“Get a license you bastard!” was one of the comments I heard when I sat outside a bar close to a crossroads in London some years ago. It was very entertaining, and I will never forget it. It was a nice warm sunny afternoon at a bar …

This has absolutely nothing to do with forestry or chain saws, but I can´t help thinking of that truck driver who leaned out his side window and yelled this to the driver in the car in front of him at the crossroads. He had a point – if you are driving a vehicle, like a car, it´s good to have a driver´s license or at least some kind of education on how to drive. The same goes for chain saws.

Chain saw driver´s license

I started working with a chain saw by the end of the ’70s. We didn´t have any kind of driver’s license for chain- and clearing saws back then, but I do recall that I needed a special permit because I was younger than 18 if I was to work professionally which I did. Shortly later I turned 18 and I didn´t need any permits anymore.

30 years + after I stopped working with chain- and clearing saws to climb into a harvester, and later all kinds of machines (almost), I decided to start the old career up again. When looking into the practicalities around it I soon discovered that times has changed. Nowadays you need, here in Sweden anyway, one license for the clearing saw and one for a chain saw. The latter has different levels; A and B for normal logging and C if you want to do advanced felling, like in narrow areas around houses etc. or if you want to work with windthrown or fire-damaged trees. The fact that you used to do this full time 30 + years ago, for years, doesn´t matter. You still have to pass the tests. (There are also special levels of education for working along power lines etc.)

Husqvarna 550 XPG Mark II

The new generation. My Husqvarna 550 XPG Mark II after one week in a first thinning of Norwegian Spruce.

Chain saw driver´s school

Licenses for clearing saw and chain saw A + B was quite easily done for me. I thought that could be enough as no one can be crazy enough to ask me to fell a tree close to their house. But what if there is a storm or a wildfire? Those things happen nowadays, unfortunately. So, I decided to go for the C level as well.

This week I will do a three-day course on how to work with windthrown trees, and trees that are difficult to fell. Hopefully, by Wednesday afternoon, I will have completed my chain saw license with a “C”. Wish me luck. I will let you know if I pass the tests.

Chain saw education

Two of my fellow students and our teacher.

What about other countries?

I honestly don´t know, but I take it that Sweden is not the only country with this type of demand. The fact is that most other forestry countries use chain saws much more than we do in Sweden.

It would be nice if you, our beloved readers, could fill me in on this. Please write a comment and tell us how it is in your part of the World.