Q&A / 

Chainsaw Quick Start Guide


Chainsaws are dangerous. They’re also fantastic tools. It’s absolutely astounding how much wood you can cut in a short time with one.

I’ve used chainsaws for over 40 years and never had an accident. I have had two close calls, but that’s because I did something STUPID. 

There are two categories of chain saws: gas-powered and electric.

Both of them work very well, and they’re designed for different people. I’ve used both types of saw and just recently used my electric saw to trim off the bottom of my fresh-cut Christmas tree. It cut the thick trunk like a hot knife through butter.


I’ve rated this guide five hammers out of five because you’ll be working with a dangerous tool, even if it’s an electric saw.

If you’ve never used a chainsaw before, I urge you to take a class offered at a specialty store that sells these marvelous tools.

Watch the video below unless you’ve come here from YouTube having already watched it.

Be sure to look at the RELATED CONTENT links at the bottom of this page. Lots of goodies there for you.


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  • STOP AND READ all the safety instructions that come with your new chain saw.
  • Look in the owner’s manual for the section that talks about pinched chainsaw bars. If you pinch the bar cutting a giant log, you could be in a world of hurt if you’re alone and need help.
  • A dull chain is dangerous and it overworks the saw. Keep blades sharp, but understand how to sharpen them. It’s not easy.
  • Always wear all the recommended safety gear. Chaps are very important. My father-in-law nearly died one day in the woods because he cut his leg with a chainsaw. Chaps would have prevented that accident.
  • Gas-powered saws offer the most versatility. You just need gasoline and oil.
  • Electric saws are perfect for those with a small house, urban setting and just need a saw for occasional work. Electric saws cut as well as a gas saw, they just are a little slower. Rarely will you find a power outlet deep in the forest.
  • Gas chainsaws come in a multitude of sizes. It can be very confusing buying one. Talk to a specialty store clerk or study online reviews if you don’t know exactly what you need.
  • The chains spinning on the chainsaw bars NEED oil. When you stop to fill the gas tank, always fill the oil reservoir at the same time. If you have an electric saw, stop every five minutes to see if the oil needs to be replenished.
  • Cutting standing trees is exceptionally dangerous. If you’ve not done this before, STOP and get advice from a pro. Watch videos produced by pros. Trees have enormous amounts of potential energy stored in them. This energy can and will cripple or kill you or a person nearby if you make a mistake.
  • Celebrate your Victory!

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Column QSG014


6 Responses to Chainsaw Quick Start Guide

  1. yours today video of chain saw,,,, your machine or program or workshop are overworked or your internal drive is worn out and needs replace because is slipping etc,
    anyway yours on video and script on chain saw are excellant, thanks, but there is nil sound almost none, so when you get that fixed pls send again to me so i can hear it,
    keep in mind i dont hear well (am 84y)

    and thanks for keeping this site available, i am a guy who knows it all but reading yours always amazes me to read and learn some new stuff, thanks

  2. Your VDO was short and to the point. The graphics had just enough humor along with the walk off into the woods. I have a hearing loss just at the same frequency as my wife's voice, :-), she claims I'm faking but I have the doctor's report. Having said that, I found no problem with the sound on the VDO, nothing I couldn't fix by turning up the volume on my speakers. The saws seemed to work just fine to me. My electric works as well as yours and I don't believe either one has defective parts. I can't say the same for myself, knees are much older than the rest of me, I can't explain it. I blame the knee problem on Global Warming and the Hole in the Ozone.

  3. Tim,
    Would you please also address the quality and usefulness of a battery operated chainsaw.

    Thank you,

    • I just bought a Worx 16" electric chain saw and it has a wonderful feature. It has a large knob on the side that loosens or tightens the chain with just a twist. I had a lot of trees and limbs come down in the recent ice storm so I have used it more than usual and I only had to tighten it once, but the hassle free tightening was such a joy. It seems like it is built well enough to hold up.

  4. Hi Tim, love your videos. Always directly to the point. Could you do one on proper technique of chainsaw chain sharpening? It is difficult to master and often end up cutting on an angle because I sharpen one side better than the other.
    Thanks, Marc

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