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Chainsaws 101

– Safe Operation – What You Need To Know

Chainsaws 101 : Alright so today on Repairs101 I’m going to talk about the basic things you need to know about your chainsaws.


If you’re going to keep it inside, you are going to want to keep it in a container with a tight fitting lid to contain the smell. Assembly is a snap if you have held onto all the parts.


chainsaws 101 installing chain

The main thing I see people doing wrong is putting the chain on backwards. So once you have that figured out slip the chain over the sprocket as you hang the bar. I am often asked how snug to torque the bar-mounting hardware. Because there is no torque value given in the owner’s manual all I can say is tight.

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Beware not to over-tighten. Remember to grease the roller tip periodically. You will need one of these grease guns to do that.

chainsaws 101 adjusting

To add tension to the chain the bar is pushed out by this dowel anchored in one of these holes in the bar. Turn the adjusting screw and tighten the chain until you can only pull out about three to five chain links.

chainsaws 101 bar tightening

Tipping chainsaws forward when torquing the mounting nuts ensures that the bar will be pointed up. Of course the best thing is a brand new chain straight out of the box. But otherwise, you can put your saw in your vise so that the chain will run freely. And then have a go at putting an edge on it with the rat tail file.


chainsaws 101 maintenance

Of course, there’s always power tools but all you really need is a flat file and a rat tail file.

Chainsaws 101 sharpening guide

Use the markings on your file guide to ensure you are getting the right angle.

Chainsaws 101 sharpening

If you don’t have a file handle you can make one up in a jiffy. Just so you don’t jab yourself with your file.

Chainsaws 101 raker clearamce

Measure a raker’s clearance using a straightedge from the tip of one tooth to the tip of the next tooth on the same side.

The rakers provide a height or clearance for the chain’s teeth as well as pushing debris from the saw’s kerf. Mix fuel for your saw according to the manufacture’s specifications.

Fuel mix

chainsaws 101 fuel mix

If you run too lean a mixture or straight gas. You will wear down the exhaust port side of the piston and the combustion chamber. The motor will run but it won’t make enough compression to do any work. So when you go to cut something it will just stall.

Remember to fill up with chain oil every time you gas up your saw.

Chainsaws 101 Safety

Wear any and all the protective equipment you can get your hands on – especially protective eyewear.


chainsaws 101 safety tip

Only carry a saw in your right hand with the bar behind you.

chainsaws 101 safe starting

Of course this is how you should start your chainsaws. But if you are going to yo-yo start it. There is a right way and a wrong way to do it.

chainsaws 101 what not to do

Bucking is when the tip of the saw contacts something firm and the saw jumps back. If you are holding on with two hands, then the chain break will engage and you will be fine. I see a lot of people trying to use their saw like this in a back and forth sawing motion.

The grabs are there to dig into the wood and pivot the saw across and through the cut.

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You know I take safety very seriously. So inside my hard hat you’ll find I have duct taped a compression bandage for immediate access.

There's no such thing as a minor chainsaw wound.
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