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A chainsaw is a tool with a wide variety of uses. From cutting logs into firewood to sculpting foliage in front of your home, in the backyard or in your garden space, a durable chainsaw is a must-have for many people. To be a safe and effective chainsaw operator however, you need to know the basics of how to start your chain saw properly.
This guide will walk you through the necessary steps and teach you how to start a chainsaw safely no matter what model you have.
Stabilize the Chainsaw
An unstable chainsaw is an unsafe chainsaw. Before you can begin using your model, whether you have a gas chainsaw or a cordless electric chainsaw, you must make stability a priority.
Here’s how to stabilize your chainsaw before use:
- Find a safe place to start your chainsaw. Always keep bystanders at a safe distance.
- Place your chainsaw on flat, level ground.
- Check the fuel supply and add fuel if required.
- Check the chain lubricant and the chain tension.
- Be sure the bar is away from all obstacles.
- Place one foot on the rear handle to keep your chainsaw stable during the starting process.
Check the Chain Brake
One of the most important chainsaw safety features is the chain brake, which stops movement of the chain in the event of kickback during operation. The chain brake is activated when the front hand guard, located near the saw’s upper handle, moves rapidly toward the chainsaw operator. When engaged, the chain brake stops the chain from rotating around the saw’s guide bar.
When using a chainsaw, you should always start it with the chain brake engaged so the chain does not move. Check the owner’s manual for your specific model to ensure you understand the operation of the chain brake.
Open the Choke
Starting a chainsaw when the motor is cold requires you to open the choke before operation. Typically, this is the fourth position on the chainsaw’s master control lever. By opening the choke, a richer mix of fuel will be supplied to the engine during starting.
Some chainsaw models use a horizontal squiggle between two clear vertical lines to denote the choke position.
Here’s how this process works:
- Turn the on/off switch to the "on" position and open the choke. This regulates the air-fuel mix to the engine.
- Press the fuel primer button several times if your chainsaw model has one until fuel can be seen in the bulb. When pressed, the fuel primer creates a vacuum that draws fuel from the tank and into the carburetor.
Pull the Start Cord
- Hold the saw’s upper handle with one hand. Use the other hand to pull up on the start cord. Aim for a quick, smooth stroke.
- Push the choke back in halfway when the engine starts to turn over. Pull the starter cord again. You may need to pull the start cord several times.
- Adjust the choke to the “run” position once the engine is running.
- Allow the engine to idle for about a minute to get warm.
- Turn the on/off switch to the “off” position when you’re ready to stop your chainsaw.
- Test the operation of the chain brake just before you’re ready to start cutting. To do this, release the chain brake and allow the chain to turn. Engage the brake and ensure that the chain stops.
How to Start an Electric Chainsaw
Starting an electric chainsaw requires fewer steps than starting a gas-powered model. However, you’ll still need to follow standard chainsaw safety tips.
Most corded and cordless electric chainsaws also require pressing a safety lock button in order to make the switch trigger operational and prevent accidental starting. Check your machine’s operation manual for information specific to your model.
Here’s how to start an electric chainsaw:
- Connect the power cord or the rechargeable battery to the electric chainsaw.
- Place the chainsaw on flat, level ground. Make sure the bar is clear of obstacles and bystanders are at a safe distance.
- Engage the chain brake.
- Engage the safety switch and simultaneously pull the trigger switch to start the chainsaw motor.
- Hold the trigger switch for continued operation.
- Check the functionality of the chain brake to ensure that it works as expected.
- Disengage the chain brake and begin cutting.
- Release to stop the engine. Most electric chainsaws ease to a halt, so you’ll need to stay vigilant when it comes to safety until the unit has fully stopped.
Whether you’re using a gas chainsaw, cordless chainsaw or electric chainsaw, getting your model started is a quick and simple task. Don’t forget to wear proper safety equipment for operation of a chainsaw at home or on the job.
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