My saw needed a tune-up. Not the engine so much, but the moving parts - there aren’t very many, so this is little more than a chain swap. Tools required? Strictly speaking, only one: the Chain Saw Tool: a flat-blade screwdriver with opposing sockets for a handle - one for the chain cover and one for the spark plug (which I’m not changing). You can carry this tool, a spare chain, and spare plug, all easily in your pocket when you’re out in the woods with this little beast.

Since I was in my basement and not the woods, I used a few other tools to help in the cleaning process. A wire brush, an old toothbrush, a long, thin flat screwdriver.

The white line is 18" from the end of the bar. Useful benchmark for cutting logs to length that will fit my stove.

The machine? An early 70's Jonsereds 52e, 49cc little gem of a saw, made from 1971 to 1982. This thing isn’t much heavier than a modern saw, and yet has almost no plastic parts. So it just keeps working. I take pretty good care of it, I don’t use it that often, and the only time it let me down was when - you guessed it - a plastic part failed.

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I’ve changed a chain so many times on various saws, it’s too easy not to do it when you ding a rock or something and your saw starts pulling to one side, or making teeny sawdust and taking forever to get through a cut. I have four chains for this, so I keep swapping them out until I have three that need sharpening. Yeah, you can sharpen in the field, or on a bench if you want. But my local hardware store does it beautifully for about $5/chain.

There’s actually a whole leaf in there, wow
that clutch assembly wouldn’t spin freely with all that sawdust caked in there

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You can see that you would have to be totally blind not to clean this thing out when you take off the chain cover to swap out a chain. Perfection is NOT the name of the game here; getting 95% of the junk out will do just fine.

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Yay, moving parts are free to move again! Don’t forget to lube the tip:

“lube often”

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see the grease coming out the side of the roller tip... insert innuendo here

I’ve had the same bar for 10 years and I’m only on my second Push ‘n Lube. Five bucks and a few seconds every fuel up well spent.

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Now onto the “new” chain:

Oddly, these things can be a little annoying to untangle because, duh, they’re SHARP.

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Take a second to make sure it’s on the right way. On this saw at least, it will go on backwards just fine. You find out when you try to cut with your shiny new chain, and it just grinds into the wood... oops. No harm just annoying.

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Yikes, too loose!

This is one of those classic “by feel” things like belt tension on an older car. You should be able to pull the teeth of the chain clear of the bar but only with a “reasonable effort” and it should certainly rest with no clearance.

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Snapped back when I let it go? Perfect! Tighten the chain cover nuts and ship it. Ready to cut a few hundred more crappy little tree-poles that are blocking the mountain view from my favorite spot on the deck.

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See all those little jerks at the bottom of the frame? That picture was taken from the second floor of my house. When you’re down on the lawn, some of them are high enough to cross the horizon from your view point. At that time, a tree’s fate is sealed. Thou shalt not cross my horizon. It’s a never-ending battle, but at least as I cut them I’m thinning the horrendously dense clumps of trees that grew up after an early 80's clearcut. I leave a few of the nicest trees, so the regrowth should be healthier and not as stupidly tall. I seriously have 50-60 foot tall trees with almost no branches.

Anyway, I thought you all might enjoy seeing an old machine being used and cared for. Now it’s bedtime, my back is sore from chainsawing.