Monthly Archives: December 2013

Secondhand chainsaw buying guide

A quick guide to buying secondhand chainsaws. The majority of petrol chainsaws are used by professionals and have a hard life. They are generally only sold on when they’ve used the end of their useful life and are really only useful for spares. There are a few saws that are viable as second hand buys but they are quite few and far between. Here are a couple of things to look for…

First off, chainsaws are one of the most dangerous tools around. They can injure, maim, dismember and even kill in the blink of an eye. If you don’t know what you’re doing get someone in who does. Always wear all the correct safety kit, even when just testing a saw. I cannot and will not be held responsible for any injuries to people whether heeding my advise or not. If in doubt, go do your CS30 course.

Make sure it’s got the right label on. I wouldn’t go for anything other than Stihl. Husquevana are okay-ish but have some interesting ‘design features’. I’ve found almost everything else to be pretty pony….

Make sure that the saw is right for what you want to do with it, bar length, weight of machine, etc.

Check for any physical defects – cracked casing, heat damage to the bar, condition of chain (a new chain can be £20+++, make sure tooth wear is even and that there are a good few sharpenings left in it). Check that the chainbrake engages and that the on-off switch has a positive action.

While the saw is cold (check the exhaust to make sure it hasn’t been run before your arrival) turn it over by pulling on the pull cord. Pull slowly and feel for compression, it should feel lumpy on turnover with a definite ‘lump’ every time the piston compresses the cylinder.

Next, turn on the switch, make sure the chainbrake is braked, engage choke and throttle lock and pull the cord – three sharp tugs and it should cough – just a quick fire. Disengage the choke but keep the throttle lock on – it should start on first or second pull. Any difficulty starting from cold points towards there being something fundamentally wrong with the saw – walk away..! Take the throttle lock of by ‘blipping’ the throttle.

With the saw running, it should tickover slowly, disengage the chainbrake. The saw should still be ticking over without the chain moving. Rev the saw  to full throttle, it should get there with no hesitation. While running at full speed engage the chainbrake (with the back of your wrist while still holding the top handle, not the palm of your hand which could end up with you losing it). The chain should stop instantly.

Next try cutting something, ideally wood! And ideally hardwood which will put a strain on the saw. The engine note should change as it’s under load but the revs should not drop away too much, even with a blunt chain (if the saw produces fine dust then the chain is blunt, chipping and the chain is sharp).

That’s the basics covered, I think. Be very careful out there. And if in doubt go get a cheap saw from Homebase!

A couple of beautiful days in Rosie’s cider orchard

Arisings ready for collection.
Oak in a cider orchard

Oak and walnut trees in Rosie’s cider orchard.

I’ve previously spent a considerable amount of time in Rosie’s cider orchard but the past two days have been the most enjoyable yet. Lovely fresh early winter days, hard work to keep the body warm, wonderful views (as ever) and some very special company – thanks for being there Emma..!

We started on Monday staking a fairly mature Kingston Black tree which had fallen to a jaunty angle due to the weight of the crop this year, as it had blocked one of the access tracks. It took a helluva heave to get it upright but we managed between the two of us – me pushing it up and Emma tying it to the stake.

A couple of dead trees needed removing so they were felled and logged.

We went to start on the main task of cutting back the boundary hedge – a very mature field hedge that wants to encroach on the orchard. It was nearly the end of the day so we made a quick start before tidying up.

Back on the hedge yesterday. We had 85 metres cut by coffee time, cleared and burnt by lunch. It was quite heavy going because as well as the clipping there were a couple of dead trees covered in ivy that had fallen out of the hedgeline. After lunch another 80 metres of lighter clipping was cut, cleared and burnt as it was getting dark.




As the dark closed in we finished the day helping Rosie gather the last of her Porter’s Perfection cider apples.