Winter Cutting Tips:
Because it is tougher to cut frozen wood, an operator will have a tendency to apply more pressure on the saw chain and bar. In addition, because oil thickens at cold tempertures, it is difficult to maintain an adequate supply of bar-chain lubricant to the chain and bar. The result is increased wear on bar rails and on the bottoms of chain cutters. This excessive pressure also puts extra strain on both the saw motor and the user. Generally, winter cutting is similar to winter driving. You drive on icy roads with extra caution and attention to your automobile. It's also important to give the same care to your chain, bar and saw.
A) Winter Chain Saw Use Guidelines:
Cutters: Keep cutters sharp. Touch up every hour, more often if needed. Do not force dull chain to cut.
Depth gauges: Check and adjust your cutter's depth gauges at every sharpening. It is not uncommon for top-plate breakage to occur with low depth gauges in conjunction with frozen wood.
Bar: Keep the bar groove clean and the oil hole open. Turn bars over to equalize rail wear. Chain and bar wear will occur if oil is not allowed to pass freely from the saw.
Drive sprocket: Replace the sprocket after every two chains, or sooner. Chain stretch is often the outcome if too many chains are allowed to run on a worn sprocket.
Tension: Keep your chain correctly tensioned. Check and adjust often. Loose chain tension is a very common reason for premature chain and bar wear.
Oil: Use lightweight bar-chain oil and be certain your chain is receiving oil from the saw. If needed, you can dilute your summer oil with up to 25 percent of clean kerosene or diesel oil. You should use up to twice as much of this diuluted oil during operation. Because they are friendlier to the environment, biodegradable lubricants are suggested as an alternative to traditonal mineral-based oils.
When cutting in snow, clear as much as you can away from the cut. Snow will melt from the heat of your chain and bar, which will wash away the oil.
B) Keeping Top Plates Equal:
Have a look at your used chain; are the top plates on one side consistently longer than on the other? If so, that means you're probably more comfortable sharpening the short side; it feels natural and so it gets more strokes. Next time you buy a new chain, make a point to start sharpening on what was the long side of the used chain, count the strokes, and do the same on what was the short side. You'll have a better chance of keeping the top plates equal, and your chain will cut straight.
C) Greasing Bar Noses:
Like any machine with precision bearings, bar sprocket noses benefit from frequent greasing. OREGON® suggests tying a grease gun to your gas can. Every time you fill your saw with gas, grease the nose of your bar.
Files and Grinding Stones: Thoroughly cleaning your chain prior to filing or grinding will insure longer file life and less cutter burning while grinding. A wire brush works well for this job.