If you have just purchased an electric chainsaw, or you are thinking about purchasing an electric chainsaw, there are a few key things you need to know to stay safe. That is why I have put together this excellent guide on how to use an electric chainsaw.
This is all critical information to have before picking up one of these chainsaws. Electric units are quite different from their gas counterparts, they come with different features, and they are a bit different to use.
What is an Electric Chainsaw?
There are two types of electric chainsaws. The first kind of electric chainsaw is a corded unit, and these rely on power from an outlet to function. These chainsaws are best used for work around the house or within range of an extension cord. They do not have the same power as gas chainsaws, but they can be used for longer without needing fuel or batteries.
Then we have cordless chainsaws, which function using the power from a battery. The battery powers the internal motor, which allows you to cut through wood. These chainsaws are extremely portable and can be taken with you anywhere. Cordless chainsaws are generally lightweight, fairly durable, and offer enough power to do some heavier landscaping tasks.
How to Use an Electric Chainsaw
Before you even think about turning on your chainsaw and getting to work, make sure you are wearing all your safety equipment. You can’t learn how to use an electric chainsaw unless you have all the appropriate gear on. You should be wearing chainsaw chaps to protect your legs, safety goggles to protect your eyes from flying debris and sawdust, and a safety helmet to protect your head from any possible injury.
You should also be wearing heavy-duty gloves to better handle your chainsaw, and you should have steel-toed boots on. Keep in mind that even an electric chainsaw can be a very dangerous piece of equipment. You should be prepared for anything, and you should always be safe.
Assuming this is your first time operating an electric chainsaw, we will go through each step one at a time.
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Step 1: Chain Tension
First, you need to make sure your tension is perfect. The chain should fit snugly on the guide bar. If your chain sags or feels loose, you must adjust the tension. An improperly adjusted chain is extremely dangerous, as it can fly off the bar and cause an accident.
To check the tension of your chain, pinch the chain down from the bottom of the bar and then release it. The chain should snap back into the same position. If it does not snap back and remains loose, you need to make the chain tighter. If the chain is too tight and won’t pull down at all, it needs to be loosened.
Step 2: Oil
Before you start cutting, make sure there is oil in the automatic oil reservoir. You will need to check your owner’s manual to see exactly what type of oil is needed. Make sure the reservoir has enough oil in it for your session with the chainsaw.
If you do not fill the reservoir with oil, you will have a very difficult time cutting. It is important to always check the reservoir at the beginning of each session with the chainsaw.
Step 3: Power
Make sure you have power. If you have a corded chainsaw, plug it into an outlet. If you have a cordless chainsaw, make sure the battery is fully charged and then attach the battery to the tool.
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Step 4: Turn On
Now that your chainsaw is ready, it is time to turn it on. Most electric chainsaws are going to come with a safety button. You will need to push and hold the safety button before you can trigger the switch. As soon as the safety lock becomes engaged, you can pull the trigger to activate the chainsaw.
Now you have the chainsaw running. It is important to note that when you are not cutting anything or moving around from place to place, you should keep the chainsaw off and not idling. Because it is electric, you don’t have to worry about the chainsaw not starting, and you won’t need to yank on a pull cord. Electric chainsaws work just by pushing the button.
Step 5: Start Cutting
Cutting is definitely the most complex part of using any chainsaw. All of its other functions are pretty straightforward. It needs power, it needs to have the oil inside the reservoir, and it needs to have the proper chain tension. But cutting is where things get really difficult.
When you make your first cut, you want to make sure your chain is already spinning. Don’t place an idling chainsaw next to a piece of wood and then turn on the power. This is disastrous. You always want the chain to be spinning when you press it against the wood.
To cut through something, you don’t want to force the chainsaw. The chainsaw does not work using force. The chain will cut the wood in its own time using its teeth. All you need is to place firm pressure on the tool while it cuts.
You want to cut through your piece of wood until about 3/4 through, then reduce chain speed by letting go of the trigger slightly and letting up on the pressure. Even if you only have a small amount of pressure on the chainsaw when you get through the other side, chances are you will end up losing your balance and flying forward. You always want to be ready for the end of the cut.
Keep cutting until your job is done. I generally recommend that nobody uses an electric chainsaw for longer than 20 full minutes. You want to take a break every 10 or 15 minutes and let the chainsaw cool down or you might burn out the motor.
It is important to turn the chainsaw off when you are done using it. You don’t want to leave an idling chainsaw sitting around that could cause an accident. When you are finished your job for the day, turn the tool off, let it cool down, and then store the chainsaw safely where small children can’t reach it.