Chain Saws

by The Carpenter

As with any major power tool there are a number of variations and options when choosing the right chain saw, not only for the job but for the worker as well. Picking the right chain saw is not just about how well it will work for your specific purpose, a chain saw is one of the most dangerous power tools and safety is a big issue when selecting yours.

You need to know how much you will be using the chain saw and what kind of trees you are going to cut with it. This will help you select the bar length. A shorter chain saw is best if you are only trimming branches or small trees of just a few inches diameter. A longer bar will be needed for cutting full-sized mature trees.

Chain saws can be powered two ways. For light use or occasional lawn and garden trimming, an electric chainsaw may work best. These are quieter, lighter, less expensive, and easier to maintain although not nearly powerful enough for daily professional use. They are also limited to location as you can go no further than the limit of your longest extension cord.

Gas powered chain saws usually have a two cylinder motor that uses a special gas/oil fuel mix. These chain saws are noisy, bulkier, and heavier but provide many advantages as well. They can be used just about anywhere and are more powerful and rugged than the standard electric chain saw. Make sure the design of the chain saw provides a high center of gravity.

Besides checking the balance and feel of a chain saw to fit your physical capabilities, make sure to pay close attention to the various safety features. Most common are such additions as a chain brake to automatically stop the saw in the event of a kickback. Make sure there is an adequate hand guard. This lever in front of the handle is also designed to cut power in a kickback. Make sure there is also an appropriate chain catcher along the bar to prevent a broken chain from flying up at you. Be sure the chain saw has a shielded muffler. Not only will this protect your hearing but also helps direct heat exhaust from the engine from burning your hands.

Other features you may want to look for, especially if you will be using the chain saw a lot, either professionally or in obtaining a winter’s worth of firewood, is an automatic oiler for the blade. A visible fuel and chain oil indicator will make routine and necessary maintenance easier and contribute to a longer life for your chain saw. An anti-vibration system can make long hours of use less debilitating on the operator. Check to see that the spark plug and air filter is easy to reach and service. If you live or work in a very cold climate, the added expense of a heated handle might provide comfort much greater than the added cost.

Even if you have decided you can save money by purchasing your chain saw online, it would pay to still visit a store so you can physically inspect the model you are wanting. This way you can see that it does fit your hand and strength. Don’t forget to check the warranties that come with the chain saw of your choice and never try to save a few dollars buying a used chainsaw. You will most likely be inheriting someone else’s problems and the cost of bringing it back up to safe working order may be more than you would have paid for the new one.

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