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Author Topic: Maintaining a Chainsaw--Tips Please  (Read 3468 times)

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Offline GaTrapper

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Maintaining a Chainsaw--Tips Please
« on: January 24, 2016, 07:42:56 PM »
Hey Y'all,

In preparation of the winter storm that hit us this weekend, I went out and purchased my first chainsaw. I purchased a Stihl MS 311.

I've read about how to break in the saw and flipping the bar after every sharpening.

I am running Stihl's orange bottle oil mixed with ethanol free gas.

Can y'all please give me some more information on how to keep the saw clean and maintained?

Can you also recommend a top notch filing kit or sharpening system to use?

Thanks,
GaTrapper

Offline beenthere

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Re: Maintaining a Chainsaw--Tips Please
« Reply #1 on: January 24, 2016, 10:48:53 PM »
Welcome to the Forestry Forum.

Good on your saw purchase.

I don't flip the bar over after every sharpening... But after several, I will do that. Then again, I usually touch up with a file after every tank of fuel. I don't let the chain get dull, before I sharpen it.

The filing "kit" that I use is a Husqvarna pferd roller to position the round file and with a gauge to lower the rakers with a flat file.
Pic here.

south central Wisconsin
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Offline sandsawmill14

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Re: Maintaining a Chainsaw--Tips Please
« Reply #2 on: January 24, 2016, 11:58:09 PM »
welcome to the forum :) i only flip the bar over when i have to pull chain off usually to replace :)
hudson 228, lucky knuckleboom,stihl 038 064 441 magnum

Offline Ianab

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Re: Maintaining a Chainsaw--Tips Please
« Reply #3 on: January 25, 2016, 01:28:31 AM »
Flipping the bar regularly isn't necessary, it doesn't wear down that fast.

But it does wear MUCH faster on the bottom where the cutting pressure and tension from the sprocket are applied. So if you NEVER flip it over, eventually it wears out at that point. Meanwhile the top side of the bar is practically new. Means you have only gotten 1/2 the life out of it. By flipping it over a few times over it's life, you wear out both sides evenly, and get the full use out of it.

You can do this any time you have the bar off for cleaning or chain replacement. Make a mental note of which side is up, and reinstall it the other way. If you miss, and don't swap it over until next week, no big deal.

Sharpening is the most important thing to learn. Like Beenthere, I prefer a file and guide, although mine is a different design. But they mean you can set up on a tree stump and touch up your chain any time it needs it, and that's usually several times a day.

Other folks like a bench mounted grinder set up, and will carry several spare chains and just swap them out as needed, then resharpen the whole bunch when they get home. Fair enough.

Apart from the fuel / oil mix, which you seem to have sorted, keeping the saw clean is about the only other thing. Air cleaner, check for chips building up in the engine cooling fins, and take the bar off occasionally and clean out the chain groove and oil channel. Sometimes you get fine dust building up in there, mixing with the bar oil, and turning into gunk that blocks the oil to the bar and chain. That will soon stop you cutting, and chew up your bar. If the chain ever starts to smoke, check for that problem first.

While not a "pro" grade saw, the MS311 has a good reputation for reliability , and makes a good part time / firewood / farm saw. Look after it and it will run for years.

As no one else has mentioned it, make sure you have the safety gear too. Several threads in the Safety forum about what happens when you don't, and some happier ones where the user has only sliced open a pair of chap, and not their leg. Storm cleanup is one of the trickier situations to use a chainsaw, lots of bits of wood laying in random directions, potentially under tension. So be especially careful and look things over carefully before you cut anything.
Weekend warrior, Peterson JP test pilot, Dolmar 7900 and Stihl MS310 saws and  the usual collection of power tools :)

Offline ZeroJunk

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Re: Maintaining a Chainsaw--Tips Please
« Reply #4 on: January 25, 2016, 02:10:18 AM »
The biggest problem that most occasional users have is letting the saw sit for a year or years and then expect it to crank when they need it to. You need to start one every few months and clean the buggers out of the carb. Either buy fresh gas or some of the canned mix that has a two year shelf life. As far as flipping the bar over just keep the paint wear even and you will be fine.

Offline thecfarm

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Re: Maintaining a Chainsaw--Tips Please
« Reply #5 on: January 25, 2016, 06:03:19 AM »
GaTrapper,welcome to the forum.
Sharpening a chain takes a little getting use too. Try to keep it out of the dirt is a big thing. Don't hit any rocks either. The chains that I buy have witness marks on them. Keep both edge of the tooth the same length of these marks and the chain will cut good. Good luck and buy the safety equipment you need. There is ALOT to running a saw.
Model 6020-20hp Manual Thomas bandsaw,TC40A 4wd 40 hp New Holland tractor, 450 Norse Winch, Heatmor 400 OWB,YCC 1978-79

Offline Ward Barnes

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Re: Maintaining a Chainsaw--Tips Please
« Reply #6 on: January 25, 2016, 07:02:20 AM »
Working in a big box store I see my share of first time/occasional users.  I take my time with them (if they let me).  The women will listen to me and buy the safety gear, helmet, chaps, eye protection etc.  Some of the men will.  I get the usual, "I don't plan to get into and accident".  "Did you wear your seat belt driving to the store"?  "Yes", "Were you planing on getting into a traffic accident"?  One guy accused me of just trying to increase the sale.  No, "I'm trying to save your life".

The cost of safety gear is much cheaper then a trip to the ER.

Remember a chainsaw cuts at 120 stitches per second.  God Bless, Ward and Mary.
7 year old Stihl MS 390.  New Stihl trim saw MS 250.  Kubota BX 2200 tractor.  2005 F150 4X4.
Dull chains cause accidents.  Accidents cause shorter life spans.
You don't sharpen a chain when it gets dull.  You sharpen a chain to keep it from getting dull.

Offline GaTrapper

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Re: Maintaining a Chainsaw--Tips Please
« Reply #7 on: January 25, 2016, 08:24:31 AM »
I have eye and ear protection. Next time I go to my Stihl dealer I plan on picking up some chaps.

Offline Hilltop366

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Re: Maintaining a Chainsaw--Tips Please
« Reply #8 on: January 25, 2016, 08:34:45 AM »

Remember a chainsaw cuts at 120 stitches per second.  God Bless, Ward and Mary.

I've never heard it said better than that.

Offline Jiles

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Re: Maintaining a Chainsaw--Tips Please
« Reply #9 on: January 25, 2016, 01:03:15 PM »
Don't know your chainsaw experience but MANY years ago, when I bought my first chainsaw, my elderly boss gave me some great advise.
He suggested that I ALWAYS keep my left elbow locked!
 I catch myself always doing this and there is no dought it has saved me a lot of grief. 'Many times the saw has kicked back and bar went straight up or out!
Of course  you can't always keep your elbow locked in certain situations, but you can in many.
Now for my opinion-----I flip the bar regularly when chain is off. Like rotation tires. I also use FRESH Premium non-ethanol gas and I add StaBil when I unload off truck. After a month or two, I buy fresh.
When my saws will not be used for three or more months, I warm engine dump all gas and run the engine dry.
For shorter set intervals, I fill tank completely full.
I always blow chainsaw off completely after every use.
After a saw has been in use for many hours, I remove the fan shroud and chain cover and give a thorough cleaning with air.
I am not OCD--I just take care of my tools!
Satisfy needs before desires

Offline GaTrapper

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Re: Maintaining a Chainsaw--Tips Please
« Reply #10 on: January 25, 2016, 01:15:02 PM »
Thanks for the helpful information Jiles!

Offline Magicman

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Re: Maintaining a Chainsaw--Tips Please
« Reply #11 on: January 25, 2016, 01:31:42 PM »
Welcome to the Forestry Forum, GaTrapper.
Knothole Sawmill, LLC     '98 Wood-Mizer LT40SuperHydraulic   WM Million BF Club Member   WM Pro Sawyer Network

Never allow your "need" to make money to exceed your "desire" to provide quality service.....The Magicman

Offline XP_Slinger

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Re: Maintaining a Chainsaw--Tips Please
« Reply #12 on: January 28, 2016, 10:26:29 AM »
  Welcome to the forum :) 

    One thing I didn't see mentioned in previous posts was greasing the bar nose.  I give it a couple pumps of grease every time I stop cutting to refill the gas and bar oil.  You have to keep it greased or the bearing will get hot and things get worse from there.  Regards and happy cutting.
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Offline nuke1

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Re: Maintaining a Chainsaw--Tips Please
« Reply #13 on: January 28, 2016, 10:55:27 AM »
thats good  advice and information  , i liked the OCD ref' lol , but on the other we put out saws on the lift gate every morning and ck plugs chains and give them a good cleaning with an air gun
neil

Offline beenthere

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Re: Maintaining a Chainsaw--Tips Please
« Reply #14 on: January 28, 2016, 11:00:20 AM »
  Welcome to the forum :) 

    One thing I didn't see mentioned in previous posts was greasing the bar nose.  I give it a couple pumps of grease every time I stop cutting to refill the gas and bar oil.  You have to keep it greased or the bearing will get hot and things get worse from there.  Regards and happy cutting.

I've read on FF that greasing the tip is not recommended. Tips I have now do not have a grease hole.
south central Wisconsin
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Offline XP_Slinger

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Re: Maintaining a Chainsaw--Tips Please
« Reply #15 on: January 29, 2016, 06:18:16 AM »
  Welcome to the forum :) 

    One thing I didn't see mentioned in previous posts was greasing the bar nose.  I give it a couple pumps of grease every time I stop cutting to refill the gas and bar oil.  You have to keep it greased or the bearing will get hot and things get worse from there.  Regards and happy cutting.

I've read on FF that greasing the tip is not recommended. Tips I have now do not have a grease hole.

You're correct, there are some bars that don't have grease holes but the ones that do need to greased
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Offline Ada Shaker

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Re: Maintaining a Chainsaw--Tips Please
« Reply #16 on: January 29, 2016, 04:28:17 PM »
Pretty much I like all the comments from above. Not lubricating the bar tips????????? Pretty much reminds me of sealed bearings. Many modern bearings are impregnated with lubricants, their steel structure are similar to honeycomb pattern and release lubricant (self lubing) under heat and pressure. Maybe that's what their using now on bar tips??????? Sthil doesn't hurt to use a little extra IMO, as I'm a little old fashioned in some ways and like to see what I'm doing. IMO, one of the most important aspects of chainsaw maintenance is keeping it clean. Woods contain some nasty stuff, CLA (clean, lube, adjust) I say ranks the top of my list for chainsaw maintenance like most other tools. Clean as someone suggested blowing air and a brush works well, for long stints I also like to use a solvent to remove tannins and the like, as wood carries all sorts of things. Lube, after a good clean it pays to give it a good lube even if it is just with WD40 or similar, it is a corrosion preventative, especially if using a solvent to clean (I usually find a bit of fuel and a smallish brush works well and readily available). Adjust, Turn bar over if need be, sharpen chain/adjust rakers, ensure it's oiling well, etc.... For longer storage I drain the fuel tank, I use an old 4L/5L oil container as it has a handle and spout, cut open one of the sides (clean well), pour in fuel mix from chainsaw, and pour back into your fuel container/drum, (In fact you should do this every time the saw will not be used). Then run the chainsaw for a few secs to ensure the carby is free from fuel. Good luck and welcome.
If it hangs to the left, your likely to be a Husqvarna man.
If it hangs to the right, your likely to be a Stihl man.
Anything else is an uncomfortable compromise.
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Walking with one foot on either side of a barbed wire fence can become extremely uncomfortable at times.

Offline Jiles

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Re: Maintaining a Chainsaw--Tips Please
« Reply #17 on: January 29, 2016, 05:18:20 PM »
With any bar that I have had dealings with, if there are tiny lube holes, they need to be greased, usually when flipping the bar.  On bars without these holes, lubrication of tip is provided with chain lube from the bar groove.
I don't believe in "lifetime lubrication" in situations such as this--for instance, I occasionally grease the clutch bearing and it gets some chain oil.
Satisfy needs before desires

Offline XP_Slinger

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Re: Maintaining a Chainsaw--Tips Please
« Reply #18 on: January 30, 2016, 06:18:20 AM »
With any bar that I have had dealings with, if there are tiny lube holes, they need to be greased, usually when flipping the bar.  On bars without these holes, lubrication of tip is provided with chain lube from the bar groove.
I don't believe in "lifetime lubrication" in situations such as this--for instance, I occasionally grease the clutch bearing and it gets some chain oil.

I also grease the clutch bearing during my annual clean up.  Probably not needed but I when I tear my Saws down for a thorough cleaning it's easy to do so why not.  Like others have stated I also suffer from a bit of OCD with regard to keeping my saws clean.  After a day of use, at a minimum I  pull the top cover and recoil then blow everything out with compressed air.  Is this required?  No, just something I do.  I like to keep my tools clean.  Especially expensive ones like chainsaws which is easier for me to do than a full time woodsman because I don't use my saws every day. 
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Offline John Mc

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Re: Maintaining a Chainsaw--Tips Please
« Reply #19 on: January 30, 2016, 08:47:01 PM »
I probably haven't greased the sprocket on the tip of a bar in 10 years. Have not experienced any problems with them either.

Once you do grease them, however, you need to keep greasing them to flush out the dirt that the grease has attracted.
If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.   - Abraham Maslow


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