How To Start A Chainsaw Properly

James Lawson
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Starting a chainsaw can seem intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. By taking the time to prepare and properly fuel, prime, and start your chainsaw, you can get your saw up and running in no time.

With the right safety precautions and a little bit of know-how, you’ll be using your chainsaw like a pro.

Let’s get started!

Preparation and Safety Checks

Before you even think about turning on your chainsaw, make sure you’re well prepared and have completed all of the necessary safety checks.

First, check the oil and make sure the levels are full and the oil is at the correct viscosity.

Next, inspect the chain and make sure it’s properly tensioned and sharp. Make sure to check the chain brake and any other safety features that your chainsaw may have.

Finally, wear appropriate protective gear including eye protection, a hard hat, and heavy work gloves.

All of these steps are essential for safely starting and operating a chainsaw.

With all of the safety checks complete, you can now move on to fueling the chainsaw.

Fueling the Chainsaw

Make sure you’ve got the right fuel and oil mix before filling up the tank; it’s essential for a smooth-running engine.

There are two main fuel types for chainsaws: two-stroke and four-stroke. Two-stroke gas-oil mixtures are typically a 50:1 ratio, meaning 50 parts unleaded gasoline to one part two-stroke engine oil. Four-stroke engines are designed to run on regular unleaded gasoline only.

Refueling the chainsaw is a simple process, but there are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. Always use a new, clean container to mix the fuel.
  2. Make sure the fuel you are using is fresh and not expired.
  3. Be sure to always fill up the chainsaw outdoors and away from open flames.

Once your fuel mix is ready and you have all the necessary safety precautions in place, you can start refueling your chainsaw. As you move on to the next step of priming the chainsaw, make sure to pay attention to the manufacturer’s instructions for the best results.

Priming the Chainsaw

Once your fuel is all set, it’s time to prime the chainsaw for operation, ensuring all components are working together in harmony.

To prime the chainsaw, you’ll need to move the chain brake to the off position and pull the choke lever out. Then, press the throttle trigger, which will open the throttle and allow fuel to flow through the carburetor.

Next, press the primer bulb a few times to draw fuel into the carburetor and prime the engine. When the bulb is full of fuel and hard to press, the engine is ready to start.

Once the engine is primed and ready to go, it’s time to ensure the chain is sharp and tensioned correctly.

Make sure you check the chain tensioner to ensure the chain is tight and secure enough to work properly. You should also sharpen the chain regularly with a round file and depth gauge to ensure the cutting teeth are sharp.

Taking the time to properly sharpen and tension the chain is important for your safety and for the performance of the chainsaw. With these sharpening tips and chain tensioning, your chainsaw’s now ready to start.

Starting the Chainsaw

Now it’s time to get your chainsaw running! To do this, you’ll need to make sure the chain brake is off and the choke lever is in the correct position. For example, if you have a Stihl chainsaw, you’ll need to move the choke lever to the ‘Cold Start’ position.

With proper technique, you can start your chainsaw safely. Be sure to always wear hearing protection and keep your hands away from the saw chain.

Before starting, make sure the saw is on a flat, steady surface and that the chain is properly lubricated. Then, pull the starter grip firmly until you feel the engine catch, then switch the choke lever to the ‘Run’ position.

After that, gradually pull the starter grip until the engine is running.

It’s important to know how to start your chainsaw correctly. If you follow these steps and use the proper technique, you shouldn’t have any problem getting it running. If you experience any issues, refer to the next section for troubleshooting tips.

Troubleshooting Tips

If you’re having trouble getting your saw running, take a step back and review these helpful troubleshooting tips.

Firstly, check the air filter, chain tensioning, and spark plugs. If the air filter’s clogged, it won’t allow enough air to get into the engine, causing the saw to run poorly. If the chain isn’t tensioned correctly, it won’t cut properly. Lastly, if the spark plugs are dirty, the saw won’t start or run correctly.

If these areas check out, it may be a problem with the fuel lines. Make sure that all fuel lines and fuel filters are in good condition and that there are no leaks. If the fuel lines are clogged, the saw won’t run correctly.

Finally, check the recoil starter to make sure that it’s functioning properly and that there’s no damage to the starter cord. If the starter’s damaged, it may need to be replaced.

If all else fails, it may be time to take your saw to a professional for a tune up.

Frequently Asked Questions

How often should I sharpen the chain on my chainsaw?

You know the feeling when you’ve got the right tool for the job? It’s even better when it’s sharp and ready to use.

When it comes to chainsaws, selecting the right chain and sharpening it regularly is key to getting the best performance. To maximize the life of your chainsaw, you should sharpen the chain every 8-10 hours of use.

Investing in the proper sharpening tools is essential, as the wrong tools can cause the chain to become dull quickly. With the right tools and regular sharpening, your chainsaw will make quick work of any task.

What type of oil should I use in my chainsaw?

When it comes to selecting the right oil for your chainsaw, the type of oil you choose depends on a few factors.

First, check the sparkplug to make sure it’s clean and functioning properly.

Next, choose a fuel that’s specially formulated to match your chainsaw’s engine.

Make sure to check the chain tension and warm the engine before adding oil.

Additionally, check the air filter to ensure it’s clean and replace it as needed.

Different chainsaws require different types of oil, so be sure to consult your user’s manual for specific directions.

How much bar oil should I use in my chainsaw?

You’re revved up and ready to go, but before you start your chainsaw, take a moment to make sure you have the right amount of bar oil.

Getting the mixing ratio right is important for the safe and effective operation of your chainsaw.

Generally, you’ll need to mix one part bar oil to 50 parts gasoline for 2-stroke engines, and one part bar oil to 25 parts gasoline for 4-stroke engines.

Don’t forget to wear safety gloves when pouring the oil into the gas tank, so you don’t burn yourself on the hot engine.

With the right amount of bar oil, you’ll be cutting through branches like butter.

How do I store my chainsaw when not in use?

When you’re done using your chainsaw, you want to make sure it is stored properly to ensure fuel safety and maintain good chain tension.

Store your chainsaw in a dry, cool place away from any flammable materials, and never store your chainsaw with fuel in the tank.

Make sure the chain brake is engaged, the chain is tensioned, and the guide bar is oiled.

Finally, cover your chainsaw with a tarp or protective covering to protect it from dust and dirt.

What is the best way to maintain a chainsaw?

Maintaining your chainsaw correctly is essential for its performance and safety.

When choosing a blade, look for one that’s designed to fit your chainsaw model and will provide the best cutting performance.

It’s also important to ensure that the blade is sharpened to the correct angle and tension.

Additionally, you should fuel your chainsaw safely, taking care not to overfill the tank or expose the fuel to any sources of ignition.

Regularly cleaning and lubricating the chainsaw is also important for optimizing its performance and reducing the chance of any malfunctions.


Now you know how to start a chainsaw properly. Just make sure to do your safety checks, fuel and prime it, and get it running.

With over 50 million chainsaw users in the U.S. alone, it’s important to practice safe chainsaw operation. Always wear the proper safety gear, read the manual for your chainsaw, and pay attention to the safety instructions.

If you do, you’ll be able to use your chainsaw safely and efficiently. With a bit of practice, you’ll be a chainsaw pro in no time!

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