe cleans most oils and resins from your chainsaw.

Have I got the right sharpening kit?

If you find out the size (pitch) of your chain, then you can order the correct sharpening kit or file to match the chain. You would be shown this during your chainsaw maintenance course with Lowe Maintenance.

How often do I clean or change the fuel filter?

The fuel filter is a micro pore filter and can’t really be cleaned so if it is looking badly stained or you are having problems with the saw then replace. However, a good clean fuel can keep your filter going for a number of years with no problems.

What’s the difference between semi and full chisel chains?

A full chisel chain is more aggressive cutter and used normally for fresh cut wood and pines, it processes wood very well. Although a full chisel can lose its edge easily because it is so aggressive. The semi chisel is not as aggressive and is used as a general-purpose chain and, depending again on what you are cutting, it can keep its edge a bit better. Our workbooks, provided during the chainsaw maintenance course, demonstrate this with illustrations.

What size bar and chainsaw can I use once I’ve got my ticket?

There is no restriction on bar and chainsaw size it’s down to being able to handle it safely. Bigger chainsaws are heavier and longer bars are harder to control, it’s down to getting the best tool for the job and being able to control it.

What oil should I use?

Always use a chainsaw oil (not any old engine oil) as the chain oil is designed to stay on the chain for as long as possible and has a very good viscosity when hot.

Do I need to wear a helmet?

If you are only logging up in a yard for personal use or as a domestic user with the wood on a saw horse, you can wear ear defenders and eye protection, as you are not classed as a professional user. If you are entering a forest this is classed as a work site, then you should be wearing a helmet to limit injury from falling objects.

What fuel should I use?

It depends on your budget, the alkylate fuels are very good and better for your lungs and the environment but can be expensive if you are using a lot.

Normal unleaded petrol is cheaper but has several health issues with it. It may be that the contract or site owner has a preference in which case you may have to follow their guidelines.

What size is my chain?

If you mean length, then it may be stamped on the guide bar or in your user manual. If you are looking for cutter size, then again it may be on the bar or in the user manual, if you are struggling you could speak with your local dealer.

How do I clean my air filter?

If it’s a nylon filter, then it can be washed in warm soapy water and left to dry, before putting back on. If it’s a paper or fibre filter, then it cannot be cleaned and has to be replaced if heavily covered with oil.

How often should I change my sprocket?

The average time to change the sprocket on the chainsaw is two to three full lives of a chain or if the teeth of the sprocket are showing signs of wear and the wear is deeper than 0.5 millimetres.

Should I store my saw with the brake on or off?

The best method is to store the chainsaw with the chain brake on due to the nature of the brake spring and the force it is left under when the brake is off.

How do I change the pull cord?

Some user manuals will describe how to change the cord; you could attend a training course where part of the training involves replacement of the cord. In most cases it is not overly hard to do, a bit fiddly but possible.

How often should I turn my chain bar over?

Best practice is to turn the bar over every time you maintain the saw to even out the wear and prolong the life of the bar.

Why should I take care of my guide bar?

As the name suggests the bar guides the saw through the cut, if you do not maintain the bar then you will find it harder to cut straight and the bar may fail in a way that can be dangerous to the operator.

What are the signs of a blunt chain?

If when you are cross cutting and the wood coming from the chain is like dust not little square chips or you find you are having to push harder on the saw to cut, then it is time to look at how sharp your chain is.

I only need to log up for the home fire, do I need a full course?

You can do a bit of formal training but not book for an assessment. If you are cutting on your own land and don’t have a need for insurance, then there is no need for a full course. There are several insurance companies that will only be happy with formal training. If a certificate of completion is provided, with a date and list with what was covered on the course, this can demonstrate an element of competence.

Can I bring my own chainsaw?

It is always best to bring your own chainsaw to the course, if you have one so that you get used to maintaining it. However, if you are doing a number of courses we can supply a chainsaw for each course so that by the end you will know what might be best to buy.

Who needs the felling trees up to 380mm (CS31) ticket?

Foresters, arborists, farmers, landscapers, gamekeepers, greenskeepers, smallholders and people with a private woodland etc.  If you are cutting saplings on a regular basis and the size starts to creep up, you will very quickly end up with the size of tree that needs a bit more control and thought to fell it. The course teaches you how to read the tree and work out what you can and can’t do and how to work safely.

What cuts will we be covering?

  • a conventional felling cut
  • a cut for a tree with the weight and lean in the direction of fall
  • a cut for a tree where the weight is slightly opposing the line of fall

What kit do I need?

  • helmet with ear defenders and a visor (in date)
  • chainsaw gloves
  • chainsaw trousers
  • chainsaw boots or wellies
  • personal first aid kit
  • felling bar
  • chainsaw with a bar no larger than 15 inch
  • relevant sharpening kit

However, if you do a course with Lowe Maintenance we can provide a lot of the kit, you just need your own pair of boots and a pair of gloves for hygiene reasons.

Do I have to wear chainsaw gloves?

Yes, when you are a competent operator your insurance may let you modify your dress code in accordance with HSE

Do I have to be strong to fell trees?

No, it’s not a matter of throwing wood about, you use your head and think problems through or seek assistance if required.

Can women fell trees?

Yes, and very well. The chainsaws are now much lighter, the equipment is much more user friendly and most women are tough. They are also very good at thinking a problem through and not just fighting with the tree.

Will chainsaw wellies do?

Yes, wellies are fine they are designed for the job and comply with the industry footwear regulations, they just aren’t very comfortable and tend to be a bit big and bulky.

What if my chainsaw gets stuck?

Whilst on a Lowe Maintenance course you will be shown how to deal with getting your chainsaw unstuck, obviously once you have switched it off!

By the end of the course you’ll know exactly how to deal with the situation as you’ll be reading the tension and compression during cross cutting.

Do I have to do chainsaw maintenance and cross cutting ticket first?

Some people do each unit one at a time, however you can combine the chainsaw maintenance and cross cutting 20-03 with the felling and processing up to 380mm 20-04 and complete both units in the same week.

How do squirrels affect felling of trees?

Some of the sites we use have red squirrels and when it is breeding season we must stay away from that area. It’s not just a matter of felling the trees that don’t have squirrel drays in, it’s the sound and movement that can disturb the whole site.

Is there a difference between soft and hard wood when felling?

Soft wood is mainly pines and hard wood is mainly used to describe a broad leaf tree like beech, oak etc. There are slightly different techniques to processing the timber which you will be made aware of during your training.

How do I deal with the brash?

Tidily, stacked with the butts to one end in case a chipper is going to be used later, the last thing you want to be doing is fighting with the brash pile because it was badly stacked.

What’s tension and compression?

It’s the forces that can build up in a piece of wood, if you take a broom handle and bridge it across two points, then put a bit of weight in the middle you will see the handle bend. The fibres at the bottom of the handle are being stretch or put under tension and the fibres at the top are being compressed. With a tree it’s not quite as easy to read, however, if you get it right you are less likely to get your chainsaw stuck!

Do I need a felling bar?

They are a handy tool to use in the woods, for lifting and rolling wood.

We provide felling bars for the courses, in case you don’t need it after you take the course; it’s a waste to buy one just for a week’s course.

Can I use a cant hook or tongs?

There is a cant hook already fitted to the felling bar and tongs are provided to limit arm strain when moving logs, both are very handy to have in the working environment.

Do I have to stack the timber?

It depends on the size of timber we are cutting, not just diameter but length too. You will be shown safe methods of manual handling on the course; however, you could always ask for assistance too. Leaving a site nicely stacked ready for extraction shows a level of professional attention to detail that may get you more work in the future.

How many trees will I be felling during the course?

There is no limit, each tree you fell will add to your knowledge and ability to fell properly. If you just rush around cutting and not being carefu,l then you won’t learn anything and will tire easily.

What’s a hung-up tree?

If a tree you are felling does not fall to the ground but gets stuck in a neighbouring tree, then it is called a hung up tree.

How do I deal with a hung-up tree?

There are a few methods you will be shown on a course with Lowe Maintenance, how to modify the hinge and either twist out or remove the hinge completely and pole it backwards.

How close to the ground do I have to cut?

If you cut close to the ground, you maximise the amount of wood extracted.

It is also safer to cut close to the floor if anything goes wrong the more of you that is below the hinge then the more gets hurt. Industry standard would also encourage you to cut as close to the ground too, high cuts could result in lost future work.

Can I still fell trees in the nesting season?

If you have surveyed the site and are sure there are no nests, then you are okay to cut. However, you must not hit occupied trees while you cut even if the bird is on the vermin control nest you can not disturb a nest that is in use.

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What’s my next steps?

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Emergency Tree Work Operations 21-05 (CS50)
Tree Climbing and Rescue 20-13 (CS38)
Safe Application of Pesticides Foundation Unit PA1
ROLO: Health, Safety and Environmental Awareness
Safe Use of a Stump Grinder 20-53
Safe Use of a Leaf Blower 14-24
Safe Use of Brushcutters and Trimmers 14-21