How to sharpen and clean a chainsaw

How to safely use a chainsaw

Personal protective equipment. The first and most important is to get the right gear. Get a hard hat, slip resistant and cut protection gloves, cut retardant or steel toe boots, eye-protective goggles and chaps with around 8 layers of cut-retardant material. In short, you need to have eye protection, ear protection, long pants, gloves, chainsaw chaps, sturdy boots and a long sleeve shirt. Ensure that you are not wearing loose clothing.

Now that you are well clothed, take a keen look at your working area. Ensure that there are no bystanders and keep clear of anything that might get damaged.

One thing that most homeowners forget is that they operate the tool over shoulder height or on a ladder.

Before using your chainsaw, it’s important to check it first. Ensure the chain is not loose and that everything is intact and nothing missing.

Using the chainsaw

Chainsaw operations are divided into three- limbing, bucking and felling.

Limbing- removing branches from a downed tree.

Bucking- cutting the trunk of the downed tree to desired length.

Felling- cutting the tree in a controlled manner so that it falls where expected.

Starting the saw

To safely start a chainsaw, place the chainsaw on the ground and between your legs. Ensure the chain brake is engaged and that the choke is closed with the start switch on. Next, pull the start control out to the ON position. The third step will involve pulling the starting handle with your right hand until the saw fires. Step four involves pushing the choke in and pull again. When the saw starts, you will need to squeeze the throttle quickly to disengage the high idle. Turn off the ignition switch to stop the saw.  

When handling a chainsaw, maintain good footing, keep good balance by not overreaching and watch for tripping hazards. Keep your left hand including the thumb firmly around the front handle.

How to deal with kickback and pinching. Kicking occurs when the top corner of the bar is pinched or hits a hard object.

Chainsaw general maintenance

In order for the saw to continue serving you, you need to observe general maintenance. Here are some of the things to keep checking on your saw.

Regularly inspect the bar and clean it.

Check the chain tension every time you use the saw and adjust as necessary.

Check the air filter and clean or replace if need be.

Always check and follow the manufacturer’s manual and especially on using the right fuel.

Observe and check the operation of the throttle lockout, oiler and chain catcher.

How to sharpen the chain

Its always good to keep the chain sharp. Check the manual on how to sharpen the chainsaw. Some chains are not to be sharpened manually as they require a specific sharpening device.

Should you decide against hiring a professional to do the sharpening and do it yourself, make sure that you are wearing heavy work gloves. The first step is to secure the bar and activate the brake to ensure that the chain is locked. Sharpen the cutting teeth and when done, turn the saw to file the other teeth. After finishing with the teeth, file the depth gauges with a flat file.