If you frequently use your chainsaw for heavy-duty cutting and felling, it’s essential to install bumper or felling spikes for better control and stability. While professional-grade cutting machines come with spikes, some more compact machines designed for lightweight cutting jobs do not have them.
However, it’s possible to install felling spikes on the cutting tools that don’t have them by purchasing an aftermarket bumper spike kit. But it’s also important to consider whether your chainsaw model is compatible with the spikes or not.
In this article, I’ll dive deep into chainsaw bumper spike purpose, exploring their physical characteristics. In addition, you’ll learn the location of felling spikes on the chainsaw, how they work, and the different types available.
I’ll also address whether the bumper spikes are legal to use in certain areas and provide maintenance tips to keep them in good condition.
What are Bumper Spikes on a Chainsaw?
Bumper spikes are sharp metal protrusions on a chainsaw located at the front of the tool just below the bar. They enable you to rest the tool on wood and provide stability and leverage while cutting.
Bumper spikes are typically made of hardened steel for a durable and long-lasting design. They are present on both sides of the chainsaw body and are often curved to provide optimal control during cutting. They may be removable or permanently attached to the cutting machine, depending on the model and manufacturer of your machine.
The bumper protrusions work by digging into the wood during cutting to prevent chainsaw slippage and kickback. This allows for more precise cuts and greater control over the cutting machine, especially when felling large trees.
The protrusions also allow you to lean into the chainsaw, using your body weight to apply pressure rather than relying on upper body strength. This reduces the amount of physical strain on your arms and shoulders.
Types of Bumper Spikes
Now that you know what bumper spikes are, let’s delve into their different types for chainsaws. Well, there are two types of bumper spikes for chainsaws: standard bumper and felling.
Standard Bumper Spikes
The standard bumper spikes are the most common types of spikes for chainsaws, explicitly designed for added stability and control during cutting.
They are located at the cutting machine’s base and shorter than felling spikes. Standard bumper spikes are generally used for pruning, limbing, and bucking, so they may not be effective when it comes to felling trees.
Felling spikes are longer and more pointed than standard bumper spikes. They are designed specifically for felling trees and are located at the cutting tool’s front.
Felling spikes guide the chainsaw during the felling process, allowing more control and precise cutting. But as they can make the cutting tool heavier and challenging to maneuver, they are only for professional loggers.
Wrap-Around Bumper Spikes
These type of bumper spikes wraps around the entire circumference of the cutting tool body. The extended design makes them ideal for stability and control during heavy-duty cutting tasks.
However, they are not a good choice if you intend to cut in enclosed spaces, as they make the cutting machine cumbersome and heavier to maneuver.
Removable Bumper Spikes
These types of bumper spikes are detachable from the chainsaw body. Their design also allows for great flexibility and customization. They also make maintenance and cleaning easier.
However, they may not be as sturdy as the permanent options and may not offer the same level of protection during heavy-duty cutting tasks.
How to Use Chainsaw Bumper Spikes?
The bumper spikes work by utilizing the principle of leverage. In essence, they use the chainsaw operator’s body weight and the resistance of the wood to create a stable and controlled cutting platform. But how can you use felling spikes to ensure safe and efficient cutting? Find out below:
Step 1: Position the Bumper Spikes
Before switching on your battery-powered chainsaw, position the spikes against the wood, with the cutting machine bar perpendicular to the tree trunk.
Step 2: Lean into the Chainsaw
To use the spikes effectively, lean into your cutting tool and use your body weight to apply pressure. When the spikes dig into the wood, this will create a stable anchor point for the tool.
Step 3: Start Cutting
Once you’ve positioned the bumper spikes and are leaning into the cutting machine, switch it on and start cutting. Keep the chainsaw perpendicular to the trunk while you make a smooth and controlled motion to cut through the wood.
Step 4: Adjust the Position
To maintain a stable cutting platform, adjust the position of the bumper spikes. This may involve moving the spikes slightly or adjusting your body position.
Step 5: Repeat the Process
Keep using the bumper spikes throughout the cutting process to maintain control and stability over your chainsaw.
Learn More: Tips to Keep Chainsaw Away From Pinching
Are Bumper Spikes Legal?
It’s a major concern for loggers whether the chainsaw bumper spikes use is legal or not. While spikes are generally permitted to use, there are some exceptions and regulations you need to be aware of. Here are some scenarios to consider:
Safety and Noise Concerns
In some urban areas, you may not be allowed to use bumper spikes on your cutting machine due to safety concerns or noise regulations. For example, they may damage sidewalks, property or pose a risk to pedestrians.
The additional noise the chainsaw emanates because of the spikes may also be disruptive to the residents. Therefore, it’s crucial to check local laws before using the bumper spikes on the machine. You can utilize some tips on making a chainsaw quiet enough in this regard though.
For further information, read this research by University of Hawaii on Chainsaw Noise and Safety!
Restrictions to Prevent Wildlife Damage
At certain times of the year, the use of bumper spikes on a cutting machine may be restricted. This is often done to protect young trees and wildlife, especially in nesting and breeding season.
Additionally, in areas with fragile or sensitive ecosystems, such as wetlands or protected forests, the use of bumper spikes may be prohibited to prevent damage. If you are a professional logger using a professional chainsaw, you must be aware of these regulations to ensure responsible and sustainable logging practices.
In wood chopping or logging competitions, the use of bumper spikes may be restricted due to fairness reasons. The spikes can give an unfair advantage to the participants by allowing them to make quick cuts or improve their grip on the log.
Therefore, some events have restrictions on using felling spikes in place to ensure fair competition among the participants. Therefore, make sure to be aware of these rules before participating in a logging competition.
Maintaining Bumper Spikes on a Chainsaw
Like any tool, regular maintenance of bumper spikes is also crucial for optimal chainsaw performance. Here are some recommended maintenance procedures for bumper spikes:
To remove dirt, debris, and sap residue, you must regularly clean the bumper spikes. Use a soft-bristled brush or a soft rag with a mild detergent or specialized chainsaw cleaner to gently clean the spikes.
Lubricating bumper spikes is also necessary to prevent rust buildup and corrosion. Apply a thin coating of a specialized chainsaw lubricant on the spikes. But avoid excessive application.
Inspection and Replacement
It’s critical for the longevity of the bumper spikes to inspect them regularly for any signs of wear and tear or damage. If the spikes are damaged, replace them immediately. You can purchase replacement bumper spikes from your chainsaw manufacturer or a reputable supplier.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why do chainsaws have spikes?
Chainsaws have spikes for several reasons. They can anchor your cutting tool to the wood, providing more control and stability during cutting tasks such as felling trees.
Furthermore, the spikes act as a pivot point, enabling you to leverage your cutting machine and apply more force when cutting through thicker wood. Bumper spikes also protect your chainsaw body from damage by acting as a barrier between the machine and the wood.
How bumper spikes are used in practical applications?
You can use bumper spikes on a chainsaw in various scenarios, such as felling and pruning trees, limbing, and bucking. They can stabilize your cutting machine and prevent it from slipping and bouncing, allowing for more precise cuts and reducing the risk of injuries.
How to install bumper spikes on a chainsaw?
To install bumper spikes on your chainsaw, first, remove the bar and chain from the tool. Next, find the screw holes on the side of your cutting machine where the bumper spikes will be installed.
Align the bumper spikes holes with the screw holes and use a socket scrench to tighten the screws, securing the spikes in place. Finally, reattach the bar and chain to your cutting machine, ensuring the bumper spikes are appropriately positioned and securely fastened.
So, that’s the answer to your query, “What are bumper spikes on a chainsaw.” In summary, they are crucial to maintaining stability and providing better control of the cutting machine during tough-cutting tasks like felling trees. There are different types of bumper spikes, each with its own benefits and drawbacks.
It depends on what kind of task you intend them for. It’s also important to check local laws and regulations before using bumper spikes, as some areas may restrict their use. In addition, ensure regular maintenance so that the spikes function correctly.