FAQ's Chainsaws

We have put together some useful FAQ's about Chainsaws.

FAQ's Chainsaws

HOW OFTEN DOES MY CHAINSAW CHAIN NEED SHARPENING?

That depends on what you are cutting, green or dry timber, and the type of wood.  Australia has some very hard timbers such as jarrah, karri and sheoak.  Chainsaw chains are designed to cut clean timber.  Dirt, sand, rocks, nails and charcoal etc will dull a chain almost instantly. But even if you are cutting clean wood/timber, over time, the chain will eventually dull.  It is not uncommon for a skilled chainsaw user to sharpen their chain in between re-fuels.  If you have to push down on the saw to cut through your timber then your chain is due to be sharpened.

HOW LONG DOES A CHAIN LAST?

That also depends on a number of factors including what you are cutting. Cutting with a dull chain will cause the chain and bar to overheat from the increased friction, causing the chain to stretch prematurely.  Poor quality chain and bar lube (ie. sump oil) will also cause the chain to overheat and stretch prematurely. A new chain can be destroyed in a couple of cuts if rocks, sand, charcoal are hit with the cutters. 

HOW OFTEN SHOULD I GET MY CHAINSAW SERVICED?

Preventative maintenance is often a lot cheaper than the inconvenience of a break down or component failure. For best results we would recommend an annual service after you have finished using the saw for the season.  Servicing that you can do at home includes cleaning your air filter, changing a spark plug, sharpening your chain, flushing debris from the fuel and oil tanks, and general cleaning.

WHY CAN I NOT USE MY OLD SUMP OIL AS CHAIN /BAR LUBRICANT?

Dirty / old sump oil has had all of its lubricating and viscosity properties used up through lubricating internal engine components.  This is why it has been changed out of the engine. It will also contain contaminates from the engine such as microscopic engine particles and carbon, which are abrasive (the opposite of what your chain and guide bar require). Chain and bar lube is quite viscous and contains a tactifier to stop it flinging from the chain, which helps to lubricate the chain and guide bar and extend the life of your cutting equipment.  We would only recommend using a quality bar and cutter lubricant.

Your chainsaw chain can move at up to 100kph. Good quality bar and chain oil will stay on fast moving chain. Sump oil and normal engine oils will fly off the chain as it moves around the bar tip.

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST FOR YOU TO SHARPEN MY CHAIN PROFESSIONALLY?

If you bring the chain into our shop off your saw, our average chain sharpening price ranges from $13- $16.00, depending on the number of cutters. We are happy to remove and re fit your chain to your saw for a small additional fee.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF GETTING MY CHAIN SHARPENED PROFESSIONALLY?

Not many people are able to keep consistent with their chain sharpening.  Over time, maybe after 3 to 4 sharpens, people will naturally sharpen one side of their chain better than the other. This leads to uneven cutter length, causing the saw to cut unevenly (“cut around corners”). When we sharpen your chain professionally we will reset all your cutters so they are an even length, and set the depth gauges (rakers) to the manufacture’s specifications, ensuring you get the best out of your chain.

WHY WON’T MY CHAINSAW CUT STRAIGHT, EVEN THOUGH I HAVE JUST SHARPENED MY CHAIN?

There are a number of factors it could be, the most common causes being uneven sharpening or a worn guide bar.  Bring your chainsaw to Star Sales where we would be more than happy to inspect your saw and advise what is required to rectify the problem. Most times you may just need your guide bar trimmed /dressed and your chain professionally sharpened or replaced.

WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES OF RUNNING 2 OR 3 CHAINS IN ROTATION ON MY CHAIN SAW?

As your chain wears it stretches. As it stretches, the “pitch” of the chain changes. Your drive sprocket and nose sprocket will wear to match the pitch of the stretched chain. If you ran one chain until it was worn out or too stretched to be adjusted any more, your sprockets would be quite worn as well and might need replacement. Fitting a new chain to worn sprockets will prematurely stretch the new chain – the new chain will stretch to the worn “pitch” of the old sprockets as the chain drive links try to mesh with the worn sprockets. If you run 2 or 3 chains all the components wear evenly extending the life of your sprockets and guide bar.  The same principal applies to motorcycle chains and sprockets - when a chain is worn out you replace the sprockets as a set.

WHY SHOULD I NOT USE CHEAP GENERIC BRAND 2 STROKE OIL IN MY NEW HUSQVARNA CHAINSAW?

“IT HAS WORKED FINE IN MY OLD CHAIN SAW FOR 10 YEARS. CAN’T I JUST ADD MORE OIL TO COMPENSATE FOR QUALITY?”

Oil technology has developed a lot over the last 10-15 years, as have emission standards. To meet emission standards, modern quality chainsaws are designed to run leaner than older models, which means they run hotter. Generic brand oils may not be designed to operate at the temperatures and rpm of modern two stroke chainsaws.  Furthermore, lower quality oils do not have the lubricating properties and will leave carbon residue on the piston, cylinder and exhaust ports, causing decreased engine performance and premature failure of vital components. To ensure a long trouble free life out of your modern two cycle engine, we strongly recommend using only high quality two stroke oil designed for air cooled high performance engines. Recommended oils are Husqvarna HP or Husqvarna premium LS two stroke oil.

As a general rule, most 2-stroke engines these days use a 50:1 fuel mix. This is a mixture of 2% oil in the fuel or the same as 100ml of oil in 5L of unleaded petrol. The only exception in the Husqvarna range is chainsaws over 65cc engine capacity. The recommended ratio for larger saws is 33:1 (3% oil or 150ml oil in 5L unleaded petrol)

IS IT OK TO PUT LESS OIL IN MY FUEL MIX OR GUESS THE QUANTITY?

This is strongly not recommended as you will more than likely cause premature failure to engine components.

HOW DO I START MY CHAINSAW WHEN THE ENGINE IS COLD?

The general cold starting procedure for a Husqvarna chainsaws is…

  • Pull the blue choke lever out - see Note 1 below. This also moves the red on/off lever into the “on” position.
  • Press the primer 3-8 times (this will not flood the saw).
  • Pull the starter until the saw fires. 2-8 pulls is normal. Saws with a primer should take less pulls.
  • Push the blow choke lever in (off position) - see Note 2 blow
  • Pull the saw until it starts (normally 2-3 pulls)

Note 1 – pulling the choke lever out (on position) also activates a “fast idle” function. The saw will be revving and the chain spinning when it starts from cold. As a safety recommendation, It is OK to start the chainsaw with the chain brake engaged so that the chain does not spin.

Note 2 – if you keep pulling the saw after it fires with the choke in the out (on) position, you will flood the saw.

Note – some older saw might be different.

HOW DO I START MY CHAINSAW WHEN THE ENGINE IS WARM?

The general hot starting procedure for a Husqvarna chainsaws is…

  • Push the red on/off switch to the up/on position.
  • Pull the saw until it starts. 2-3 pulls is normal.
  • Do not press the primer.
  • Do not pull out the blue choke lever. The choke should be left in the off position to avoid flooding a hot saw.

Note – some older saw might be different.

WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I THINK I HAVE FLOODED MY C/SAW?

I recommend avoid flooding your chainsaw, but sometimes accidents happen.  The first thing to do is to go and get a beer, catch your breath back, drink your beer and try again. Basically, you should try to start a flooded saw by activating some throttle and leaving the choke in the off position. The procedure for most newer Husqvarna saws is…Activate the chain brake, then put saw into fast idle mode by activating then deactivating the choke mechanism, activate the decompressor (if equipped) and pull starter as per normal. The saw should then start, but will probably blow a fair bit of smoke until it clears itself.  If this procedure does not work for you, I would recommend bringing your saw to us  so we can  clear out the excess fuel and get your saw up and running.

HOW LONG DO 2-STROKE OILS LAST FOR?

Two- stroke oil will last for a couple of years when it is not mixed with petroleum.  Once mixed with petroleum we would not recommend keeping for more than 3-4 months in a sealed air tight approved storage container.

I HAVEN’T USED MY CHAINSAW SINCE LAST SEASON AND IT WON’T START. WHAT COULD BE WRONG WITH IT?

There could be a number of problems, especially if your saw still has the same fuel in it from last season. Modern day fuel last a maximum of about 6 months in storage before it deteriorates to a point where it affects the starting and performance of your machine. The storage time depends on a few factors but smaller amounts of fuel will deteriorate more quickly especially in chainsaws, lawnmowers, brushcutters etc. 

Stale fuel is fuel that has oxidized. As fuel oxidizes it can turn to gum and clog fuel system components and carburetor parts resulting in poor stating and running characteristics. Stale fuel can also damage fuel system components, such as fuel lines and carburetor diaphragms, causing them to perish or harden.

The first thing to do is flush your fuel tank with a fresh 2-stroke fuel / oil mix, purge the system with the primer if equipped, and attempt  to restart saw. If you don’t succeed, I would recommend taking your saw to Star Sales & Service for assessment and repair.  The saw may require a carburetor service and/or the fuel lines replaced.

To extend the storage life of your fuel, we recommend using a fuel stabilizer. We also recommend running your chainsaw until it runs out of fuel prior to storage.

HOW OFTEN SHOULD I FILL MY BAR/CHAIN OIL RESEVOIR?

Every time you refuel your saw you should be topping up your chain oil . A lot of chainsaws are equipped with an adjustable oil pump to increase/ decrease the amount of oil getting onto your cutting equipment.  Generally this will only need adjusting if you are running a longer guide bar than usual or cutting extremely dry timber. Chainsaw manufactures generally design oil tank size so that you use one tank of fuel mix to one tank of oil (or sometimes less oil than fuel) . If your saw is not using any chain oil, I would recommend taking your saw to your local service agent for inspection as there may be a fault that need repair.

WHY SHOULD I STORE MY FUEL IN A SEALED APPROVED CONTAINER?

Petroleum absorbs moisture, even over a short period of time, so even between refuels we would recommend sealing your fuel container to avoid contamination.  Moisture (water) is heavier than fuel and will separate, then not combust in your engine and cause starting and running issues. Water is also more viscous than petroleum and will not pass through the vital carburetor components causing reliability issues.

HOW MUCH 2-STROKE OIL DO I ADD TO MY FUEL?

Most modern day chainsaws get best performance from a 50:1 fuel mix ratio - that is 2% oil or 20ml of quality two stroke oil per 1 litre of fuel.  Some larger capacity saws over 65cc may require a 33:1 (30ml of oil per 1 ltr of fuel) or even 25:1 (40ml per 1 ltr). This is because of the much larger surface area that is needed to be lubricated. There is no advantage of running a 25:1 fuel mixture in a small capacity  saw as all you will achieve is breathing a lot more smoke from the exhaust and decreased performance as the fuel mix is actually thicker (more viscous) making it harder for the piston to move up and down in the cylinder. Excess oil will not combust completely and carbon up your cylinder ports and the saws spark arrester in the muffler.

Some old fashioned people still think a 25:1 mix should be used in all two stroke machines. This is simply wrong. It will not extend the life of the machine but it will result in more smoke, a blocked muffler and excessive carbon build up. As a matter of fact, there are very few 2-stroke machines that require more than a 50:1 mix (even Victa lawnmowers) as long as a good quality 2-stroke oil is used. We recommend Husqvarna 2-stroke oil in all brands of machines because we know the quality of the oil and know it has been rigorously tested.