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First things first. 10 vital things to know before using your chainsaw Follow

1. Read your manual: We cannot stress enough how important this is, particularly with a machine as complex and potentially hazardous as a chainsaw. It is not cool to avoid the manual or instructions, it is foolish and a lot of problems can be avoided buy doing this simple thing. make a cup of tea, sit with your feet up and read it. 

2. Oil and Fuel: If you have purchased a petrol saw you will need to fill it with oil and fuel. It is likely to be a two-stroke machine, so you will need to mix the fuel and oil carefully. Try this link for more information on the oil and fuel and 2-stoke engines in general Basics of the 2-Stroke Engine

3. Safety Features: You must familiarise yourself with the chainsaw's safety features. All chainsaws have them and they can save your life or limbs. Here is a brief pictorial guide to the safety features you should look out for, with a key below.

 

A - Chain brake/hand guard - the guard stops the chain hitting your hand if it breaks and this guard nearly always doubles as the chain brake lever. The chain brake stops the chain moving in emergencies. (see more details below)

B - Location of chain catcher - catches chain if it breaks, protecting operator

C - Nose sprocket - helps prevent kickback and eases chain around the curve of the chain bar

- Throttle safety switch - the throttle is operated by the trigger (E) but it cannot drive the chain unless this switch is also being pressed. This prevents accidental starting.

E - Trigger - works with throttle as a 'double-operation' safety trigger

F -  Rear hand-guard

4. Other Controls: Familiarise yourself with all the controls of your chainsaw, not just the safety features. Have a look at the guide here for more detailed information A Pictorial Guide to The Main Features of A Chainsaw

5. Chain tensioning. Check your manual and makes sure the chain is at the right tension. This is a very important task and you should always do it before you start

6. Chain Lubrication: The chain has to be lubricated in order to work eland efficiently and safely. follow your manual to see how to lubricate the chain. Some chainsaws have automatic chain lubrication bit, even so ALWAYS check first. Here's how. 

  1. Start the saw
  2. Hold the saw over a white surface without touching it
  3. Rev the engine
  4. If a line of oil is left on the surface, the chain is lubricated correctly

7. Chain Brake Check: You should have already identified the chain brake. There is a procedure for checking its function, which should be carried out EVERY time you use it, not just the first time. For details, check your manual thoroughly or go to your manufacturers website. Do not skip this stage. It is very important.

8. Safety Clothing: Don't even think of starting your chainsaw without first putting on at least the minimum of safety clothing. If you didn't buy any. Go and buy some. This is important and, again, can save life or limb. The VERY MINIMUM we recommend is helmet and gloves but preferably trousers / chaps too for all round protection. If sawing regularly for longer periods awe would recommend heavy duty boots, preferably steel capped.  To see the full range of chainsaw safety clothing available. Try here Safety Clothing

9. Nuts, Bolts & Screws: They are unlikely to be loose, but it pays to be careful. Check they are all correctly tightened. This is a safety precaution. You do not want to switch.

10. Course: Think very hard about taking a brief chainsaw safety or operation course. This will give you more confidence to use your saw safely and efficiently.  

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