Pre-Saw Checklist
By Tim Ard, Forest Applications Training, Inc.

If you are a Pilot...
If you are Truck Driver...
A Motorcyclist...
Or a Sawyer...

There is an important part of the duty that has to happen before the action begins. You have to take the time, before the start, to look over the saw and take it apart. The things we find will keep us safe and make us smart!

Somewhat of an abbreviated version of what we call Preventive Maintenance or Reduced Down Time Maintenance. The Pre-Saw Walk Around or Checklist will make your next chainsaw driving experience a much more enjoyable one.

It's simple, it takes very little time before you begin but it will save time and money in the end!  (What's up with all the rhymes...? Hopefully to get your memory to retain this important message).

Check These...

Functional Safety Features
Chain Brake, Throttle Interlock and Chain Catch checked for operation and function.

Breathing and Cooling
Air Filter System, Cylinder Cooling Fins and General Cleaning must happen.

No Cracks, Leaks or Loose Screws
Look over your chainsaw for loose or missing screws and fasteners. Make note of any oil or fuel leaks and make sure they are repaired before use.

The starter rope, grip and starter system is engaging properly and without wear and damage that will keep you safely starting your saw multiple times at the work site.

Saw Chain, Guide Bar and Sprocket
Check for sprocket wear at the drive sprocket and the guide bar tip sprocket. Check for straight bar rails. Clean the rails of any debris buildup. Your saw chain must be sharp. Look for any bent or broken cutter teeth, rivets or tie straps.

Run Check
The chainsaw should start within 7 to 10 pulls if your controls are positioned, your fuel fresh and carburetor settings are proper. Your saw should idle without the chain turning or creeping around the bar. It should idle without dying and in all positions. When you depress the throttle, the engine speed should increase quick and level out at top speed to what is known as flutter.

Before you pull the rope and especially before you approach the wood, put on your PPE. A hardhat, safety glasses, visible protective vest, gloves, leg protection and heavy duty boots are your cheapest insurance. PPE will hopefully reduce an injury should the occurrence of an unplanned event take place.

Your Equipment Owners Manual's will cover this information for your specific Chain Saw. Familiarize yourself with the information it contains, review it often.

More information can be found on our website or contact us by email at There are also detailed explanations of chainsaw related tasks in our Forest Applications eBook, The Complete Guide to Chain Saw Safety and Directional Felling.  Links are found on our website for purchase of the eBook from our eStore or from Barnes and Noble Booksellers.

(C) Copyright 2015 Forest Applications Training, Inc.