August 17, 2010

Chainsaws are one of man’s finest inventions. If you don’t agree, just try cutting down a 20-inch oak with an axe. Just as an axe needs to be sharpened and cared for, so does a chainsaw.

I am pretty careful about chainsaw safety, wearing chaps and a helmet, and I try to keep my chains sharp. However, recently I had a chain jump the bar. Chainsaws are one of the most dangerous tools there are, so when a chain jumps the bar, it gets my attention.

When I went to remount the chain, I was a bit embarrassed to see the shape of the drive sprocket. The sprocket was noticeably worn. It was obvious that it needed to be replaced.

I probably could have replaced it myself, but I took it to my local dealer instead. Jeremy, the service technician, pointed out that not only was the sprocket worn, but so was the chain. It was the worn chain, he felt, that had sped the deterioration of the sprocket and the bar that also needed to be replaced.

I realized that saving a couple bucks by sharpening my chain too many times doesn’t pay if it means wearing out other components. I can afford to replace my chains on a regular basis if it means my sprocket and bar last longer.

So give your chainsaw a quick check. If your sprocket or bar is starting to show wear, let your dealer take a look. Check sprocket teeth for wear and the sprocket itself for play. Is the bar groove worn?

The chain can also cause the bar edge to mushroom back on itself. If you have a question, check with an expert. It’s worth it for your chainsaw and for you!

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