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Be it for trimming hedges, felling trees, or doing some cleanup after a storm, a chainsaw has become an indispensable gear.
Many people now decide to purchase their own chainsaw instead of hiring one from a local supplier.
Before you take the plunge into buying one, here is a brief but helpful presentation of four types of chainsaws, safety level, maintenance tips, and an overview of the basic guidelines regarding the choice of the right bar size for your task.
If you have trees or branches to cut, a chainsaw saves you time and effort. Make sure you find the one that’s right for you.
There are four types of chainsaws cordless, electric, gas, and pole saws.
Cordless chainsaws are battery operating and ideal for light work such as trimming branches and cutting up small logs around your yard.
They are lightweight, portable, and easy to operate and are the quietest and the lightest ones on the market.
They do not require much maintenance and offer great mobility, which ensures a smooth and uninterrupted workflow.
If you are willing to buy one, you will have to consider buying models with battery systems that are compatible with other tools in the same product family for convenience.
Electric chainsaws are also easy to start and operate and require very little maintenance. They do however need an outdoor outlet and an extension cord and the correct amperage, but they will give you constant power great for upkeep around the yard. These units are also lighter and less noisy than gas chainsaws.
Gas chainsaws are heavy duty portable units that are good if you have sizable trees to cut.
If you need to handle larger diameter trees on a homestead, a gas-powered chainsaw will suit your need just fine.
Keep in mind however that they can be challenging to start. Unlike cordless or electric chainsaws, these models require regular maintenance for proper performance and are both noisier and heavier than cordless or electric models.
Pole saws are lightweight chain saws on the end of a long pole. They are powerful and comfortable to use.
Their most important feature is that they offer an extended reach of branches and leaves that are inaccessible and allow you to work from different positions.
There are three types of pole saws: cordless, electric, and gas. They also come in a range of bar lengths. The bar length ranges between 4 inches to 12 inches. The choice of the right bar length depends on the kind of task you are willing to do.
Now that you have chosen the proper type of chainsaw, you might be wondering what size bar you need?
A frequently raised question has to do with the bar length. Most people wrongly believe that the longer they go with the bar size, the better or even quicker they will get the job done.
In fact, you should not always go for that choice as it might prove dangerous in certain cases.
Here is a glimpse of different bar saw sizes and what you can use them for:
Pruning limbs – 6 to 10”
Pruning small branches or trees with relatively thin branches
Removing branches – 8” to 12”
Removing branches from larger trees at home
Splitting firewood – 14’’ to 16”
Splitting logs into firewood
Felling small trees – 12” to 14”
Cutting down small trees in a yard or garden
Felling medium trees – 16” to 18”
Cutting down medium-size trees
Felling large trees – 20″ and larger
Much more suitable for professionals, but if you’re experienced enough can handle a larger chainsaw safely, shoot for a guide bar that’s at least 20’’ long.
A few more questions to consider
As you know, there is a large variety of timber. The first question to ask is what you need a chainsaw for.
Will you be cutting hardwoods such as oak and walnut trees or softwoods such as evergreen conifers?
That’s a good question to ask to help you determine which one to buy.
There are three measurements that will help you to identify the right chain for your chainsaw, namely: the pitch, the gauge, and the drive links.
The pitch is the measurement that defines the linkage on the chain. To get the pitch you need to divide the distance of the three rivets into 2.
You don’t have to utilize this formula to get the pitch of the blade as the machine comes in the following sizes: 1/4, 3/8, and 325 only to name a few.
The pitch measurement of a saw tells a pro user about the overall size of the saw chain. Usually, a larger pitch indicates a heavier and bigger chain.
The most common pitch used by professional saw users in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska is the 3/8.
It offers great flexibility, low weight adequate speed and good running speed when run on today’s RPM high pro saws.
Keep in mind that the pitch of the chain, the pitch of the drive, sprocket and the pitch of the bar tip must all match.
The number of drive links should be known if you want to get the right kind of chainsaw blade.
The act of counting drive links is done manually. They are the soul of a chainsaw due to their direct influence during cutting.
These links ensure the smooth and effective rotation and movement of the chainsaw teeth. Every chainsaw bears these drive links on it.
It is found on the guide bar of a chainsaw chain and it is also mentioned in every user manual.
This does not mean it’s a difficult task to count the drive links of your saw chain, this is easily done by taking off the chain from the guide bar of the chainsaw.
This element is characterized by the drive links’ thickness. It is determined by measuring the portion of the drive link that fits into the groove of the guide bar.
It is usually expressed in thousands of an inch: 050 or 063. The gauge measurement of a saw chain tells a pro user about the strength of a chain’s drive links.
Thicker drive links are usually stronger, but they are heavier. Weight affects performance, so in order to maximize cutting speed, weight should be kept to the minimum.
Several years ago, the 063was the most popular, today the trend is shifting toward the 050.
One more thing to consider is the guide bar measurement. A guide bar is measured from the front of the saw to the tip of the bar.
This measurement should be done only when the guide bar in on the saw.
In the coming section, we’re going to be showing you some of the basics for operating a chain saw correctly but more importantly safely.
One of the most useful tools that have been used by many people from different professions is a chainsaw, which alleviates the hitherto daunting task of cutting