>> Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Heating with wood, as we do, one must be able to also cut his own wood. To do so requires good tools, primarily a gas powered chainsaw. I had a Craftsman saw when we moved here that I had purchased in the mid-70's. The recoil starter was "messed up" and rather than fight it I bought a new Poulan Wild Thing at Wal-Mart the first Summer we were here. I got along fine with it for about two years and the main shaft that the clutch is mounted on sheared off. Doing some investigation I found that this saw is recommended for only very light use. My use isn't necessarily heavy but it apparently was more than what this saw was designed for.

From my years in the sharpening business and sharpening hundreds of saw chains I knew that Stihl and Husqvarna were two very good saws. And, I based that on the personal recommendations of numerous of my customers. I did some looking and comparing and finally, primarily due to pricing, I purchased a Husqvarna Model 345 with an 18"cutting bar.

Everything seemed fine with this saw. But, after about a year it began giving me some trouble. To begin with it was only when I was cutting a large log and then it got worse. It would just lug down to the point the chain wouldn't even move. I thought maybe it was the clutch but that didn't seem to check out. I cleaned the fuel filter and the air filter and nothing seemed to help. I even replaced a bearing on the shaft behind the clutch to no avail.

Finally I took it into the fellow in town that works on gasoline engines--chainsaws, lawnmowers, etc. I explained the problem and he took the saw and started it up. He turned to me and asked if the way it was running then was what I was experiencing, which it was. He said he knew what the problem was. He pulled the top cover off and loosened some screws on top of the muffler. He then pulled out a little screen that had almost every hole filled with black carbon deposits. He told me that this was a common problem. The screen is only on some saws and not on others, and is required in some states such as California. It is referred to as a "spark arrestor" and is to supposedly prevent forest fires.

He slipped the screen back into place and looked at me and said, "I can't do this but you can! Pull that screen out and throw it into that trashcan." I did as he directed. He put the cover back on and started the saw back up. It ran like brand new with all kinds of power.

I was thrilled. I had been afraid that it might have been something quite major and expensive to repair. I asked what the charges were. In my mind I was thinking that almost any shop would charge $20.00 to $40.00 at least to just look at the saw, let alone repair it. He looked at me and said, "Oh, $3.00 should cover it." What a blessing!


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