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New guy questions...

Discussion in 'Chainsaw' started by Drew K., Mar 9, 2008.

  1. Drew K.

    Drew K. ArboristSite Lurker

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    So I'm an ex-cityboy, becoming countryboy. I don't know a lot about saws and wood, but I'm learning.

    We've moved out to the middle of nowhere in NC, and I'm clearing a small lot to build my shop (for my other sickness - race cars). I felled and bucked two trees today to get started. These are ALL pines - and 35 to 40 feet tall, about a foot diameter at the base. I have about 10 more trees to go.

    I bought a Stihl MS 290 w/ 20" bar for this job - and it did very well on the first tree - cut very smooth and fast. It seems like the chain become very dull, very quick, however - and that was a bit disappointing. It's still got the Stihl green chain on it that came with the saw. I also noticed the chain needed to be tightened every three or four bucks I made - is this normal? I tightened up the chain until there was no slack, and I could pull the chain up with little force to the wear mark in the drive link (per Stihl manual, and the brief tutorial the Stihl guy gave me). The chain was dull enough to the point that it would scorch the wood, and the tree would smoke a little bit - at this point, I would stop, pull the saw out, and let the wood and saw cool down a bit.

    Is pine wood/pine sap typically hard on saws?

    What am I doing wrong here??? It seems like the chain shouldn't be stretching so much, and get so dull so quick - is pine just that hard on the saw? My old Crapsman saw was much worse, tho, so, so far I'm happier with the Stihl (first saw I've had with bucking spikes on it - makes that job a lot quicker). I'd just like to know what I can do for chain/bar/etc to make it cut better - or could it be my (lack of) technique?
     
  2. stihltech

    stihltech Addicted to ArboristSite

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    dull

    Dull is dull, doesn't matter what kind of chain it is. If you are sharpening yourself, I suggest you do some research on how to sharpen. You may not be removing all the damage when sharpening. This will make the chain dull faster.

    Also, anything other than clean wood is a problem. You say you have a 20 inch bar cutting 12 inc wood. Are you keeping the nose of the bar out of the dirt?

    Common problems any inexperienced ( and some experienced) cutters run into.

    Won't matter what brand you run, problem will be the same.
     
  3. safeT1st

    safeT1st ArboristSite Operative

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    A new chain will initially stretch and require tensioning more frequently. Perhaps you are not tightening the bar-clamp nuts sufficiently to maintain the tension . If the wood is clean your chain should not lose its edge so quickly . Sharpening is not hard to do but takes some common sense and patience . I find it to be easier if I secure the saw to bench or saw horse with a c-clamp judicially placed on the lower portion of handle and underside of bench . Each cutter only needs a few strokes to restore the edge , important to maintain your angles and file equally on both sides . Check your rakers too . Practice and trial and you will find what works well . I have heard of chains been installed backwards ???
     
  4. skytow

    skytow ArboristSite Member

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    Drew,

    If the bar touches the ground, (dirt) even for a second, it will dull SUPER fast. Likewise, if the wood is dirty the same thing happens. You said you dropped standing trees so the wood shouldn't have been that dirty.

    New chains stretch quite a bit for a few cuts. The looseness / stretching should subside. You still need a sharp chain though. Get the chain sharpened or ask the dealer to show you how if you don't know. Also, buy a couple of spare chains so you can swap them when cutting and save the sharpening for a rainy day.

    JD in PA
     
  5. GeeVee

    GeeVee East Coast Champion

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    Consider a log rite stand, so the wood will definitly be out of the dirt.

    And PPE is so important.

    Pine Bark can hold and hide dirt so well, and it truly will dull a chain before you know it.

    Do try and be patient. Powering through (with bucking spurs as leverage)should be tempered with a feel for RPM's and work produced, while minimizing heat buildup.

    (I like to keep a quart bottle (top completely cut off) handy with bar oil in it, and I dip the roller end of the bar in it.

    I try not to be in a hurry.....
     
  6. dgfitz

    dgfitz ArboristSite Lurker

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    Dull chain

    Is your chain getting the oil? Make sure you have oil on the chain, if not, take it to the dealer, I have a pole saw that initially would not oil, the
    dealer immediately warrantied it and had me back on the job. As others
    have mentioned, do not get the nose of the chain in the dirt. Chains
    do stretch, all of them, it is normal, but running a dull chain will definetly
    stretch it too far. For some reason, southern pines (some species) will
    tax your patience on dulling chains, some blame the sap, others the fiber
    of the wood itself, and you just maybe have a grove of those pines.
    I would check and see if the chain is getting plenty of oil first.
     
  7. doubletodd

    doubletodd ArboristSite Operative

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    if your chain was new it must of hit dirt or something to make it that dull, I'm going through the same process, you have to learn how to sharpen saw or have extra chains to drop off at the shop so you can keep a sharp one on the saw, cutting with a dull saw is a waste of time energy, and is dangerous. Also , cutting wood is way more fun when you know how maintain your saw. there are too many things you can do that will wreck a brand new saw. be very particular about fuel mixing. tightening, sharp chains and keep saw clean.
    Have fun:)
     
  8. Drew K.

    Drew K. ArboristSite Lurker

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    The chain definitely touched dirt, more than once. I'll be more careful about that next time. I didn't know it was a chain killer! But I could surely see that being the cause... and it seemed to go dull when I was bucking the first tree, which would be when it touched dirt. The trees have been around quite a bit of moving dirt recently as well (we just had the lot cleared where the house sits).

    The trees were definitely very sappy (the bucked logs had sap oozing out of them after sitting for 1 hour). So I'm sure that didn't help either.

    Oiling appears fine, it went through a tank of oil in the same amount of time it went through a tank of gas. I can feel the oil in/on the bar and drive links as well, so I don't think that is the problem.

    Some of the trees are ~16", that's why I got the 20 inch bar.

    I will build sawing stands to keep the logs out of the dirt and hopefully that will help.

    If I get a couple more chains, how much should they cost? What brands are good? Stick w/ Stihl? Green or yellow? This is why I love internet forums - makes finding answers quick for the new guy, and keeps my frustration levels (somewhat) in check!

    Thanks for all the replies, it's vastly helpful for a new guy like me.
     
  9. Drew K.

    Drew K. ArboristSite Lurker

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    Next question - I think I know the answer, but I just want to be sure.

    I most likely didn't damage anything other than the chain by getting it in dirt? The oiling hole is still clear, bar is still straight (but some paint is gone), and the saw still starts right up. I assume I should clean the bar somewhat thoroughly to remove any and all dirt?
     
  10. WildnCrazyGuy

    WildnCrazyGuy ArboristSite Operative

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    Air compressor works great! Blow all that junk out. Be carefeul if you open the top of the saw. Don't want to blow anything into the carb. Where are you in the boondots of NC?
     
  11. Drew K.

    Drew K. ArboristSite Lurker

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    I'll give that a go. Thanks!

    New house is closest to Cool Springs, which is just east of Statesville. The wife and I are really excited about it, we should be able to move into it in about a month (we're in an apartment in Mooresville right now - just moved here from the NW 'burbs of Chicago, sick of the city areas).
     
  12. doubletodd

    doubletodd ArboristSite Operative

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    I use 3/8 rsc full raker chain, bought an extra when I bought my saw and my backup saw has same set up to make things simple. I bought chains ready to go for now I am keeping it simple. if you are going to try to sharpen your chains there are some good threads here and someone will recommend the right accessories to make it easier. make sure you get the right sze files and file the rakers also. good luck:)
    and don't foget chaps ant helmet!!
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2008
  13. 58hydraglide

    58hydraglide ArboristSite Operative

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    Drew, Compressed air works great on cleaning the bar grooves, but you get a mix of oil in with that dit and sawdust it can get really tight, I use my oxy acetylenet torch tip cleaners and runn them throught he grooves to get them really clean. Also ,The 2 most important factors for happy sawing are 1. Learnign the proper safety and use of the saw (big number 1). 2.Proper maintenance on the saw (including maintaining a sharp chain.) Many a good powerhead has been ruined because of a poor/dulled chain. Hand sharpening isn't that difficult and can be learned easily with a little practice and patience. Good luck and happy sawing .
     
    doubletodd likes this.
  14. Drew K.

    Drew K. ArboristSite Lurker

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    Thanks. I actually have a few of those, as I have a torch in my garage. Good idea. Now, hopefully I haven't already killed my new saw...
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2008
  15. Drew K.

    Drew K. ArboristSite Lurker

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    So here's another one for you...

    Went down to clean up, and fired the saw up... and it didn't do the same thing it did earlier today.

    Full choke, popped it no problem, partial choke... it caught but only ran for 1-2 secs. No choke, it starts and idles, but has a 'boggy' response intially. I gave it just a little throttle, and it would go, give it a little more, it would go a little more... give it full throttle, bog and die. I had to 'sneak up' on full throttle. Once it got there, it went back to full throttle no problem. Seems like it's fine once it warms up... bit it didn't do this until today.

    From what I remember from running 2 cycle racing karts... I would guess that the low speed adjuster is slightly rich, and bogging the saw down. Sound right?

    Also, before (when the saw was literally brand new) it would start on the first pull, EVERY time. (probably started it 10-12 times before it touched wood). Now it takes 3-4 pulls...

    Is this typical of a chain saw engine breaking in?
     
  16. 58hydraglide

    58hydraglide ArboristSite Operative

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    Actually, thats because it is a bit lean and not warmed up yet, It will require a carb adjustment or two as its breaking in.
     
  17. safeT1st

    safeT1st ArboristSite Operative

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    You have to "get to know " your saw . Trouble starting a new saw is probably flooding . Until you do get to know it adhere to the advice from others already posted : keep it clean , keep it serviced , establish a system for your fuel mix as it is way to easy to lose track of whats what and cook the saw ,keep it sharp , do not lend it out . Above all .......think twice every time you run it about doing so safely . Take care .
     
  18. glenn31792

    glenn31792 AboristSite Guru

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    Its nice to have 3-4 chains and an extra bar.
    There is a rumor going around that once and a while a log willl pinch your bar.
    With an extra bar laying around you can unbolt the saw, leave the stuck bar,
    put a new bar on and finish the cut.
     
  19. Drew K.

    Drew K. ArboristSite Lurker

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    Just a rumor??? :)

    That is also a great idea... and I still have the old Crapsman if I really get in a jam.

    How much can a guy expect to pay for another Stihl 20" bar, and a couple of chains?
     
  20. treeclimber jul

    treeclimber jul ArboristSite Operative

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    The 290 was my first saw, good saw:clap: Around here a 20" bar will cost about 40.00 Chain about 26.00 (stihl) Keep with stihl chisel (square corners on outside of the cutters) chain for clean wood. Yellow tab. semi chisel (round outside corners of the cutter) chain works better for dirty wood.
    Welcome and cut safe:chainsaw:
     

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