Am I overloading my chainsaw?

9 Aug 2006
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United Kingdom
It's a 33cc 14" Ryobi and please don't flame me for buying Chinese; I couldn't afford a Stihl or McCulloch and I have had a Ryobi cordless drill for 8 years and it has been faultless. This little fella does a great job on firewood for a few hours work a year so it's fit for the purpose.

I keep two chains and ensure both are sharp, I have a sharpening file with a gauge and have taken care to understand how it works; I have a near neighbour who works for a chainsaw dealer and he has checked my work and says the chain is fine. I take care to ensure that the depth gauges are correctly trimmed down and the cutters properly sharp. The lubrication is healthy and the bar in good nick.

However..... I have recently had two occasions when the little saw has just given up: the first, when I was taking a laurel bush down to ground level. Cutting the trunks (fully green and up to 6" thick) was fine while I was up above ground level but once I started trying to get into the lower parts close to the solid base of the bush the saw wasn't having it; it galled, smoked and the clutch slipped no matter how I tried to keep the revs up and the pressure on the bar very light.

Second occasion was yesterday tackling a broken off ash bough, half seasoned. On the upper branches it cut fantastically but lower down the bough towards 6" to 8" thick it was again galling and smoking.

I notice that the wood chippings are fairly fine; I understand that a chainsaw gouges out of the groove rather than cuts so a sharp blade should produce fairly large chunks of wood.

Is the chain blunt or am I simply expecting too much from my saw?
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I'm just wondering if you have dipped the blade in the soil for just a fraction of a second - thats all it takes to remove the keen edge. Look at the top of the tooth to see if the edge has rounded.
Keep the blade fairly tight and try to prevent twisting the bar. Thats all it could be really!
John :)
if you have been cutting close to the ground bin the blade i have a small bosch electric saw and i cut trees two foot thick with no problems, only once have i cut near the ground and had to bin the blade. no way would it cut after a sharpening
Thanks, I guess it's possible I may have hit a stone embedded in the bottom of the laurel trunks.

I think I will buy a new blade and keep it just for cutting good clean wood.
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Running the chain in dirt will kill it within a few seconds. How old are the blades, they do have a finite life; I always have 3 or 4 either new or pre-sharpened available & change if the one on the saw won't sharpen up quickly but they are usually scrap after 3 or 4 sharpening sessions & cutting hardwood will shorten their life considerably.

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