Inside of Tools

Who Invented Modern Chainsaw Who Invented Modern Chainsaw

Surprisingly, chainsaws were first used in the medical industry. Yes, that’s right! The “weapon” preferred in today’s horror movies was initially one of the instruments used during childbirth. It was utilized in a symphysiotomy – a method that ensures quick delivery of a child from a woman’s womb.

Since we are in about chainsaw history, why not have a brief look at the procedure? Just like a wire saw, the chainsaw had a long chain with ‘teeth.’ The doctor would wrap the chain around the pelvic bone then alternately pull both handles. This movement sliced through the symphysis a lot faster than an ordinary knife.

Who Invented Modern Chainsaw

Anyway, I assume you are here because of the chainsaws you have seen cut down trees. So let’s get down to it!

Evolution of Chainsaws

Let us travel back in time to the 19th-century when experts started adding some modifications to the already existing chainsaws. Many have claimed to be the inventors of the first chainsaw, but Bernard Heine’s invention of the 1830s predates them. However, this osteotomeman was not as advanced as the ones that came into existence years later.

Samuel J. Bens claimed a patent for “the endless chainsaw” in 1905 before James Shand came up with a portable chainsaw 13 years later. Unlike what you see today, “portable” at the time referred to a two-person operated chainsaw. 

Andreas Stihl, a German, was granted a patent for the first electric chainsaw in 1926. This is arguably the time when modern chainsaws were first invented. Andreas Stihl’s machine weighed more than 140 pounds. Yes, that is approximately 20,317 tea bags… Don’t mind me; I love tea!

Do you have a high-end chainsaw (22 lbs.)? Imagine having to lift seven of them. As such, it would also require two people to operate this electric chainsaw. Well, you wouldn’t really blame our grandparents’ slow adoption of this machine, would you?

A year later (1927) Emil Lerp joined his fellow countryman in the invention process. Lerp came up with a gasoline-powered but was faced with multiple problems. Maybe the fact that it required two operators due to its weight of 125 lbs was another issue. But the Father of the Modern Chainsaw was there to make things right. Stihl made improvements to the gasoline-powered chainsaw – he named it the tree-felling machine – and patented it in 1929.

There you have it, Andreas Stihl was the inventor of what Old House Salvage know today as the modern chainsaw. So who exactly was Andreas Stihl?

Who was Andreas Stihl?

Born in 1896, Stihl was an engineer who played a huge role in the world of chainsaws. He is often referred to as “the Father of the Modern Chainsaws.” As you can see from the history above, he is undoubtedly deserving of that name. In 1926 – the same year of his ground-breaking invention – he founded his own company.

By 1931, the company had grown to become the first European chainsaw exporting company. Its market was mostly in America and Russia. Stihl’s company was also the leading supplier of saws to the Nazis.  Jonsered created the design utilized by the company today in 1954.

Who was Andreas Stihl

Stihl is run as a private entity by Andreas Stihl’s family – four children. Apart from chainsaws, Stihl also produces edgers, hand tools, protective apparel, blowers, and lubricants.

How did Oregon contribute to the evolution of chainsaws?

If you are intimately familiar with the logging industry, you must be aware of Oregon chainsaws. In as much as Stihl modernized chain saws, there were still a lot of improvements that needed to be made on the same. Some of the main problems that needed addressing at the time were portability and kickback.

What is kickback? Well, this is probably one of the leading causes of chainsaw-related injuries. It might be due to the tip of the chain touching an object. Sometimes it occurs when the wood pinches the saw chain. The consequence of this is what can be very dangerous to the operator. It may lead to a lightning-first reaction that kicks the guide bar forward and back towards the user. If the operator is not able to control it, he will most likely end up with a severe cut.

Charles Wolf and Redman were the first teams to address the issue of portability. They would go on to patent the world’s first portable chainsaw in 1920. Redman would work towards reducing the weight of the power source while Charles dealt with the cutting chain. As stated earlier, all chainsaw’s at the time required two men to operate. By late 1920s, Stihl had become their biggest competitor, who also went on to manufacture a saw that weighed only 46 lbs.

In the late 1960s, Oregon joined the rest of the chainsaw world in researching how to reduce kickback hazards. After the development of kickback test machines in 1972, the company started producing kickback-tested products. The first batches to be produced were the 91 and the 76 series released in 1974 and 1976 respectively. The role of the Oregon engineers in the creation of the 1981 ANSI B175.1 safety standards will always be appreciated.

Final Words…

The importance of chainsaw invention proved to be a game-changer in the world of logging. We appreciate the work done by the likes of Andreas Stihl, Charles Wolf, Emil Lerp, and any other person involved in the improvement of these machines. Although there haven’t been significant changes over the past few decades, you can expect some more innovations in the near future. A new beginning might be upon us with two engineers looking to come up with a chainsaw powered by a jet engine turbine. Follow our blog for more updates on the same. 

Let us know if this piece was helpful. Cheers!

How Do Chainsaws Work How Do Chainsaws Work

The world of logging has never been the same since the invention of a chainsaw. Nearly a century or so ago is when the first chainsaw that resembled the modern ones were put in use. As you will notice, most of them were operated by two men because of their weight and how it was manufactured. Today, however, all popular chainsaws are light enough to be run by one operator and are far more efficient. But have you ever asked yourself how this machine works?

Well, to answer this question, you will first need to know the type of chainsaw you own. Sorting using this criterion is really easy because there are only two types. It can either be a gas or electric chainsaw depending on the power source. Under electric chainsaws, you can have one with an extension cable or a cordless chainsaw. Knowing how a machine works is crucial for its safety and yours as the operator. As such, we have compiled a guide to help understand the ins and outs of your chainsaw.

How Do Chainsaws Work

The Main Parts of a Chainsaw

Like any other device or machine, you will need to know and understand its main parts before going into many details. For a chainsaw, these include an engine, fuel tank, clutch, carburettor gears, guide bar, sprocket, and spark plug. All these parts coordinate with each other to ensure a smooth operation of the chainsaw. You can also categorise these parts into two; the power source and the cutting area.

How Do Chainsaws Work 1

Let us start with the power source. This is what powers the entire machine and helps rotate all the moving parts. As earlier stated, the source can either batteries or gas. In place of an electric motor in electric chainsaws, there is a petrol engine. Apart from this difference, all chainsaws generally work in the same way.

So, how does a chainsaw turn electricity or gasoline to sawdust? Obviously, that is not what literally happens; the chemical energy stored in gasoline or batteries is converted to useful mechanical energy. This is the energy you use to cut down or prune trees. Anyway, enough with scientific language!

If you have a gasoline chainsaw, it most-probably has a two-cycle engine fitted. As such, you will have to mix gasoline with oil when refuelling. Attempting to run the chainsaw without the required type of oil will cause ceasing. This is due to lack of lubrication of the engine’s moving parts. High torque output with relatively lightweight is the main benefit of these engines.

Now that you have the gas tank full, what happens next? Starting the gasoline engine is fairly simple, but you will need to follow the right procedure. First, turn on the ignition switch then pull the starter rope out. When you do the latter, here what’s going on within your chainsaw;

  • The starter rope is set such that when you pull it, the drive cap on the flywheel is engaged. Note that the flywheel has permanent magnets built into it – we will explain the purpose of this later.
  • Consequently, the motion is transferred to the crankshaft, which also rotates as the rope is pulled. This crankshaft is connected to a piston which, as you may guess, will, in turn, react to all these movements. Are we still together?
  • In the process, the piston is forced to move up and down within the cylinder. It is at this point that the ignition process starts. Do you remember the permanent magnets in the flywheel? Well, the purpose of this is to create a magnetic field as it rotates past the ignition coil which strategically positioned along its path. Electricity is induced into the coil, and the voltage travels to the spark plug.
  • The downward movement of the piston within the cylinder opens an intake point of air, oil, and fuel into the cylinder. When it moves back up, a vacuum is created, and the same content is sucked into the crankcase.

However, the fuel in the cylinder is ignited by the sparks from the spark plug hence forcing the piston to move back. The process is repeated within a split second leading to the piston’s continuous movement which is converted to rotary motion by a crank and rod.

The operation of an electric power source is pretty straightforward. Instead of starting the gasoline engine, a motor is supplied with current. The resulting rotation of this motor is what is used by the rod and crank.

The rotary power gained is transmitted by a drive shaft to the centrifugal clutch, which in turn transfers it to the chain. How does the chain receive this power? Well, first it is important to note that the chain is held in position by the sprocket.

This sprocket is connected to a system of gears linked with the clutch. As such, your engine running doesn’t necessarily mean that the chain will also run. This idle position ensures safety and energy preservation. The guide bar, as the name suggests, guides the chain as its sharpened teeth slice through the wood.

Closing Remarks!

The process described in this article is the basic operation of all chainsaws. Depending on the manufacturer, you might find a few varying specs, especially in terms of size. An ordinary chainsaw has a 16-inch cutting bar and a gasoline tank with a capacity of 0.5 litres. Another thing that you might want to keep in mind is the engine’s horsepower. A two-stroke engine usually develops up to 3 horsepower.

Closing Remarks

One last thing… If you try to run your chainsaw and the engine stalls, you might want to check the spark arrestor. Usually, a clogged spark arrestor will prevent the exhaust from exiting the engine. Using the wrong type of oil or too much of it is the main cause of the clog.

Sometimes your engine might not start at all. If that is the case, then the cause could be a defective spark plug or carburettor which you can either clean or replace. Old House Salvage hope that this content was helpful to you. Feel free to leave us a comment below. Happy logging!!

Chainsaw History: What You May Not Know