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Chain Saw inspection?

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  • Chain Saw inspection?

    I have a growing debate in my department and I was wondering if anyone might have some input. Recently one of our members on his moring inspections had an accident involving a chainsaw where the bolts that hold on the bar had loosend and the bar came off striking him on the leg. Luckily no major injuries were caused, only a few minor cuts( cant tell that to him). We use Stihl saws and have had no problems in the past.

    So we are looking more closely at our inspections. Things we are looking at?

    1. Should we run them every shift? Is it nessasary?
    2. How long should we run them?
    3. Is this the saw to use? We all know that we put the machines through some pretty demanding tests, nothing the manufactuer probably anticapated.

    Thanks for your help

  • #2
    Recently one of our members on his moring inspections had an accident involving a chainsaw where the bolts that hold on the bar had loosend and the bar came off

    Sounds strange...

    I'm sure there's others on this board who use saws more than me, but I've cut my fair share of wood over the years.

    Did the bar actually come off, or just the chain?

    The "bolts" shouldn't loosen...but the nuts that go over them to hold the sprocket guard in place can, especially if they weren't properly tightenend last time. When the sprocket guard nuts loosen, the chain will lose tension before the bar is noticeably looser.

    If the chain is already loosely tensioned, and the nuts loosen just a bit more, the chain could will become dangerously loose and jump off the bar. I once lost a good size chunk of my jeans to a jumped chain (and still don't know how I didn't injure myself!)

    Chains will stretch, especially in abusive work like cutting brush or structures -- the constant "grab" of new things to cut (like brush, studs, nails, etc) put strain that stretch the chain much more than just cutting clean fire wood.

    I guess what I'm wonering is if it wasn't a poorly tensioned chain, possibly in combination with loose nuts, that caused this?


    • #3
      We use Stihls up here, both on my FD and with the Forest Service, and abuse them unbelievably. I have found them to be excellent tools. The Forest Service saws sit unused all winter once they have been refurbished from there use of the summer, while I like to see our saws in the FD started on a weekly basis at least. There should be no problem with a daily workout and run for a minute or so. Just check that all the bar nuts are tight first. Since this has occurred, I'm going to start training that way.


      • #4
        By all means, run the saws everyday. Our tillermen check fuel, oil, chain teeth and tension, blade teeth, bars, guards, pull cords, etc.., and run each saw for a minute. Best of all, by having members run each saw everyday will help them become proficient and familiar with the little quirks associated with each saw.


        • #5
          We run/inspect our saws on Sat. But I personally give it a good check out every shift, I was "brought up" to believe that no one is going to care that it's not Sat if the saw fails on a run-I had it when it failed so "it must be his fault". I say not on my watch!!
          I agree with staylow if your crews need to start it everyday, go for it.
          Also, something we do here as a standard is a full inspection of the saw prior to starting it, fluids, bolts, chian tension and condition etc.



          • #6
            Here is what we recently found out Regarding our saws from the Manufacturer. He said that we SHOULD NOT start the saws up and run on a weekly basis for anything less than 30 minutes. Anything less and it fouls up the plugs and valves and creates unessesary wear and tear.
            The 30 min. allows the engine to come up to normal operating temp and thus burn off all of the carbon build up.

            This was also what we found in the owners manual.

            He also said you shouldn't start it up and seconds later open the throttle up to full. He said that is the worst thing one could do.

            The most abuse he said would be at a fire where this very thing would happen, It gets started and seconds(minute or two at most) later is at full throttle and cutting through a roof. Therefore he said just starting it on a monthly basis to keep the fuel fresh and lubricated. And when doing so start and run for around 30 minutes at idle.

            That was for the Cutters Edge Saw, I can't imagine Stihl or any other saw being much different.

            however most of our Drivers still start it on Saturdays out of habit.

            I hope that helps


            • #7
              Weekly or twice a week should be fine to run out the bad fuel so it don't go stale. Make sure everything is tight before and after each run so that if it's the day after the check and its needed it will work alright. Some manufacturer's recommed starting it with the brake on, but make sure when you do use it that it is off, a guy in our dept. did his weekly check a few times and ran it with the brake on and melted the brake assembly clutch and self oiler right out of the saw. Run it at an idle to warm it up then get on the throtle hold it at an angle at a piece of wood or box until you see that the bar oil is coming off the chain and let it idle for another few minutes and shut it down.


              • #8
                It is not the saw you are using; Stihl makes one of the most reliable saws out there and I have come across very few people that have had problems with them. We use them here and they get the crap beat out of them but they have always held up. Saws in fire departments see the worse of wear and tear; they sit in a compartment, sometimes for weeks at a time and then they are puilled out and put to the limits of their abilities. At my station here, we run and inspect our saws every 2 weeks; this means we go over them in detail checking all the screws and bolts, making sure the chain is lubricated and not gummed up with junk. Then we run them for 15-30 min. We have had to send a few out to get fixed but this was due to improper use. They are a great tool but they require care and inspection on a regular basis. hope this helps. Be safe.

                Gettysburg Fire Department (PA) FF/NREMT-B
                Brookside Engine Company,Div of Mendham Twp Fire Dept(NJ) FF
                Mendham Twp EMS EMT-B
                These views are my own and do not reflect those of these departments


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