Where is the best place to purchase a chainsaw and does it really matter?
Yes it matters! A warranty is of little use if you have nowhere to get it serviced. A big box store isn't going to be of any help for issues and maintenance. A dealer that is knowledgeable about them and capable of maintenance and service will serve you better in the long run than trying to pick one up you know nothing about because it's the deal of the week at the big chain home store.
How do I know what chainsaw I need?
Once more this is where a knowledgeable sales person comes in handy. Be sure the saw you pick is one you are completely comfortable with. Fatigue from hanging onto a saw that is too heavy is a dangerous scenario. Too small is cheaper but is it powerful enough? When you are wearing yourself out pushing on the chainsaw to do the job that again isn't a good situation to find yourself in.
If you don't need a heavy duty saw, you might look into an electric one. It will require less upkeep and generally be easier to maneuver. Also make sure the bar isn't too long for the saw's power or too short for the diameter of the tree limb or trunk you need to cut.
Do I really need bar oil?
Yes. A quality bar oil has a high tack additive to prevent the oil from slinging off. Motor oil burns up too fast to be cost effective and will leave a mess.
What about upkeep?
There are great videos out there on using and maintaining a saw, many online. Stihl has a very good one, or your dealer can give you tips and demonstrations. One important point to remember is every time you use your saw, make sure it has fresh gas and a fuel additive to run correctly. Another thing is sharpening the chain. When your saw starts putting out dust and no chips and its getting harder and harder to get through a log, it is time to sharpen up. Also remember to keep the depth gauge set properly. This is the metal point in front of the teeth that determines the chip size as it goes through the wood. If you aren't an experienced operator, keep it at .025 to avoid nasty kickback. It is a good idea to take the bar and chain off occasionally and clean the oil passages in the bar and where it mounts as it tends to jam with wood chips as well.
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