The chainsaw has always been known to be a durable and tough power tool. This is because they are usually used in different weather conditions, including rain, and in various environments including forests and wetlands. When you consider the versatility of a chainsaw as an effective power tool, one may be forced to think that they are waterproof and can be used to cut trees that are wet or have fallen into a body of water. This article focuses on answering your questions while providing necessary information and safety tips to observe.
Can you use a chainsaw when it is wet?
The simple answer is yes and no. If you’re using a gas chainsaw, it will continue running fine even when it is wet. However, if you’re using an electric chainsaw, it can be really dangerous to use it in wet conditions.
Working with your chainsaw in wet weather such as the autumn rain and the winter snow is simply unavoidable. In case you have mixed feelings about your chainsaw getting wet, don’t fret. Gas-powered chainsaws are the perfect option to use in wet weather conditions as well as on wet log itself. Sawing through wet wood is okay for your chainsaw bar and blade, although there may be some extra build-up due to wet sawdust. But it’s totally fine as long and you clean it off with a rag.
On the other hand, because an electric chainsaw is powered by an electric source, it is important that you do not use the tool when it is wet. It is highly recommended that you NEVER use your electric chainsaw, especially the corded ones when they are wet. Even with a cordless electric chainsaw, it is always wise not to use when wet. Asides the risk of rusted blades, a wet electric chainsaw can be generally ineffective.
Running a Wet Chainsaw
● Gas-Powered Chainsaw
As mentioned earlier, gas chainsaws can handle moisture well. This is one of the many reasons why professional loggers prefer to use this model. It’s not news that you should never submerge them in water, but they will survive a bit of rain without any hassles. That being said, here are a few things to keep in mind if you plan on using your saw on a rainy day.
Firstly, never let water get into the fuel tank. Fuel and water as you know, are not compatible, so allowing water into the mix would cause a lot of complications. Not only will it cause the blades to rust, but it will also lead to malfunction of the engine, probably sending your chainsaw to an early grave. So always make sure that the fuel cap is tightly closed before you start up your chainsaw. This also applies to the bar oil tank. Although not nearly as damaging, you still shouldn’t let any water in there.
Secondly, pay attention to the chain. Although water may not have any short term effects on your chainsaw’s chain, you should always keep the chainsaw chain dry after you have finished using it. This is because the water collected on the chain can cause it to rust, eventually decreasing its cutting performance. You can use a rag to clean the chain before storing the saw away and you’re good to go. Don’t forget to clean up the air filter before using the chainsaw in the rain, especially if you have been cutting dry wood beforehand. Exposure to moisture can cause the dust on the filter to expand, causing your chainsaw to choke out. Finally, you should try to run your chainsaw for a few minutes before you put it away in order to get all the moisture out of it.
● Corded Chainsaws
Generally, operating any electric device in the rain is not a wise decision and can be dangerous. Electric chainsaws are not an exception in this category. Even though most manufacturers design the device in such a way that water can’t get inside too easily, it still isn’t safe to use a corded chainsaw outdoors when it’s raining. If the water manages to get inside the tool, it can short circuit your chainsaw, and even ruin it for good. Another reason why you shouldn’t practice this is that you can get electrocuted, and this is especially dangerous in an already damp environment. There is also the chance of slipping while holding the machine, this can cause some serious injuries or other accidents to occur. Water and electricity have never been known to go together. If water gets inside your electric motor, your tool may be at a high risk of malfunctioning or failing to work altogether. Therefore, you should never use an electric chainsaw when wet.
● Cordless Chainsaws
When it comes to using them in the rain, cordless chainsaws are similar to their corded counterparts. While it isn’t as dangerous as corded ones- because their only source of electricity is the battery- it still isn’t totally safe to use. If water gets inside the motor, it can short circuit your saw, and this can burn your battery for good. As in the corded models, there is also a possibility of slippage while holding the machinery. Slippage can also occur between the blades and driving links.
How To Prevent Chainsaw Rust
Though a wet chainsaw won’t damage while it’s running, it can cause the tool to rust if not properly cared for. The chainsaw’s chain and bar are the most susceptible parts to rust. However, if you have already made this mistake, it might be better for you to just replace them. To prevent rust, follow these two steps.
- Clean off moisture with a dry rag
- Oil the chainsaw
Specifically, you may want to dry the entire chainsaw like outside of the casing, the bar, and chain, for good. Note that the most important parts to dry out are the bar and chain. To oil the device, make sure the bar oil tank is full. Next, start your chainsaw and run the chain for a while. This is usually the fastest and simplest way to oil the tool. Of course, you can oil it manually, but most chainsaws already have a built-in oiling function, so oiling it manually might just be extra work.
Recommendations When Using an Electric Chainsaw in Wet Conditions
Although, it is always recommended to use your electric chainsaw in dry conditions, there are some situations where you may not be able to avoid cutting wood in the rain. Be it the autumn rain or the eventual winter snow, you will eventually have to work with a wet chainsaw. Cutting firewood and logs in snow or rain is fine for your chainsaw, even though it may have some additional build-up due to wet sawdust. However, this wet sawdust can be quickly wiped off using a rag. Here are some important tips for dealing with a wet chainsaw. Provided you follow these tips, you should be able to maintain a safe cutting task in wet conditions.
● Beware of Slippery Cutting Conditions
An important issue that many people who wish to use their chainsaws in the rain or snow tend to deal with is, things can become very slippery especially when their surface is wet. You must have a firm and solid footing anytime you are working outside in the snow or rain. Also, make sure you have a good grip on your chainsaw to avoid any problem.
● Use Protective Equipment
If you are planning to cut inside the rain, you must make sure you wear appropriate clothing as well as protective gear and equipment. These include gloves with extra grip and weather boots. Your protective gear will help you avoid any misadventures. Also, by wearing water-resistant and warm clothing, you will be comfortable enough to stay concentrated while doing the job.
● Use the Right Chain Type
One thing to note is that not all chains are multipurpose. When working on wet wood and in the rain, a chain with semi-chisel or rounded teeth is often required. Although this also means that you will be at a moderately slower pace, the benefit is that you will not have to pause in the middle of a job to sharpen your chain.
● Be Cautious of Debris Stuck to the Tree
Cutting through matters like rocks and debris can damage your chain. So, you should check and clear any debris that may be stuck to your wood before you cut, especially around the lower part of the wood where they might not be visible enough.