on February 11, 2013
I bought a set of these last year after a "Near Miss" with a Stihl 250C... We own a large Mountain-Top Ranch which was in bad shape when we bought it.. the previous owners had let it go down badly while living in a different area, so we have had a LOT of work to do to bring it back up to what we knew it COULD be (It's Beautiful Up Here!)... I have worked around Saws "part time" on and off most of my life; my Father-In-Law and I even owned a small logging Company at one time some years ago. I own multiple Stihl Chain Saws and use them extensively up here at the Ranch. I recently bought a new Stihl 290 Farm Boss, with a much longer blade and Chain than my other Stihl's have, and was using it to cut a large Oak that had been blown down on a steep hill-side at the Western end of our property during a storm. The Oak was bent badly by another tree that it had tangled up in as they fell, and I knew the Oak was under a LOT of "spring-pressure". I was cutting into it slowly to relieve the tension little bits at a time, and I had cleared the area around my feet (I thought) because I knew I'd be stepping back away from the tree quickly multiple times as I let it relieve the pressure it was under. I stepped backward UP the side of the hill I was working on as the big Oak began to slowly crack, like I had planned for it to do. Just as I put my right foot down, my combat boot landed on a BIG mushroom that I had kinda kicked UP the hill-side to get it out of the way.. unknown to me, it had slowly rolled back DOWN the hill to a point right behind where I was standing (Duh.. That "Law Of Gravity" hasn't been repealed yet).
When my Boot lugs got filled with SLICK "Mushroom" I lost traction and went down into a sitting position.. the 290 was already Spinning down, and I was trying to keep the chain AWAY from my body as I fell, but the longer tip of the blade "Tapped" my right Mid-Thigh pretty hard anyway... I flipped the Saw off with my right hand as I set it down on my right side, and at the same time applied direct pressure to my thigh with my left hand until I got the saw stopped and safely on the ground... then I used BOTH hands to apply direct pressure to my leg, over the Chaps (with a pair of "Digital Camo" BDU's under the chaps)... Once upon a time I was a Paramedic, so I figured the chaps AND the BDUs would be good enough "Initial Bandaging" to help control the Bleeding until help arrived with my larger Med-Kit... you don't remove a "Bandage" from a large wound, you just keep applying more bandages on top of the old ones as they soak-through, so I wasn't about to remove the chaps or BDUs at that point... I dug my iPhone out of my pocket and hit the locator icon that signals my Wife and Daughters on their phones that "Something" is wrong, and gives them my location on a Satellite map (They knew exactly where I was, but they were working further away on the property)
I kept waiting for the Pain to hit... Chainsaws don't "Slice" flesh, they "RIP" flesh, and even though the chain was starting to slow down, I had tapped my thigh GOOD with the chain still spinning pretty fast! When my wife (A Nurse) saw the chainsaw sitting beside me, and "White Fibers" everywhere, she said "Oh my God!" and ran down the hill to me, white faced, while sending one our daughters for a large Med-Bag... I just couldn't understand why I wasn't spurting Blood, and in agony!
We hit the fast-tech buckles on the chaps and removed them easily... To our amazement, my BDUs weren't even torn!?!? My Leg was undamaged! In fact, Despite the "White Fibers" strung out from the chaps everywhere, The chain didn't even cut through to the back-side of the chaps!!! I was FINE!
That was a BRAND NEW, Genuine Stihl, Large-Toothed, Chain! It was "Factory Sharp", it had maybe 10 minutes of use on it when I fell, and the Chaps stopped it from cutting through to my leg! I'm still Amazed!!!! That's just "impressive as HAIL" (Sorry for the profanity, but it is!)!
Those chaps paid for themselves many times over in THAT instant! I really thought that chain had AT LEAST cut me to the bone! The really funny part is, the OUTSIDE of the chaps wasn't even that badly damaged! It looked worse than it was due to those fibers inside being pulled out by the chain, and getting "fluffed up", I think they're still VERY usable (unless I happened to tap that exact same spot again), but I'm not taking any chances... I've already bought a new set!
I have worked around saws for YEARS, and I've SEEN some of the typical Horror Stories you hear about, actually happen to other people, but I'd never cut *myself*.. thanks to these chaps, I STILL haven't cut myself! Someone in another review said something like, "You're CRAZY if you're using a saw and aren't wearing protective gear".. I'd like to Second that comment, and add the words "ABSOLUTELY INSANE" in place of "Crazy"! If you're around saws long enough, it is GOING to happen eventually, no matter how careful you are! For those people who say "Chainsaw Chaps are too hot to use comfortably in the Summer", We live in the Deep South where "Fighting back the plant-life" can be nearly an everyday thing, and I'm very comfortable around large saws, but I DO respect them! Even in mid-summer, when it's scorching hot outside, I wear my Chaps! As they used to say in the Military (and probably still do), "More Sweat In Training, Less Blood In Battle".. For Chainsaw Chaps, I'd modify that a little to say, "A Little Sweat Is Better Than A LOT Of Blood!"
For me, It made the difference between, "Spending the next few days at a Hospital having Multiple Tendons and such reattached, Hundreds of Stitches reattaching everything and closing up the wound, and then spending MONTHS recovering and sweating in Physical Therapy"... and, "Simply putting my Chaps back on, Clearing the fibers out of the saw, and spending about an hour finishing the job of clearing the Storm Damaged trees on that back hill-side, then going on about my daily life!" I'll take that second option EVERY TIME! PLEASE,Wear Protective Gear! Seriously, the cost of replacing the Trauma Bandages and other supplies used in my Med-Bag would have cost more than these Chaps! I don't even want to THINK about what the final Hospital Bill would have been... but a LOT more than Sixty-Something Bux! You buy Insurance for your Home, Vehicle, and your Family's medical care... buy a set of these as "Insurance" for yourself! And remember, you only have to pay THAT tiny premium ONCE!!!