Thursday, February 25, 2010

Saw Chain Rocks!

Saw Chain Rocks!

By Tim Ard, Forest Applications Training

Imagine with me for just a moment a situation at your work site that happens easily and way too often to chainsaw operators. You cut through a limb or log near the ground, maybe on a rock or a paved area, but you miss calculate and you pass through the wood and cut right into the material below- Dull chain right? Powerfully Dull!

It happened to me during a training demonstration in north Georgia a few months back. I put together a great plan to take down a tree that was most likely on an old home site. The tree had a boxwood type woody plant growing around it. I began to clean around the tree so I could begin the notch cut. In the first cuts in the brush, a rock jumped up and hit my saw chain. Have you ever seen rocks jump? It’s happened to me a couple times over the past thirty years of saw operation (lie- a hundred times).

No the rock didn't jump up but it did show up in the wrong place and I dulled terribly ever cutter point on one side of the chain. Immediately I realized the situation wasn't conducive to completing the tree fall and I had to stop and sharpen before moving on. By the way, as a trained professional I told the group exactly what the problem was as I pulled out my sharpening tools from my work vest. "Someone must have hit something with my chain the other day!" That's always a good way to substantiate the pause in action and quickly apply blame. I hoped no one saw the sparks from the rock I had just carved into. Oh, that's comical isn't it? Maybe now but not then, and how often that happens as we clean up debris with a saw.

I recently experienced something right before my eyes and in my own hands that during my career others have attempted but didn't quite make it come together. That connection being a rock and a saw chain that's positive and productive to chain saw applications. Here are the findings that rocked me.

I took a small chainsaw and cut through a six inch log in about four and half seconds. Then I took the saw and ran the tip into a concrete composite walkway and tried to cut. The time slowed to over thirty seconds in the next cut (it still cut better than many chainsaws in the field but it was rocked). I then clamped a device over the end of the bar, started the saw, ran it up to full speed and pushed the end of the device against the log for about 5 seconds. Turning off the saw, I removed the clamshell like device, restarted the saw and returned to cutting four to five second rounds again. Yeauh, that's what I said! I sharpened the chain in 5 seconds.

The new chain is an extended pitch 3/8 chain much like most of you have on your smaller cc chain saws. The cutter is completely different though, it sharpens from the top of the cutter instead of underneath the top. It looks like a short, short cutter but you have to understand that the tooth length is vertical and not horizontal. Most chains and onboard sharpening systems that I have tried over the years were or seemed to be slower cutting and most of all very aggressive when you consider reactive forces. The use of the tip in plunge cut techniques using the nose of the bar was virtually impossible. This chain meets ANSI tests and is designed to run on a multitude of chain saws on the market.

This product will be sold as an accessory kit to fit your smaller chain saw and will be under $100 (actually way below $100). The kit includes a guide bar, saw chain and a stone sharpening device that goes into the bar tip clamshell device. When the chain life is complete, about a dozen sharpening’s, you only replace or purchase a new chain and it will come with a new sharpening stone. You simply reuse the clamshell device for many sharpening’s, like forever. In this process I think you will also be amazed at the life increase in your guide bar when you always run sharp chain.

This chain cuts fast, smooth and bore cuts are very doable. I was overwhelmingly impressed!

You can take this system to the woods, around the town, your backyard or even up a tree and you are always a few seconds away from a sharp-- properly sharpened saw.

By the way, if your spouse or significant other has a strong desire for diamonds for their birthday, anniversary or upcoming special occasion gift- you can have your stone and hit it too, so to speak. Invest in diamonds and sharpening power at your local Oregon® Saw Chain and Accessory Retailer.

Find out more about this great new accessory for your chain saw (maybe Pole Saw?) and diamonds at .

The Oregon® PowerSharp®! It Rocks!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Reduced Down Time

RDT Aware...

By Tim Ard, Forest Applications Training, Inc.

I learned years ago- it's not the cost of a part or repair of a piece of equipment that's expensive. It's the Downtime! If the equipment's not ready when you need to be- it's unprofitable and often times unsafe.

Adopt Forest Applications Training's RDT program and in less than 10 minutes Reduce Down Time for your chain saw.

RDT- is a simple plan for staying ahead of downtime and costly repairs that any operator can master.

RDT starts with understanding these five areas of the chainsaw:

· Safety Features

· Air Filter

· Visual overview

· Starter

· Saw chain, guide bar and Sprocket

We cover more detail on some of these areas with weekly and shop routines but the initial or main purpose of this exercise is for the operator to perform a quick check of discovery before beginning or ending the work day. If mastered, this RDT system will alert you to problems and or wear trends on your equipment that will improve your sawing experience and Reduce Your Down Time dollars.

  1. Safety Features

Three features should always be present and working.

Throttle interlock- this feature is incorporated so your hand must be in proper position, the driver’s seat so to speak, before the throttle can be depressed and the engine speed increased.

Chain catch - this is a soft metal or polymer tab or roller designed to shorten the chain and slow its rotation should it derail from the guide bar. This will most likely occur if you operate a chain saw long enough; brush or loose chain causes the saw chain to jump the guide bar rail.

Chain Brake – this is a well known safety feature of today's chain saw. The brake can be activated by the front hand guard assembly or some by inertia created by a reactive force of the saw guide bar and chain rotation. This brake can be used when starting and maneuvering with the saw, limiting chances of operator contact with a spinning saw chain. Anytime a hand is taken off the saw the brake can and should be applied. .

  1. Air Filter

I call it the chain saw nose. If it gets plugged, just as our nose when congested, it starves the engine for air and in return power. A huge volume of air is ingested by a chain saw when turning high revolutions. The filter handles every bit of this volume through its pores. The filter maintenance is the largest difference between the saw filter and us. Even with all the increase in volume and congestion it can't blow its own nose. You've got to clean it.

  1. Visual overview

Seeing is believing- when it comes to chain saw operations. Look over nuts, screws, bolts, fasteners, cracks, leaks, etc that can be a problem in your future work. Wear is progressive on most properly maintained equipment. Let's make note of these areas to identify it and do something about it.

  1. Starter

Ever tried to push start a chain saw? Simply will not work will it. So, we must keep a check on the starter system to make sure it’s operative. Look at the rope for length, frays or tears that can reduce its chance of working when you get to the work site. Also make sure the spring recoils the rope completely and seats the grip against the starter housing so it doesn't flop around. Nothing is worse than driving or walking way out to the site and then have the rope break on the first pull.

  1. Saw chain, guide bar and Sprocket

The working side of the chain saw. This is the business end and the side that requires most of our attention. Make sure you understand when a chain is not performing as it should. Learn the five areas of the saw tooth and what each part does for your safety and production. Look for any cracks, bends and wear on the saw chain loop.

The guide bar rails should be cleaned out and make sure all debris is removed from the rail groove. Left too long, the chips and oil become hard and clog the oil from making its way around the guide bar for sufficient chain lubrication. The bar rails and chain operate at sometimes 450 degrees or more so it’s like baking cookies too long. Burnt!

Bar rails become flattened from the chain riding and hammering on the surface. You can remove this with a flat file or even better a guide bar dresser. You can often extend guide bar life by flipping the guide bar over to even top and bottom rail wear each time you clean and dress the bar.

There are two sprockets on most saws today. One on the crankshaft/drive drum and one on the guide bar tip. Both of these are high wear areas. Check them often for wear and cracks etc. Check your manufacture's manuals for replacement suggestions. Wear on the drive sprocket is excessive at .020" on many units. Bar tips should not be sharp pointed as this indicates wear that requires replacement.

Another good practice to maximize bar, chain and sprocket life is to rotate a group of saw chains on the saws guide bar and sprocket. If you run one chain until worn out, then add a new chain to the worn guide bar and sprocket, you often miss-match the gears of the chain loop drives, the bar and crank drive sprockets. If you rotate three chain loops through the combination the wear is equaled out somewhat. This can be a long term cost savings that few take advantage of.

The Forest Applications RDT system is outlined in detail on our eBook. Download your copy now at the eStore for only $9.99 while on special. This is a special download version. Does not include video clips or print ability. This version is strictly for computer/eBook reading in Adobe PDF version.

If you have questions on the RDT system or other Forest Applications Training programs. Send them to or call our office PH 770.222.2511

Good Sawing!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Training On Site…

We have planned, or should I say Laura has planned very well the past three weeks. We have managed to miss the cold weather excitement and have had great classes in Florida and in California.

We travel a lot but its the way we meet the training needs of the chain saw operator. We bring the training to you… To your situations and terrain. We are blessed to have the equipment to set up class just about anywhere.

IMG00061-20100129-0938 Ready for Class…


We will see you there!


Good Sawing,

Tim Ard