How Chainsaws Operate

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Home Improvement

The Motor

A bird’s eye view of the engine.

Once all the cover plates are removed, what remains is the bare engine, as depicted in these two images:

A base perspective of the engine.

As seen in these photographs, a chainsaw is essentially an engine that has some cover plates bolted onto it, a handle for holding it, and a chain and bar for cutting. The engine is the primary structural component that everything is bolted onto!

The major components shown in the pictures above include:

  • The engine itself, which is mainly visible as the aluminum combustion chamber covered in cooling fins.
  • The flywheel, which houses the blower for engine cooling and the magnets for the magneto.
  • The magneto
  • The air intake (which connects to the carb)
  • The spark plug
  • The spark arrestor/muffler
  • The centrifugal clutch
  • A small oil pump that lubricates the chain

These three videos will assist you in comprehending the engine:

  • Tour of the engine (10 MB)
  • Explanation of the intake and exhaust ports (7.3 MB)
  • Explanation of the crankshaft and piston (3.7 MB)


1. What is a chain saw?

A chain saw is a portable mechanical saw that uses a rotating chain to cut through wood, plastic, and other materials. It is commonly used for tree felling, limbing, pruning, and cutting firewood.

2. How does a chain saw work?

A chain saw is powered by either a two-stroke or four-stroke engine. The engine drives a clutch, which engages the chain that is wrapped around a bar. As the chain rotates, it cuts through the material being sawed.

3. What are the parts of a chain saw?

A chain saw consists of several parts, including a bar, chain, engine, clutch, carburetor, fuel tank, chain brake, and starter. The bar is the long, flat part that the chain wraps around, and the chain is made up of metal teeth that do the cutting.

4. How do you maintain a chain saw?

To maintain a chain saw, you should regularly clean the air filter, sharpen the chain, check the spark plug, and change the oil. You should also keep the chain tensioned properly and replace any worn or damaged parts.

5. How do you start a chain saw?

To start a chain saw, you should first make sure the chain brake is engaged and the saw is on a stable surface. Then, you should prime the engine, set the choke, and pull the starter cord until the engine fires. Once the engine is running, you can disengage the choke and start using the saw.

6. What safety precautions should you take when using a chain saw?

You should wear protective gear, such as gloves, eye protection, and hearing protection, when using a chain saw. You should also make sure the chain brake is engaged when starting the saw and when carrying it around. Never operate the saw above shoulder height or near other people.

7. What types of chain saws are available?

There are several types of chain saws available, including gas-powered, electric, and battery-powered models. Gas-powered saws are more powerful but require more maintenance, while electric and battery-powered saws are quieter and easier to maintain.

8. What is the best chain saw for a beginner?

A small, lightweight electric chain saw is often the best choice for a beginner. These saws are less powerful than gas-powered models but are easier to handle and require less maintenance. They are also quieter and emit fewer fumes.

9. Can you sharpen a chain saw chain yourself?

Yes, you can sharpen a chain saw chain yourself using a file guide and round file. It is important to maintain the proper angle and depth when sharpening the teeth to ensure optimal cutting performance.

10. How long does a chain saw chain last?

The lifespan of a chain saw chain depends on several factors, including the type of wood being cut, the condition of the chain, and the maintenance of the saw. With proper maintenance and sharpening, a chain saw chain can last for several years.

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