How Does a Chainsaw Work?

Last Updated on October 16, 2019 by Editor Futurescope

Trees form a large part of the environment. They serve an important role in the ecosystem. They complete the equation supporting life and make the environment clean. However, people also depend on them for things such as furniture and construction. This factor explains the reason behind the invention of chainsaws. Some trees age faster and fall on highways or people’s houses. It’s hard to cut these trees using hand saws or axes. Some countries experience huge storms which cause massive falling of trees. This provides a chance of using the chainsaws. These tools also help in thinning trees to ensure overall uniform growth of forests and hedges. For any habitat to survive there must be elimination of competition. The woodcutters and forest managers reduce the number of unhealthy trees o pave way for the uniform and healthy growth of other trees. This procedure is also beneficial to the animals living in these forests.

What is a best Chainsaw?

A best chainsaw is a machine used for cutting wood. It consists of a saw blade that’s built into a chain. This chain is wrapped around a long metal called guide bar. It also comes with a small engine that uses petrol, electricity or battery, depending with the model. The chain on this machine looks like the bicycle chain and it runs around the gear wheel made to turn it (sprockets).The sprockets have about 30 or more teeth arranged around it at intervals. Manufacturers make these teeth from hardened steel alloy for strength and ability to hold the chain during usage.  The piston located inside the engine moves in an out of the cylinder and pushes a connecting rod that moves the crankshaft. This crankshaft turns the gears connected to the sprocket on which the chain is mounted.

This makes the chain to spin around thereby necessitating cutting of wood. There are different types of chainsaws according to the type of engine, purpose and size. Chainsaws using battery and gasoline are portable thus convenient for traveling wood cutters. The electric chainsaw has its limitation in terms of portability. It can only be used at home for domestic purposes as it requires direct connection to an electricity source of power. The weight of the chainsaw plays a major role especially for professional wood cutters. A lightweight machine enables the woodcutter to harvest trees deeper in the forest and also to prune branches and hedges.

A best chainsaws consist of an engine, guide bar, gauge, drive mechanism and grease and oil holes. A chainsaw has a 2 stroke internal combustion engines. These engines depend on gasoline to function. Other chainsaws use electric motors driven by a battery or the electrical power cord. These engines get the power through an electronically adjustable carburetor or a traditional carburetor.  Traditional carburetor requires some adjustment for optimal performance, especially when operating at high or low altitudes. Electrical carburetors adjust automatically according to the altitude. You can reduce user fatigue by de-vibrating the traditional carburetor. Chainsaws also come with different types of filters to allow the supply of clean air to the carburetor. Chainsaw engines are designed to operate in various positions, such as tilted, 90 degrees or upside down. The modern modification of engines is a significant shift from the traditional engines that died when used in a tilted position.

The drive mechanism consists of a sprocket and centrifugal clutch.  The clutch serves three purposes including protecting the engine when the chain stops in the wood and protecting the operator in case of a kickback. Different manufacturers have different grip positions. Clutches and drums on Stihl chainsaws are turned inside while those on Husqvarna are turned outside.

A guide bar is an essential part of the chainsaw. It is a long bar with an alloy steel round end. It typically measures 40 to 90 cm in length.  The edge slot controls the cutting chain. All guide bars operate in the same way on all machines.

A gauge connects the lower part of the chain. The chain pulls the lubrication oil from the gauge to the nose thereby allowing the free rotation of the chain.

The end of the saw power head has two oil holes on both sides. The oil from the pump passes through these holes to the gauge. The chainsaw also has grease holes through which the grease is pumped to the tank. The grease keeps the sprocket lubricated thereby necessitating uninterrupted wood cutting.

A chainsaw also has a guide slot through which the bolts from the saw run. These holes provide room for screwing the clutch cover on top of the bar.

Who Invented the Chainsaw?

The first chainsaw however was designed by a German called Bernhard Heine in 1830. The original chainsaw had linked chains that had cutting teeth with sharp ages set at a particular angle. The movement of the chain around the guiding blade was by rotating the sprocket wheel handle. The original chainsaw was used for cutting bones. The modern model of the wood chainsaws was a product of James Jefrey and John Aitken from Scotland. Their intention was to invent a chain hand saw that could be used for surgery and midwifery. The current chainsaw underwent several modifications over time to become what it is today.

The earliest patent was created by Samuel J Bens from San Francisco in 1905. Bens invented a chainsaw that based on the functionality of the chainsaw with no consideration of the source of power such as motor or steam engine.  He created a patent for a portable chainsaw in 1921 with an aim of providing a compact efficient and durable machine that can be operated by various individuals. This invention centered on the ability of many people using the chainsaw to cut trees rapidly and expeditiously irrespective of their standing position. He also wanted to create a machine that can be conveyed from one place to another easily.

How Chainsaw Works

The first step is filling the gas tank with fuel that provides the energy necessary for cutting down trees and chopping logs. A chainsaw tank typically uses 0.5 liters of gas. This fuel feeds through the carburetor where it mixes with fresh air. The combustion process starts in the cylinder. The fuel-air mixture burns, generates energy and causes the piston to move back and forth. This engine operates through a two stroke action, unlike the car engine that requires a four stroke work. The chainsaw engine comes with a piston measuring 1.5 inches and a travelling distance of 1.3 inches.

The next process involves the conversion of the back and forth motion of the piston by the connecting rod and the crank. The power goes to the centrifugal clutch via the drive shaft. This keeps the chainsaw engine running.

Continuous running of the chainsaw engine drains the fuel making it more expensive. The clutch solves saves you the cost and fuel loss through a particular mechanism. The centrifugal clutch links the chain and the engine when you pull the throttle. The clutch stops the chain from spinning the chainsaw changes to idling mode. The clutch disconnects the continuous movement of the chain during the idling to protect the user from injuries and also to save the fuel.

The gears transmit the power from the clutch to the sprocket holding the chain. The chain moves faster around the edge of the guide bar, cutting the wood and spitting out the wood dust. These stages summarize the process of wood sawing using a chainsaw.

The difference between a 2 stroke and a 4 stroke engine

Engines are classified either as 2 strokes or 4 strokes. The makeup of the engine varies according to the intended use and the type f the machine. The differences between these two engines are seen in the number of strokes taken by the piston and the structure of the engine. The piston found in a 4 stroke engine uses 4 strokes to drive the crankshaft. These engines produce low but enough energy because of their weight and number of firings. They are ideal for heavy machines that go for long distances without stopping.

How does a 2 stroke engine differ with a 4 stroke? The difference is in the number of strokes taken by each piston and the overall engine structure.
The 4-stroke engine has a piston that completes four strokes that drive the crankshaft. Due to their weight and the number of firings that required moving the crankshaft, fours stroke engine give sustained amounts of energy that is ideal for use in things like trucks and other complex machines that operate for long hours. By contrast, the two stroke engine is capable of producing quick and sudden bursts of power that are not sustained for a long period of time. This makes it ideal for use in chainsaws and jet skis.

  • A double stroke engine is easier to construct since it has no valves. This makes it lighter and less costly to manufacture. The four hit engine requires elaborate valves to operate effectively, making it heavy and expensive to develop.
  • A double stroke engine doesn’t require an oil sump. The gas mixed with the oil does not adequately keep the engine lubricated. It is therefore not durable. The engine’s short life and the need to add oil to the fuel makes it expensive to maintain the engine. Four stroke engines don’t require mixing of oil and the gas and so it is cheap to run.

Advanced Cutting Technology

The advanced cutting technology of how chainsaw works uses lasers to cut through wood. The technology uses CO2 laser beam to cut through the wood basing on the given design. The process requires a CO2 laser source and up to 120 watts of electricity.  Although wood is rigid, it can be shaped with moisture, temperature and mechanical methods. Maximum beauty of the wood is achieve when its grain gets oriented perpendicular to the surface.

Laser energy is used for wood ablation and modification.  Wood ablation involves the complete removal of the material from the top to the bottom surface of the wood. Many species of wood absorb CO2 perfectly.  When wood absorbs laser energy it creates heat that facilitates rapid combustion and decomposition. The material exposed to the laser path is ablated into fine particles and vapor.  The material that doesn’t come into contact with the laser conducts some heat but doesn’t become ablated. The surface quality of the final wood varies from dark and sticky to black and sooty. The remaining residue can be removed by wiping using a damp piece of cloth or brush.The laser creates the light used to cut through the wood thereby limiting the contact between the materials and the laser system.

Know about Chainsaws before to owning one

Having chainsaws offers homeowners an opportunity to trim their branches efficiently and quickly. It also helps professional tree cutters do their work hassle free. Given the different types of chainsaw engines, a buyer must consider the pros and cons that come with every engine type.

Advantages of Chainsaws

Takes little time to perform huge tasks

Just like any other machine; chainsaws enable you to cut many trees of different sizes within a short period. Other methods like use of handsaws, axes and other cutting tools consume a lot of time as compared to the chainsaw

Saves Energy

Using a chainsaw saves the operator energy which would have been otherwise spent when cutting a huge tree. It’s easier and less tiresome to trim the hedges and branches using a chainsaw as opposed to other methods.

Mobility and Portability

Most of the chainsaws available today are portable thereby giving room to mobility. Travelling wood cutters can efficiently perform their jobs using battery and gas powered chainsaws. It’s also possible to climb on top of a tree and trim the branches using the chainsaws.

Disadvantages of Chainsaws

Requires specialization

Using chainsaws such as the gas-powered ones requires some specialization. As, the machine s big and can cause injuries to the operator if not well-trained

Environmental pollution

Some power chainsaws such as the gasoline powered saws release hazardous fumes into the environment, a fact that has adverse consequences on the atmosphere and ecosystem.

Expensive maintenance costs

All chainsaws use a 2 stroke engine to operate. These engines have shortcomings that make them susceptible to damages. This affects their durability thereby creating unnecessary expenses.


How chainsaw works is an important role to homeowners, landscaping professionals and professional wood cutters. Their invention has revolutionized the order of things in the timber industry. However, they should be used cautiously and with an eye on safety. Operate the chainsaw away from children, animals, and pets. Get orientation on how to use the chainsaw before attempting. Always position it away from the body to avoid unnecessary injuries and accidents.

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Editor Futurescope

Founding writer of Futurescope. Nascent futures, foresight, future emerging technology, high-tech and amazing visions of the future change our world. The Future is closer than you think!

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