Handy tips for maintaining chainsaws and chippers

A garden resplendent in lawns, trees and shrubs will always draw the eye and move the soul. Behind the scenes, though, you'll likely find a chainsaw and chipper. Here are some handy tips on maintaining these important garden tools.

  • Don't compromise on safety when handling a chainsaw – accidents can have horrific consequences. Dress protectively: gloves, earplugs, boots with a solid tread, safety glasses and helmet (which should include a face shield).
  • The starter cord on a chainsaw will fray if it is yanked repeatedly at an angle against the chainsaw's housing. Pull the cord straight up from the housing to keep it in good condition.
  • The guide bars of most chainsaws are reversible. This is a safety measure, to ensure that wear and tear is evenly spread. Keep a tally of the hours the saw is in use and make sure you reverse the bar every five hours.
  • When your chainsaw starts to produce sawdust, it's a warning that the blade is dull. Stop work immediately and sharpen the teeth.
  • Keep a regular check of the fuel level of a chipper/shredder. If it runs out of gas while it's working, you'll have to turn the machine off completely, unclog the hopper or the chipper chute and clean the discharge area before restarting the engine.
  • When the rate at which the chips discharge from the chipper starts to slow down, and/or the chips come out looking stringy, take it as a warning that the blades are becoming blunt. Sharpen them immediately.
  • Wait until leaves and branches that are green or wet have dried out before you put them through a shredder. Wet vegetation can clog or jam the machinery and give you a mulch that may turn mouldy.
  • Before putting your chainsaw away, shield its teeth with a split piece of garden hose. It will protect the teeth from damp and dust.

Keep these handy tips in mind while using and storing your chainsaw and chipper, and they'll be more likely to work efficiently for longer.

Handy tips for maintaining chainsaws and chippers
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