How to Use a Chainsaw – Ultimate Guide of Servicing, Safety and Sharpening
Likely any other power tools, chainsaw needs some special cares as well. This how to use a chainsaw guide includes chainsaw safety, servicing and sharpening will help you to operate this tool efficiently and effectively.
Table Of Contents
- Chainsaw Kick Back And How To Avoid The Dangers
- How to Use Chainsaw Safely
- How To Sharpen A Chainsaw Chain
- How Often Should You Get Your Chainsaw Serviced?
- Final Notes
Chainsaw Kick Back And How To Avoid The Dangers
Chainsaws are being used by more and more people as wood heaters grow in popularity. Even the smaller sized chainsaws with motors at 1.2 kW, which equates to 1.6 HP, are extremely powerful. Therefore, it is necessary to learn the basic safety features of your chainsaw and how to get out of trouble if things don’t go to plan, which happens all too easily, and the chainsaw gets out of control.
What is Chainsaw Kick Back
When cutting into wood, the chainsaw bar guides the chain through the cut. The teeth are designed to make wood chips that are discharged as the bar moves down through the wood. Due to the force of the spinning chain, the bar is naturally pushed in an upward direction. That is why it is important to have sharp teeth that result in the chainsaw self-feed. Self-feeding means that the bar is pulled down into the wood that is being cut. However, if the chain on the tip of the chainsaw bar hits an area of wood that is extra hard, such as a knot, the end of the chainsaw bar wants to follow the natural upward force. If the chain jams, which is easy to occur, this can cause the bar to fly in an arc upwards and toward the operator. This is a very serious situation. If the operator is in line with the arc, the chainsaw can cause serious injury or even death.
The chainsaw kickback could also occur if the wood being cut moves and pinches the chain at the end of the chainsaw bar. In this situation, the forces in play result in the bar of the chainsaw being hurled upwards and back toward the operator. In both of these situations, the chainsaw kick back happens so quickly, there is little chance of getting out of the way.
Safety Procedures To Prevent Chainsaw Kick Back
Chainsaws have safety features built into help prevent serious injury from a kickback situation. However, before I consider these, it is more important to learn safety procedures that you can adopt to minimize the chance of injury.
When operating the chainsaw, always position yourself to the side of the bar making the cut. A rule of thumb here is that if you can’t see the side of the chainsaw, you are too close to the center. Positioning yourself to the side is the first important safety tip. Next, avoid cutting logs that are unstable and that could drop in the center where you are cutting. This should prevent the chain from getting pinched and trying to fly back at you. Be aware of wood that has knots and inconsistent grains, especially hardwood, as this type of wood has greater potential to cause kickbacks.
Make sure the teeth of the chain are sharp to promote efficient and safe cutting and make sure that the depth gauge is not too low, as this can cause the chain to grab at the wood being cut, potentially causing kickbacks.
Safety Features of Chainsaw to Help Avoid Kick Back Situations
Chainsaws these days are designed with a chain brake. The chain brake is activated by the top hand guard, which is the guard in front of the main handle on top of the chainsaw, being pushed forward. It can be used manually, especially when the operator wants to lock the chain for safety reasons. It can also be activated automatically when the chainsaw experiences a kickback situation and the hand guard hits the left hand of the operator, as it is thrown off the main handle, locking the chain. Some brands of chainsaws also have a locking mechanism if the chainsaw is thrown violently upwards. When buying a chainsaw ask about this.
In summary, a chainsaw kickback can happen to anyone, no matter how experienced, but if you follow appropriate safety procedures and use chainsaws with built-in safety features, the chances of you getting hurt should be significantly reduced.
How to Use Chainsaw Safely
There are a number of fundamental procedures to follow to ensure that you a safe when using a chainsaw. They are simple things, but if not followed properly, an accident could be just around the corner. You need to consider such basic things as safety equipment and apparel. You also need to ensure the chainsaw itself is working properly and all safety features on the chainsaw are operating. You also need to be concentrating on the job at hand and not be distracted or be in too much of a rush which can also let to accidents. So, here is a full list of safety requirements for your chainsaw that you should consider.
1. Firstly, make sure that your chainsaw is regularly serviced and maintained by a professional. This is important to ensure that the chain is always sharp, motor performs up to requirements and the chain is always tight on the bar. A sloppy and blunt chain is potentially very dangerous.1. Firstly, make sure that your chainsaw is regularly serviced and maintained by a professional. This is important to ensure that the chain is always sharp, motor performs up to requirements and the chain is always tight on the bar. A sloppy and blunt chain is potentially very dangerous.
2. All safety features must be functioning. For example, most chainsaws have a handle on top that acts as an emergency stop. Check that this operates as it should.
3. Before using the chainsaw, check the chain oil, the chain, and give it a general check over.
4. When using a chainsaw, make sure that someone else is aware where you are, and keeps checking on you, just in case you have an accident. Check the area where you are cutting and make sure all people and animals are clear of the area. Also, ensure the wood you are cutting is not going to move. The wood must be secure before you make a cut, or it could become a projectile.
5. You need a range of safety equipment to protect yourself and prevent serious injury. You will need safety goggles to protect your eyes. Chainsaws have a habit of spraying chips all over the place, so protecting your eyes is paramount.
6. Protect your hands with gloves, as your hands are right on the front line, and can cop a hammering from wood chips.
7. Chaps (protective covering over your legs) are important to protect your legs not only from wood chips, but if you get Kevlar belted pants, you get some protection from a wayward chainsaw blade.
8. Another important piece of protective equipment is ear muffs. The amount of noise generated by chainsaws is extraordinary, and you may need to use the chainsaw for extended periods of time, which could result in temporary deafness and could potentially have long-term implications for your hearing.
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So, these are a few of the things you need to consider, and some of the safety equipment you need when using a chainsaw, to ensure you get the job done safely.
How To Sharpen A Chainsaw Chain
New gas chainsaws are designed to cut wood efficiently and effectively. The chain is designed to slice through, and actually pull the bar down into the wood, making the process relatively easy.
However, if the thin, but a tough coat of chrome on the chain is damaged, it doesn’t take long for the chain to become blunt and require maintenance. The main culprit that damages the chain on the chainsaw is dirty wood. If you cut wood near the ground, it is likely grit will be unavoidable, resulting in the chain becoming relatively blunt over time.
You will realize you need to sharpen your chain when you need to push the saw through the wood, rather than the saw bar being pulled down through the wood, known as self-feeding, which should happen when the chain is sharp.
A second sign that your chainsaw is blunt is the type of discharge that is produced. If the chain is blunt it will produce messy dust rather than wood chips.
Finally, look at the chain. Is it shiny? If so, the chrome has probably worn away, leaving the steel underneath. It is time to sharpen the chain.
How To Sharpen A Chain on A Chainsaw
If you are out cutting wood and the chain has become so blunt that you have to apply excessive force to cut, it is time to sharpen that chain. It is best to get back to a workshop or shed to do this properly. If you are in a hurry, try to have a spare chain ready to replace the blunt chain. This is the quickest and easiest way to carry on cutting wood.
When back at the workshop, make sure that you have a solid bench to work on, there is good lighting and you have a pair of safety gloves.
There are three angles to sharpen a chainsaw chain. A round file, held at the right angle will sharpen all three at the same time. However, it must be the right diameter. The only way to get the right diameter round file is to check your owner’s manual. If you don’t have one, take the chainsaw to a repair shop and get advice.
For best results, remove the burs from the side and top plates and sharpen the top edge. To get a consistent angle get a file guide. Place the file guide over the chain and set the file. File with complete strokes applying pressure only on the downward stroke. That is because the file only cuts in one direction. To make the process easier, file one side of the chain first, then complete the other side.
Don’t use a file that is too big or angle the file too high as it puts a back cut on the chain, as it won’t sharpen properly and you will still have to put pressure on the saw to cut. However, the reverse is also true, if you use a file that is too small or you have the file too low. This tends to put a hook on the chain and when you use the chainsaw initially it will bite into the wood, which can lead to dangerous situations. You will find that the chain will also go blunt quickly.
The important thing is to make sure that the upper corner has been sharpened and the chrome surface has been restored.
If you have sharpened the chain before, check the depth using a depth gauge jointing tool.
Finally, remember to always follow the chainsaw’s manufacturers recommendations to ensure that you keep your chainsaw chain sharp and in peak working condition.
How Often Should You Get Your Chainsaw Serviced?
Undeniably, some chainsaws are better than the others. The brand, types,and price are factors that determine the quality of chainsaw you are going to get. But most high-end chainsaws are built about the same so it’s still up for a person to choose. Whatever chainsaw you are going to buy, the truth of the matter is, after so many hours of using it, you need to have some maintenance. Chainsaws are like athletes, they have to be maintained and conditioned for maximum winning performance for years.
To keep your chainsaw work properly for a long time, there is simple maintenance that you have to do. The most basic thing is to read the machine user guide. This is made by the manufacturers for you to understand how the machine works and how to do simple troubleshooting if necessary. The guide has all the information you need but if you think you can’t do it yourself, see an expert to do it for you. In fact, it is recommended to have your saw looked at by a professional at least once a year.
Servicing Your Chainsaw after 10 hours of Use
Taking the time to service your chainsaw will help you become confident that your tool will never let you down. It is advisable to service your chainsaw every 10 hours. You need to clean and/or replace the filter of your chainsaw. Your chainsaw will run cooler and you will be able to save fuel if you change your filter regularly.
The chainsaw sprocket tip should also be lubricated every 10 hours. To make sure that the lubrication is correct and complete, small grease can be seen at the edge of the guide bar located near the sprocket.
The chainsaw guide bar should also be turned after every 10 hours of use. To promote an even wear pattern on the bottom and top of the bar, you have to flip the guide bar over. You have to check the chainsaw plug spark and clean or replace if necessary. Also, inspect the spark arrester screen clean or replace when needed. It prevents the fire from going out of the exhaust port and hurting the operator. The fuel filter should be changed after 20 hours of use. If not well taken care of, it will clog and result in poor performance.
Why service Your Chainsaw?
Safety is one of the best reasons why you have to service your chainsaw. Correct tension, significant stretching, proper lubricant and the conditioned engine will keep you away from danger and other unforeseen circumstances. It is important to consider your safety before using the machine.
Another good reason and we have been mentioning it is to keep your property (the chainsaw) at its maximum performance. You have to perform the following procedures in order to keep the chainsaw conditioned. Take your chainsaw to an authorized dealer if the carburetor needs adjustment and have your blades changed and sharpened time by time because it becomes dull easily.
If you think that you cannot handle this entire job, better have a professional check your chainsaw or bring it to the nearest service center. This will ensure safety and proper maintenance of your equipment.
I believe, now you know how to use chainsaw smartly and efficiently. If you have any questions regarding your chainsaw, please feel free to comment below.