Using a Chainsaw for Trenching: Is It Possible?

Trench digging is not the most fun job globally. It’s hot, it’s sweaty, and it’s dusty. And if you’re doing it by hand, it can be back-breaking work.

So it’s no wonder that people are always looking for ways to make trenching easier. One way to gain popularity lately is using a chainsaw to dig a trench.

But is it possible to use a chainsaw for trenching? And if so, what are the risks and downsides? In this article, we’ll take a closer look at using a chainsaw for trenching and help you decide if it’s right for you.

Is It Possible to Use a Chainsaw for Trenching?

The short answer is yes, it is possible to use a chainsaw for trenching. Chainsaws are powerful tools that can quickly work even the biggest tree trunk.

So it stands to reason that they would be just as effective at cutting through dirt and soil. And indeed, many people have had success using chainsaws for trenching.

However, it would be so small if you used a chainsaw to dig a trench. Such trenches are best suited for drainage or utility lines, not foot traffic. It is possible to find chainsaw trencher attachments.

These can make trenching with a chainsaw much easier and more efficient. But even with an attachment, there are some risks to using a chainsaw for trenching. 

But Why is Consider Using a Chainsaw for Trenching?

Versatility: A chain saw can do more than just cut down trees. It’s a versatile tool that can be used for all sorts of tasks, including trenching. If you have a chain saw, you already have the tool you need to start trenching.

Maneuverability: Chainsaws are much easier to maneuver than other trenching tools, like excavators. This makes them ideal for small jobs or jobs in difficult-to-reach areas.

How Do I Use a Chainsaw for Trenching?

we'll take a closer look at using a chainsaw for trenching
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If you’re going to use a chainsaw for trenching, it’s essential to do it safely. First, you’ll need to decide what size trench you need. This will determine the size of the chainsaw you’ll need to use. 

Once you have the type and size of the trench you need, you can begin to prepare for trenching. You’ll need to mark out the area you’ll be trenching and clear away any rocks or debris. You’ll also need to make sure the ground is level, so your trench will be even.

Next, you’ll need to position the chainsaw. You’ll want to hold it so that the blade is pointing downwards at a 45-degree angle. When you’re ready, you can start the chainsaw and begin trenching. 

Using Chainsaw Trencher Attachments: If you’re using a chainsaw for trenching, you may want to invest in a chainsaw trencher attachment. These attachments are designed to make trenching with a chainsaw much easier. 

There are a few different types of chainsaw trencher attachments available. Some attachments are designed to fit onto the end of the chainsaw, and some are designed to be used with a separate powerhead. 

Whichever type of attachment you choose, make sure it’s compatible with your chainsaw. You’ll also want to read the instructions carefully before using them. 

Check here: What is a bow chainsaw?

Risks of Using a Chainsaw to Dig a Trench

You might be thinking, “If people are using chainsaws for trenching, it can’t be that dangerous.” But even with an attachment, there are some risks to using a chainsaw for trenching. 

1) Possible Kickback

When you’re using a chainsaw, there is always the risk of kickback. Kickback is when the chain on the saw gets jammed and then flies back towards you. This can be extremely dangerous and even fatal. 

When using a chainsaw for trenching, the risk of kickback is even greater. That’s because the chainsaw is already in a precarious position, and it’s easy for the chain to get jammed. If you’re going to use a chainsaw for trenching, read the instructions carefully and follow all safety precautions. 

2) Limited Visibility

Another risk of using a chainsaw for trenching is that it can be challenging to see what you’re doing. When using a regular trenching tool, like a shovel, you can see exactly where you’re digging. But when you’re using a chainsaw, the blade obscures your view. This can make it difficult to see if you’re trenching in a straight line or about to hit a rock or other obstacle. 

3) Trenching is Hard Work

Trenching is hard work, no matter what tool you’re using. But it’s tough to work when you’re using a chainsaw. You have to hold the saw in one hand and guide it with the other. You also have to be careful not to kick up too much dirt, or you could end up getting dirty yourself.

4) You Could Damage the Chainsaw

If you’re not careful, you could damage the chainsaw while trenching. That’s because the ground is full of rocks and other obstacles that can damage the chain. If the chain gets damaged, it could break, which could be dangerous. 

Downsides of Trenching with a Chainsaw

Apart from having risks, there are also some downsides to using a chainsaw for trenching. 

1) They’re Expensive

Chainsaws are expensive. And if you’re going to use one for trenching, you’ll need a good quality saw. Otherwise, you could damage the saw or, worse, injure yourself. 

2) They’re Heavy

Chainsaws are also heavy. And when you’re using one for trenching, you’re going to be holding it above your head for long periods. This can be tiring, and it can also cause muscle strain. If you add an attachment, the chainsaw can become even heavier. 

3) They’re Loud

Chainsaws are very loud. And when you’re using one for trenching, the noise can be loud. If you’re not wearing ear protection, you could damage your hearing. 

What is the Better Alternative to Using a Chainsaw for Trenching?

If you’re looking for an alternative to using a chainsaw for trenching, you might want to consider a power trencher. Power trenchers are designed specifically for trenching, and they offer many advantages over chainsaws.

You can also use a rogue hoe, spade, or other garden tools. Using a chainsaw for trenching is not the only option.

Final Thought

As you can see, there are both risks and downsides to using a chainsaw for trenching. But if you’re careful and follow all safety precautions, it can be done.

Just be sure to weigh the risks and downsides before deciding whether using a chainsaw is right for you.

You might like our articles on chainsaw teeth types and how to fix a pinched chainsaw bar.

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