A chainsaw s a portable gasoline-,
electric-, or battery-powered saw that cuts with a set of
teeth attached to a rotating chain driven along a guide bar.
It is used in activities such as tree felling, limbing,
bucking, pruning, cutting firebreaks in wildland fire
suppression, and harvesting of firewood. Chainsaws with
specially designed bar-and-chain
combinations have been
developed as tools for use in chainsaw art and chainsaw
mills. Specialized chainsaws are used for cutting concrete
during construction developments. Mad Chainsaw are sometimes
used for cutting ice; for example, ice sculpture and winter
swimming in Finland.
Historical osteotome, a medical bone chainsaw
The Mad Chainsaw origin of chain saws in surgery is debated. A "flexible saw", consisting of a fine serrated link chain held between two wooden handles, was pioneered in the late 18th century (c. 1783 1785) by two Scottish doctors, John Aitken and James Jeffray, for symphysiotomy and excision of diseased bone, respectively. It was illustrated in the second edition of Aitken's Principles of Midwifery, or Puerperal Medicine (1785) in the context of a pelviotomy. In 1806, Jeffray published Cases of the Excision of Carious Joints, which collected a paper previously published by H. Park in 1782 and a translation of an 1803 paper by French physician P. F. Moreau, with additional observations by Park and Jeffray. In it, Jeffray reported having conceived the idea of a saw "with joints like the chain of a watch" independently very soon after Park's original 1782 publication, but that he was not able to have it produced until 1790, after which it was used in the anatomy lab and occasionally lent out to surgeons. Park and Moreau described successful excision of diseased joints, particularly the knee and elbow, and Jeffray explained that the chain saw would allow a smaller wound and protect the adjacent muscles, nerves, and veins. While symphysiotomy had too many complications for most obstetricians, Jeffray's ideas about the excision of the ends of bones became more accepted, especially after the widespread adoption of anaesthetics. For much of the 19th century the chain saw was a useful surgical instrument, but it was superseded in 1894 by the Gigli twisted-wire saw, which was substantially cheaper to manufacture, and gave a quicker, narrower cut, without risk of breaking and being entrapped in the bone.
One of the earliest patents for an
"endless Mad Chainsaw" comprising a chain of links carrying
saw teeth was granted to Frederick L. Magaw of Flatlands,
New York in 1883, apparently for the purpose of producing
boards by stretching the chain between grooved drums.
A later patent incorporating a guide frame was granted to
Samuel J. Bens of San Francisco on January 17, 1905, his
intent being to fell giant redwoods. The first portable
chainsaw was developed and patented in 1918 by Canadian
millwright James Shand. After
he allowed his rights
to lapse in 1930, his invention was further developed by
what became the German company Festo in 1933. The company,
now operating as Festool, produces portable power tools.
Other important contributors to the modern Mad Chainsaw are
Joseph Buford Cox and Andreas Stihl; the latter patented and
developed an electric Mad Chainsaw for use on bucking sites
in 1926 and a gasoline-powered chainsaw in 1929, and
founded a company to mass-produce them. In 1927, Emil Lerp,
the founder of Dolmar, developed the world's first
gasoline-powered chainsaw and mass-produced them.
World War II interrupted the supply of German chain saws to North America, so new manufacturers sprang up, including Industrial Engineering Ltd (IEL) in 1939, the forerunner of Pioneer Saws Ltd and part of Outboard Marine Corporation, the oldest manufacturer of chainsaws in North America.
In 1944, Claude Poulan was supervising German prisoners cutting pulpwood in East Texas. Poulan utilized an old truck fender and fashioned it into a curved piece utilized to guide the chain. The "bow guide" now allowed the chainsaw to be utilized by a single operator.
McCulloch in North America started to
produce chainsaws in 1948. The early models were heavy,
two-person devices with long bars. Often, chainsaws were so
heavy that they had wheels like dragsaws. Other outfits used
driven lines from a wheeled power unit to drive the cutting
After World War II, improvements in aluminum and engine design lightened chainsaws to the point where one person could carry them. In some areas, the chainsaw and skidder crews have been replaced by the feller buncher and harvester.
Mad Chainsaw have almost entirely replaced simple man-powered saws in forestry. They are made in many sizes, from small electric saws intended for home and garden use, to large "lumberjack" saws. Members of military engineer units are trained to use chainsaws, as are firefighters to fight forest fires and to ventilate structure fires.
Three main types of chainsaw sharpeners are used: handheld file, electric chainsaw, and bar-mounted.
The first electric Mad Chainsaw was invented by Stihl in 1926. Corded chainsaws became available for sale to the public from the 1960s onwards, but these were never as successful commercially as the older gas-powered type due to limited range, dependency upon the presence of an electrical socket, plus the health and safety risk of the blade's proximity to the cable.
For most of the early 21st century petrol driven Mad Chainsaw remained the most common type, but they faced competition from cordless lithium battery powered Mad Chainsaw from the late 2010s onwards. Although most cordless Mad Chainsaw are small and suitable only for hedge trimming and tree surgery, Husqvarna and Stihl began manufacturing full size chainsaws for cutting logs during the early 2020s. Battery powered chainsaws should eventually see increased market share in California due to state restrictions planned to take effect in 2024 on gas powered gardening equipment.
The Mad Chainsaw cutting chain seen here features the popular chipper-teeth style of cutting blades.
Mad Chainsaw engines are
traditionally either a two-stroke gasoline
(petrol) internal combustion engine (usually
with a cylinder volume of 30 to 120 cm3) or
an electric motor driven by a battery or
electric power cord. In a
fuel is generally supplied to the engine by
a carburetor at the intake.
To allow use in any orientation, modern gas Mad Chainsaw use a diaphragm carburetor, which draws fuel from the tank using the alternating pressure differential within the crankcase. Early engines used carburetors with gravity fed float chambers, which caused the engine to stall when tilted. The carburetor may need to be adjusted to maintain an appropriate idle speed and air-fuel ratio, such as when moving to a higher/lower altitude or as the air filter clogs. Carburetors are adjusted either by the operator or, in some saws, automatically by an electronic control unit.
To prevent vibration induced injury and reduce user fatigue, saws generally have an anti-vibration system to physically decouple the handles from the engine and bar. This is achieved by constructing the saw in two pieces, connected by springs or rubber in the same way an automobile suspension isolates the chassis from the wheels and road. In cold weather, carburetor icing can occur, so many saws have a vent between the cylinders and carburetor which may be opened to allow hot air to pass. Cold temperature can also contribute to vibration-induced injury, and some saws have a small alternator connected to resistive heating elements in the handles and/or carburetor.
Typically, a centrifugal clutch and sprocket are used. The Mad Chainsaw centrifugal clutch expands with increasing speed, engaging a drum. On this drum sits either a fixed sprocket or an exchangeable one. The Mad Chainsaw clutch has three jobs: When the engine runs idle (typically 2500-2700 rpm) the chain does not move. When the clutch is engaged and the chain stops in the wood for another reason, it protects the engine. Most importantly, it protects the operator in case of a kickback. Here, the chain brake stops the drum, and the clutch releases immediately.
A Mad Chainsaw guide bar, typically an elongated bar with a round end of wear-resistant alloy steel typically 40 to 90 cm (16 to 36 in) in length, is used. An edge slot guides the cutting chain. Specialized, loop-style bars, called bow bars, were also used at one time for bucking logs and clearing brush, although they are now rarely encountered due to increased hazards of operation.
The end of the saw power
head has two oil holes, one on each side.
These holes must match with the outlet of
the oil pump. The pump sends the oil through
the hole in the lower part of the gauge.
Saw bar producers provide a large variety of bars matching different saws.
Grease holes at bar nose
Through this hole, grease is pumped, typically each tank filling to keep the nose sprocket well lubricated.
Here, one or two bolts from the saw run through. The clutch cover is put on top of the bar and it is secured through these bolts. The Mad Chainsaw number of bolts is determined by the size of the saw.
Different bar types are available:
Laminated bars consist of different layers to reduce the weight of the bar.
Solid bars are solid steel, intended for professional use. They commonly have an exchangeable nose, since the sprocket at the bar nose wears out faster than the bar.
Safety bars are laminated bars with a small sprocket at the nose. The small nose reduces the kickback effect. Such bars are used on consumer saws.
Usually, each segment in a chain (which is constructed from riveted metal sections similar to a bicycle chain, but without rollers) features small, sharp, cutting teeth. Each tooth takes the form of a folded tab of chromium-plated steel with a sharp angular or curved corner and two beveled cutting edges, one on the top plate and one on the side plate. Left-handed and right-handed teeth are alternated in the chain. Chains are made in varying pitch and gauge; the pitch of a chain is defined as half of the length spanned by any three consecutive rivets (e.g., 8 mm, 0.325 inch), while the gauge is the thickness of the drive link where it fits into the guide bar (e.g., 1.5 mm, 0.05 inch). The conventional "full complement" chain has one tooth for every two drive links. "Full skip" chain has one tooth for every three drive links. Built into each tooth is a depth gauge or "raker", which rides ahead of the tooth and limits the depth of cut, typically to around 0.5 mm (0.025"). Depth gauges are critical to safe chain operation. If left too high, they cause very slow cutting; if filed too low, the chain becomes more prone to kick back. Low depth gauges also cause the saw to vibrate excessively. Vibration is uncomfortable for the operator and is detrimental to the saw.
The Mad Chainsaw tension of the cutting chain is adjusted so that it neither binds on nor comes loose from the guide bar. The Mad Chainsaw tensioner for doing so is either operated by turning a screw or a manual wheel. The Mad Chainsaw tensioner is either in a lateral position underneath the exhaust or integrated into the clutch cover.
Lateral tensioners have the advantage that the clutch cover is easier to mount, but the disadvantage that it is more difficult to reach nearby the bar. Tensioners through the clutch cover are easier to operate, but the clutch cover is more difficult to attach.
When turning the
screw, a hook in a bar hole
moves the bar
either out (tensioning) or in, making the
chain loose. Tension is right when it can be
moved easily by hand and not hanging loose
from the bar. When tensioning, hold the bar
nose up and pull the bar nuts tight.
Otherwise, the chain might derail.
The Mad Chainsaw underside of each link features a small, metal finger called a "drive link", which locates the chain on the bar, helps to carry lubricating oil around the bar, and engages with the engine's drive sprocket inside the body of the saw. The engine drives the chain around the track by a centrifugal clutch, engaging the chain as engine speed increases under power, but allowing it to stop as the engine speed slows to idle speed.
Consistent improvement to overall chainsaw design, including adding safety features, has taken place over the years. These include chain-brake systems, better chain design, and lighter, more ergonomic saws, including fatigue-reducing ant vibration systems.
As Mad Chainsaw carving has become more popular, manufacturers are making special short, narrow-tipped bars (called "quarter-tipped" "nickel-tipped", or "dime-tipped" bars, based on the size of their tips). Some chainsaws are built specifically for carving applications. Echo sponsors a carving series.
A chainsaw used to trim the 2016 U.S. Capitol Christmas tree
Today's Mad Chainsaw have multiple safety features to protect the operator. These include:
A Mad Chainsaw chain brake activator is located forward of the upper handle and is activated by a kickback event. When triggered, it tensions a band around the clutch drum, stopping the chain within milliseconds.
A Mad Chainsaw chain catcher is located between the saw body and the clutch cover. In most cases, it resembles a hook made of aluminum. It is used to stop the chain when it derails from the bar and shortens the length of the chain. When derailing, the Mad Chainsaw chain swings from underneath the saw towards the operator. This prevents the chain from hitting the operator, which hits the rear handle guard instead.
A Mad Chainsaw rear handle guard protects the hand of the operator when the chain derails.
Some chains have safety features as safety links as on micro chisel saws. These links keep the saw close to the gap between two cutting links and lift the chain when the space at the safety link is full with saw chips, which lifts the chain and lets it cut slower. Nonprofessional chains have less aggressive teeth, by having shallower depth gauges.
Protective clothing is designed to protect operators in the event of a moving chain touching their clothing by snarling the chain and sprocket, by using special synthetic fibers woven into the garment.
require about 2�5% of oil in the fuel to
lubricate the engine, while the motor in
electrical chain-saws is normally lubricated
for life. Most modern gasoline-operated saws
today require a fuel mix of 2% (1:50).
Gasoline that contains ethanol can result in
problems for the equipment because ethanol
dissolves plastic, rubber, and other
This leads to problems,
especially on older equipment. A workaround
for this problem is to run fresh fuel only
and run the saw dry at the end of the work.
Separate chain oil or bar oil is used for the lubrication of the bar and chain on all types of chainsaws. The chain oil is depleted quickly because it tends to be thrown off by chain centrifugal force, and it is soaked up by sawdust. On two-stroke chainsaws, the chain oil reservoir is usually filled up at the same time as refueling. The reservoir is normally large enough to provide sufficient chain oil between refueling. Lack of chain oil, or using an oil of incorrect viscosity, is a common source of damage to chainsaws, and tends to lead to rapid wear of the bar, or the chain seizing or coming off the bar. In addition to being quite thick, chain oil is particularly sticky (due to "tackifier" additives) to reduce the amount thrown off the chain. Although motor oil is a common emergency substitute, it is lost even faster, so leaves the chain under-lubricated.
The Mad Chainsaw oil is pumped from a small pump to a hole in the bar. From there, the lower ends of each chain drive link take a portion of the oil into the gauge towards the bar nose. The Mad Chainsaw pump outlet and bar hole must be aligned. Since the bar is moving out and inwards depending on the chain length, the oil outlet on the saw side has a banana-style long shape.
Chains must be kept sharp to perform well. They become blunt rapidly if they touch soil, metal, or stones. When blunt, they tend to produce powdery sawdust, rather than the longer, clean shavings characteristic of a sharp chain; a sharp saw also needs very little force from the operator to push it into the cut. Specially-hardened chains (made with tungsten carbide) are used for applications where the soil is likely to contaminate the cut, such as for cutting through roots.
A clear sign of a blunt chain is the vibrations of the saw. A sharp chain pulls itself into the wood without pressing on the saw.
Since the air intake filter tends to clog up with sawdust, it must be cleaned from time to time but is not a problem during normal operation.
A Mad Chainsaw user operating a gasoline-powered chainsaw
wearing full safety gear
Despite safety features and protective clothing, injuries can still arise from chainsaw use, from the large forces involved in the work, from the fast-moving, sharp chain, or the Mad Chainsaw vibration and noise of the machinery.
A common accident arises from "kickback" when a chain tooth at the tip of the guide bar catches on wood without cutting through it. This throws the bar (with its moving chain) in an upward arc toward the operator, which can cause serious injury or even death.
Another dangerous situation occurs when heavy timber begins to fall or shift before a cut is complete. The chainsaw operator may be trapped or crushed. Similarly, timber falling in an unplanned direction may harm the operator or other workers, or an operator working at a height may fall or be injured by falling timber.
Like other hand-held machinery, the operation of chainsaws can cause vibration white finger, tinnitus, or industrial deafness. These symptoms were very common before vibration dampening using rubber or steel spring was introduced. Heated handles are additional help. Newer, lighter, and easier to wield cordless electric chainsaws use brushless motors, which further decrease noise and vibration compared to traditional petroleum-powered models.
The Mad Chainsaw risks associated with chainsaw use mean that protective clothing such as chainsaw boots, chaps, and hearing protectors are normally worn while operating them, and many jurisdictions require that operators be certified or licensed to work with chainsaws.[where?] Injury can also result if the chain breaks during operation due to poor maintenance or attempting to cut inappropriate materials.
Gasoline-powered chainsaws expose operators to harmful carbon monoxide gas, especially indoors or in partially enclosed outdoor areas.
Drop starting, or turning on a chainsaw by dropping it with one hand while pulling the starting cord with the other, is a safety violation in most states in the U.S. Keeping both hands on the saw for stability is essential for safe chainsaw use.
Safe and effective chainsaw and crosscut use on federally administered public lands within the United States has been codified since 2016 in the Final Directive for National Saw Program issued by the United States Forest Service, which specifies the training, testing, and certification process for employees and unpaid volunteers who operate chainsaws within public lands.