The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

How to start a chainsaw?

what's the best way to start a chainsaw?When we asked BJ to cut up some firewood last week I noticed he was starting the Stihl MS-211 chainsaw on the ground with his foot on the handle.

It's a Stihl approved method, the handle is made for foot placement, but a little awkward.

I showed him the stand up starting method and he likes it better, but we had some trouble on the second lesson. It took him a while to get the hang of holding the rope end while "pushing" the saw downward resulting in a flooded engine. I tried taking the spark plug out and drying it, but we had to end up waiting till the next day for more tree cutting.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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I always use the foot method. Some chainsaws are less awkward than others; I prefer ones with a handle well designed to be held by a foot.

The stand up method means you are both holding the saw with just one hand, and moving it. Since it's designed to be controlled using 2 hands, this runs the risk of an uncontrolled movement, which could be dangerous.

That said, I'm also very happy to have last used a chainsaw over 7 years ago. I'm quite content using a hand saw for anything less than sawing up a winter's firewood.

Comment by joey Sun Mar 31 20:24:57 2013
Growing up cutting gypsy moth kill in central Pennsylvania, my dad taught me to never start a cold saw any other way than on the ground, with my foot. He said it was too easy to flood it, too easy to get frustrated, and too easy to get hurt. "Cutting wood while angry at your tools is dangerous. Cutting tools while angry at something besides your tools is therapy." he used to say. Once the saws were hot, we did start them off the ground, though.
Comment by kevin Mon Apr 1 11:17:37 2013

I'm pretty new to chainsaws. When I bought my Stihl MS-181 C-BE last year, the Stihl dealer recommended never to start the saw standing up. There's far too great of a chance of injury doing it that way. It is very easy to start it hot that way, but because it is designed to be run using 2 hands, it is easy to allow the bar to move side to side. This can allow the blade to hit your leg.

My saw has Stihl's patented easy start system. There's a spring in the starting set up. I just apply steady pressure pulling the cord. It reaches a point where the spring lets go and cranks the engine over. Very easy to start, even when cold.

Comment by Fritz Mon Apr 1 13:51:17 2013

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