Arborist Tools of the Trade: Chainsaws

Betsy LongUncategorized

The Guide to Chainsaws: What You Need to Know

Chainsaws are powerful handheld tools for cutting, removing, and trimming trees, branches, and logs. Whether you are a professional logger, arborist, a landscaper, or a homeowner, understanding the different aspects of chainsaws can help you choose the right one for your needs and ensure safe and efficient operation. We will cover everything important about chainsaws, including types, safety tips, maintenance, and more!

Types of Chainsaws

There are two main types of chainsaws available on the market:

  1. Internal Combustion Engine- Powered Chainsaws: These are the most powerful chainsaws and are ideal for heavy-duty tasks such as felling large trees and cutting large logs. They require fuel (2 cycle mix oil & gasoline) and bar oil for operation and are known for their durability and efficiency.
  2. Electric – Powered Chainsaws: Electric chainsaws are often quieter and lighter than internal combustion engine -powered models. They are suitable for smaller tasks such as trimming branches and cutting smaller trees. They are available in corded and cordless (battery-powered) versions.

Key Features to Consider

When selecting a chainsaw for your task, consider the following key features:

    1. Safety Features: Look for features such as chain brakes, reduced vibration, anti-kickback technology, and safety guards to prevent accidents, modern chainsaws are built to standards such as the ANSI B175.1
    2. Bar Length: The bar length determines the maximum cutting capacity of the chainsaw. Longer bars can cut through larger logs, while shorter bars offer more control for precise cuts.
    3. Engine Power: For internal combustion -powered chainsaws, engine power (measured in cubic centimeters or cc) affects the chainsaw’s performance. More powerful engines can handle tougher tasks.
    4. Weight: Lighter chainsaws like electric chainsaws—are lighter, easier to maneuver and less tiring to use for extended periods.
    5. Ease of Maintenance: Consider how easy it is to clean, maintain, and adjust the chainsaw components, including chain tension and oiling.

Safety Tips

Using a chainsaw safely is crucial to preventing accidents and optimizing performance. Follow these safety tips:

    1. Wear personal protective equipment (PPE): Always wear safety glasses, gloves, chainsaw chaps or pants, hearing protection, and protective toe boots.
    2. Inspect the chainsaw: Before use, check the safety features as well as chain tension, oil level, and overall condition of the chainsaw.
    3. Maintain a firm grip: Hold the chainsaw with both hands and keep a firm grip with your thumbs wrapped on the handles.
    4. Clear the area: Ensure there are no obstacles or people in the immediate work area keep others 2x the distance away from what you’re cutting.
    5. Avoid kickback: Be mindful of how the chainsaw reacts when cutting, and avoid situations that could cause kickback.
    6. Turn off the chainsaw: When not in use, always turn off the chainsaw and engage the chain brake.

Maintenance Tips

Proper maintenance is essential to keep your chainsaw in good working condition. Follow these maintenance tips:

    1. Keep the chain sharp: A sharp chain cuts more efficiently and reduces the risk of kickback, semi-chisel chain is a great option when cutting in variable conditions.
    2. Check the chain tension: Ensure the chain is properly tensioned before each use.
    3. Clean the chainsaw: Inspect the chainsaw and remove debris from the chain, bar, and other components regularly.
    4. Lubricate the chain: Keep the chain well lubricated to prevent wear and tear, use a bio-blend bar oil to be friendly to the environment.
    5. Inspect the chainsaw: Regularly check for any signs of damage or wear, such as cracks in the bar or chain or other components. If a saw fails an inspection tag it  to provide notice of the defect and remove it from service until it can be repaired or replaced.
    6. Store properly: Store the chainsaw with a bar and chain guard in a well ventilated, dry place and keep it secured.

Chainsaws are versatile tools that can make landscape work and tree maintenance easier and more efficient. By choosing the right type of chainsaw for your needs, following safety guidelines, and performing regular maintenance— you can enjoy the benefits of a chainsaw while minimizing risks. Always prioritize safety and proper care to ensure your chainsaw remains a reliable and effective tool for years to come!

If you enjoyed this and want to do a deeper dive on chainsaws, consider signing up for the Chainsaw Safety and Technical Tree Felling self-paced online training course:

Curious what our trainers are using out in the field? Look no further than Husqvarna!

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