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How to Care for and Maintain a Chainsaw

To extend the life of your chainsaw and make sure the saw is in top working condition, follow the maintenance schedule recommended by the manufacturer.

Here are some general care and maintenance tips you can follow:

  • Check the bar and chain oil level often. It is best to do this before each use.
  • Keep the chainsaw chain sharp. This will not only make cutting more efficient, it will also prevent kick backs and increase safety for the person using the chainsaw.
  • Clean debris from the saw after each use.

How to Sharpen the Chainsaw Chain

To keep your chainsaws chain sharp, use a file to sharpen the blades frequently. Filing the chain is not hard to do and is an important part of maintaining your saw. Filing the chainsaw blades often also makes the job easier.

Sharpening the Cutting Teeth

  • Put the chainsaw in a vise or secured so that the saw does not move as you are working.
  • Engage the chain brake.
  • Start sharpening the cutting teeth first. Position the file depth gauge on the chain so that the arrows point towards the chainsaw bar nose.
  • File at a right angle to the chainsaw rollers.
  • File every other cutting tooth using a smooth and even pushing stroke.
  • Turn the saw around so that the saw is facing the opposite direction.
  • Finish filing the other cutting teeth using the same motion as before.

Filing the Depth Gauges

Depth gauges should be filed about every third time you file the cutting teeth. Depth gauges are located between the cutting teeth. Here's how to file depth gauges:

  • Put the file gauge over the depth gauge.
  • Choose "hard" or "soft" depending on the type of wood you normally saw.
  • File the depth gauge until the file comes into contact with the file gauge.

How to Change a Chainsaw Chain and Bar

Once the longest part of the cutting tooth has been worn down to less than 4 mm, it is time to replace the chainsaw chain. Here's how:

  • Remove the chainsaw bar and put the new chainsaw chain in place. Tractor Supply Co. carries a wide assortment of replacement chains.
  • Adjust the tension on the chainsaw chain. The chain should not be too loose because it can come off of the bar during use. However the chain should not be too tight because it will wear down the chainsaw bar.
  • You should be able to pull the chainsaw chain up about 1 cm from the track at the mid-way point on the bar. It should be easy for you to rotate the chain around the bar using your hand.

How to Clean a Chainsaw

Cleaning your chainsaw is an important part of chainsaw maintenance. There are a few parts you should pay special attention to:

  • Locate the clutch cover and remove it.
  • Clean the chain brake band.
  • Clean the chainsaw bar occasionally by using a thin piece of wood or metal and scooping out any debris from inside the track.
  • Locate the cylinder cover and remove it.
  • Wash the air filter.
  • Clear out the cooling fins and air intake if there is debris stuck between the slots.
  • Check the flywheel fins periodically to make sure nothing is blocking the air from cooling the engine.

Other Check Points

For safety and to ensure your chainsaw does not have any mechanical issues that need attention, check the following functions every now and then:

  • Chain brake: 
    Make sure the chain brake is functioning properly by following these steps:
    1. Put the chainsaw on a stable surface
    2. Release the chain brake and squeeze the throttle
    3. Then activate the chain brake by pushing your left wrist against the kick back protection without releasing the handle, this should cause the chain to stop rotating immediately
  • Throttle control
  • Chain catcher
  • Chain lubrication
  • Chain drive wheel should be whole and not too worn.
  • Tighten screws, bolts and nuts if they are loose.