How Do Chainsaws Work?
With the advancement in technology, portable chainsaws have helped revolutionize the timber industry. These machines have made cutting and felling trees easy and efficient. Previously, cutting a tree required an army of lumberjacks to keep up with the demands of timber harvesting and processing.
The fact is that trees form a very important part of our ecosystem. At the same time, people depends on them for wood, building materials and as a source of energy. For this reason, people have always sought efficient ways of turning trees into whatever it is they really need, and a chainsaw is just one of these useful cutting tools.
Today, there are several types of chainsaws each of which work differently. To answer the question of how chainsaws work, we first of all have to take a look at the individual functionality of each type of chainsaw and then we will be better able to highlight and answer the common question people have about chainsaws which is how do chainsaws work.
Gas Powered Chainsaws
A gas powered chainsaw is the most powerful of all chainsaw types. This machine turns gasoline into power that eventually facilitates the cutting of trees. Gas powered chainsaws are a type of chainsaw that are popular with professionals and occasional chainsaw users.
They are generally considered the most powerful and at the same time they can suffer from reliability issues if not maintained and serviced regularly. They have two-stroke or 2-cycle engine which uses a mixture of gasoline and oil to run. The oil is required to lubricate internal parts of the machine while the gasoline is required for combustion.
As we have already stated, these machines have a two stroke engine that gives the chainsaw a higher power-to-weight ratio. That is the reason why they are usually powerful and they are efficient for heavy duty tasks and for cutting over an extended period.
These machines are idea for heavy-duty work. If you have a lot of trees in your garden that you want to cut and maintain, then you should perhaps choose a gasoline machine. The other thing worth noting is that gas-powered chainsaws cut through large trees and turns logs into firewood easily within minutes. They also come with a range of bar lengths to meet the requirements of your cutting tasks. The others thing about gas powered chainsaws is that you will not be confined or restricted into one area as is the case with corded electric chainsaws.
How Do Gas Powered Chainsaws Work?
A gasoline chainsaw consists of a series of chisel like blades which are built into a chain which is later wrapped around a thin long metal bar called a guide bar. They have a small engine that is gas powered which provides the power required to rotate the chain and cut the wood. The engine has a gear wheel sprocket connected to it. The chain wraps around this and this gear wheel rotates the chain after the engine is ignited to facilitate cutting.
The chain has about 30 or more teeth arranged at set intervals. These teeth are made from strong steel alloy for strength and durability and they are used for cutting the wood.
The fuel you put in the machine contains energy in its raw form. This gasoline fuel is where the energy comes from to fell a tree or turn a log into firewood. The engine has a capacity to hold 0.5 litters of fuel. This gasoline fuel is fed through the carburetor which mixes it with air. After this, they pass into a cylinder which works the same as those that are fitted in car engines. However, the cylinder in this case only has two-stroke action as stated earlier.
In the cylinder, the air mixture is ignited by a spark plug through a process known as sparkling. It is burnt to release its energy. This is the energy that pushes a piston back and forth. After this, there is a connecting rod and crank which converts the back and forth movement of this piston to rotary motion. The other thing is that the drive shaft takes power to the centrifugal clutch which controls the on/off movement of the chain for safety.
One thing that the majority of people don’t know when starting off, is that the engine runs all the time as long as you have started it. However, you don’t have to keep the chain spinning unless you are cutting wood. In a gasoline chainsaw, the gears carry power from the clutch to the sprocket that holds the chain. And that’s how the chain rotates.
On the other hand, you should be aware that gasoline powered chainsaws are heavier and they also produce more vibration. They also require regular refueling and servicing compared to other chainsaw types.
Corded Electric Chainsaws and Battery-Powered Rechargeable Chainsaws
Today, Electric motors are everywhere, replacing the long known gasoline engines. Corded Electric and Battery Powered chainsaws use an electric motor to turn the chain. These machine are light weight and easy to use. However, they are suitable for cutting small trees. One of the main reasons why people are turning to electric powered chainsaws is because they produce less noise and environmental impact. What this means is that they are ideal for use in noise sensitive areas and in built up areas.
Recently, these two machine types are starting to gain popularity especially among farm owners and gardeners. They work well for those people who are looking for an easy to operate but powerful machine to prune and trim trees in their garden and for firewood processing around the home.
The two types of electric chainsaws are corded and cordless chainsaws. Corded electric chainsaws are connected to a source of current and for this reason, they are essentially confined to a specific area where power is available through electricity. They are ideal for use together with an appropriate extension lead. Most of the models available in the market today have a power of up to 15Amps which makes them ideal to perform most gardening tasks.
One main disadvantage with them is that they need to be used in a specific range. They aren’t portable and for this reason, they cannot really be relied on in a case where you are operating in an area where there’s no electric connection.
Cordless type Rechargeable chainsaws are powered by a rechargeable battery. Technology has now made it possible for a rechargeable chainsaws to last for up to 4 hours operating with a single charge. Most of cordless machines in the market today use Lithium Batteries. These batteries don’t require much maintenance and they are also high energy units. What this means is that they are able to operate for longer between charges. Most of the batteries used range in power from 20V to 40V. Generally the higher the voltage, the more power they have.
Electric chainsaws are lighter when compared to gasoline powered chainsaws. They are also quieter and are pretty easy to clean and operate. Unlike most of the gasoline machines today, electric powered chainsaws are easier to start too. You just have to press a button and everything will be okay and dependable.
How Do Electric Chainsaws Work?
I bet our ancestors would have loved these electric powered machines. You only have to flick a switch and you get instant power. Although most of the people would think that the idea behind electric motors is difficult and complicated to understand, their functionality is really simple. In its most simple terms, you connect one end of this chainsaw to an electricity source and you get instant labor saving power at your fingertips.
When you connect the machine to an electricity source, it causes a magnetic response which will eventually move another rod. This rod will start rotating and eventually give out the motion needed to move the chain.
Battery operated rechargeable chainsaws are portable and for this reason, you can carry them everywhere. A fully charged battery will keep supplying the much needed current to keep the chain rotating for an adequate amount of time. Any time you are using a cordless chainsaw, you need to ensure that you have spare batteries. This will confirm that you will remain cutting for the longest amount of time.
Manual or Pocket Chainsaws
Manual chainsaws also called Pocket Chainsaws have been around for some time now. They are ideal for people especially those who don’t have access to gas powered or electric powered chainsaws. However, they are not a replacement for these types of chainsaw. They can help you when you are going camping for example. In fact it is advisable to have this type of chainsaw in your car every time you are moving from one place to the other especially if you live in a heavily wooded environment.
They are usually used by home owners for yard work, survivalists, hunters and outdoor enthusiasts. They are an ideal tool to have at your disposal for those tasks that don’t really lend to setting up a regular chainsaw in order to just cut a small branch or two. The device itself comes complete with the chain saw blade, handles and the connection hooks. A manual chainsaw don’t have an engine and for this reason, you are the source of energy.
How Do Manual Chainsaws Work?
Manual chainsaws neither use gasoline nor electricity and no they don’t use magic either. They use the good old tried and tested power source that is human beings. One thing about them is that you may not find them being sold by chainsaw suppliers and for that reason, you may have to source your own. You can also make your pocket chainsaw too by using a saw chain and other easily accessible materials.
In simple terms, a pocket chainsaw means using a chain to manually cut wood using your own hands and effort. Many people use this method to cut firewood or trim branches especially if they cannot afford a more expensive option. Pocket chainsaws don’t have a gasoline or an electric powered energy source. The benefits of these pocket chainsaws are they are super quiet, cheap and they also don’t require a lot of maintenance.
As you may expect, you are the engine here and the only source of energy. Although they are cheap and functional, they are actually also very tiring especially if you aren’t used to manual work. They are cheaper by their inherent simplicity but the fact is that they need a lot of energy and are not as efficient for wood cutting.
A Pole Saw refers to a small saw which is attached to an extension pole. It is actually used to boost your reach for trimming and cutting small tree branches high up. Although they cannot be categorized as chainsaws, they function almost in the same way as chainsaws. They are related in some aspects and there are even some pole saws that can be charged like regular chainsaws they are essentially rechargeable pole saws.
How Do Pole Saws Work?
Some pole saws can be battery operated, corded or even gasoline operated. There are some people that argue pole saws are more powerful than their electric counterparts and for this reason, they are used for pruning thicker branches. They are not quite. As a matter of fact, they make a significant amount of noise and they also vibrate.
Pole saws are just ordinary chainsaws that work in a similar way to gasoline or electric operated chainsaws. For this reason, their energy requirement are also similar, they have a guide bar where the chain is attached. When the engine is started, the chain rotates facilitating the cutting process.
What to Consider When Buying a Chainsaw?
We have already discussed the four categories of chainsaws and we bet you are now wondering what you should consider before buying any of them. Well some of the main factors include:
The Intended Use
As we have already said, different chainsaws have different power outputs. For this reason, you should choose a chainsaw depending on the intended final use. Some larger chainsaws are ideal for professional loggers and others are ideal for occasional users. If you want to use your chainsaw to fell big trees, then you should choose a gas-powered chainsaw. If you are an occasional user, then go for a corded or cordless rechargeable chainsaw.
Level of Experience
The other main factor is your experience level operating chainsaws. If you aren’t an experienced chainsaw user, then you may consider going for the electric/battery powered chainsaws. They are less risky to operate and also do not require a huge amount of experience for small trimming and pruning tasks.
Different chainsaw brands have different price points. What this means is that if you want to have a chainsaw for your garden on a budget, then you can go for the cheapest saw, however, you should be ready for a less powerful machine with questionable build quality and customer service.
The Bottom Line
As we have already mentioned, there are various different categories of chainsaws. There are also Different Chainsaw Brands in the, market today all offering different features and benefits. For this reason, you need to take a little time to determine what it is you want and research accordingly. The other thing that you should bear in mind is that chainsaws are one of the most dangerous small machines of all time. For this reason, you should consider safety features and Personal Protective Equipment before you finalize any purchase.
Hopefully this article will better explain the different types of chainsaw available and increase you level of understanding on which on may be of greater benefit to you in your tasks ahead. Please check out the Rechargeable chainsaw blog for more useful posts and also check out the guides and references section too for more useful information on rechargeable chainsaws and chainsaws in general.
Thanks Folks and Happy Cutting!