The length of the saw and the guide bar that the chain is
supported by are used to determine the measurement of chain saws. Typical sizes are 16, 18 and 20in for the
full sized models. Thicker trees will require a longer saw and a powerful engine. In theory, a saw is capable
of cutting a tree that is twice its length but sometimes this is not
Every few minutes, your chain and bar will need
lubricating with bar oil (even electrics):
The chained will be oiled automatically by
automatic boilers that have been built into the saw. Keeping the tank full is the only requirement. They can
also have too much or too little oil and have to be drained before storing them.
The saws also have manual oilers built in, but
every few minutes they will have to be pumped manually by the operator.
Smaller, less expensive saws may not have oilers.
They should be oiled manually from an oil bottle or an oily rag can be used to wipe
After use, the chain will become loose and require
tightening. If it is not done, the chain will slip from the bar. People that own cheap saws often complain of
chain tensioners being too fragile and not working.
Gas Chain Saws
If you are going to be working in a forest this is
- They have a lot of power, can drive 20 inch
- They have portability, and the power supply is
independent. Great for using away from electricity and following natural disasters or storms in which
power supplies are cut off.
- Will run as long as there is gas and bar
- It is quite
- Loud and may disturb neighbors.
- Can be hard to start consistently. Does not
have an electric start; needs a firm pull on a cord. User may need to mess around with the choke, and
should be concerned with vapor lock, spark plugs, and flooded engines.
- The engine requires maintenance and needs to be
drained prior to storage.
- At high altitudes, engine adjustments will have
to be made, and some power will be lost due to thinner air.
Many people prefer two-stroke engines because they
are lighter in weight. The user will have to measure engine oil and mix it with gasoline
Electric Chain Saws
Less power but lighter and easy to
- Power and size are limited, 16in max.
- Can be a hazard in wet surroundings because of
the motor which is high voltage and the extension cord.
- The cord may get in your way, and the saw could
- Requires a power outlet, unless a portable
generator is available.
Cordless Chain Saws
Have rechargeable batteries and are very light.
They have even less power.
- Lightweight and easy to
- Requires very little
- Power and size are limited, 4-6in max.
- Will only operate a short time on one charge,
Chain Saw Versus Hand
Keep in mind that any chainsaw can be dangerous,
heavy, loud and dirty. Electrics may leak oil also, and even the top brands may throw the chains.
For those who cannot live without a chainsaw, a
good hand saw should always be available to use as a backup or for small jobs that do not require