Whether you want to cut up firewood, do tree maintenance or just go about some creative do-it-yourself (DIY): In a domestic setting, there are numerous occasions that call for the help of a motorised saw. But how do you navigate your way through the jungle of products out there? Is it always better to have more power? What technical fittings are right for you? Hobby gardeners and DIY fans should inform themselves and take advantage of consultations before deciding which tool to buy.
A chain saw consists of three basic elements: an engine unit, a guide bar and a saw chain. They have to be coordinated exactly with each other and chosen based on the tasks that need to be completed. To ensure that all components work in harmony, STIHL develops its saws as well as the guide bars and saw chains in-house.
The engine unit: Type and level of performance
When considering what kind of engine is required, first you have to think about where the tool will be used. Will you exclusively be working close to your home? That would mean an electric socket would be nearby, and an electric motor has its advantages. If you plan to use the saw in a forest, a petrol-powered motor offers the necessary amount of flexibility. For larger gardens, a battery-powered model would be ideal, combining the quiet, zero-emission properties of an electric motor with the cordless advantages of a petrol-powered saw. The level of performance required depends on the work that needs to be carried out. Those aiming to fell trees and harvest firewood, for example, require considerably more motor power than those wanting to prune some trees in their own gardens or occasionally cut a beam.
STIHL has a wide range of different saws on offer to suit varied areas of application. If a saw is intended to be used for a number of purposes, the best thing to do is to pick a model that has the most balanced mix of features for the jobs required. Consulting a specialist is indispensable in that case.
The guide bar: Longer is not always better
The long guide bar on a chain saw looks impressive – however, a long bar is not only unnecessary but also an obstruction for most tasks. The longer the bar is, the more energy the motor has to summon up to get the saw chain going. And that comes at the expense cutting performance. In short: The cutting length of the guide bar has to suit the area of application and, more importantly, the power of the engine. Almost all jobs that require the use of a chain saw in a domestic setting – whether it is chopping up firewood, trimming trees, or DIY and carving – can be done with a 30cm guide bar. However, fine carving requires a specially shaped guide bar. A carving guide bar has a small bar nose, allowing to cut fine contours.
The saw chain: robust, precise, low vibration
Choosing the right saw chain is key for efficient saw operation. Cutting equipment is made up of the saw chain and the guide bar. Those using saws in a private setting should also make sure the chain has reduced levels of vibration and low kickback. That makes the saw more comfortable to use and improves safety. For hobby forestry workers, carbide-tipped chains are the best fit. They stay sharp for an extended period even if they are used to cut dirty wood or inadvertently come into contact with earth. If highest precision is what you’re looking for – to obtain a precise cut for a DIY project, for example – then full-chisel chains are the answer. The shape of the teeth differs from those used in semi-chisel chains as they don’t have rounded edges on one side.
The correct protective equipment is key
Working with a saw requires the use of suitable protective equipment. Cut-resistant trousers and chain saw boots are available in a number of different versions and in all different shapes and sizes at specialized dealers. Work gloves that fit provide good grip and great comfort while working. Head, ear, eye and face protection complete the range of essential equipment.