How Does Chain Brake Work On A Chainsaw?

how does chain brake work chainsaw

Chainsaws are extremely dangerous, if not downright lethal, tools. Their use unquestionably demands cautious operation and a great sense of safety. Fortunately, they operate much more safely thanks to a device called a “chain brake.” In order to prevent harm or tragic occurrences, a chainsaw’s chain brake is a pressure-activated device that abruptly and immediately stops the chain sprocket ‘s motion.

Despite being such a critical and necessary mechanism to understand, many people who use chainsaws are unaware of their true purpose or when to utilize them. We’ll dispel common misconceptions about its use in this article, demonstrate how a chain brake actually operates, and discuss why you shouldn’t be afraid to use one. Let’s start by going over the basics.

How Does Chain Brake Work On A Chainsaw?

how does chain brake work chainsaw

A chain brake is a safety feature on a chainsaw that stops the rotation of the chainsaw cutting chain in case of any sudden movement or kickback. It is designed to reduce the risk of injury by stopping the saw’s chain immediately if kickback occurs. The chain brake works by applying a steel brake band around the driven clutch drum, and clamping force for the brake band is provided by a powerful spring.

The chain brake can be activated by contact with the front hand guard or by a sudden jerk of the chainsaw (inertia-activated feature). It is strongly recommended to purchase modern chainsaws with both types of chain brake activation in the chain brake system. The top-hand guard is used to operate the chain brake, and it is pushed forward to engage the brake and pulled back to disengage it. The spring-loaded action allows powerful braking under emergency conditions and can halt a chain under full power in a fraction of a second.

The chain brake is a crucial safety feature of a chainsaw, and it is required by OSHA Standard 1910.266 for all chainsaws used in a professional logging operation. In addition to the chain brake, other safety features on chainsaws include a throttle trigger interlock, a rear hand guard, a reduced kickback or anti-kickback chain, a chain catcher, and a continuous pressure throttle control system.

What is a Chainsaw Chain Brake?

A chain brake is NOT a kickback prevention device. Although this might be a possible lifesaver in the event of a severe kickback, this is neither its only intended usage nor its best application. Instead, it functions like a gun’s safety switch. The chain brake, which is a user-activated switch behind that bar and in front of the engine, stops the chain from moving when it is not supposed to, even when the throttle is engaged. Thus, it serves to prevent any unintentional activation of the saw that could be harmful. It is primarily utilized in this manner.

It can, however, be engaged by your hand or wrist in the event that the electric chainsaw were to unexpectedly kickback toward the user, acting as an emergency stop. This supporting role will be covered later.

Utilizing a Chain Brake

The chain brake is quite easy to use. Simply push the lever forward with your fingers, as shown in the illustration below, to engage the chain brake, which stops the chain from moving. It should only require a small amount of pressure to engage the chain brake before the lever snaps forward.

To release the chain brake, just pull the lever back with your fingers as shown in the figure below. The lever must be fully retracted before the brake returns to the disengaged position, and a chain brake will have a lot of slack in the mechanism when it is disengaged. This slack is expected because it guards against inadvertent disengagement and makes emergency activation simple.

When is a Chain Brake Appropriate?

The chain brake should be operated similarly to how a gun’s safety switch is used, as was previously described. Every time the user takes their hand off the saw or takes more than one step, they should engage the electric chainsaw brake. Only while cutting actively or when cutting is about to start should the chain brake be disengaged. By adhering to that straightforward rule, you may help the chain brake keep you safe as much as possible and greatly reduce the likelihood of unpleasant, even terrible, incidents.

The Chain Brake as an Anti-Kickback Mechanism

The majority of people are aware of the chain brake’s alternative usage as right hand an anti-kickback system, however it should not be seen in its primary use.

It functions as follows: If the saw were to abruptly backfire and rise toward the user, the user’s wrist or hand would catch the chain brake and pop it forward (This is why it snaps forward), engaging the brake mechanism and immediately bringing the spin of the chain to a halt.

NEVER rely on a chain brake to keep you from being kicked back

Although the brake may serve as a kickback prevention mechanism, you should NEVER rely on it. The reason is straightforward: It occasionally fails. Thankfully, I’ve never needed this system, but attempting to reproduce it with the saw off makes it clear that its operation necessitates a good deal of luck. It’s possible that your hands and wrist aren’t always in a position to effectively engage the brake. In fact, as you can see from the picture above, I nearly have to consciously move my wrist to apply the brake.

As a result, your LAST line of defense in such a situation should be the chain brake. It is far preferable to become knowledgeable about kickback reasons and steer clear of them. As seen in the illustration below, it’s especially vital to avoid cutting in the “kickback zone” of the chainsaw bar. Kickback is primarily caused by cutting with this portion of the bar.

Can The Chainsaw Start With The Brakes Applied?

If your chainsaw operation is in excellent condition, it will start whether the chain break is on or off because a good operating chainsaw will start with either one. If the brake is locked in, you can choke it up a little, but the chain won’t move.

A chain brake handle will normally rear handle stick in the brake on position – you ought to take a stab at moving the chain break bar to and from two or multiple spark plug times, prior to doing this ensure you stihl chainsaw have perused the aide as control contrasts through the model. The chain brake set, which is located in the motor, is spark plug responsible for releasing the chain brake.

Electric Chainsaws Brake Set Definition

The chain won’t turn to disengage the chain brake even if your electric chainsaws motor is running and the chain brake is set. In order to release the chain brake, you must press back on the handle; if the handle doesn’t pivot, the brake may be jammed.

Before starting a chainsaw, make sure:

As a chainsaw owner, there are certain maintenance tasks you should complete to keep your chainsaw in top shape. Some of these tasks include:

  • Try to take note of local regulations before starting your chainsaw.
  • When you start your chainsaw, the chain brake should be engaged; this technique is known as “the half choke present.”
  • Operational investigation of inertia
  • inspection of the chain brake
  • investigation into chain oil 

Inspection Of Chainsaw Chain Brakes

Chainsaws typically have a chain brake that, when engaged, functions as a safety measure to prevent the chain from moving. Always check that your chain brake is functional and engages and disengages properly.

Your chain brake will start to deteriorate every time you use it; the pace of deterioration will change based on usage, the environment in which the machine is utilized, etc. Due to severe kickback guard wear, the chain brake becomes unusable, which also reduces its effectiveness. 

Chain brakes on gas chainsaw serve two roles. Injury risk under such circumstances is decreased. as the moving chain at the guide bar’s nose or tip collides with something, or as the wood closes in and pins the chain in the cut, kickback might happen. Chain tension The guide bar may kick up and clutch cover back toward the operator in an instant after tip or bar nose contact. Additionally, whether switching positions, moving between cuts, or starting a cold saw, the chain brake secures chainsaw safety feature  the chain.

Read your chainsaw bar’s owner’s manual before using it. It covers significant details unique to your chainsaw model. You should also have your local dealer inspect your chain brake in accordance pressure washer with the recommended maintenance listed in your owner’s manual.

The chain brake is activated when the front handguard is in the forward position. The chain brake disengages when the front handguard pressure washer is pointing backward.

Release the chain brake when the motor is at idle to examine a chain brake on a chainsaw. To prevent harm to the engine or premature wear to the brake system, accelerate the engine chain brake mechanism  to full power for no longer than three seconds. While holding the handle, move your left wrist forward to engage the chain brake. The chain should stop rotating as a result of this right away.

Take your chainsaw to your local dealer for the required repairs if the chain saws brake isn’t working properly before using the tool again.

Does Running a Chain saw Without a Chain Make Sense? (Advice to Owners)

Without a chain, a chain saw can still operate. Additionally, it’s important to follow safety procedures and keep the bar away from people. 

The outcome of operating a chainsaw without a chain depends on how long you use the chainsaw kickback . It’s frequently advised to refrain from operating the chainsaw without a chain for an extended period of time.

This is due to the effects it may have on the machinery, including the following: 

Greater chance of overheating

The chain’s resistance will be gone, and the bar will spin at a greater rev. The engine could start to overheat whilst this is taking place. 

More deterioration

Chains are used to operate chainsaws. After the chain is taken off, the bar will rotate more quickly, putting greater strain on its parts and making it more difficult for the engine to keep up. If you use the throttle to raise the bar speed, you will notice this especially clearly. As a result, operating the tool without the chain could void the warranty. 

Making a speed for oil

To cut effectively, the chain needs to be oiled. Making the oil emerge from tiny pores in the bar is a clever solution to this issue. You risk spilling this oil over the floor without the chain. The good news is that if you empty the oil from the chamber before starting, you can avoid this. 

It should be emphasized that the duration of your chainsaw use will determine how severe these impacts are. Usually, running it for two to five minutes won’t cause any major damage. However, going over this will raise the risk of overheating and damage.

Final Word

If there is one lesson to be learned from this, let it be that using the chain brake safely requires both knowledge of how to do it and practice. Make a deliberate effort to use the brake like you would a gun’s safety the next time you are out cutting firewood or trees. Whenever you remove your hand off the saw or take more than one step, always use the brake. Most crucial, make sure you employ a chainsaw with a brake. There are still older saws in garages that lack this function, despite the fact that almost all saws come with them as standard equipment. 


 Can a chainsaw be started with the brake off?

The chain brake is off if it is back and loose. Chain brakes should never be turned off while starting a chainsaw; they should only be turned on when beginning a cut.

 How crucial is the chain brake?

A crucial safety element of the contemporary chain saw is the inertia chain brake. It enhances three different aspects of chainsaw safety: While limbing, bucking, and clearing, it serves as a hand guard to prevent your left hand from being smacked and pierced by tree branches.

 How many times can a chainsaw chain be used?

Before needing to be replaced entirely, a chainsaw chain can be sharpened up to ten times, occasionally even more. The amount of wear your chain experiences and the amount of metal removed each time you sharpen are the two main factors that determine it. The chainsaw chain may be more severely impacted by various materials.

 What triggers a chain to snap?

Numerous factors can cause chains to break, but wear is the most frequent. For instance, a chain will actually stretch out after 2500 miles of use. A worn chain will therefore have a longer length from link to link than a new chain. The metal fatigues more easily because the chain is stretched, which increases the risk of failure.

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