I have spent the last three days on a Maintenance and Cross-cutting course / assessment, along with Mark Saich and we learnt so much!
Neither of us are strangers to using a chainsaw (Mark owns and manages a woodland), yet after just 2 days of training we picked up so much to improve our skills.
The first day was dedicated to understanding the saw, the regulations (the law). We covered the legal bits quite quickly, as we understand risk assessments through our day-to-day work. Then we set about understanding chains, which for everyone on the course was a mystery which we never managed to fully understand. Being able to identify the chain and thus how it needs sharpening sounds easy, and now we understand how to it is easy! So armed with the detail about the chain we set about sharpening it, correctly. Again once you know it is (after some practice) pretty straight forward. we now know how to use the STIHIL and Oregon file holders correctly (in that they are both different, yet look identical).
Our second day stared with pulling all the bits off our saws and checking for wear and tear, a few red faces around the group with some of the worn parts we now discovered!
After rebuilding the saws we checked for correct setup and at last set off to chop some wood!
We set off with a saw safety check, then we learnt basic compression tension cuts, and did a couple of "plunge cuts" (you feel a bit like King Arthur if you have never done this!) it is also a great test of your sharpening capabilities!
Day three was the assessment, which involves doing everything you just learnt again under the watchful eye of an assessor (not the person who did the training). We had a great assessor who really put everyone at ease.
Fortunately we all passed :-)
Having now gone through this I fully understand why this is not "health and safety gone mad", and just an expensive bit of paper. To be honest the savings in doing your own maintenance rather than paying local mower shop would pay for the course in a few years.
If your interested in training please contact me.