Monday, April 6, 2009

Chainsaw Considerations

After much thought, I recognise the utility of the chainsaw. But I still don't like the fuckin' things.

It's not the actual usage of them. It's all the aroundgerfucken you have to go through first. Find the eye-protection. And the ear-protection. Get the fuel. Oh, the 2-stroke container hasn't been returned by the last person who borrowed it? Who was that, anyway? Damned if I can remember. Well, it's gone. Never mind: I've got a spare unleaded container. Bit of work with a permanent marker, now it's a 2-stroke jerrycan.

Add five litres of unleaded. Umm. Okay, at 40-1 that calls for 125ml of 2-stroke oil. Oh, but Andrew always used 25-1, and if anybody knew this shit backwards, it was him. He said it protected the machine more effectively. Fine. Make it 200ml of 2-stroke oil.

Okay, great. Now I need bar lube. Got just enough left. Have to remember to get some more. Now, set the saw on the bench, get out the file, and sharpen the thing. Make sure to get the angles right on all the teeth. Pull the chain through and around to get all of them. Hmm. Chain's a bit loose there. Okay. Better tighten it.

That means undoing the two hex nuts on the side of the bar. That'll take a socket spanner. Where's the socket set? Upstairs in the shed. Okay, fetch it. Looks like a 3/4 will do the job. Loosen the hex nuts. Now, clean the grub screw that governs the extension of the bar. Grab a screwdriver, tighten the grub screw. Check the chain again. Good, that feels better. Tighten the hex nuts. Put the files and the screwdriver and the socket set and the bar lube and the 2-stroke oil and the petrol and the 2-stroke fuel away. Whoops! Get the 2-stroke fuel back out. Put fuel into the chainsaw.

Set the choke. Set the throttle. Check the air-filter -- been a while since I fired this thing up. Yank the cord a half-dozen times. Cough, cough, grrrrrr.... oh, wait. What's the fucking dog doing? Why is it dancing around and barking? Oh. The chainsaw motor is freaking it out. Well, screw you dog. Wait until I do... this. (Set the throttle to go. Yank the cord.) Brrrrrrrrrrrr-RRRRRRR!

Pursued by the dementedly dancing and yapping dog, I go to the big pile of hardwood flooring -- all that's left of the shed that came down about six months ago. Enough wood there to see us through most of winter. Start cutting it up... and lo! After about five minutes, the chain comes off.

Great. I did something stupid. Oh well - never mind.

Back under the shed, in the workzone. Chainsaw on bench. Get the socket set back out. Remove hex nuts. Remove bar shield. Adjust bar to give enough slack on the chain so I can put the chain back on the drive sprocket. Thread chain over groove in bar. Hold bar precariously in position while the bar shield goes back in place. Whups! Bar has slipped, chain is off. Repeat threading of chain, etc. This time apply more care and force to bar shield. Hex nut goes in place: screw it down. Second hex nut in place. Finger-tighten it as well.

Now check chain tension again. Not quite right. Adjust grub screw with screwdriver. Use socket spanner to tighten hex nuts seriously. Put away socket set. Put away screwdriver.

Restart chainsaw. Return to wood heap. Cut for half an hour: notice that it's time to go and fetch kids. Oh well -- the chain was getting dull again anyway.

Time spent cutting: about half an hour. Time spent fragging around with the stupid fucking machine and all the peripherals: probably forty minutes.

Frankly, I'm not convinced that axes are as obsolete as everyone thinks.