What is the best oil for a chainsaw engine fuel mix?

Monday, May 27, 2019
best chainsaw engine oil

Choosing the best chainsaw engine oil for fuel mixtures 

Just like a car needs the right engine oil, and your lawn mower too, your chainsaw will benefit from using the correct engine oil too.

In case it's not clear, we are talking about the kind of oil you mix with petrol before you add it to your two-stroke engine not oil for the chain bar!

Chainsaw engines are smaller that lawnmowers and of course cars, so run differently - different speeds, different accelerations and at different temperatures.

If you want to ensure your chainsaw engine is properly maintained, then you need to use oil design for use in a chainsaw.

When filling a small engine such as a chainsaw with fuel, it's quite likely to be a 'two cycle' or two-stroke engine. This means the fuel added will be a mixture of gas petrol and oil, usually in a 50 to 1 ratio of gas to oil.

Do not add car engine or lawn mower oil to your chainsaw! The quality of petrol and oil used is quite important to the proper running and life of the engine.

Unsuitable fuels or mix ratios that do not suit the manufacturer's design and intended use of the machine can cause damage to the engine which can include piston seizing and excessive wear. Gaskets, fuel lines and the fuel tank itself could be damaged if the incorrect oil is used.

It should now be clear that you should only ever use 2-cycle engine oil with your chainsaw*. Anything else will probably wreck it so, no you cannot put ordinary car oil in it!

What kind of oil to use? You'd be pretty safe with any of the major brands such as Husqvarna or Stihl.

*Can I use synthetic oil in my chainsaw fuel?

Just like their use in lawnmowers, synthetic oils have been demonstrated to have superior combustion characteristics over mineral oils on top of delivering great lubrication on chainsaw engines.

Synthetic oils will leave you with a much cleaner engine. They usually also have additives like octane enhancers, detergents and stabilizers to help burn cleaner than other engine oils. This means they will cause much less smoke as well.

You can also use semi-synthetics which cost less than fully synthetic oils. They still have fine combustion properties and give you better lubrication than you’d get from standard mineral oil.

Pros of using synthetic chainsaw oil

  • Will lubricate better than standard oil
  • Less coating on the piston and in the crankcase
  • Leaves your engine cleaner, produce less smoke exhaust

Cons of using synthetic oil

  • Price is the only real issue!

Here's some popular brand option for which it is hard to go wrong on choice!

How to mix gas and oil for a chainsaw

Before fueling the chainsaw, clean the fuel cap and the area around it to ensure that no dirt or wood chips fall into the fuel tank.

Have your oil and gas ready. You may wish to have a high octane gas.

Have your chopper positioned so that the cap points upwards.  

In order to reduce the risk of fuel coming in direct contact with skin and inhaling fuel vapor, remove the fuel cap carefully so as to allow any pressure build-up in the tank to release slowly. 

Your container for mixing should be clean, free of dirt and debris and one that is actually designed for holding fuel.

Pour the oil into the canister first and then add the gasoline or petrol. Make sure you get the ratios right by using the measured marks on your container.  

Close the canister and shake it vigorously to ensure proper mixing of the oil with the fuel.

Then pour into your chainsaw. Close the caps firmly and place your saw upright.

How long can I store mixed gas and oil fuel for?

It's recommended that you only mix enough fuel for the activity for which you are about to undertake. 

The mixture will deteriorate over time which makes engine performance suffer and even make it hard to start chainsaws (so you can remove fuel from your machine when storing if you wish to avoid that). 

Many brand manufacturers suggest one month but in our personal experience, you can go a fair bit longer. Any fuel stored longer than three months in the engine itself is likely to not be worth your time. 

Once, as a cheeky fix to spark some new life into the fuel that would not start, I added a dash of gas and it helped the chainsaw start, though begrudgingly! Check out this way to start a stalled chainsaw.

Best synthetic oils for using in a lawnmower engine

best synthetic oil lawnmower

What is the best synthetic oil that I can use in my lawnmower?

Did you ever watch Star Trek: The Next Generation?

Because they were supposedly enlightened people and had no apparent reason to get plastered to help them forget all the horrible stuff they went through and sew Picard's crew would drink synthehol.

And it had no effect on the body in terms of inebriation.

What a waste.

What is not a waste is synthetic oil for your lawnmower.

The best synthetic oil will offer the best engine protection at all temperatures as well as improved starting with less oil consumption. They will ideally help ensure your lawnmower is more likely to start in a cold climate!

What makes synthetic oil so good is that it is simply more 'oily' than mineral oils. As it is more 'slippery' it lubricates better and faster meaning it is consumed more efficiently.

If you are looking to use synthetic oil in your lawnmower (or another small engine like a chainsaw), then you are thinking smartly because synthetics also have properties which mean they tend to collect dirt and debris in the engine system better than traditional oils such as 20w50), meaning that when the oil is changed, more particulates are removed from your oil system. That can prolong the life of your small engine and it will perform better if as it will be less clogged by engine gloop.

Yes, that's a technical term, ask Gwyneth Paltrow...

One of the most popular synthetic oils just so happens to be produced by one of the most famous lawnmower engine manufacturers, Briggs and Stratton.

This author bought a Briggs and he will probably only ever buy their engines in the future because that brand represents assured quality. And you can say the same for their synthetic oil, SAE 5W-30 or 10W30 which is ideal for use in all air cooled 4-cycle engines.

Why was synthetic oil developed?

These lubricants were first synthesized, or man-made, in significant quantities as replacements for standard mineral lubricants (and fuels) by German scientists in the late 1930s and early 1940s because of their lack of sufficient quantities of crude for the needs of their military.

This was because of the need to operate machinery on the Eastern Front, which if you know a thing or two about that part of the world, is damn cold in the wintertime. Those scientists were trying to find ways to keep the oil fluid in the cold.

At the other end of the spectrum, there was plenty of research into finding synthetic oils that worked better than mineral based oils at high temperatures.

By the 1970s, synthetic oils had developed to the point they were suitable for commercial applications and were released for the automotive market and lawnmowers!

 A significant factor in its gain in popularity was the ability of synthetic-based lubricants to remain fluid in the sub-zero temperatures of the Eastern front in wintertime, temperatures which caused petroleum-based lubricants to solidify owing to their higher wax content.

The use of synthetic lubricants widened through the 1950s and 1960s owing to a property at the other end of the temperature spectrum – the ability to lubricate aviation engines at high temperatures that caused mineral-based lubricants to break down. In the mid-1970s, synthetic motor oils were formulated and commercially applied for the first time in automotive applications.

Can I use 20w50 oil in my lawn mower?

Sunday, May 26, 2019
what lawnmower oil to use

Can I use 20w50 motor engine oil in my lawn mower?

The short answer is yes, you can use 20w50 oil in a lawnmower but results may vary.

That's not the end of it though.

This kind of oil is not designed specifically to be used in a lawnmower. 20W50 is actually a fairly specialized petrol engine oil formulated for use in engines made generally before 1980.

The starting point for considering what kind of oil to add is the characteristic of the oil known as viscosity. This is the thickness of the oil and that has a direct effect on how well the engine is lubricated during use, especially when temperatures change.

Typically, '30 weight oil' (often referred to as SAE30) is used in lawn mowers as it is designed with the engines of older lawn mower in mind - temperature factors are a key player here - both of the engine (which obviously heats differently from a car) and also the local weather conditions play a part in determining engine performance.

The thicker viscosity of 30 weight oil assists air-cooled engines to keep them running... cooler!

SAE30 is very suitable for older, aged engines to use.

20w50 will work in engines for what could be described as the summer weather period. If you live in colder climes then you should really consider using 30 weight.

If you live in a region that has large temperature swings between summer and winter then a blended oil such as 10w30 may be suitable - the 10w reflects the winter use protection and the 30 reflects the warm temp.

If you've spotted a trend in those numbers, good on you - the colder weather in which you use your engine, the lower your W for winter number can go.

One thing to bear in mind is while winter oils can help improve cold weather starting they may contribute to an increase in oil consumption by the engine. You just want to get your grass cut though eh?

When in doubt, you should always refer to the user manual of the lawn mower. If you do not have it, then google it - the manufacturers place them online because they know their users will benefit from them - a happy user is a happy brand whisper naturally!

Another factor to consider in your oil choice is will it help keep the engine clean internally?

Will the detergents contained in the oil help prevent sludge build up?

Most quality engine oils will have such detergents added - and for this reason alone, we recommend you avoid using cheap engine oil if you can!

There is an argument that you see creeping in every so often that the modern mower engine, is still basically the same kind of engine that has been around for 60 years since the end of the Second World War.

Those old & original engines ran on the crudest, rudest kind of oils around. The modern oils, including synthetics, are clearly superior oils and probably do over and above what is required for many engines.  This train of thought probably underlies why many users report using certain oils in certain engines and never having any issues with the oil's performance.

Take that how you will!

Best Dewalt Brushless Grinder

Friday, May 24, 2019
best brushless grinder

DEWALT DCG413B 20V Brushless Cut Off Tool/Grinder Review

The DEWALT DCG413B 20V XR Brushless 4.5-Inch angle grinder features a brushless motor which delivers up to 57% more run time over brushed engines.  This is because brushless motors have vastly reduced friction and much less voltage drop that brushes create by dragging against the spinning commutator. The result is Dewalt's cutting tool works with greater efficiency offers a more durable motor.

This single speed motor actually translates into 9,000 max RPMs which means it can handle the same kinds of jobs as corded grinders.

The Dewalt has a paddle switch to operate; the brake is engaged as soon as the Paddle switch is released, bringing the wheel quickly to a safe stop.

This tool also offers a 2-Position side handle for user comfort and convenience. It weighs 3 and 3/4 pounds so it's very easy to operate.

If you've been in the game long enough, you might think a grinder is a grinder but these reviews from actual users who have bought the grinder through Amazon and put them through their paces.

"I have several angle grinders, all electric. Hesitated to purchase a battery powered but my other DeWalt tools do so well and the reviews were so good I thought I would go for it.

GLAD I DID! This angle grinder is the boss. No more do I need to find an extension cord to grind, cut off or sand some simple project!"

"It’s so easy to operate and has all the power I need for 70% of my projects."

"I will never buy anything else. This grinder has since February of this year already had a hard life. Then last Friday it got ran through my entire rock quarry plant. Which consisted of getting hit with rock and submersed under water and pushed out by a large auger and found in a rock pile before it was shipped out to be used in concrete. Let it sit for a few days and it still works. And that’s the battery that was on it when it happened. All still work. Impressive. The trigger is a little sticky for turning it on but still works."

Now that is a sure sign of durability!

"An incredible angle grinder and it’s cordless! Very pleased with this grinder. I upgraded to a 6.0 battery and it will grind for a good while before needing to be recharged. More power than I imagined and much quieter than other corded angle grinders. It’s worth every penny."

If you think these guys have made the right call, make the same and check out the price on Amazon We recommend you wear battle tested safety gloves when using this grinder and of course, a safety visor or glasses. These units are lethal if used incorrectly or if a blade snaps and flies of into your face. Google for some pictures of grinder accidents and you'll see what we mean!

Here at TheToolYard, we just love recommending Dewalt products as they are durable, they work and are quite reasonably priced in the DIY market.

Here's some Dewalt products we've recommended in the past - job site fan, nail gun cordless lawn mower, the best drill bet set and handy safety glasses to protect your eyes.

Best adjustable wrench for home maintenance

Wednesday, May 15, 2019
best 12 inch wrench

When I was a wee lad, we had a fantastic garage that my dad worked in.

It was huge. It had couches, a rocking horse, a clothes dryer and unbelievably old radio (made of wood) that he would play horses races on and a pool table.

All of that and the tools. There were tools for chainsaws, the lawnmower, and so many rusted hand saws.

But that crescent wrench of his! It was a shiny tool of wonder. He had painted the end blue so he would know it was his.

Even as a child, I knew it was something special. It was adjustable so as a kid, it meant I could use it for all kinds of mischief and later on, maintaining my bicycle.

And now as an adult, I miss that wrench.

So, dear reader, I'm in the market for a new spanner.

It's got to be a quality one.

One that won't rust if MY son leaves it outside in the grass for a week.

One that's easy to adjust and one that feels just right in the hand like my dad's did.

It's got to have a sense of weight about it that just says, yep, I can get this nut undone, piece of cake, just put some elbow into it mate!

So what's the best adjustable wrench on the market for me to have a look at then? Are they any popular brands or newer kinds of material I should be thinking about? I have no idea, so let's find out on my journey to get a new wrench.

The first thing to ask ourselves is what size wrench do we need? Are we fixing car engines, adjusting wheel alignment on a bicycle or what?

If you want a stock standard, no fuss wrench, then, by all means, grab a cheap steel wrench that will do the job but it might make you work a little bit harder than you need:

steel adjustable spanner

This kind of spanner will set you back less than 10 bucks on Amazon. It's the classic style, drop forged and made of steel with a chrome plated finish and it will do the job but it might not be the kind of tool you keep in the shed for thirty years.

We reckon though you should insist on a quality wrench, and we think Ares have just the tool for you.

The Ares15-Inch adjustable wrench boasts a 2-inch (50.8mm) jaw capacity and a precision machined 4-thread knurled non-protruding jaw adjustment worm, making it perfect for jobs requiring exacting precision in tight spaces.

Both the handle and jaws have an HRC 40-50 hardness rating, so it’s tough enough for stubborn jobs. It's tough as it is made of durable, heat-treated Chrome Vanadium Steel with a corrosion-resistant Manganese Phosphate coating.

Its handle grip features an anti-slip design which delivers the user more gripping power to help reduce fastener damage and provide more torque while preventing hand stress and fatigue during prolonged use. 

The wrench is a wrench for all jobs. DIY around the home, plumbing, working on the farm or doing automotive work. 

Here's the specs:
  • Size: 6-inch
  • Jaw capacity: 15/16-inch (23.8125mm)
  • Constructed of Chrome Vanadium Steel
  • Corrosion-resistant Manganese Phosphate coating
  • Unique jaw and neck design increases steel hardness (HRC) by 3 degrees and reduces the wrenches’ overall weight by 10%
  • Ergonomic TPR handle grip
  • Anti-slip design 
  • Precision milled 4-thread knurled non-protruding jaw adjustment worm
  • Metric and SAE measurement markings
  • Special jaw design protects nuts during use for increased torque

But you want to know if the Ares spanner is the real deal. Well, buyers on Amazon have road tested it and given their review feedback:

"I use this wrench almost daily. The grip is nice, fitment of the adjuster is excellent, the small teeth on the jaws are a nice for a little additional bite. Well worth the price for quality tools."

"Good quality and very small for very tight spaces"

So check out the price on Amazon:

Ares also do a pretty handy set of wrenches:

This sets wrenches features up to a 1 5/16-inch jaw capacity and metric and SAE measurements, eliminating guesswork when doing precision jobs.

The 8-inch wrench also features a V-jaw with aggressively angled teeth perfect for gripping pipes and rounded fasteners.

handy wrench set

Coilover spanners

coilover wrench
There are also plenty of other kinds of wrenches that have specific design features to help with particular tasks such as the coil-over.

Coilovers can be used to tighten side slot nuts on collars, lock nuts and bearings.

Because of the action when using them, they can give great leverage when turning stubborn bolts.

These kinds of spanners are very popular for motorcycle maintenance as they can fit shocks, steering columns, and all kinds of nuts.

Top five facts about spanners and wrenches

  1. Crescent wrenches are actually a trademarked brand all of their own!
  2. English engineer Richard Clyburn is widely credited with inventing an adjustable spanner in 1842.
  3. The first patent for a spanner was granted to Enoch Harris in 1885. This featured an adjustable jaw. Since then many different patents for differing forms of spanners have been accepted over the years.
  4. No one knows how the term "monkey wrench" came about
  5. The expression "spanner in the works" came about from employees deliberately sabotaging factory production lines with tools such as wrenches. Or not...

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