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10 Chainsaw Operating Tips

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One of the most effective ways to cut trees and large branches in general outdoors is the chainsaw. For a lot of people, it's really the only way. Without a doubt, chainsaws are one of the most effective ways of rough cutting wood fast outdoors, but they can also be one of the most injurious one if one is not careful.

In this post, I'll go over briefly some tips and advice on how to operate a chainsaw safely, be it an electric or gas-powered one. Also, I'll go over maintenance advice too.
Just like any tool you use, always refer to the owner's manual for additional safety as well maintenance information, so you can get the best and safest cut.

1. Safety always starts with you. Whenever you are operating any type of saw, be sure you are in good health and in good weather. Wearing the right clothing (protective chaps) and protective equipment (eye goggles/gloves/hearing protection) is the first step before even operating the chainsaw.     

2. Know your saw. Before you even operate the chainsaw, carefully review and read the owner's manual for it. Since gas-powered saws have different requirements than electric, it's important to do this. Even if it's a used or saw you rent, be aware of all of its features and be sure they are in working order before starting it.

3. Check all fluids. Even battery or electric powered saws still need chain and bar lubricant for it operate properly. Always check all lubricants and fuel before operating. For gas-powered saws, use the correct oil/gas mixture and be sure to empty all fuel in your chainsaw for extended periods of non-use. To read more about this, please click here for additional information on proper storage. 

  • Spark Plug
  • Air Filter
  • Fuel Filter
  • Air Filter
  • Guide Bar
  • Sprocket
  • Any screws or bolts on the saw

Of course, some types of saws will have different requirements. A good example of this is doing exhaust port cleaning on most gas-powered chainsaws, while electric generally won't have this maintenance. Even if you don't or can't find the instruction/owner's manual for your chainsaw, doing a little internet research to find it can go a long way to knowing when and why to repair and replace parts.

4. Cutting and planning a path. Whenever you begin any cutting of felled or upright trees, begin to plan out where the cuts will be made. While this maybe a little more tedious if you're doing storm damage cleanup, it's important nonetheless so you can safely cut everything needed. Failure to do so can lead to injury or even death. This is especially true when felling a tree. 

To read more about cutting a tree down successfully, refer to the document below.

Even if you aren't felling a tree, careful planning in your cuts must be considering or large branches, called limbing or bucking (cutting the tree in smaller pieces). This is so you can avoid kickback  


5. Know your chain brake function. This is undoubtedly the most important safety feature on any chainsaw.While some models vary in how and where they are on the chainsaw, all work to stop the blade once it experiences kickback or you need to stop operation. 


This diagram below bests shows this.


6. Cut Safely and Accurately: Once you've done all steps above, now you are ready to cut your tree/wood pieces. The best advice with any cutting technique is using good common sense. 


Your first step, if you've never used a chainsaw before, is to comfortably hold and be aware of the settings of the chainsaw. Once you've started it, hold the saw to the left of your body with your left hand on the front handlebar and your right hand on the rear handle so can accurately work the throttle trigger with your right index finger.

Always let the saw do the work for you; do not cut too fast or with too much effort. This can ironically slow down the engine and make work harder for you. For very large cuts, like a wide tree trunk, never cut more than 1/3 of the total diameter of it. Work in smaller cuts so it can be cut easier and safer.


7. Maintenance for Bar and Chain: Throughout the life of any chainsaw, blades can get dull or loose. To prevent this from happening and extend the life of your chainsaw, do routine maintenance on it.

ECHO 95VP72CQ Micro-Lite Chain for 18 in. Chainsaw Bar

Always ensure that the chain is sharp, well lubricated,  and adjusted to the proper tension. A really good item to have if you own a chainsaw is to purchase a field kit to assist in keeping your saw operational.  It has a sharpener and file to ensure your chainsaw will work its best. Click here to read more information on it. 

Power Care FK001PC2 Field Kit (8-Piece)

8. Do Seasonal and Yearly Maintenance to keep everything in working order. Just like your car or anything with a motor you own, taking care of your chainsaw ensures everything is in working order. And it doesn't just stop at the items previously mentioned in this post, like the  saw blade and fuel. 


Depending on what you have will determine what to replace and repair. Gas-powered chainsaws typically have even more parts and maintenance. While this may mean more responsibility, it can mean easier repairs throughout its lifespan.


If your chainsaw has the following parts, always do routine check-ups to ensure everything is in working order. Prevention is the key to making sure the saw works when you really need it.

9. Know what size saw is needed for the job. While you may already have a saw, just be aware that even a powerful cutter like this can have limitations. In the home improvement business, chainsaws are generally sold from 14 inches to 22 inches. This size is the actual length of the cutting bar. Broadly speaking, choose a chainsaw that fits your needs. Note that while a larger chainsaw can be used, it can overtax the user quickly, creating early fatigue. 
10. Be aware of your power source. Chainsaws sold today are available in gas, battery-operated, or electric. Be sure to choose the type you believe with work best for your needs. For example, you may only need a small electric chainsaw to just cut firewood near your home. But if you have storm damage far away from an outlet, using a gas or battery-operated saw is really the way to go. 

Even though electric chainsaws are simpler to operate since they have less parts, you'll still need to use the right gauge size of extension cord, so it won't overheat and cause injury. And for lots of cutting using a battery-operated chainsaw, having full charged backup batteries are a must as well. In short, whether you already own or need to use a chainsaw, be aware of the information listed above. 

Renting a chainsaw versus buying one is always a plus to have. Click here for a video that explains this in more detail. And the number one thing to remember besides to always work safety is to always refer to the manufacturer's instruction manual for specific tips and information regarding operating your chainsaw.


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Posted 2016-01-09T20:51:07+0000  by Joseph_HD_ATL Joseph_HD_ATL