Low Tech

Ken's picture

Or as we used to call it, Appropriate Technology (AT). This is a terrific article about axes and crosscut saws in comparison to chainsaws. I appreciate the sentiments behind the article as well as the good information. When deciding whether or not to spend my time on a site or rely on the information therein, I try to look up what they have to say about something that I already know something about. Thus this article. Makes me more likely to trust the other articles on the website:


lathechuck's picture

Just last weekend, my son rented a chainsaw from a Major Home Improvement store, took it home to cut up some windfall branches, and found that it wouldn't cut more than about an inch or two into the wood. He called me for help (partly because I had gifted the wood to him, cut just short enough to transport, but too long for his fireplace). I found that the chain was dull, and that in its original condition, my 30" bow saw was faster and easier to use!

Of course, after I spent a half-hour filing the saw chain, the chainsaw worked much better. My son, however, had neither the file nor the knowledge to sharpen the saw chain himself, so most of his rental period was wasted effort. (I hope he got a discount when he explained the situation.) Renter beware.

In a saw chain, some teeth angle to the right, alternating with those that angle to the left. When sharpening a saw chain, there is a temptation to do all of the "right" teeth first, then go around again with the "left" geometry. That's fine, if you actually have time to get all the way around twice. But if you only sharpen half of the teeth, the saw will not cut straight, and the curved cut will eventually jam the bar. Also, it will be practically impossible to cut half way through from one side, then meet in the middle from the other side. (Go ahead, ask me how I know!) Don't do that!