HOT TIP! Do a better job sharpening your chain saw chain with…..

OK Ready for it…Wear magnifying glasses!

Yup sharpening your saw chain wearing magnifying glasses will produce a much improved finished product.  I have them for fishing, polarized with small magnifying lenses built in for tying line. I was using them to put an edge on my knife and noticed quite a difference. These glasses are inexpensive ( $30 – $50) and come in various magnification. Some even come with LED lights in the eye glass arms which sure comes in handy in dark places.


Chainsaw bar inspection – Video

After searching YouTube for a channel that provides accurate and well scripted videos for “Do It Yourself” people we came across “The Small Engine Doctor” (DonyBoy73). The following is an excellent video on chainsaw bars. As always, if you have questions or don’t quite understand something you should check with a professional. When dealing with chainsaws – SAFETY should always come first!

When A Chainsaw Bar Needs To Be Replaced


What size grinding wheel do I need for sharpening my chain saw chain ?

A lot of customers get confused on the thickness of the grinding wheel to use on their chain saw chain when it needs sharpening.

Most chain saw bench grinder sharpeners have two thickness of grinding wheels available for grinding chain saw ‘cutters’ and chain saw ‘rakers’.




For the cutters, the 1/8” thick wheel is used for ¼”, 3/8 LP ( Low Profile) and .325 pitch chain while the 3/16” thick wheel is used on standard 3/8 and .404 pitch chain.

There is a lot of confusion out there because of the sharpening round file sizes and the thickness of a sharpening grinding wheel. For example – a .325 pitch chain uses a 3/16” round file but a 1/8” thick grinding wheel. I can be confusing but if you always check before you sharpen you won`t get it wrong!

Later I will have a blog on using a grinding wheel for the chain saw chain ‘rakers’.

Happy sharpening!

Are there any ”environmentally friendly” chain saw oils?

For sure! And a great choice for Mother Nature!

Bio-degradable saw chain and bar oil is formulated to be nontoxic, clean, renewable and even considered by some – a better overall lubricant then the petroleum based product. We all know that chain oil is a critical part of any chain saws effective and safe operation. Unfortunately, the method of applying this lubricant on a chain saw is considered a “total loss lubricating system” process. This means that all of the lubricant ends up in the environment – either sprayed all over the work area or mixed in with the saw dust. Not a nice way to treat Mother Nature!

Bio-degradable oils like Laser TerraSafe Oil is a high quality biodegradable bar and chain saw lubricant formulated with the best optimized biotechnology using USA-grown natural seed oil that is specifically engineered and recommended for use in all types of chain saws. This oil replaces and mixes freely with petroleum-based bar and chain oils and is suitable in both automatic and manual lubrication applications.

Bio-degradable oils are a superior choice for chain saw lubrication with good lubricity, a high flash point, non-irritating to the skin, but best of all – 100% biodegradable. In fact, Bio-oils are often required when cutting on government land because it is aquatically non-toxic as well!





Bio-degradable oils – good for your saw – great for the environment!


Why isn’t my chainsaw oiler working?

It is very important that your chainsaw oiler remains functioning at all times – both from a parts longevity point of view but more importantly from a safety point of view!

If you are noticing some discoloration on the bar edges, more than likely you have been running the chainsaw with little or no oil being applied to the bar and chain. The most common cause of this issue is a plugged oiler opening which can be easily rectified by removing the chain and bar from the chainsaw and giving the area around the oiler a good cleaning with a parts cleaning brush or a high pressure air line. More than likely you will see oil soaked saw dust caked all around the oiler which is blocking the flow of oil to the bar and chain.


After you have thoroughly cleaned all around the oilier area, resemble your saw but flip your saw bar over as this will help even out the wear on both sides of your bar resulting in longer bar life. Next, start your saw and check that the oiler is functioning by lightly revving the saw to engage the chain and inspecting for oil splatter off the blade nose. NOTE: If you are unsure how to take your saw apart, or test that bar and chain are getting oil, then be sure to seek the help of a certified small engine mechanic – you do not want to be cutting with a saw that isn’t getting oil to the bar and chain.

Safety first – always!

How do I know if I should replace my chain saw bar?

When considering whether to replace your chain saw guide bar or not, here a few tips to look for before rushing out to buy a new one. Look for “bluing” (discoloration) on the bottom of the bar, this tells you that the bar is heating up and the saw may be out of bar oil or the bar oiler is not working correctly.


Also if you notice a sharp edge on the bottom of the bar, this is common, it is from the downward pressure on the saw while cutting wood – this can easily be fixed with a good file. If you see metal chipping around the nose of the bar, this is commonly caused by “chain slap” from a chain being too loose. If you have a damaged replaceable nose tip the bar can be saved by just replacing the nose sprocket. Sometimes you will see chipping all the way down the bottom of the bar, this can be cause by setting a hot saw down in the snow in the winter, this changes the temper of the steel and before too long you will see metal chipping along the bottom of the bar.


Also, if you notice that your saw just won’t cut straight and tends to cut to the left or right – this is known as a “ J “ pattern cut. This is likely caused by one of two things – either the groove in your bar is worn out or you are using the wrong gauge of chain for that bar.

All of these things will affect the performance of the chain saw and always remember “Your Chain Saw Is Only As Good As Your Chain!”

How do I locate the model number on a my Walbro, Zama, or Tillitson carburetor?

Finding the right numbers on a carburetor is critical to obtain the correct rebuild kit for your carburetor! These critical carburetor numbers are small, hard to read and sometimes almost hidden! Here are some hints that I have learned over the years that I would like to share with you.

First off, to make sure you can fully see and read these small stampings you should fully remove the carburetor from the engine. More than likely you plan to fully clean the carburetor and install a new carburetor kit anyway so this won’t be wasted effort.

Once the carburetor is off the engine, be sure to plug both open ends of the carburetor with paper towel or shop rags to ensure that you don’t wash or blow dirt into the carburetor. Give the outside of the carburetor a good spray of parts cleaning fluid and use an air-line to blow off all of the dirt.

ZAMA Carburetor:  Of all small engine carburetors I think finding the numbers on a Zama carburetor is most difficult by far! On a Zama carburetor there are 2 sets of numbers that need to be acquired that are located on BOTH sides of the carburetor. For example on one side you may see  C1U,C1Q,or C1M while on the other side you may K23, S118 or EL35 respectively. The actual Zama carburetor number would be C1U-K23, C1Q-S118 and C1M-EL35.  As per the picture,  the one set of numbers can be found just above the carburetor fuel adjustment screws. The other set of numbers will be located on the other side of the carburetor. Clean the area around the numbers well as sometimes the numbers may be poorly stamped or have filled in with dirt. These numbers are very small so if you are old like me – a magnifying glass with lots of light will get the job done!zama



WALBRO Carburetor: Finding carburetor numbers on a Walbro carburetor is much easier as they are plainly stamped on one side of the carburetor.  Some examples of these stampings are WYL19, WT286,WYA-44-1,WYJ-192-1.




TILLOTSON Carburetor: The Tillotson carburetor as well has their carburetor numbers stamped on only one side (albeit quite small) which will likely start with HL, HS, HU, or HK.


Again, acquiring the correct carburetor numbers is the only way that you can be sure to purchase the correct carburetor rebuild kit.

Stay tune for a future blog post where I show you how to install your new carburetor kit!

How do I sharpen chainsaw chain with an electric sharpener so that the left and right cutters are equal?

Uneven sharpening of left and right cutters with an electric sharpener is a common problem that is easily resolved with this little tip. To ensure even cutter sharpening it is imperative that the center of the electric sharpening stone is lined up with the center of the vise.








I simply use a round chain saw file clamped perpendicular in the vice so that I can easily see how the vice aligns to the centre of the sharpening stone. The file should be centered equally on the sharpening stone retaining bolt.














If the file does not line up with the center of the sharpening stone, use the adjustment screw on the vice (see arrow in picture) to adjust the alignment so that it does.







With your sharpening stone now centered to your vice both your left and right cutters will sharpen the same! I hope this helps and don’t forget to tilt the vice 10% for those chisel cutters!


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