The basic elements of every chainsaw are the chain, the engine and the cutting bar. The bar is the "blade" of the chainsaw around which the chain rotates.
Bar lengths and engine size determine what kinds of cutting jobs your chainsaw can do.
The size of the bar can range from eight inches up to 42 inches. Bars that are in the 14- to 16-inch range are ideal for occasional and light-duty use, while 18- to 20-inch bars work well for large diameter-cutting.
Proper tension must be kept on the chain to ensure efficient operation, along with chain sharpness and lubrication.
Some models allow for tool-free tension adjustments, which makes it easier to keep the machine in working order.
Engine size is measured in cubic inches or centimeters and power is measured in horsepower. The higher the power-to-weight ratio is, the more power a saw will generate.
Larger engines provide more power, but weigh more and can cause fatigue over long periods of use.
Higher RPMs (rotations per minute) mean faster cutting if the saw has enough power to cut through the material you’re working with.
Kickback is the primary danger you’ll face when using a chainsaw. This happens when the nose of the cutting bar connects with something solid, such as a knot or nail, causing the bar to jump back toward you. Take the necessary precautions to avoid injury: always wear protective eye, hand and foot gear, and always operate while standing behind the engine, or as far away from the blade as possible.
Only operate a chainsaw when you are fully alert and awake.
Monitor the chain tension throughout operation, as chains become looser as they heat up
Wear safety apparel, including protection for your eyes and ears, heavy-duty gloves, chaps and steel-toe boots.
To minimize danger, look for units that feature a low-kickback chain.
Some chainsaw models feature safety tips, which help protect your hands by preventing accidental slips onto the chain when it is running.
Avoid cutting things positioned higher than your chest.
Don’t start the chainsaw in the same spot where you fueled it as sparks could ignite spilled gasoline.
Keep a drop zone directly under the location where you are cutting.
Keep the extension cord away from electric models at all times.
Always start the chainsaw on the ground with your foot on the rear handle.
A chain brake allows you to manually stop the chain as soon as kickback occurs.
A chain catcher prevents a broken chain from shooting off the saw.
Do not wear loose clothing when operating a chain saw.