The advancement of technology has brought about many beneficial changes that include the automation of various tasks. Chainsaw is one example of machines that serve to benefit humans in many different ways. Due to the increased demand for timber and other products derived from trees, the value of chainsaws have increased in equal proportions. Their high efficiency has made work easier; unlike before where people had to use traditional methods that needed a lot of effort and time.
Despite a chainsaw being a reliable tool, many people who own it or use it do not know how to maintain it. Like any other machines, these tree cutting machines need to be checked and maintained at regular intervals.
In this article, I’m going to share with you helpful tips on chainsaws maintenance and cleaning. The information shared here will be beneficial to chainsaw owners as well as chainsaw operators. The details shared will revolve around the importance of chainsaw maintenance and cleaning as well as tips to do this.
Part 1: Why Chainsaws should be Cleaned and Maintained?
There’s no doubt as to how important chainsaws are. They can help you cut down a tree and divide into0 small logs in minutes (which would not be possible without them, after all) with a high efficiency level. After doing all this for you, there’s no reason as to why you should not appreciate it by cleaning and maintenance. Cleaning and maintaining this cutting tool will ensure it lasts for a longer time without developing major problems.
While the machine is highly efficient and reliable, this is not guaranteed at all times. When things go wrong, which happens most times, they can pose great danger to its user and other people near it. Effective chainsaw maintenance is the way to go to minimize, or even avoid, such cases.
Companies hiring chainsaw operators or hiring the machines are mandated by law to maintain these machines on a regular basis for the safety of its user.
Part 2: Chainsaw Maintenance Expert Tips
For most people, chainsaws appear to be a tough machine that does not necessarily require maintenance. This is not true at all. Just like any other machines, chainsaws need regular maintenance to be able to function efficiently for long periods of time.
Contrary to common belief, chainsaw maintenance involves a simple process and can be done at home (without any expert help). The questions is: “how do you maintain a chainsaw?” Below are some expert tips on how to do this.
- Cleaning It
It goes without saying that the maintenance of chainsaws, and many other machines for that matter, have to begin with cleaning them. In the course of their use, these effective tree cutting toll collect a lot of debris. This is from the sawdust coming out of the machine, to the oil it leaks and the tree sap that enters it while being used. These debris will penetrate to most parts of the machine and make it inefficient over time. Continuous efficiency and durability of chainsaws can only be possible if it is cleaned properly and regularly.
Cleaning a chainsaw may be challenging if you don’t know the exact process involved. Sadly, this is the case to most owners and operators. What makes this challenging is the penetration of debris to the inner-most parts of the machine. It would be impossible to clean it well without knowing how to reach its deepest parts where most dirt is located.
A detailed explanation on cleaning a chainsaw is explained below.
- Sharpening Chainsaw Blades
Working with a chainsaw with blunt blades can prove difficult, if not impossible. In any case, the main role of chainsaw maintenance, apart from enhancing their durability, is to make them more efficient. The first box to tick as far as efficiency is concerned is the sharpness of its blades. Additionally, you have to know how to determine if your blades are blunt and in need of sharpening. How do you do this? It’s simple; just observe how the machine reacts when being used. The following would be indicators of blunt chainsaw blades;
- The dust produced by the machine are bigger in size than usual. The machine would need to be sharpened.
- The machines behaves in such a way as to jump when being placed on a tree.
To sharpen your chainsaw, you first have to clamp it on a surface and support it with an object (or your leg) to make it firm. You will then place a sharpening file on the blades horizontally; push the file down up to its end and up again. Do this a few times on each blade. Please note that the number of up and down push should be uniform for all blades tooth.
- Ensure it is Well Lubricated
A poorly-lubricated chainsaw machine is more likely to develop technical problems. Lubricants serve to ensure that the chainsaw’s bar and chain are running smoothly. Without it, the two will produce a lot of friction which will make the machine to run more slowly and overheat in the process. When this happens, the efficiency of the machine will reduce drastically.
Unlike what most people believe, it is not difficult to determine the machine’s oil level. To do this, you simply have to place a piece of paper on top of the oil tank and accelerate the machine’s engine. If oil gets smashed on the piece of paper; it is good. If it fails to do this; your machine needs lubrication.
- Avoid Using Old Gas
The use of old gas in chainsaw machines serve to cause damages to the machine. This, however, is not a big issue for those who use their machines regularly as chances of using old gas are minimal. The reason for this is the fact that gas tends to break down after sometime, usually one month after being put. When this happens, the residue produced in the process will fill the machine’s carburetor and cause it to malfunction. Like any other machine engine, a destroyed carburetor will make the machine to stop working.
If, however, you want to continue using old gas for long periods of time, lasting more than a month, the destruction of the carburetor due to breaking down of gas can be avoided by using fuel additives. When this is done, gas can be stored and used several months later without causing any harm to the machine or its carburetor.
Part 3: How to Clean a Chainsaw
As stated earlier, most people have difficulties cleaning their chainsaw due to the penetration of dirt to areas that are unreachable without opening up the machine. If you get the fact right, cleaning your machine would be an easy task that does not take much of your time. Below is a step-by-step process on how to clean a chainsaw yourself.
- Prepare the Machine for Cleaning
The first thing to do is to place the machine down on a hard surface, probably a working table. Make sure that the machine’s base faces down and that it is stable. You will then have to remove the chain and place it away from the engine. This is done as a precautionary measure- to prevent injuries in case the machine’s engine starts in the middle of cleaning. In addition to this, you have to ensure the chainsaw is not powered by anything. If you are using an electric machine, you have to cut its connection to power while batteries have to be removed if you use a cordless chainsaw. In the same way, gas has to be removed on a gas-powered chainsaw.
- Remove the Machine’s Chain
The chainsaw’s chain will also have to be removed before you clean it. Again, this is done for security purposes to prevent any injuries. Obviously, you have to ensure the machine is not connected to any power source; electric, battery, or gas, as well as ensure the kick-back function is disenabled. After doing this, you should then loosen the nuts on the machine’s bar using a wrench. Loosening the bar’s nuts will automatically enable the removal of the chain.
- Clean the Machine’s Bar
You also have to know how to effectively clean the bar. After removing the chain by loosening the nuts on the chainsaw’s bar, you have to place it aside for a while first. After some time, you should then go ahead and clean it to remove all the dirt and debris that have accumulated inside it over time. This should cover all parts of the chain including the bar and bar groove.
For the best cleaning results, you should consider using a groove cleaner or blow the dirt and debris out by using air compressor. Lacking these two equipment will not mean a lot as a rag can do the cleaning well, despite needing more time and effort.
You will, obviously, be putting back the bar after cleaning. When doing this, it is important that you put it in the opposite way from how it was when you removed it. This will ensure the wear and tear of the bar is evenly distributed which will translate to a more efficient machine.
- Clean the Machine’s Chain
The general lack of understanding of how to clean a chainsaw chain is borne of the fact that it carries a lot of oil that have leaked and accumulated in the course of its use. After removing the chain, you should first soak it before washing. Place a bucket of water in a basin and add ammonia (a common household cleaning product). To avoid getting chocked with the fumes, consider doing this in a well-ventilated place, probably an outdoor space. You should then allow the chain to soak for at least 20 minutes before removing it.
You should then proceed to cleaning by rubbing a strong brush across all parts of the chain. Do this continuously until you are satisfied that all dirt has come out. Remove the chain from the water and rinse it before drying it using a piece of cloth. For fast drying, consider using air compressor equipment to blow the dirt and water away. This is more ideal if you are in a region with a cool weather, which would otherwise take extra-long for the chain to dry.
Before putting the chain back to its place on the chainsaw bar, you should lubricate it well. Dip it in oil and allow the excess oil to drip before putting it back. Consider using papers as mats to avoid creating more mess in the cleaning area.
- Cleaning Other Parts
Apart from the chainsaw’s bar and chain, dirt and debris will be present in other parts of the machine as well. This includes the power head, spark plug, chain lubrication hole, fuel tank, and carburetor among others. Cleaning these parts will lead to a more functional and efficient chainsaw. However, some of these parts will require more complicated cleaning procedures or may require more technical skills to remove and put back. For this reason, it is advisable that you leave these parts if you don’t have adequate skills to remove, clean, and put them back.
A chainsaw that operates with few technical problems and high efficiency is one that is well cleaned and maintained. The importance of cleaning and maintaining your chainsaw cannot be over-emphasized. It is a necessary and beneficial practice for two reasons; to make the machine more efficient for the long term and to minimize, or even avoid completely, dangers posed by a malfunctioning machine. This article has explained the importance of regular cleaning and maintaining as well as detailed the best processes to follow in cleaning and maintaining. Special focus has been placed on the cleaning of chainsaw’s chain and bar. The reason is to the effect that these are vital parts of the machine and their cleaning procedures are easy and doable by anyone, technical expert or not.