The chainsaw. Probably one of the most popular tools on the planet. It’s undeniably a handy tool to have around the yard—and let’s face it, it looks cool. But before you go out and buy your brand new toy, you should probably take some time to consider a few things beforehand…
Whether you’re having a dabble at chainsaw carving, trimming some hedges or you’re thinking about becoming a professional arborist, for the love of God be careful. It doesn’t take a pro to tell you that it’s not a piece of machinery to be messed with. That might not be the most technical way of putting it, so I’ll let the experts at Husqvarna tell you how it is:
“Working with chainsaws can be dangerous if not used properly. In order to avoid accidents and unnecessary strain, make sure you’re using correct working techniques, the best possible safety equipment and a modern chainsaw with functioning safety features”.
Did you read that carefully? USE A MODERN CHAINSAW! Don’t use some old, mangled piece of questionable machinery you found at the back of your shed. Your touch-and-go old chainsaw might not work like it once did, and the consequences could be catastrophic. It’s also worth noting that you should only use your chainsaw when necessary. A chainsaw’s sole purpose is to cut through extremely tough things using an electronic rotating chain (Cutting trees, pruning and harvesting firewood to name a few). Some can even cut through brick, concrete and natural stone!
So now we’ve established that your chainsaw is not your first point of call when you’re struggling to cut your toasted baguette. Here’s some safety equipment that you’ll need to chop those trees down in a safe, maintained manner:
A must have in the chainsaw world. Don’t be the homeowner that overlooks the obvious. There are a few different types to choose from, anti-vibration, cut resistant, just have a look and work out what kind you need.
Protective Head Gear
If you like your eyes and ears, you’ll want to invest in as much protective head gear as possible. Glasses and earmuffs are two essential pieces of safety equipment you’ll need whilst operating your chainsaw. Grab yourself a helmet while you’re at it.
Protective Trousers & Forestry Jacket
Look, it’s better to be safe than sorry. If you get yourself some safety trousers and a decent body proof jacket you’re going to be covered for all occasions.
They may seem like obvious purchases, but you’ll be surprised how many people operate machinery without the correct safety gear. I know it gets a teeny bit hot out here in Australia but that doesn’t mean you can prune your hedges in nothing but your swimmers. You need to be appropriately dressed!
You’ve bought your chainsaw, you’re really happy with it and it’s cutting that firewood exactly how you dreamed it would. A few months into your new hobby it breaks. You don’t fancy paying heaps for some professional chainsaw guru to fix it for you, and you’re feeling like doing a bit of DIY! (No judgement here, we love DIY). So where do you begin?
Firstly, address the issue. Here are a few common problems and where to look:
“My chainsaw won’t start”
Your first point of call would either be the spark plugs or the carburettor. Take your spark plugs out and check if they’re cracked or damaged in any way. If they are, replace them. Similarly, if they haven’t been changed in a while it’s probably worth getting some new ones. If your spark plugs are looking good, check the carburettor. It could be blocked by some sticky old fuel that’s been building up inside. If you have some thick, yucky substance stuck in there, buy some carburettor cleaner and give your chainsaw some well deserved TLC.
“My chainsaw starts then stalls”
Again, check the carburettor and spark plugs. Stalling is caused when the engine either doesn’t get enough or gets too much fuel. If the plugs are drenched in carbon deposits, your chainsaw fuel mix could be too thick. You can often control how much fuel the carburettor emits into the combustion chamber by twisting one of the adjustment screws. Again, if this doesn’t work and you feel like you’re fighting a losing battle, you can always get a new one.
“My chainsaw won’t stop turning“
If you are struggling to turn your chainsaw off you need to be extremely careful. The last thing you want is to injure yourself or others. If the blade won’t stop turning, the problem could potentially lie with your clutch. If the clutch pads break, they won’t retract the springs and so the chain won’t stop. You can buy a removal clutch toolkit that will fit on to the clutch mechanism pretty perfectly to help you.
At the end of the day if you’re unsure about anything chainsaw related you can always take your problems to the professionals. There is no point in taking it to pieces and causing more damage than necessary. But whatever you do, do it safely!