Starting From Cold

Following the new video about starting your chainsaw, I mentioned that we'd have a look at a couple of things brought up in the video. So, to begin, here's a few pointers to watch out for when starting the saw. Find out more after the jump...

The sequence used for cold starting should include those safety checks:

  1. Chain Oiling: make sure the chain is being lubricated.

  2. Chain Brake: the chain brake must work properly before you use the saw.

  3. Chain Creep: the chain should remain stationary whilst the chain brake is off and the engine is idling.

  4. On / Off Switch: ensure that the off switch really does kill the engine

But, we're getting a bit ahead of ourselves here, as I want to take a quick look at positioning and how to hold the chainsaw.

To my knowledge, there are no left-handed chainsaws which means that whether you're left-handed, or right-handed, the hold on the saw is the same - left hand on the front handle, right hand on the rear (or top) handle. This mean that when you start the saw, it's probably easier to keep hold of the front handle and use your right hand to pull the starter cord. Get your right heel on the rear hand guard and either adopt the 'crouching' or the 'kneeling' position. Try to put a little bit of weight on the saw just to stabilise it whilst you pull the starter cord.

Naturally, you could start the saw in the standing position, which you might want to do if the ground conditions prevent you from getting down on the floor. In this case, make sure that you've got a firm grip on the rear handle by using your legs to hold it in place.

For many occasions however, starting on the floor will be the easiest and most comfortable option. Make sure that you don't start the saw right next to your stash of fuel - keep that well away from the saw unless you're refuelling. Try to choose level ground, clear of any debris that the chain could flick up whilst you do the safety checks; and ideally maintain a safe working distance of 5 metres during the startup procedure.

Once the saw has been started, you'll hear that it is essentially idling very high, but as the chain brake should will be on, it'll also sound a bit strained too. You need to give a quick squeeze on the throttle in order to get the idling down to normal levels. However, if you're still in the 'correct' position, then you'll find that you can't your hand to the throttle as your foot is in the way; use this as a prompt to take up position behind the saw. You can crouch down, or kneel down, but if you elect to kneel only do it with one knee; having both knees on the ground will restrict your movement in the event that you need to get out of the way.

So, where are we in the proceedings? Well, the saw is ticking over nicely and you've adopted a comfortable position behind the saw; try to keep your head out of the line of the bar. You're ready to do the safety checks, so in the next post we'll take a closer look at the chain lubrication.

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