What you need to know about chainsaws
Chainsaws are used for felling trees, severing unwanted branches, pruning foliage, & bucking (sawing a fallen tree into manageable logs). They are an invaluable labour saving device for big projects & will save you time around your garden too. If you are considering investing in a chainsaw, you will need to decide whether a Petrol Chainsaw
, a Corded Electric Chainsaw
or a Cordless Electric Chainsaw
is right for you. Petrol Chainsaws
are hefty & powerful, & are the preferred choice for professionals or those working away from home. Their added power means they will saw through wood faster, & can handle tougher jobs. However, they are heavier & require more strength to use. Their engines produce exhaust fumes, & they also require more regular maintenance than electric models. Corded Electric Chainsaws
will appeal to you if you are planning on working mostly in your garden, don't want to have to lift the extra weight, or have a tighter budget. A lighter chainsaw is less tiring to use & you may be able to get more accomplished in a shorter period. Though you will need a nearby power source if using a Corded Electric Chainsaw, the cable length provided is usually around 30ft, so accessibility will not be an issue unless you have a very long garden (in which case, extension Cable Reels
are available). Cordless Electric Chainsaws
are the right choice if portability is a necessity, though they are less powerful than petrol or corded models. Issues with runtime can be overcome by providing yourself with a good supply of long lasting batteries. High amp-hour batteries will last longer, much like having a larger fuel tank, whereas high voltage batteries will provide you with more power, equivalent to a larger engine.
Safety when using your chainsaw
Chainsaws are powerful pieces of equipment, & precautions need to be taken in order to use them safely. A commonly experienced problem with all chainsaws is known as 'kickback', where a chainsaw can be pushed back towards the operator if the chain catches on the surface being cut. All chainsaws are fitted with chain breaks, which will protect users in the event of kickback. You must also ensure that the saw is firmly gripped in both hands at all times during use. Re-tensioning the chain before & during a job will also reduce the risk of kickback, & prevents chains from breaking. Wearing protective clothing is imperative. The most indispensable pieces of safety gear are a Safety Helmet
(preferably one which includes a visor & ear defenders) & a good pair of Chainsaw Gloves
. Chainsaw Safety Kits
are available which contain all the protective clothing you will require. A sturdy pair of Safety Boots
are also recommended, to prevent you from losing your footing during use. If felling with your chainsaw, make sure that you know which direction the tree will fall in & that the area is clear. Avoid cutting through the power cable with a Corded Chainsaw, & use an RCD adaptor
to safeguard yourself against electrocution. RCD adaptors will cut off power from the mains in the event of an earth current fault.
Maintaining your chainsaw
All chainsaws require Chain Oil
to act as a lubricant. Keep your chainsaw's oil resevoir topped up to extend the chainsaw's life & prevent seizing. Chains benefit from regular sharpening. A blunt chain will cause wear on the guide bar & the drive sprocket, and may break during use. Sharpening is undertaken with a Chainsaw File
. Chains will also need to be replaced as they wear through, & it is a good idea to keep a spare Chain
handy. Petrol Chainsaws run on Two-Stroke Oil
. Two stroke oil will power your chainsaw & also contains lubricant to keep the engine in good working condition.