How to store a chainsaw

Saturday, December 29, 2018
storing a chainaw

Storage of a chainsaw

The physical maintenance of a chainsaw is very important as we can all appreciate, however, good storage of your chainsaw will also help with good performance making sure it will start the next time you need it.

Chainsaw should be stored in dry and dustfree conditions. Cleaning it before putting it away for the winter will ensure that it's ready when you take it out in the spring.

Here's some other storage tricks you may wish to consider:

Emptying the fuel tank

Empty the fuel tank in a well-ventilated place and then clean it. Remember to drain the carburetor first, to prevent the carburetor diaphragms from sticking together.

Dismantle the saw

Remove the chain and guide bar, give them a good clean and then spray them with protective oil. We like to use CRC.

Store your saw in a dry place

Your chainsaw should be kept in a dry place.

Select an area which is well ventilated and protected from the weather.

Leaving it outdoors is not advisable as it is more suspectable to rust and it really should be protected from the sun - it's UV rays can break down the plastics, making them brittle.

The chain saw should always be packed away in a dust-free environment. You can place it in a dust bag or even a cardboard box or covered under a cloth.

It's also a smart move to store it in a place where children cannot get their hands on it. 

These are some simple ideas you can do - but let's face the truth. You are probably just going to leave the chainsaw on a shelf under a workbench somewhere...

Can I add two stroke oil to a 4 stroke lawnmower?

Friday, December 28, 2018
4 stroke engine oil
So I recently bought a brand new lawnmower. It had a Briggs and Stratton engine which was a real selling point.

As I was in the store, I grabbed some oil as I figured the oil sump was probably empty.

Turns out I was right, as there was a big yellow warning sticker on the engine to remind the user to add oil.

To actually add 4 stroke oil.

Which made me take note as I had bought only 2 stroke oil as that's what I had been adding to my old Briggs and Stratton engine until the casing gave way due to rust and I could no longer safely push the mower.

Maybe that wasn't the smartest idea in the world!

So, given it was a brand new engine, what should I do? Use the recommended oil of course!

Now, I wasn't going to drive all the way back to the store to grab the oil as that would have taken an hour and I really wanted to cut the lawn, so I'd thought I'd just grab some 4 stroke oil from the petrol station down the road.

They had none.

Nor did the one across the road.

Nor did the supermarket.

So screw it I thought and added the two stroke to the brand new engine.

And you know what happened?

Nothing but the grass was cut.

The engine didn't smoke and it started the first time which is simply a great feeling when you've just laid out some serious cash for your first ever brand new lawnmower!

So in terms of the science, 2 engines stroke engines work slightly different from two-stroke engines.

The engine of a two-stroke will complete its combustion and exhaust cycle in only 2 strokes or cycles of the piston, whereas a 4 cycle taking 4 strokes of the piston.

The only other difference between the two engines is that a 4 stroke engine uses oil from a sump system rather than being added directly to the fuel in a 2 stroke system.

However, adding 2 stroke to a 4 stroke engine is not a long term solution. 2 stroke is designed to be used with the fuel inside the engine and not in a 4 stroke engine.

It has different qualities, especially its performance under the high temperatures of engines bigger than it is designed for use in.

It's for this reason that you should indeed follow the engine manufacturer's advice and use 4 stroke oil. Sure the 2 stroke works in a pinch, but for the long-term efficiency and performance, the 4 stroke is the way to go.

If you suddenly feel you need to buy some 4 stroke oil, check out some options on Amazon.

I need a new lawn mower, what is the best one for me?

Thursday, December 27, 2018


I am on the hunt for a new walk behind lawn mower for my yard


This is a legit, genuine hunt and I can show you why.

But first, let me tell you the story of how I have to start my lawnmower.

It's a bitch and a half.

The pull start is rooted. The internal workings are gone. The recoil spring is bung and removed. The idler pulley is just done. It drinks mower oil like a fish.  I have to manually reset it every time I want to use it.

Today I went to mow the lawns and I realized that one of the 'grip bits' had disappeared. I thought about it and wrapped a small rope around the THING and eventually managed to turn the engine over.

And that's when a disaster I'd been expecting finally struck!

While I was mowing the laws, I managed to rip the handle arms out! The joints were pretty rusted and the metal hard started to come away.

So it's kind of impossible to mow the laws when your mower looks like this:


busted lawnmower handles


So now I am on the hunt to buy a new lawn mower for my 400 square meters of lawn. It's a small lawn really so I'm very happy to push it around in my gumboots for about half an hour.

I think I'm after a classic home lawn mower with a catcher.

One that will last at least 6 - 10 years and one that I'm able to maintain fairly easily. I don't want to buy the cheapest lawn mower out there but I think a mid-range, sturdy beast should suit my needs.

I also want a petrol / gas engine as I think petrol just adds to my lawn mowing experience. Even when I flood the damn thing...

What are my options? 

Given how much we love Husqvarna products due to their renown for reliability, let's check out the:

Husqvarna HU800AWDH Walk Behind Mower

husvarna lawn mower


Tackle your lawn care with a superior mower! 

The Husqvarna HU800AWDH has an all-wheel-drive system that guarantees balance and power in hilly terrain and the toughest mowing conditions. 

A durable mower, it features a 22" heavy-duty steel deck and a powerful 190cc Honda engine. 

The mower comes equipped with a quick pin, four-point adjustment for level cutting and a water hose connector for easy deck cleaning. 

The specifications as described by the manufacturer:
  • Honda gcv190 190cc 4 cycle engine. Net power at preset rpm: 3000 rpm
  • 22-Inch, 3-in-1 steel mower deck that gives you the option to side discharge, mulch or bag your grass
  • All wheel 4x4 drive rear hi-wheel that is exclusive to Husqvarna products - this provides improved maneuverability in all types of grass or terrain
  • Auto walk self-propelled all wheel drive system lets you control the pace of your mowing.
  • The cutting width is 22 inches
  • Ball bearing wheels 8-inch front and 11-Inch Rear Ball Bearing Wheels, 3 position handle height adjustment

In terms of power, this machine is nicely placed for your traditional lawn set but also has enough grunt for unlevel terrain.

You can employ three grass cutting modes - standard collection for a tidy lawn, a mulching mode for lawn fertilization and ejection!

Here's some reviews from users who brought this mower from Amazon.

"This self-propelled mower is really strong and pulls me along anywhere I want to go. I have to wear hearing protection with this thing because it is so loud, but that's fine with me. I love the power behind this beast and you will too!"

"I held off on the review until now to give me some time with it. The Honda engine has been great, has started effortlessly on the first pull every time I've used it, nothing required other than fuel. The AWD system has been excellent as well with only one hiccup, mulching high wet grass led to some drive belt slippage that remedied itself within a few minutes. The Honda engine combined with AWD allowed me to add a lawn striping roller and the unit effortlessly climbs my hill while mulching and striping."

"This mower is a beast. Built a pool in the back and I have a VERY steep hill behind it now. VERY steep. Climbs right up it perfect. You just walk along with it. Very pleased with it. Plenty of power, easy to start, great packaging/ boxing. Great mower so far. Lots of power."

If this mower sounds like it suits your needs, check out the price on Amazon.

Greenworks 20-Inch 12 Amp Corded Lawn Mower 25022


long world gas lawnmower



Want some grunt with your mower? Have a look at the Long World 161cc 20“ Deck 3-in-1 Self-Propelled Gas Lawn Mower

Features:
  • gas-powered push lawnmower with 161cc OHV powerful engine to get grass cut sharply & quickly in small yards.
  • 3-in-1 cutting system, equipped with a 20-inch steel mulching deck to side discharge, mulch and rear bag.
  • One Lever Adjustment, 8 grades of cutting heights (1-3 inch) which lets you cut grass at the size you want
  • 1.2 litre gas tank
  • Front wheels: 7” height; rear wheels: 10” height, wheels for easy operation and control while mowing.
If this mower will chop your lawn down to size, check out the price on Amazon.

The Power Smart range features machines that are ideal for the smaller yards of America. 

The compact, 159cc self-propelled gas-powered power smart DB8621S self-propelled lawn mower is easy to operate in tight spaces & features three cutting systems including side discharge option & mulching capability plus a collection rear bag. 


This is a no-nonsense model that offers a lightweight design balanced with power. The DB8621S features a rear wheel drive mode that makes it easier to maneuver on uneven & rough. 

The deep dome deck design accompanied with the sharp & solid blade makes for better mulching. 

Easy to operate & weighing just 76 lbs., the mower also features a durable steel deck that cuts a 21 in. swath with an adjustable height from 1.18 to 3 inches.

So that's three simple choices for you and for me. Of personal interest, it's been a long time since I've brought a new lawn mower - the key point of change for me appears to be the move from metal to plastic.

... and now this has got me thinking about the best kind of battery based lawnmowers...

How to make sharp, safe cuts with a chainsaw

Thursday, December 20, 2018

A good clean cutting action works for many things.

Surgery. 

Steak. 

And chainsaws.

To make a clean chainsaw cut

Provided the saw has been turned on now:

  1. Hold the front handle of the saw with your gloved left hand with your thumb wrapped tightly underneath. 
  2. Grab the rear handle with your gloved right hand. Get into sawing position by spreading your legs apart for stability. 
  3. Now pull back the chain brake to disengage it. 
  4. Then squeeze the throttle. The saw cuts best when the engine is at full throttle.

Pretty simple eh? - there are some clear principles at play - be well positioned, use a good grip action and make sure your chainsaw is well sharpened and well oiled and the depth gauge cutters are properly filed down.

Here are some more tips for an efficient cut:


  • Cutting with the upper portion of the tip could cause a kickback reaction, which can be bloody dangerous and may engage the chain brake. Basically, try to avoid cutting with the tip. 
  • It's good practice to cut at your waist level — never raise your saw above shoulder height. This is just asking for trouble if you run into trouble! You are less able to properly control the saw at this height and angle.
  • Avoid cutting too close to the ground where the blade could dig in and kick back.
  • Try to cut from the side of the saw. This is to say, do not stand 'over' the saw. A kickback in this position could be lethal as the saw will kick back into your line of sight - meaning a chest or face injury is on the cards. It's really easy to suddenly find yourself in this position if you have moved around a bit so keep an eye on your positioning at all times. 
  • You should cut with a downward pressure with the bottom of the bar — known as cutting with a pulling chain since the chain pulls the saw out from you. The vice versa applies when cutting upwards. We suggest you have a fair bit of practice with the standard method before trying an up cut motion. At the least, have a really good appreciation for how your saw feels in your hands.
  • It is very easy to over work your back while using a chainsaw. Try not to curve your spine to move lower, instead bend your knees.

How to sharpen a lawn mower blade safely

Tuesday, December 11, 2018
sharpened lawn mower blade

Guide on how to safely sharpen your lawn mower blade

If you are like me, you like to use your lawn mower as a bit of a mulcher machine.

Maybe you like to monster some stray branches or other plant material such as flax (which can go all stringy and cut stuck around the blade) and you simply run over them with the mower to get rid of the waste.

If you do this enough times coupled with hitting the odd stone or when you accidentally maneuver the blade onto concrete or brick you've got a blunt blade which makes doing the lawns even harder.

And if you're blade is blunt, the grass isn't being cut as well as it should - meaning more work for you, especially if the grass is wet.

How sharp should mower blades be?


Blades should be sharpened so they are like a pair of scissors or butter knife, and not like a boning knife. A knife-edge blade will get dull much faster than a correctly sharpened lawn mower blade.

What angle should mower blades be sharpened?


Most blades leave the factory with the blade sharpened at a 45-degree angle.

You should aim for the same.

If you are ever in a lawn mower store, have a feel of the blade - you'll note it is not honed down razor sharp!

Can I sharpen a lawnmower without removing the blade?


No matter how you choose to sharpen your blade, the first thing to do is to disconnect the spark plug by removing the spark plug wire.

This is to prevent the engine from accidentally starting if the blades generate enough pressure to turn the engine - either when removing it or sharpening. 

Yes, you can. It's a little tricky but can be managed. 

As usual, disconnect the spark plug first. 

Turn the mower on it the side so that the air filter and carburetor are facing up (to avoid oil spillage), grab your file and file the blade at 45 degrees. Make sure you do even strokes on either side.

This is a quick and dirty way to sharpen the blade. You do run the risk of sharpening unevenly and make the blade unbalance. 

We recommend you take the blade off, your call though, like most of us, you don't have all day to get the lawns done.

How to sharpen a lawn mower blade by hand with a file


  • Mark which is the downward facing side of the blade with a Sharpie marker or similar. This is so you do not accidentally re-attach it upside down.
  • Remove your blade from the mower and clamp the blade in a vice.
  • Wear appropriate safety gear, especially safety eyewear.
  • Sharpen the blade with a file. Your strokes should go from the inside edge to the out. 
  • You should aim to sharpen at a 45 degree angle. 
  • Your mower blade is sharp enough when it feels like a butter knife - that's suitable enough to cut with, given the force that occurs when it rotates under engine speed. 
  • Reinstall the blade the correct way up. If we have to say, we have to say it!
A standard file is all you need. 

How to sharpen a lawn mower blade with a drill 


You can use your home handyman drill to sharpen your blade, with the right sharpening attachment.

Usually made of the abrasive corundum (a crystalline form of aluminum oxide), these sharpening aids can be found fairly cheaply on Amazon.

sharpen lawnmower blade with a drill

  • Note which is the downward facing side of the blade with a marker. This is so you do not accidentally re-attach it upside down.
  • Remove your blade from the mower and clamp the blade in a vice with the cutting part of the blade face up. 
  • Add the attachment into the drill. 
  • Put your safety glasses on
  • Line the bevel of the drill up to the blade. This will guide you as you use the drill. 
  • Use a light degree of pressure. 
  • Flip the blade over in the clamp and repeat.
  • Balance your blade

This video tutorial shows an excellent method on how to sharpen the blade safely:



You can also use a rotary tool such as a Dremel, angle grinder or a belt sander to sharpen the blade in the same fashion. Just use the tools in a safety conscious fashion and you'll be fine. 

How to balance your blade properly (as all things should be)


After you have sharpened the blade, you can test its balance with a blade-balancing tool. If you don't have such a tool you can try the classic trick of hammering a nail partway into a wall and hang the blade from it (using the center hole). If the blade hangs horizontally, it is perfectly balanced (as all things should be).

If one side lowers, you can lighten that side with your file or grinder. It's usually recommended that Material should only be removed from the end of the blade, in the sail area.

How often should I sharpen the mower blade?


Many users sharpen the blades at the beginning of every grass growing season. It never hurts to check and give it a tune-up if you frequently use the mower, especially if you've caught a few rocks or mulched some wood with it.

My blade is pretty damaged, what can I do?

damaged lawn mower blade

If your blade has done a diligent service but it's full of cuts and nicks it's probably time to replace it.

You can find plenty of replacements on Amazon. They are usually measured in inches, so make sure the size your order matches that of your machine!

Can I put a mulching blade on my mower?


If you want your lawn mower to do some heavy action mulching - you might want to consider attaching a blade designed to mulch grass (rather than simply cutting the grass).  When using such a blade, it is usually recommended that you leave the grass to be a little bit longer than you would an ordinary blade. 

You will probably also find you need to sharpen a mulching blader more regularly than a regular blade as they come into contact with the grass more.

Thinking of checking out a cordless electric mower? We've got you covered.

Promise us though that you will never sharpen a blade like this guy pictured below. Sure, he has ear cover and his eyes protected but one false move and he's cut himself so bad, he won't be pushing a lawnmower for a while:

unsafe way to sharpen a lawnmower blade

Is an electric chainsaw better than gas powered?

Monday, December 3, 2018
electric chainsaw pros and cons

Gas or electric powered chainsaws - which is best?


With advances in modern technology arborists and woodcutters no longer need to simply rely on the 'old fashioned' gas powered chainsaw to fell trees or cut firewood.

There are now three kinds of ways a chainsaw may be powered.
As you might expect each kind of machine has benefits and weakness to their use.

Let's consider the merits of each.

The benefits of a gas powered chainsaw


If you're a Tim 'The Toolman' Taylor kind of tool user, you'll have a fond appreciation for devices that run on gas and give off a strong, powerful vibe. And gas or petrol powered chainsaws do just that. 

Gas driven engines can be configured to very high degrees of power output making them super useful for industrial work in the forest or simply being used intensively all day. 

The attraction of a gas powered saw is that they are the most wholly portable of all chainsaws - you can take them with you high into the hills and not have to worry about running out of fuel (if you've of course budgeted for what you needed to use the saw for!)

A downside of using a gas driven engine is they do require a fair bit of maintenance. Many a user will often however take pride in undertaking correct maintenance of their chainsaw - especially when they can cost a small fortune!

Reasons to use an electric chainsaw


Electric chainsaws are a lot more quiet than gas. They don't have the same ooomph of the gas-powered cousins but they do have enough output power to light to medium duty jobs. 

Starting them is as simple as pulling the trigger. That itself has great appeal as starting a finicky gas-powered engine can be one of the most frustrating exercises there is! You know the drill, you just want to cut up the branch that has fallen on to your driveway but you then have to spend time, checking the fuel, checking the spark plug, making sure it has fuel!

The utter drawback of an electric-powered chainsaw is that you are only as mobile as your electric cable. This is fine if you just want to use it around the house but you can't run off to the neighbors for a chainsaw chopping party with it! One also should bear in mind that the longer your cable, the lower the voltage supplied to the chainsaw, meaning its power output can drop. 

Another benefit is that giving they are fairly quiet, you will not annoy your neighbors so much as you would with an electric or battery powered chainsaw. 

When you might want to use a battery powered chainsaw


A battery powered saw is a good option when you have to do a small amount of light to medium work such as pruning or cutting small trees. 

These things are obviously battery powered and won't last all day. They are however very easy to use, clean and are quite portable. 

If you only have the one battery, you will be limited by the amount of work you can get done as you'll obviously need to recharge it when empty meaning downtime for you.
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