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!

Product Review – Petzl Pantin Foot Ascender

A foot ascender is probably the most versatile, efficient, body-saving piece of gear you can add to your spur-less climbing system. It is a “rope grab” that straps to one of your feet, allowing you to do the work of getting up the tree with your legs, rather than your arms. What makes the foot ascender so versatile is that you can build it in to any climbing style, whether you are pushing a taut line up the rope or working with a micro-pulley and eye-eye prusik. A foot ascender is also a foundational piece of gear for climbing SRT (Stationary or Static Rope Technique).


Cutter’s Choice carries the Petzel Pantin  which is a low profile foot ascender that won’t get in the way while you are limb walking. The new design doesn’t pop off the rope the same way the old model did, making for a less frustrating ascent. It does work best with a small diameter rope such as cherry bomb or finish line, although it will put up with a full 1/2″ line — the rope just doesn’t fall through as smoothly.

Hot Tip! Choose a foot ascender that fits on the opposite side from where your chainsaw hangs. For instance, I hang my saw on the right side, so I use a left foot pantin. This means your saw won’t shred up the straps on your foot ascender while it’s hanging on your belt.

Fraser Teeple

Fraser Teeple is an ISA and Ontario Certified Arborist who provides professional product reviews for Cutter’s Choice.


Do I need to “break in” my lawnmower Electric Clutch?


Electric Clutch


Yes, you should “break in” an electric clutch!

A new clutch on your riding mower should be run through a break in process or what is commonly called BURNISHING. This process helps to prepare the clutch surfaces and hence will help to extend the life of the electric clutch. It’s quite a simple process and will only take a few minutes to perform.

  1. Start your mower with clutch disengaged, increase throttle to about 50%
  2. Engage clutch for 10 seconds then disengage clutch
  3. Repeat this five times
  4. Now increase throttle to approximately 75%
  5. Engage and disengage your clutch for an additional 5 times
  6. Check the blade and clutch bolt torque and you are ready to start cutting

Electric clutches aren’t cheap so it is well worth the few minutes of effort to help extend the life of your new electric clutch.

How do I get my Snow Blower ready for the winter season?

Getting the snow blower ready for the winter season is never fun! It reminds us of what’s to come, but on the lighter side it’s better to get it ready before snow flies then after!


As I have said in earlier small engine blog posts, getting the gas out at the end of the season is a must. Failing to do so will only make the task of getting your snow blower running when you need it both harder and possibly much more expensive! I have seen carburetors that have been totally destroyed by old gas, and that means just more money if you want to put the machine back in service. If you have removed the gas then it’s just a matter of giving the snow blower a once over and or a quick tune up.


At the start of each season you should change the oil (use a good quality oil 5w-30) , change the spark plug , take the bottom cover off your snow blower and check all belts and shaft bearings. Also check the main drive friction disk – make sure it is in good condition (clean, no cracks). Be sure to lubricate all moving parts BUT DO NOT LUBRICATE THE FRICTION DISK PLATE! Any lubricant on the friction disk will reduce friction and cause your drive system to fail. Both the friction disk and the rubber edged drive disk should be clean and oil free. If you need to remove any dirt or oil from the friction disk use rubbing alcohol and a clean rag. Once you have ensured all moving parts that should be lubed have been lubricated, be sure to give each belt a close visual examination and replace any belt that is frayed or cracked.


Snow blowers are a little more involved than a lawnmower as they operate in an extreme wet / cold environment. Lots of lubricant is a must as this will prevent your pulleys from ceasing up. However, make sure you lube ONLY the centre pulley bearing area and not the pulley belt surface itself as you do not want to get any lubricant on a drive or blower belt!


By doing this every season you will provide years of trouble free operation with your snow blower.


Happy Snow blowing!



How to choose the correct Arborist Climbing Rope?

Gone are the days when there was only one option to choose from for a rock solid climbing rope – half inch 3

strand rope. Now there are four major types of climbing rope, with variations in diameter. In this post I will

discuss which rope construction works best with the style of climbing that you might need to do.


12 Strand Climbing Rope:

Works well for traditional climbers who run their rope through a natural crotch in the tree (i.e. no cambium saver).

Soft feel; does not work well with mechanical ascenders or eye-eye prusiks. Holds knots well. If you are climbing

with a Blake’s hitch or Tautline, this line works great.




16 Strand Climbing Rope:

Most versatile construction. Works well through a natural crotch or friction saver. These ropes have a firmer construction than 12 strand,

so they work fine with ascenders, eye-eye prusiks, Blake’s/Tautline. If you don’t know which type of rope to get, choose this one.





24 Strand Climbing Rope:

For a “new school” climber — designed to be run through a friction saver/false crotch. Not recommended for use through a natural crotch.

Works well with ascenders and eye-eye prusik.




32 Strand Climbing Rope:

These are static lines designed for canopy access using Single Rope Technique (SRT) or working the tree SRT. They work very well with

ascenders, mechanical work positioning devices (Rope Runner, Unicender, ect.), and eye-eye prusik with a Rope Wrench. Since they have

less give/bounce than dynamic ropes (12,16, 24 strand) these ropes are dangerous to use with traditional Doubled Rope Technique (DdRT).

In DdRT the rope is doubled, effectively stiffening it up — if a climber falls into a 32 strand line that is doubled, there is no give, meaning a

very abrupt stop. However, if you are climbing SRT, this is your rope.




A Note on climbing rope diameter:

1/2″ is standard diameter climbing rope. Smaller diameters tend to work better with eye-prusiks, as climbers experience less binding during

descent. Additionally smaller diameters run through mechanical ascenders more smoothly. All climbing rope, regardless of diameter, must

conform to the ANSI standard of at least  5000 lbs Tensile Strength. All of the climbing ropes that Cutter’s Choice carries exceed this standard.


Fraser Teeple is an ISA and Ontario Certified Arborist and can be reached at his website:

Link to Fraser Teeple Web Site


Using Soft Rig Slings as a Canopy Lowering Point.

Fraser Teeple is a Professional Arborist  ( who provides blog posts and reviews new product items “on the job” for Cutter’s Choice.

The following product review is for the:


Rigging rings have been on the market for about 5 years now, and many arborists are finding that for most lowering applications in the tree, they are safer and easier to set up and use than the traditional arborist blocks (or pulleys). In addition, their simple design means fewer parts to inspect and makes them a more economical option than a block and sling.

On testing out the soft rig slings for Cutter’s Choice,  I found the slight bit of friction added to the system by the ring made for a less-touchy system than the arborist blocks, making it easier for an inexperienced groundsman to add the right number of wraps to the port-a-wrap or other basal friction device. Most climbers have been in a situation where the limbs being lowered through a block are too heavy to go without wraps at the bottom of the tree, but will lock up with even a half wrap on the port-a-wrap — the rings solve this problem.

The only place I would choose a pulley over a ring is if I were to lift a limb or stem with mechanical advantage; here less friction is better. The other scenario I would look for a different setup would be blocking down a stem where wood is getting dropped into the ring. Here a straight sling that can be knotted allows for less slack in the system than the spliced eyes, which reduces shock loading.

As far as setup goes, I’ve included a few pictures of different ways to position the soft rig slings on different stem diameters. The rig slings are designed to be choked through the spliced eyes, not tied on to the stem. What I’ve shown here are some ways to manage the free tail of the sling so it does not get tangled in the rigging. The sliding outer jacket can be moved along the sling to protect it from abrasion. The red sling pictured here has an average tensile strength of 11 000 lbs — suitable for medium duty rigging tasks. For heavy rigging, the yellow or green slings are a better option.

















On a larger stem the tail can just be tucked out of the way, as you would finish a Timber Hitch.



On a small stem I like to take a few wraps before choking the ring — this reduces wear on the eye splice and keeps things out of the way



In this instance, you can see that the diameter of the stem and the spacing of the eyes make for some slack between the ring and the tree; this slight drop adds more force when the ring catches a log dropped into it. For static loading, where the ring is above the piece to be cut, this slack does not matter.


Overall, the soft rig slings are a durable, safe, economical, and easy to use alternative to an arborist block.




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!

What is the difference between an ” A ” belt and a ” V ” belt?

An “A” style belt are typically industrial belts that are measured for size on the inside of the belt whereas “L” style belts are measured on the outside.

The size difference between an ” A ” belt and a ” L ” belt is always 2 inches.

Therefore, if you have an “A-40″ belt and you wish to replace it with a ” L ” belt you will need a “4L420″ to replace it.

Similarily “B” style belts are measured for size on the inside of the belt as well  – however there is difference of 3 inches to a ” L ” belt

So, if you have a B-56 belt that you want to replace with a ” L ” belt you will need a 5L590 belt to fit properly.

Kevlar V belts are traditionally used with outdoor power equipment, these are coded  as 4L,5L The Kevlar is critical when drives need reverse bending such as on idlers.





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