How Does a Chainsaw Work? Complete Working Mechanism

Chainsaws have been the most commonly used power tools used across the USA, and in most parts of the world. Being well-known equipment to cut trees, a chainsaw has emerged as the need of every homeowner. If you already own a chainsaw or you planning to buy a new one, you are in true need of learning about the working mechanism of chainsaw – it will help you better understand and use this power tool.

Generally, chainsaws are of different types, and each type of chainsaw is designed to perform a duty of varied intensity. For instance; an electric chainsaw is used to perform small to mid-sized cutting jobs, while gas-powered chainsaws are specifically designed to do hardcore large-scaled cutting jobs. However, all these chainsaws are massively identical in their working principles.

Therefore, before I state my answer on how does chainsaw work, I would rather prefer to tell you about some essential components of a chainsaw that are present in all types of chainsaws;

Common Components of Chainsaw

A chainsaw is a complex assembly of certain parts that work in collaboration to get the final task done. Here are some identical components of chainsaw present in all types of chainsaws;

  • Engine (the main component)
  • Chain assembly (the combination of guide bar and chain on it)
  • Crankshaft (used to transmit power)
  • Starting mechanism (it works differently in electric and gas-powered chainsaws)
  • Chain brake (important to ensure safety of user)

So, these are common parts found in every chainsaw. Now, let us see that how these parts collaborate with each other to provide chainsaw with enough power to complete the job.

Working of Chainsaw

The simplest explanation for this whole mechanism is obvious to the user in the form of a chain with sharp teeth that rotates on the guide bar, and provides blades with enough power to cut wood. This combination of chain and guide bar is one of the leading technical prospects that might be difficult to understand for new users – however, I have also explained the measurement of chainsaw chain and measurement of chainsaw bar to facilitate users regarding the selection of perfect chain and guide bar.

The combination of the guide bar and chain is referred to as chain assembly which is mainly responsible to receive power from the engine – later on, this power is transmitted to the chain that cuts trees. Meanwhile, the most complex part of the chainsaw is the engine; it has different dynamics depending upon the fuel it consumes.

The starting mechanism of chainsaws is also different; it can start by pushing a button, or pulling a cord. This starting mechanism provides the engine with the required power to start the process, and then deliver it to the crankshaft. The crankshaft further transmits this power to gear wheels which are mainly responsible to rotate the chain on the guide bar.

Guide wheels are powered by a crankshaft, and this power rotates the chainsaw chain on the guide bar providing chain blades with enough friction and power against the wood that could offer a smooth cutting.

Above all, there is a safety mechanism referred to as a chain brake; it is autoactivated process to protect the user from injury in case of chainsaw kickback.

Generally, this is a mechanism that makes all types of chainsaws work.

How Does a Chainsaw Work

How do Different Chainsaws Work Differently? 

Technically, the main difference in chainsaws comes from their power source which is electricity in electric power chainsaws, and fuel in gas-powered chainsaws. Although all types of chainsaws serve the same purpose, however, there is a difference in their working mechanism;

1. How Does a Electric Chainsaw Work?

Electric chainsaws are deemed perfect for small to mid-level cutting jobs. Typically, these chainsaws find the necessary power when the cord is plugged into the power source. Electricity provides the engine with the necessary spark which then generates electrical energy utilized by the crankshaft – then this energy is transmitted to gear wheels. As the final part of the process, gear wheels transmit this energy to the chain which then rotates on the guide bar.

Similar to the nature of the job electric chainsaws are expected to perform, the length of the guide bar is comparatively smaller than the length of the bar used in gas-powered chainsaws.

2. Working of a Gas-Powered Chainsaw

Gas-powered chainsaws are considered one of the most powerful chainsaws used to perform the hard cutting. The length of the guide bar associated with a gas-powered chainsaw is considerably larger than the guide bar of electric chainsaws. The working mechanism of this chainsaw is little but technical and complex – it comprises the fuel tank which is linked with a carburetor. The carburetor is responsible for mixing an adequate amount of fuel with air, and then sending this mixture to the internal combustion chamber.

Usually, there is a cord attached to a gas-powered chainsaw which generates a spark upon pulling it. The spark initiates ignition in the internal combustion engine, and it starts generating power. Then the power is transmitted to gear wheels through the crankshaft. Gear wheels are further responsible for the rotation of the chain on the guide bar.

3. Battery-Powered Chainsaw Functionality 

Battery-powered chainsaws get power from lithium-ion batteries placed inside to provide them with the required power. These chainsaws work in a similar way as done by electric chainsaws – only the source of power is different. Once the charging is over, these chainsaws can be charged and used again. If used with care, a battery-powered chainsaw can serve your cause in the longer run.

Typically, these chainsaws are the weakest ones because of their source of power – so, medium or high scaled jobs aren’t expected to be done by these chainsaws.

So, here it ends the detail answer of your question, “how does the chainsaw work”.

What You Need to Know Before You Buy Chainsaw for You?

When it comes to buy a new chainsaw, decision may be difficult for many of users. However, considering the following points, you can certainly make a good choice regarding your chainsaw;

  • Define the nature of job you expect to do from your chainsaw
  • If it is simple cutting, you may go with battery-powered or electric chainsaw, but if you need a power tool that could cut might logs and branches, you need a gas-powered chainsaw
  • While buying electric chainsaws, do consider the length of cord. Remember that electric chainsaws aren’t portable.
  • Look into the horsepower of engine, and check if it matches your power requirements or not.
  • Always choose the chainsaw from best chainsaw manufacturing companies.

Final Words

For a layman, it may be difficult thing to understand the technicalities and complex working mechanisms of the chainsaw. This is the reason that led me to explain the whole story in the simplest possible words.

Having explained the working of chainsaws with respect to their types, I am certain that I have answered the question that how chainsaw work. But still, I would welcome all your questions, and try my level best to answer them.

However, whatever type of chainsaw you are using, make sure to take proper care of it; otherwise, you may not use it for an expected period of time.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1. How do chainsaws cut?

Chainsaw are powered by different sources of energy depending upon their type; however, all types of chainsaws offer the same service. Power sources provides energy to the chainsaw, and this electrical energy is then converted into mechanical energy which is used to rotate chain on the guide bar.

Q2. Can a chainsaw cut without chain?

Chain is the part of fundamental assembly of the chainsaw which makes sure the delivery of the job. If there is no chain on the guide bar, chainsaw will not be able to deliver the job. Meanwhile, if you try to cut without chain, you will certainly destroy the bar.

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