CHAINSAWS & HOW TO USE THEM for homesteading
Things You Will NeedChainsaw, Chainsaw sharpener, Wedges, Goggles, Mixed gasoline or electric, Bar oil, Nose grease, Wood
Chainsaws come in many makes and models, just like automobiles, and top end makes and models tend to last longer and run better with heavy use, than do the cheaper models. Although cheaper models are more affordable, many times they last only one season of full time use (lower end no name imports). A name brand saw should be able to be purchased used and still have alot of use left in it. With chainsaws you really do get what you pay for if buying new. If it costs more, it is most likely going to run better longer. Also, using a name brand ensures that parts will be easy to find both on the new and used market.
Affordable Light - Medium Duty brands: McCulloch, Poulan, Homelite,Echo
Medium - Heavy Duty brands: Stihl, Husqavarna, Solo
* If you plan to purchase a used saw in good working order you should expect to pay up to 1/3 the cost of a new saw. You should also expect to have to change the fuel line filter and the air filter before using, these are very easy and will improve the performance of your saw immensely and keep it running well. These are common parts to change on a fairly regular basis. During heavy use these should be changed every 4-5 days if you are using our saw for many hours each day.
If you have purchased a used saw you will want to check to see that the saw chain is sharp to your touch. (They usually aren't!) If it is not, it will need to be sharpened, if the cutting teeth have already been sharpened too many times the cutting teeth (the angled blade teeth) will be shorter than the guide teeth (the flat unbladed teeth). If this is the case the chain needs to be replaced before using.
* For those of you with an alternative energy source such as solar or wind power, or if you have
never used a chainsaw before... you may want to consider an ELECTRIC chainsaw for ease of use and lighter weight.
ELECTRIC CHAINSAWS - These are a great way to learn to use a chainsaw, as they come with safety features not usually found on economical gas powered chainsaws. They are not quite as powerful as a gas powered saw. Electric chainsaws are much lighter than their gas powered counterparts, they also shut off immediately when the trigger is released whereas the gas saw continues to idle after the release of the trigger and takes more time for the chain to stop moving. You must however, pay attention to keeping the cord out of the way of the bar and chain and away from yor feet so as not to trip and fall while using the saw.
MAINTAINING YOUR SAW:
You MUST mainain your saw.
1. It must be cleaned out of the accumulating sawdust and bar oil that collects near the sprocket.
2. Be sure to grease the nose, fill your bar oil reservoir before each use, and remember to push the bar
oil button to release oil onto the bar regularly during cutting.
3. If you are using a gas saw, be sure to measure your oil and gas precisely to obtain the proper mixture...DO NOT guess! Make sure that you keep the mixed gas in your can clearly labeled as mixed gas, keep away from flame, and keep the gas free from debris such as sawdust, sand and dirt.
4. Never cut all the way through the wood if it is laying on the ground, as your bar and chain will cut into the dirt which acts as a sandpaper on all of your parts ruining your saw. You should cut most of the way through, then roll the log over to finish the cut or put the log up off the ground but then youhave to be careful of "roll-over" as the saw rolls the log back towards you as you cut.
GETTING STARTED CUTTING ... (You Need A Wood Supply)Your saw is new or new to you and you are eager to put the teeth to the wood, but before you do...
1. Make sure there is nose grease on the nose (this is the tip of the bar where the chain goes around the end).
2. Make sure chain is tight. (Lift up on the chain with thumb and finger and the chain should lift up until the bottom edge of the chain are still in the groove.) If the chain comes out of the groove completely it needs to be tightened. Tighten your chain by loosening the bar slightly the turn the chain adjustment screw (found by the bar near the front or side of the chainsaw) which will move the bar forward thereby tightening the chain. After the chain is tight, tighten the bar back down securely.
3. Be sure the teeth of the chain on top of the bar are facing forward away from the sawyer. Putting the chain on backwards is a common error.
4. Fill gas resevoir with properly mixed gas.
5. Fill bar oil resevoir with bar oil.
AT THIS POINT YOU WILL WANT TO PUT ALL YOUR SAFETY EQUIPMENT ON THAT IS RECOMMENDED BY THE MANUFACTURER OF YOUR SAW, SUCH AS GOOGLES, GLOVES, KEVLAR CHAPS, HARD HAT ETC.
6. Prime the saw with the primer bulb (usually 3 - 10 times per manufacturers recommendations)
7. Pull the choke knob out to full choke , pull the string as many times as needed to get it to sputter.
8. Push the choke in halfway. Pull string again, maybe up to 3 times and saw should start running.
9. Once saw starts to run push choke all the way in and the saw should idle.
Some saws have a button lock which allows the saw to hold the trigger for you.
Once the saw is idling at a steady purr, you are ready to begin cutting!
HOW TO CUT FIREWOOD for homesteading heating and cooking needs...
I cut the logs 3/4 of the way through every 18" or so on down to the end of the log.
Then I roll it over to complete the cuts. When making your 3/4 slices into the log do not cut so far that the log begins to pinch your bar and chain. If your bar is being pinched you are cutting too deep into the log. Now you have 18" long logs in the round. Splitting is now necessary if your logs are more that 6 or 8" in diameter. This must be dont with a splitting maul unless you want to chain to a ripping chain but this is very time consuming and inefficient, get the maul out, split on a very cold day and it is easier.
I recommend 16" - 18" bar on as big of a 40 cc engine or as large as you can affordf. This will be sufficient for the average homesteader. Timber and lumber makers will need to have larger engines, as ripping boards takes alot more effort from the saw than does cross cutting logs.
Tips & Warnings
If you wear ear protection and cannot hear human voices while wearing them be sure to always look by turning just your head, not with your body and saw. You never know when your wife, husband or child has walked up behind you.
Do not use unmixed gasoline
Keep body parts and loose clothing away from the bar and chain while they are in use.
Do not cut standing trees if there are any other individuals in the area. Be sure your area is clear.
Wear safety goggles as there will be alot of flying debris.
Beginners or small framed individuals should use an anti-kick plate and anti-kick chain on thier saw until their muscles and skills are built up.