• In this video, This Old House landscape contractor Roger Cook and chainsaw expert Tim Ard cover safe and efficient chainsaw cutting techniques.

    1. Be sure to wear the proper safety gear while chainsawing, including a hardhat with face shield and hearing protection, thick work gloves, ballistic-nylon chaps, and non-slip work boots.
    2. Fill the chainsaw with gas/oil mixture; refer to the owner's manual for the correct proportion of gas to oil.
    3. Add bar-and-chain lubricant to the saw's reservoir.
    4. Check the tension of the saw chain. While wearing gloves, pull the chain away from the bar and release it. It should snap back, but still move freely around the bar. Tighten or loosen the adjustment screw, as necessary, to properly tension the chain.
    5. Be sure the chainsaw's safety features are operating properly, including the throttle interlock, chain brake, and chain catch.
    6. Use a chainsaw file with guide to sharpen the cutting teeth on the saw chain.
    7. An option to filing is to sharpen the chain using a grinding-stone attachment.
    8. Fasten the grinding-stone attachment to the tip of the bar. Start the saw on the ground, then push the point of the sharpener against a log. Hold it there for three to five seconds while running the saw to sharpen the chain.
    9. When cutting a long log, use the saw's bar to measure and mark the log into 16-inch-long sections.
    10. Saw three-quarters of the way into the log, then rotate log and complete the cut. Be careful not to cut into the ground or have the tip come in contact with a nearby log.
    • Difficulty: Moderate
      Using a chainsaw safely requires practice and patience
Ask TOH users about Power Tools

Contribute to This Story Below

      Video Directory

      Selected Topic/Section

      Tools List

      • chain saw
      • chain saw
        File with sharpening guide, for hand sharpening the saw chain
      • chain saw
        Grinding-stone attachment, for power sharpening the saw chain

      Shopping List

      Hardhat with face shield and hearing protection

      Thick work gloves

      Ballistic-nylon chaps

      Work boots