For those who live in a temperate climate with plenty of rainfall all through the year, one question keeps cropping up. “Can you cut wet wood with a chainsaw?”
When it comes to power tools and water, there is no denying that it causes concern for many. Having said that, not all tools are made equal. And some can power through those wet conditions with ease.
To answer the question for those who are short on time, the easy answer is a resounding yes. Yes, you can use a chainsaw to cut wet wood. Naturally, the short-answer never answers a question altogether, so you might want to read on.
Will Wet Wood Damage my Chainsaw?
Wood comes in many different types. From wet wood to dry wood, and new wood to old wood. Each comes with its own level of resistance. The same is true when looking at different species of tree.
As a representative case, cutting through Ochroma Pyramidale (the balsa wood tree) is going to demand much less effort than cutting through an Ironwood. The same can be said when cutting through dead wood compared to green wood.
But what about cutting through wet wood? Does this pose any risk to your chainsaw? In all honesty, no! The additional moisture found on wet wood will not make any difference to the cutting process. It doesn't place any additional resistance on the chainsaw, and no additional effort is required to cut through it.
However, as the wood is wet, sawdust will tend to stick to the chain instead of being blasted away by the air filter and exhaust. This may need to be removed on occasion to make sure that the cutting power of the chainsaw continues to be as strong as possible.
What Chain to Use for Cutting Wet Wood?
For the majority of modern and high-quality chainsaws, a standard saw chain will typically perform well on wet wood.
There is no need to rush out and purchase a specialist wet wood chain for your chainsaw. If the wet wood is of a particularly dense species, a micro chisel chain could prove to be more effective.
To simplify things, tackle the wet wood as if it were dry. The main things to think about are the age of the wood and its density. A dense wood tree in the prime of its life is going to be as laborious to cut wet as it would be dry.
One thing that you will want to do is make sure that your chain is well-lubricated and oiled with a mineral chain oil when working with wet wood. While the additional moisture on the wood will act as a natural lubricant, a well-oiled chain is one that will resist rust and corrosion over time.
Precautions to Take When Cutting Wet Wood
This will primarily depend on the sort of chainsaw that you are using. If you are using an electric chainsaw with power provided via a cable, you will want to avoid any standing water or excessive moisture.
Water and electricity are not a good mix. So, if the area contains long and wet grass, avoid using extension cords and power cables. A battery chainsaw is fine to use in these conditions.
Petrol powered chainsaws can be used in all types of weather. Be it blazing sun or a dull and rainy day. While you may be worried about using your chainsaw in wet conditions, the chainsaw is not the main issue.
Sodden ground and wet wood can be exceptionally slippery. This heightens the risk of losing your balance or going head over heels with the chainsaw in motion. You should always try to use the correct PPE when handling a chainsaw. But more so when inclement weather conditions create a less than safe working environment.
At the very least, your PPE should include protective eyewear, protective boots, a suitable pair of work gloves along with water-resistant, anti-cut clothing. If you fall and remove the wrong piece of wood, it's not a problem. The same cannot be said if you fall and cut through your leg.
Wet Wood Vs Dry Wood
It may come as an eye-opener to some. But wet wood is actually much easier to cut than dry wood. With dry wood lacking moisture content, more friction is created as the chainsaw chain comes into contact with the wood fibers. This friction results in the chain slowing down.
Wet wood, on the other hand, contains sufficient moisture to act as a natural lubricant. This stops the chainsaw chain from catching on excessively dry knots. As a matter of fact, dry wood that is wet on the outside will be easier to cut through than dry wood that is not.
Be that as it may, the main thing to repeat at this point is that the wood density and age is what really counts. Dense wood is going to require more cutting power to get through. As is a reasonably young tree when compared to one that is old and diseased.
Does Cutting Wet Wood Dull a Chainsaw?
Using your chainsaw to cut through wet wood will not dull the chain any faster than using it for other types of wood.
When you think about it, your chainsaw chain is already wet. True, it is not wet with water. But it is wet with a lubricating mineral oil.
The lubricating mineral oil is applied to the chain to prevent it from overheating. It also helps the chain glide effortlessly through the wood with minimal friction.
Using your chainsaw to cut through wet wood will not change the efficiency of your chainsaw. In the simplest terms, there will be no difference whatsoever.
Best Chainsaw for Cutting Wet Wood
This will depend on how much wood you intend to cut and the density of it. If you are looking for a lightweight chainsaw for occasional pruning tasks around the home and cutting small branches, something like the Husqvarna 120i is going to be ideal. This cord free battery chainsaw provides you with all of the power of a petrol chainsaw minus the additional weight, noise and exhaust fumes. The ergonomic design makes it easy to handle while providing fewer vibrations.
For larger jobs, an all-round saw such as the Husqvarna 440 E-series II will provide you with all of the power needed to tackle larger pieces of wet wood on a more regular basis. It is also ideal for cutting firewood during the cooler and wetter months.
If you are searching for something loaded with raw power for regular and ongoing use, a powerful robust saw such as the 565 AutoTune™ or a professional saw such as the 562 XP® AutoTune will not disappoint.
Lastly, if you are looking for a chainsaw for shaping, pruning and limb removal then a lightweight tree care saw such as the T525 is a great choice.