How to start a chainsaw
AuthorHusqvarna Chainsaw Academy
November 27, 2019
Last editedNovember 27, 2019
Before starting your chainsaw, be sure to read the operator’s manual for your particular saw since controls may vary between different models. Also, make sure you always observe regulations in your area.
The chain brake should be activated when you start the chainsaw. Many chainsaw models can be started in what is known as ‘half-throttle’ position. In this position, the chain can rotate – if the chain brake is not activated. There are two safe positions to start your chainsaw: on the ground, or with the saw between your legs.
The two starting positions
On the ground
Stand with your right foot in the rear handle and keep a firm grip on the front handle with your left hand. Keep your left arm straight.
Pull the starter handle with your right hand. Repeat until the engine fires.
Start the chainsaw between your legs
Place the rear handle between your left thigh and behind your right knee.
Hold the front handle firmly with your left hand. Make sure to keep your left arm straight.
How to start a cold engine
Activate the chain brake.
If the saw is equipped with Air Purge/fuel pump, press the bulb (prime) a few times until the fuel becomes visible and enters the carburettor.
Activate the choke and (on certain models) press the decompression control.
Pull the starter handle until the engine fires. Push the choke (half-throttle) and pull again until the saw starts.
Accelerate (rev) so that the engine idles and then release the chain brake.
Starting a hot engine
The chainsaw starts without the choke when the engine is hot. Follow the instructions above, but omit the points relating to the choke. If the engine is difficult to start, apply half-throttle. You access the half-throttle function by first fully activating the choke. Then move the control back.
Should your saw not pass any of the following inspections, you shouldn’t under any circumstances use it.
Always inspect these functions every time you start to use the chainsaw:
Inertia function inspection
Turn off the saw and hold it with the guide bar over a stump or any other stable object. The distance between the stump and the guide bar is dependent on the chainsaw model and guide bar length.
Release the front handle and allow gravity to bring the chainsaw down, rotating around the rear handle, towards the stump.
When the guide bar hits the stump, the chain brake should be triggered.
Chain brake inspection
Start the saw. Hold the chainsaw firmly by the front and rear handles.
Accelerate and then release the throttle.
Activate the chain brake by turning your left wrist towards the guard. Do not let go of the front handle.
The chain should now stop immediately.
If the saw is fitted with TrioBrake™, repeat but now activate the rear brake guard by moving your right wrist upwards until it reaches and activates the brake. The chain should stop immediately.
Chain lubrication inspection
Start the chainsaw. Hold the saw over a stump or a log and rev up the engine.
Chain lubrication is working properly if there is a line of oil left on the stump or log.