If you have a yard full of trees, or work as a professional gardener or forester, then you know how handy a pole saw can be. While chainsaws are useful for felling trees and clearing thick brush, they are too dangerous for cutting down limbs and branches that are positioned above the shoulder or head level. For that, you are going to have to use a pole saw. The tool is perfect for pruning trees to your specification, and cutting down branches that may pose a hazard to people.
A pole saw or pole pruner is essentially a modified chainsaw with the bar and chain attached to a pole or long tubular shaft. Because the shaft allows the user greater reach, pole saws are perfect for trimming small branches and limbing. And just like a chainsaw, a pole saw can be incredibly dangerous in the hands of the careless and inexperienced.
Pole pruners have two major parts: the bar and chain, and the power source, which could either be a petrol engine or a battery-powered electric motor. The cutting edge is built into a chain similar to the ones found on bicycles, which is wrapped around the guide bar. For weight and safety considerations, pole saws run on less powerful motors and engines compared to their chainsaw cousins.
When you’re shopping for a pole saw online, you’ll find that they’re either petrol-powered or electric. Each variant has its advantages and disadvantages, so you need to find out your needs so you can properly choose the correct pole saw for you.
Petrol pole saws are powered by a 4-stroke petrol engine. Petrol-powered pruners are vastly more powerful than electric pole saws, depending on the power output of the engine. But with great power comes some tradeoffs. Petrol pole saws require more maintenance and are heavier compared to their electric counterparts. They’re also considerably noisier and dirtier.
On the other end of the scale are electric pole saws, which are battery-powered. What it lacks in power, electric pole saws make up for in easier maneuverability, quiet operation and lighter construction. Electric pole saws also have less impact on the environment, and are easier to maintain since there are fewer moving parts. However, you can only use an electric pole saw as long as the battery is not empty. Otherwise, you need to wait until the battery is charged again.
Whether you’re using a petrol or electric pole saw, the tool requires regular maintenance to keep it in top condition. Machines are like people, they need to be taken care of to ensure a healthy condition and optimal performance. Neglect the pole saw, and it will break down when you most need it. Regular service is essential to optimise the service life and dependability of the pole saw. Here’s a guide to maintaining your pole saw you can cut limbs and branches for years to come.
Before and after each operation
- Clean the body, bar and chain of the pole saw with a damp cloth. Make sure that all wood chippings, sawdust and dirt have been wiped off.
- Check if the throttle and the trigger lock are functioning well. The chain should not turn if the trigger lock is engaged. Do not use the pole saw if it does.
- Double check if the stop switch turns off the pole saw if engaged.
- Make sure that the the chain is not turning while the pole saw is on idle mode.
- Clean the air filter every after use. If it’s still too dirty or clogged after cleaning, replace it.
- Inspect the body and see to it that all screws and bolts are properly tightened.
- If you’re using a petrol pole saw, make sure there are no fuel leaks before operation.
- Don’t forget to clean under the protective cover. There might be dirt stuck inside that might transfer to the pole saw.
Every seven uses
- See if the return spring, starter cord and starter are in good condition. Send the pole saw for repair if any of the three are worn down or broken.
- Prolonged exposure to vibration can lead to long term nerve damage. Always ensure that the vibration dampeners are functional and not worn down.
- Clean the area surrounding the spark plug. Remove the plug and see if the plug gap and electrodes are in good condition. Replace the spark plug when necessary.
- The cooling fins on the flywheel need to be regularly cleaned as dust and gunk tend to build up within the mechanism.
- For mufflers without a catalytic converter, do not forget to clean or replace the spark arrestor screen.
- Do a general inspection and cleaning of the the area surrounding the carburettor.
Every twenty-five uses
- Drain the fuel tank and clean its insides.
- Don’t forget to clean the carburettor. If necessary, have a certified technician perform the cleaning.
- Perform a thorough cleaning of the fan wheels.
- See to it that the fuel filter and pipe are not worn down. Replace the parts if needed.
- The clutch and its parts are bound to get worn down after a month of use. Check the state and severity of the decay, and replace if necessary.
- Now is the perfect time to replace the spark plug.
- For mufflers with a catalytic converter, don’t forget to clean and check the state of the spark arrestor screen.