How to Determine the Age of a Chainsaw: A Guide

How to Determine the Age of a Chainsaw: A Guide

Knowing the age of your chainsaw is important for determining its value, maintenance needs, and safety considerations. In this guide, I will walk through the key steps to identify the manufacturing date of vintage and modern chainsaws.

First, I’ll explain why pinpointing the age of your saw is useful. Then, I’ll outline the main methods for dating chainsaws: checking manuals and serial numbers, contacting manufacturers, and assessing design clues. I’ll also provide tips for basic chainsaw maintenance and using proper safety precautions. Finally, I’ll give a brief history of major chainsaw brands Stihl and Husqvarna.

Determining your saw’s age aids in properly caring for and operating it. Older models may require more vigilant upkeep and parts replacement to remain functional. Knowing a chainsaw’s era also gives perspective on its capabilities and safety features compared to newer saws. Let’s explore how to find out when your chainsaw was made.

How to Determine the Age of a Chainsaw?

How to Determine the Age of a Chainsaw: A Guide

Discover how to determine the age of your chainsaw with this comprehensive guide. Learn about checking the owner’s manual, examining the serial number, and contacting the manufacturer to find the manufacturing date.

Check the Owner’s Manual

The easiest way to identify your chainsaw’s age is to locate the manufacturing or sale date in the owner’s manual. Most manuals note when the specific model was produced.

If you don’t have the original manual, search online for a digital copy from the manufacturer’s website. For example, Stihl provides downloadable manuals for out-of-production saws on its website. Check the publication date and model information for clues about age.

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Examine the Serial Number

Chainsaw serial numbers often encode the production date or year within the sequence of numbers and letters. Where the manufacturing details are positioned varies by brand.

Husqvarna chainsaws, for instance, have serial numbers like “991 15 0000”. The first digits “991” are the model code, while the second group “15” indicates 2015 as the year made.

Stihl saws feature a serial number format like “123345678”. The first digits “123” represent the Julian calendar date of manufacture. Stihl used this numbering system from the 1960s to early 2000s.

So for a Stihl saw with the serial number “123589034”, the “123” translates to May 3rd as the production date. Examine your chainsaw’s unique serial label closely to decipher the age clues.

Contact the Manufacturer

If you can’t pinpoint the manufacturing date from manuals or serial numbers, directly reach out to the company.

Provide the model name/number, serial number and any other identifying details. Customer service can then look up the age information in their databases.

Most major chainsaw producers like Husqvarna and Stihl have customer service contact forms on their websites for convenience. Their experts can quickly find the year your particular saw was made using the serial number.

Chainsaw Maintenance and Safety

Routine maintenance is crucial for keeping your chainsaw running efficiently and safely for years to come. Here are key maintenance tasks to remember:

  • Replace the spark plug annually. Check that the spark plug is properly gapped.
  • Frequently clean the air filter to prevent engine wear. Replace worn air filters.
  • Use fuel stabilizers and safely empty the fuel tank for long-term storage to avoid internal corrosion.
  • Sharpen and maintain the cutters on the saw chain regularly for optimal cutting performance.

Proper handling and protective gear are also essential for safe chainsaw operation:

  • Read the instruction manual and familiarize yourself with all safety features before use.
  • Always wear safety glasses, hearing protection, long pants, and cut-resistant boots and gloves.
  • Maintain proper grip and posture to avoid kickback injuries.
  • Watch for electrical hazards, tree limbs, and other falling objects when cutting.
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Taking preventative measures greatly reduces the risk of accidents when operating a chainsaw. Even vintage models can be safely used with caution, regular maintenance, and personal protective equipment.

Chainsaw Brands and Their History

Explore the origins and histories of popular chainsaw brands like Stihl, Husqvarna, Jonsered, and more.


Founded in 1689 Sweden, Husqvarna is one of the oldest chainsaw brands still operating today. Their iconic red and gray saws were originally developed in the 1950s. Over the decades, Husqvarna introduced innovations like chain brakes and anti-vibration systems. The 550XP and 460 Rancher remain among Husqvarna’s most popular chainsaw models.


Andreas Stihl started a machine shop in Germany in 1926 and produced the first Stihl chainsaw in 1929. Stihl pioneering early one-man portable chainsaws. The iconic orange-colored Stihl saws grew in popularity after World War II. Favored professional models include the MS 250 and MS 361. Stihl continues to be one of the top selling chainsaw brands worldwide.

Chainsaw Troubleshooting and Repairs

Learn how to diagnose and fix common chainsaw issues, including starting problems, dull chains, and engine issues

Common Issues and Solutions

Here are some typical chainsaw problems and fixes:

  • Won’t start: Replace spark plug, check for flooded engine, clean air filter
  • Hard to start: Check air filter and fuel quality, replace fuel lines
  • Dies suddenly: Clean/replace fuel filter and vent, check carburetor
  • Vibrates excessively: Tighten mounting bolts, check engine mounts
  • Smokes excessively: Clean air filter/carburetor, check oil fuel mixture

Following troubleshooting steps in the owner’s manual can help pinpoint more complex issues. Tune-ups and repairs may be needed over time, even for well-maintained saws.

When to Seek Professional Help

Consult a certified technician for internal engine or ignition problems. It’s also best to bring your saw to a professional after attempting repairs if performance doesn’t improve. Seek help immediately for sudden loss of engine power or serious damage from impacts. Professionals have specialized tools and training to thoroughly inspect and fix chainsaw issues.

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I hope this guide provides a helpful overview of techniques to determine your chainsaw’s manufacturing date. Finding your saw’s age aids in maintenance, safe operation, and assessing collectability. Regular tune-ups, following safety precautions, and proper storage are key to getting the most working life out of your chainsaw. Iconic brands like Stihl and Husqvarna have rich histories and remain trusted names in chainsaws today. With basic care and maintenance, your chainsaw can reliably last for years to come.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I find the serial number on my chainsaw?

Look for the engraved serial number plate on the chassis near the rear handle or under the cover. Always reference this unique number when seeking age or repair details.

Can I use synthetic oil in my older chainsaw?

Yes, you can safely use synthetic chain oils promoted for chainsaw bar/chain lubrication. They provide superior flow and protection against wear. Just follow mix recommendations based on your saw’s age and engine type.

How do I know if my chainsaw needs professional repair?

Take it to a shop if you’re unable to resolve issues using the owner’s manual. Internal parts repairs, engine problems, and major component replacements generally require technician expertise.

How can I improve the lifespan of my chainsaw?

Regularly cleaning the air filter, replacing the spark plug, using quality fuel and bar oil, proper chain maintenance, and tuning up the engine annually can significantly extend your saw’s working life.

What safety gear should I wear when using a chainsaw?

Essential protective equipment includes cut-resistant leg chaps, steel-toe boots, snug gloves, eye protection, and ear plugs or muffs. Always read all safety instructions for your model.

How can I prevent kickback while using a chainsaw?

Grip the top handle firmly with your right hand and wrap your left thumb around the front handlebar. Maintain proper stance and only cut with the lower half of the saw blade. Today’s chainsaws have integrated chain brakes and anti-kickback safety features.

How do I know if my chainsaw chain is dull and needs sharpening?

Signs of a dull cutter chain include increased effort cutting, poor chip flow, rough ragged cuts, and more fine sawdust produced. Inspect the cutters for damage or rounded edges. Sharpen regularly.

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