A chainsaw uses a small, electric or gas motor to drive a sharp-toothed chain for the purpose of cutting. Chainsaws are most often used on the job site rather than in the shop so their construction must be light and durable enough to be wielded by an average sized person in an outdoor setting. Because of this, chainsaws are usually rugged and durable to the detriment of precision. When the job is cutting, chainsaws get the job done.

In terms of power tools, chainsaws are relatively specialized. They are designed specifically to do one thing in one medium: cut wood. Their functionality is very operator oriented. While a chainsaw may have absolutely nothing wrong with it, an uneducated operator might be completely incapable of bringing it to a functional state. Chainsaws are also finicky and temperamental. You might fire yours up first try, after a long period of it sitting in the shop and then watch it die out of the blue in the middle of your third cut. Because of this chainsawing has an element of finesse to it.

Here are 5 typical chainsaw related problems and how to solve them!

#1 Flooded Engine
The first step in cutting anything with a chainsaw is getting the saw started. This is frequently easier said than done, especially when the saw’s engine is flooded. Engine flooding happens when gas is applied to the engine before it has been brought to life. This stagnant gas prevents the engine from turning over and must be drained from the system before the engine will start. The best way to do this is through persistent,repeated attempts yanking the pull starter.

This should not be done haphazardly however, because certain efforts will prove more fruitful and less frustrating than others. When the engine is flooded it is important to start with the system off. Though the saw will never start with the kill switch engaged, the motion of pull starting an disengaged system drains more gas from the engine than when it is set to on. After 8 to 10 attempts, reengage the engine, pull the choke out, and continue in this fashion until the engine turns over. After the first time the engine turns, push the choke in and pull until the saw coughs to life.

#2 Loose Chain

When the tension in a chainsaw blade is low the blade cuts less effectively and the functionality of the unit decreases. This loosening most frequently results from a dull chain and can be remedied by having the teeth on your chain sharpened. To tighten the chain once it has been sharpened or replaced us a wrench to loosen the bolts on the side of the body of the saw situated near where the bar exits the engine housing. On most saws there are two bolts. One holds the plastic covering that contains the gear that drives the chain and the other holds the bar in place on an adjustable track. After locating the one that holds the bar in place loosen it and pull the bar outward. This will take the slack out of the chain. The chain should be tight but not too tight.

#3 Dulling the Blade

A dull chain can cause issues with any chainsaw, and while this problem is very very common, it is also very preventable. When it comes to chain maintenance the key is to stay away from the ground. Chainsaws are great at cutting wood. They can cut wood all day with very little equipment degradation. However, if you are running your blade into the ground at the bottom every cut, the degradation to your machine will be noticeable. The rule is if you see a dirt cloud or sparks while cutting, you are actively dulling your chain.

#4 Chain Bitting or Binding

When a chainsaw bits or binds you feel it. The feeling characteristic of a common chainsaw bind is a violent jerk on the machine toward the object being cut. Bitting or binding can happen because of a crooked cut or because the wood on either side of the bar pinches down on the blade slot. When this happens it is important to grasp the unit firmly and pull the saw up and away from the cut before killing the engine. If you kill the engine inside the slot it is likely that the bar will become pinched and the chain will loosen as you pry it out. To prevent bitting and binding make sure your cuts are straight and that the piece of wood you are cutting is free hanging on one end. If you cut on a piece being supported on both sides the wood will sag midway through your cut and your blade will become stuck in the slot.

#5 Preventing Overheating

When using a chainsaw outside during the summer it is easy to overheat your engine. To prevent this it is important to clean the inside of your saw out after every couple of uses. The important thing when cleaning your chainsaw is to clear the air intake areas around the starter and the cylinder as well as brush out the inside of the exhaust. These places can frequently get clogged with sawdust and wood particles. Cleaning your chainsaw is a good way to get to know its assembly. The first time you clean your saw break out your manual and use it to assist you in identifying the starter cover, cylinder cover and exhaust plate. All of these will have to be disassemble and cleaned to prevent regular overheating.

I hope you have enjoyed this article. Toolerant offers quite a few chainsaw related articles. From choosing the best chainsaw oil, to finding out what type of saw fits you needs the best. I hope this helps you to be more toolerant….