Anybody that has ever had to clear a neighborhood road after a severe ice storm topples a few over-sized trees knows the importance of having chainsaws that are in good working order. Knowing how to properly take care of the chainsaw can mean the difference between being able to quickly get the job done, or having to break the fire ax out because the chainsaw has locked up and become inoperable.
First and foremost, it is important to remember that chainsaws require a certain mix of oil and gasoline in order to run properly. Too many people ignore the documentation that explains how to properly mix fuel for the machine, and while chainsaws may be able to run on fuel that is either too heavy or light on the oil, this can cause the motor to have a reduced lifespan.
Realize that on all chainsaws, regardless of make and model, the most important moving parts are the chain itself and the rail that the chain rides on during operation. For every hour or two of steady use, it is important that the chain be cleaned so that it is free of debris that could otherwise impede its motion. If a big enough piece of discarded material gets caught between these two metal surfaces, it can create too much resistance, which can decrease the lifespan of the motor.
Similarly, it is very important that for every three to four hours of use, the cutting surfaces of the blade itself must be sharpened. For most chainsaws, this can be done easily with a rat-tail file, but it is important to make sure that the machine is completely turned off before attempting any sharpening of the blade, otherwise it is possible for injury to occur. A properly sharpened blade will mean that the chainsaw will be able to pass more easily through the material that is being cut, which means that not only does the job get done more quickly, but less stress is placed on the equipment itself.
The third important aspect of chainsaw maintenance is lubrication. Direct metal on metal contact creates a lot of wear and tear, especially on a device with as much torque as a chainsaw. Using proper lubrication on the moving parts of the blade is the best way to ensure that it continues to function reliably year after year. Many modern chainsaws will have a mechanism built-in that delivers oil to the blade, and will have a simple reservoir that must be refilled every so often. If this is not the case, then an acceptable substitute would be to apply automotive oil to the blade directly.
A chainsaw is a machine, and like any other machine, it requires proper maintenance. A good chainsaw, when properly taken care of, can provide steadfast service for many years.