Parts of a Chainsaw(with diagram): Know your tools better

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Flummoxed by terms like guide bar, chain catcher, and chain sprocket? Using a new chainsaw with parts you don’t understand?

This page contains our guide to the different parts of a chainsaw. It’s designed to give you the lowdown on all the different parts that are worth understanding.

After reading through this page, you’ll know what makes up your tool and how to stay safe when using it. A high-powered chainsaw is a powerful, versatile tool in the right pair of hands, but it’s important to know what you’re doing.

chainsaw

Why do I need to Know the Parts of a chainsaw?

Rule number one with any power tool should be safety. How can you prevent dangerous kickback if you don’t know which parts protect from it? The better you understand your tool, the easier it will be to stay safe when working.

Maintenance is another good reason to learn your chainsaw parts. It would be a shame to waste hundreds on a new tool if all you needed to do was replace a small part. Knowledge is power and understanding your tool will make you a better worker.

basic chainsaw parts

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The Main Components

We outline the main components below. These are the crucial chainsaw parts that make your tool work. It’s important to note that each brand of chainsaw is slightly different. The exact location of each of these parts will vary from chainsaw to chainsaw.

Engine

The workhorse of your machine. Depending on your model, this will be powered by either electricity or gas. It shouldn’t be a challenge to find the engine on your chainsaw. It’s usually directly behind the chain itself.

Pull Start

Some people also refer to this as the recoil start handle. It’s usually located to the left of the engine on gas-powered models. You’ll need to pull it to get your chainsaw running.

Throttle

The throttle on your chainsaw controls the speed of the chain. In gas-powered models, it regulates the amount of fuel that goes to the carburetor. More gas means a faster chain. In an electric chainsaw, the throttle controls the amount of amperage.

More amperage means a faster chain.

Safety Throttle

This is a trigger found on some chainsaw models on the top of the rear handle. A safety throttle prevents the real throttle from accidentally triggering the chain. Both the safety throttle and real throttle must be pressed simultaneously to activate the tool.

Throttle Interlock

A throttle interlock stops the throttle from being activated accidentally. This is also referred to as a throttle lock.

Chain Brake

This is an important component that every chainsaw user should understand. It stops the chain when dangerous kickback occurs. This can literally save your life in certain situations. Chain brakes should never be removed unless you’re replacing them immediately.

Hand Guard

The hand guard is another protection against kickback. It’s a shield, usually made of plastic, that protects your hand from the chain of the saw.

Guide Bar

A guide bar is the extending section of you saw that the chain wraps around. It holds the chain in place so you can work.

Nose

This is the tip of the guide bar. The nose can be an at-risk area for dangerous kickback. Be careful not to move the nose to close to your cutting piece.

Rear Handle

You’ll find this at the back of your chainsaw. You should grip this firmly when working. This is where you’ll find other components like the throttle and safety lock. Check the handles of a saw carefully before buying.

Comfort is very important when using power tools and is overlooked by many newbies.

Front Handle

This is usually an ergonomic handle at the front of your chainsaw. It can be gripped when manoeuvring your tool for extra control.

Other Important Parts

The list of parts for chainsaws can feel endless, but it’s worth getting to grips with them if you want to keep your chainsaw safe and useful for years to come. It’s worth noting that not every chainsaw will have every one of these parts.

Different makes and models have slightly different configurations.

Exhaust

The exhaust on most chainsaws is located at the front of the engine. This helps prevent unwanted fumes blowing in your face!

Muffler

A muffler helps to reduce the noise your engine produces. It’s one of those parts that can make working near your neighbors a little less stressful! A chainsaw chain can produce an immense amount of noise, so it’s best to protect your ears as best you can.

Use ear defenders if you’re working for extended periods of time on particularly tough wood that produces extra noise.

Decompression Valve

A decompression valve is found in gas-powered chainsaws. This valve releases compression from the combustion chamber when you start up your chainsaw. A decompression valve will make start-up quicker and operation safer.

Anti-Vibration Valve

If you want to guarantee safety, it’s worth learning what an anti-vibration valve is for. This valve reduces strain on the user by eliminating vibration when the chainsaw is running.

Anti-vibration components are very important as they significantly reduce the risk of injury and damage to the chainsaw chain.

Carburetor

This feeds fuel into the engine of your chainsaw.

Spikes

These are another measure used against kickback. They’re found on the base and front of your chainsaw and rest against the wood while you’re cutting. They help to keep your tool firmly in place while you work. They’re found on the spike bar.

Air Filter

An air filter is designed to keep dust and debris out of your machine. They’re an important chainsaw part for maintenance, as even a small amount of dust build-up can cause damage over time. Be sure to clear out your air filter from time to time.

Chain Sprocket

This is a toothed wheel that fits onto the shaft of your chainsaw. It connects with and drives the chain saw.

Primer Bulb

You’ll find a primer bulb on a gas-powered chainsaw. They’re typically found just above the pull start. Squeeze the bulb to get the engine ready with a fresh burst of fuel.

Flywheel

This controls the speed of your engine and helps prevent it from overheating. Some chainsaws are more susceptible to overheating than others, so it’s worth looking into the efficacy of your model’s flywheel and engine.

Chain Catcher

In the event that your chain breaks, the chain catcher is designed to stop it from hurting you. In theory, the chain catcher will redirect the chain away from the user. You’ll find it underneath the guide bar.

Chain

This is the defining component of every chainsaw! The chain of a chainsaw runs along the guide bar. The specific size, pitch and gauge will influence the type of cutting you’re able to do.

Choke

This will be in different places depending on which model you’re using. In gas-powered chainsaws, the choke controls the flow of air inside your tool, thereby affecting the mixture of fuel and air. Tweaking this level can make it easier to start the engine.

Fuel Neck/ reservoir

This is the feeding reservoir for the fuel on gas-powered saws. They’re found towards the rear of the tool near the base.

Oil Neck

Oil lubricant is used on most chainsaws to maintain the tool’s performance and durability. The oil neck is the point on the saw where users can top up the store of lubricant. They’re usually found towards the front of a chainsaw near the base.

Clutch

The clutch controls the rate your chain spins around the guide bar. Safety is important when working, so get familiar with the clutch on your particular chainsaw. Don’t use your tool, or clutch, until you know what you’re doing.

Tensioner

This controls the level of slack in the chain of your chainsaw.

Related

Chainsaw Safety – Respect Your Tool

We’ve already covered how understanding your tool will help you to stay when working. The more you know about which parts are there to keep you safe, the less dangerous your chainsaw will become.

There are a number of other considerations to keep in mind when cutting:

  • Noise. Sometimes a muffler won’t be enough. Use ear defenders if you’re cutting for extended periods of time. This is especially important when cutting through metal. Your ears will thank you later.
  • Use your guard. Keep your fingers behind the guard at all times when working. Too many people lose fingers every year from foolish chainsaw accidents.
  • Become familiar with your chain brake. If you’re going to be working with a chainsaw, then you need to get intimately familiar with how your model’s chain brake works. When danger strikes, stopping the chain quickly is vital.
  • Kickback. One of the most common safety concerns with a chainsaw is kickback. Get familiar with the parts of your saw designed to protect you. Use your spikes when cutting, be ready to use your chain brake and remember to use your guard.

Final Thoughts

A chainsaw is a powerful tool in the right pair of hands. It’s important to understand and respect the tool you’re working with. There’s no point splashing out hundreds on an expensive new piece of equipment if you’re going to break it or hurt yourself two days later!

We hope this guide has been a helpful introduction to the parts you should expect to find on a chainsaw. If in doubt, you can always cross reference our information with the user manual that came with your chainsaw.

Knowledge is power, and understanding your tools will keep them useful and safe for years to come.

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