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If you live in a part of the country where rain falls all year and you have a backyard to take care of, you may have asked yourself, “Can you cut wet wood with a chainsaw?” The simple answer to this question is yes, but there is more to it than that.
If you plan to cut up some wood that has been exposed to the elements, pretty much any chainsaw will be up to the task. However, there are a few things that you should bear in mind before you start sawing. This post will cover the precautions you should take before using a chainsaw in inclement weather, and we will explain how it is density and not moisture that makes cutting through wood more difficult.
Can You Chainsaw Wet Wood?
There are many different types of wood, and some of them are a lot harder to cut through than others. Even a lightweight chainsaw designed for basic gardening tasks could cut through balsa wood with ease, but dealing with logs composed of a denser wood like mahogany or maple would be far more difficult and likely require a more robust tool. The condition of wood also influences how easy it is to cut. A fresh balsa log could be more difficult to cut through than a dead or diseased piece of oak. It is best to approach each job as if the wood you will be cutting is alive, green, and in its prime.
The amount of moisture a piece of wood contains does not significantly affect how a chainsaw works, but dry wood does weigh less than wet wood. Chainsaws work best when their chains are well lubricated, which is why guide bar oil is so important. The water in wood is a natural lubricant, and it reduces the friction that is created when chains moving at high speeds come into contact with wood fibers. Guide bar oil reduces resistance and maintains chain speed when cutting through wood.
Does Wet Wood Dull a Chainsaw?
The common belief that wood with a lot of moisture in it dulls chains is not based on science. Adding moisture improves lubrication, which means that cutting wet wood puts less stress on your chainsaw than cutting dry wood. Reducing friction also keeps chains sharp.
One thing that will change when you use a chainsaw to cut through wet wood is the way you deal with sawdust. When you cut through dry wood, sawdust fills the air and is blasted away by the saw’s exhaust. When you cut wet wood, damp sawdust forms into clumps that can stick to chains and gum up sprockets. This can drain power and impede performance, so frequent stops may be necessary to remove the gunk. Keep safety at the front of your mind when you do this, and take an extra moment to fill up your saw’s oil tank before you get back to work.
Working in Wet Conditions
Wet wood is easier to cut and does not harm chainsaws, but the places where it is found can be quite treacherous. Slippery ground, high winds, and driving rain can all make working outdoors more dangerous, so extreme caution should be taken when operating powerful cutting tools in these conditions. Before you fire up your chainsaw in the rain or snow, here are a few things you might want to consider:
- The weather forecast: Clear skies can turn gray in a matter of minutes, and downpours sometimes appear out of the blue. If you plan to work outdoors, you should check the weather forecast before you plan your activities for the day.
- The order of business: If you are clearing up after a snowstorm, and more bad weather is on the way, you may be tempted to get started right away. While this is understandable, you should clear the area first, as accumulated snow can conceal many hazards.
- Communication: Wind and rain can make being seen and heard more difficult, so make sure that you wear bright clothing and have a communications strategy in place if you plan to work with others in inclement weather.
- Appropriate clothing: If you go outside to cut wet wood with a chainsaw, there is a good chance that you will have to contend with rain or low temperatures. In these conditions, you should dress in layers that you can discard as your body warms up. It is also important to make sure that your outer layer is waterproof.
- Guide bar oil: Moisture in wood provides a natural lubricant, but it cannot replace guide bar oil. Make sure that you use a quality mineral oil when you cut wet wood, and top up the reservoir every time you stop to remove damp sawdust. A well-oiled chain resists rust and lasts longer.
- This Premium Quality Synthetic Blend Works With All Types Of Motor/Engine Oil Including Regular Petroleum, High Mileage, Synthetic Blends And Fully Synthetic Formulas
- Works In All Gasoline And Diesel Engines Including Turbocharged, Eco Boost, Hybrid And Even Racing Engines, Including 3, 4, 5, 6, 8 And 10 Cylinder Engines In All Cars, Trucks, Vans And Suv'S
- Can Also Be Used In Heavy-Duty Applications As Well As Tractors, Boats, Rv'S, Motorcycles (Including Wet Clutch), Atv'S, Lawn Equipment
- In Most Cases The Oil Leak Issue Will Be Repaired With A Single Dosage. However, For Best Results And To Prevent The Problems From Reoccurring, Use With Every Other Oil Change, Or Once Per Year
- Your power source: Plugging an electric chainsaw into an extension cord could be perfectly safe in some situations, but this would be an incredibly dangerous arrangement in a storm. Gas-powered chainsaws shrug off inclement weather, but water can still damage them if it finds its way into the fuel and oil mixture.
- 【WEATHER-RESISTANT CONNECTION】This waterproof extension cord connector provides a watertight sealed space to protect outdoor & indoor plug connections from the elements like water, snow, rain, dust, and dirt to ensure circuit safety ( Note: It is just water-resistant. Do not submerse it in water)
- AMPLE & AJUSTABLE COMPARTMENT】Large housing holds both multiple connections and one on one connection; compatible with AWG 12/14/16 extension cord and flat cable; slide to adjust the position of the limiter for different lengths of connections
- 【FRIM AND TIGHT CONNECTION】Rubber seals at both ends conform well to the power cord; 2 clamps hold the cords tightly in place; adjustable anti-slip serrations keep the cords securely connected to prevent the plugs from sliding or disconnecting even if tug the cords in uses
- 【DOUBLE LOCK & PROTECTION】The top lid and 4 extra durable latches enhance the sealing of the outdoor extension cord safety seal; 4 lockable latches secure the cord safety seal box fastened for safe use even if the top lid is broken off
- EASY TO USE】 No tools or installation required; place the extension cord properly; slide the limiter to keep cords securely connected; lock the top lid and 4 latches for seal; hanging to save space; ideal for holiday lights, string lights, pool pumps and garden tools etc
- Slippery footing: Water lubricates the ground as well as the wood, so you can expect the conditions underfoot to be treacherous if you venture outside after a rainstorm. Slips and falls cause millions of sprains, strains, and contusions each year. You need to do all you can to avoid mishaps in wet weather even when you’re not using a chainsaw.
- Lightweight and affordable slip-on traction cleats to reduce the risk of falls when walking on snow or ice to work, school, or even to the mailbox
- Made of abrasion-resistant 1.2 mm steel coils with zinc coating to prevent rust; secured to shoes with durable Polyelastomer outer band
- Provides 360 degrees of traction on cold surfaces for all-direction stability; Spikeless, ultra lightweight design
- Highly elastic outer band with heel tab slips easily slips on and off of shoes; perfect for pedestrians, professionals and the elderly
- Available in four sizes: X-Small (W2.5-6/M1-4.5); Small (W6.5-10, M5-8.5); Medium (W10.5-12.5, M9-11); Large (W13-15, M11.5-13.5)
- Special chains: There are companies that make chainsaw chains for all sorts of specialized applications, but the success of these products is sometimes based on hype rather than performance. A saw that can cut through dry wood will cut through wet wood with ease, so there is no need to purchase a special chain. If you have to cut frozen or particularly dense wood, you may need a micro chisel chain whether the material is wet or dry.
- Chainsaw specifications: Chainsaws are available in several sizes and configurations, and the amount of material they can cope with is based on the length of their guide bars and the power of their engines. Cutting wet wood may be a bit easier than cutting dry wood, but it does not make your chainsaw any more capable.
- Personal protective equipment: Anybody who operates a chainsaw should wear protective equipment. Eye protection, robust footwear, and tough work gloves provide a good safety foundation, but they do not protect as well as the latest chainsaw chaps or pants. These protective garments are made out of advanced materials that shred on impact, clog up drive sprockets, and stop chainsaws in their tracks.
- Chainsaw Chaps - Provides protection while working with a chain saw and other equipment. These ASTM189-14 & F3325-19 SA32851 Class B chaps are water and oil resistant. These chaps include a pocket, adjustable belt and are designed like aprons for easy on/easy off use.
- Safety Helmet - This high quality helmet system is designed with ratchet suspension for the right fit and includes an ANSI Z87.1a mesh face shield to keep dirt and dust off the head and face. As well as an ANSI S12.42 earmuff set that acts as a hearing protector for your ear.
- Clear Safety Glasses - ANSI Z87.1-2003 Glasses are included with this personal protective equipment safety gear so you can be sure of optimal safety and protection when cutting or working with any chainsaw tool. Eye protection is very important when using tools.
- Safety Standards - Forester chainsaw safety gear is one of the most important parts of the job. These chaps, helmets and glasses are made to meet safety requirements. For extra precaution, make sure to wear Foresterleather work gloves and other gear as needed.
- ANSI Z87.1/UV400 Approved Clear Safety Glasses Forestry Helmet: Meets ANSI/ISEA Z89.1-2009 Type 1, Class E, G & C/Screen meets Basic ANSI Z87.1 Requirements. Muffs: Meet ANSI S12.42 21dB Rating Chaps: Apron Style. UL Classified and tested in accordance with ASTM F189*7 Standards for leg protective garments (For USA) *CHAPS ARE MEASURED FROM TOP OF BELT TO BOTTOM OF LEG OPENING (not inseam)
Cleaning a Wet Chainsaw
Cutting wet wood can be a messy business, which means cleaning up can take almost as long as sawing. These chores should be seen as a form of preventive maintenance, and they cannot be neglected if you want your saw to provide years of faithful service. When your wet wood has all been cut and it’s time to put your saw away, here are the steps to take:
- Clean the chain: The first thing you should do is remove any damp sawdust from your saw’s chain. You can poke the sawdust out or brush it away, but make sure that you do a thorough job.
- Dry the chain: Rust is the nemesis of chainsaw chains, and it does not need much moisture to take root. Before you put your saw away, dry the chain thoroughly, then apply a thin coat of mineral oil for additional protection.
- Mop up any water beads: Use a clean, dry cloth to remove water spots from your chainsaw. Pay particular attention to metal components that could rust.
- Clean the air filter: Damp sawdust does not form thick clouds in the air, but it can still clog air filters. A minute or so under a running tap should be all that is needed to bring your chainsaw’s air filter back to pristine condition.
- Clear out the sprocket cover: Wet sawdust often forms into clumps that become hard when they dry. When these clumps accumulate under sprocket covers, they can cause starting problems and impede performance.
Choosing a Chainsaw for Cutting Wet Wood
If you are thinking about getting a chainsaw, you should look for a tool that is appropriate for the type of work you will be doing. This basically comes down to making two decisions. You have to choose a power source, and then you need to pick the right size. Let’s look at those options a little more closely:
- Battery power: Most electric chainsaws now have battery packs instead of plugs and cables, and some of them are quite powerful. Electric chainsaws are lighter and quieter than gas-powered saws, and they do not vibrate nearly as much. Recharging a battery takes longer than filling a fuel tank, but electric chainsaws are virtually maintenance-free.
- Ditch the gasoline, extension cords and maintenance required with alternative chainsaws
- Brushless motor maximizes both the torque and the lifespan of the unit
- 16-inch chain runs at speeds of up to 49 feet per second
- Included 40-Volt 4Ah fade-free lithium-ion battery and charger compatible with the entire WEN 40V Max Series
- Backed by a two-year warranty
- Gas power: The large chainsaws used by professionals almost always have two-stroke engines that are powered by a mixture of gas and oil. These saws can handle the toughest jobs, but keeping them in tip-top condition requires a lot of TLC. Be very careful if you ever add fuel to one of these chainsaws in the rain. If the fuel-air mixture is contaminated by water, your saw could stutter, run hot, or cut out.
- 130 chainsaw is built for the homeowner who needs a lightweight and efficient tool for use around the yard
- 38cc 16 inch gas chainsaw with guide bar and chain
- 2 cycle engine with inertia activated chain brake for safety while operating
- Orange Husqvarna chainsaw Bar cover and 2. 6 ounce 2 cycle fuel Included, Bar and chain oil must be purchased Separately
- Automatic chain oiler delivers a steady supply of bar and chain oil for safe and effective use
- Guide bar size: Chainsaws with longer guide bars can cut thicker logs, but that extra performance comes with a price attached. Longer chains require large and powerful engines that consume more fuel, so these chainsaws tend to be much heavier. Consider the sizes of the branches or logs you will be cutting, and then lean toward shorter rather than longer when picking a guide bar length.
We Have the Information You Deserve
If you have questions about using or maintaining a chainsaw, ChainsawSelector almost certainly has the answers you are looking for. Our blog posts can help you to avoid common mistakes, and they could also point you in the right direction if your chainsaw begins to act up. When the time comes to replace your old chainsaw with a brand-new model that has the latest features, our reviews and product roundups will give you the information you need and tell you about each saw’s disadvantages as well as its benefits.