Can chainsaws get wet? If you’re worried that moisture can damage your favorite power tool, there’s certainly no need to fret. These powerful tools are actually fine to get wet, even though chainsaws generally aren’t waterproof.
Chainsaws are sturdy pieces of machinery that are correspondingly built to withstand natural elements such as rain, dew and dust. In fact, most sawyers work in climates that are either moisture-laden (i.e., humid) or have rainy environments. This means that chainsaws are definitely built to handle a little wetness, so long as they’re properly cared for. Maintained appropriately, a chainsaw can even cut through metal.
What do you do when your chainsaw gets wet?
Chainsaws are operated electronically, so therefore it is important to ensure that no water is in or around the device. Although it’s fine if the chainsaw gets moisture on it over the course of a job, you’ll want to dry it off when you can. It’s important to realize that a wet chainsaw can lead to rusted blades, which over time surely leads to inefficiency — and no one likes a dull blade!
A wet chainsaw also presents the possibility of slippage, both between the user’s hands and the machinery and between the blades and the driving links. But the most important thing to remember about chainsaws and moisture is that it should never be allowed to enter its fuel tank, for obvious reasons. To put it another way, oil and water don’t mix! For that reason, water getting into the fuel tank leads to fuel contamination which can potentially lead to the chainsaw malfunctioning.
While getting a chainsaw wet is fine as we’ve discussed, using a chainsaw in the rain unquestionably comes with its own set of precautions. Before using a chainsaw in these kinds of conditions, you’ll want to keep the following checklist of safety measures in mind. (And for general chainsaw safety measures, be sure to read about the dangers of using a chainsaw.)
Now that you know chainsaws can get wet, here’s how to do so safely
First, has your chainsaw’s air filter been cleaned and dried? This is particularly important if the wood you’re cutting is dry and dead. Dry dust in the filter expands when damp air runs through it, therefore choking the saw. This is a problem that can indeed occur with both plated and pleated filters.
Other key things to keep in mind when working with a wet chainsaw:
- The clutch bearings also need to be wiped dry.
- The fuel tank needs to be properly sealed off, because water should not be allowed to enter it at any cost.
- Keep the sprocket cover clean. Snow and moisture in general often freeze with sawdust and oil, creating malfunctions.
- The chain brakes need to be cleaned, wiped, and dried often in order to avoid moisture clinging on to the links. This is because moisture increases the chances of slippage. Also, keeping the chain brakes dry means the metal won’t rust and will last longer.
- Keep an eye on the control mechanisms as well as the safety features of the chainsaw. Moisture seepages are harmful to the overall health of the tool, as well as to the user.
- Lastly, the anti-vibration system of the machine needs to be insulated from any moisture leakage. The vibration of the chainsaw can lead to user fatigue in the event the anti-vibration feature malfunctions. A tired chainsaw user is generally more likely to make a mistake or have an accident.
Other considerations when using a wet chainsaw
Finally, be sure to observe a few other precautions too. It’s undeniably important to wear ground-gripping footwear in the rain or a moist environment to make sure you don’t slip and fall!
Also keep in mind when working in a particularly cold or snowy climate that frozen wood is harder to cut. Decrease the angle of the chain while cutting to improve your cutting experience. (Bonus: This also makes for quicker jobs!) Additionally, moisture can accelerate the dulling of your chainsaw’s blade, so check out our tips for sharpening chainsaw blades.
Despite most users’ understandably natural aversion to getting water on power tools, it’s important to note that chainsaws can get wet. Furthermore, for these high-powered tools of the trade, getting wet is all in a day’s work. If you’re ready to shop for a new chainsaw (or your first!) armed with this knowledge, check out our favorite small gas-powered chainsaws.