Chainsaws: what the the benefits of using vegetable oil over petroleum based oil?

Saturday, January 28, 2023

What are benefits of using formulated vegetable oil over petroleum based oil when using machinery such as chainsaws?

We get it. 

Running machinery like a chainsaw can be expensive, especially if you're not using it like a professional work tool, where things like oil and gas are business expenses. 

Homeowners and DIY enthusiasts love to do things on the cheap, especially if they can get away with it. 

This is why using vegetable-based oils rather than traditional oils can be a way to save a few dollars and to also help minimise the use of products that can cause harm to the environment. 

Vegetable oils, such as canola oil, are biodegradable, meaning they break down naturally in the environment and do not contribute to pollution. They also do not produce the same harmful emissions as petroleum-based oils when burned. 

Additionally, vegetable oils are renewable and sustainable resources, whereas petroleum is a non-renewable resource. In terms of lubrication of machinery, vegetable oils can also be used as a lubricant as they have similar lubricating properties as petroleum-based oils.

Imagine you're a lumberjack, out in the forest with your trusty chainsaw, cutting down trees left and right, earning your right to a decent homebrew at the end of the day.

bar and chain oil canola

What kind of oil are you using to lubricate your chainsaw?

You might want to consider switching to vegetable oil.

But, before you go pouring canola oil all over your chainsaw, keep in mind that vegetable oil can be a bit "sticky" and can dry up and hold the chain like glue. 

To avoid this, you can use a specially formulated "green oil" specifically designed for chainsaws.

And, if you're using your chainsaw to cut meat, vegetable oil is the obvious choice so the meat tastes good (sunflower, canola, or palm oil work great).

Just make sure you're using an oil that's specifically made for chainsaws, as regular kitchen oils might not be suitable for long-term use and could cause maintenance issues.

What are some examples of 'green oils' that can be used on a chainsaw's bar and chain?

Some examples of formulated vegetable oils that can be used on a chainsaw include:
These formulated vegetable oils are specifically designed for use in chainsaws and other outdoor power equipment. 

They are made from vegetable oils, such as canola or sunflower, and may include additional ingredients to improve their performance and extend their life. These formulated oils are biodegradable, environmentally friendly, and renewable resources. 

What about the working temperature of vegetable oils?

Everyone who knows half of what they think they should about gas engines is that they operate best at certain temperature conditions - and the necessary oils included

If you're in the middle of winter during Alaska's coldest day, you want to be sure that the oil works right?

Same with vegetable oils that have been engineered to work on chainsaws. 

Vegetable oils, such as canola oil, have high thermal stability when used as lubricants in chainsaws and other outdoor power equipment. This means that they can withstand high temperatures without breaking down or losing their lubricating properties. 

This is important for chainsaws, as they generate a lot of heat during operation, and using an oil that can't handle the heat can lead to damage to the chainsaw and poor performance. Formulated vegetable oils designed for chainsaws can have a high thermal stability. 

This can allow them to work efficiently in a wide range of temperatures, from below freezing to above 100°F (38°C) depending on the oil and the formulation.

It's not just chainsaws that use vegetable oil. It can be applied to all kinds of machinery:
  • Lawnmowers
  • Brush cutters
  • Hedge trimmers
  • Tractors
  • Cultivators
  • Rototillers
  • Power generators
  • Compressors
  • Concrete saws
  • Wood chippers
  • Snowblowers
  • Pressure washers
  • Pumps
  • Industrial machinery (such as lathes, drill presses, milling machines)
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