Can You Use a Chainsaw in the Rain? How to Prepare Your Chainsaw for Wet Weather Use

Published Categorized as Chainsaw How To Guides, Lumber Journal

Are you wondering if you can use a chainsaw in the rain? Or, can you cut wet wood with a chainsaw? Is it safe to do so? If you’re going to use a chainsaw, you should do so under the safest conditions imaginable to avoid any weather-related mishaps.

In this article, we’ll discuss all you need to know about using a chainsaw in the rain, along with how to prepare for wet weather chainsaw use.

Table of Contents

Wood on house construction in rain

Can You Cut Wet Wood With a Chainsaw?

One question continues coming up for those who live in a temperate area with a lot of rainfall all year round. “Can you use a chainsaw to cut damp wood?” There is no disputing that many people are concerned when it comes to power tools and water.

However, not all tools are created equal. And some people may easily navigate those drizzly conditions. For individuals who are pressed for time, the simple response is a resounding yes. Yes, you can cut damp wood with a chainsaw. The key here is whether you’re using the chainsaw while it is raining or simply cutting the wet wood after it has rained.

Can You Use a Chainsaw in the Rain?

A gas chainsaw may be used in the rain, and it won’t get damaged even if it’s pouring. You’ll be alright as long as you don’t immerse the engine underwater. But before you continue to work through a storm, there are other things to think about.

Yes, a chainsaw will continue to operate even in the rain. It won’t stop, stall, or do anything similar. If it does, you have more issues. You may have heard that the fuel tank or carburetor should be covered with a plastic or rubber cap. It won’t actually be necessary to do that. Though it probably won’t matter in the end, you could still opt to do it.

Water must get through the exterior plastic/metal case in order to reach the chainsaw’s engine. Then, an air filter located beneath the casing further obstructs access to the engine. Although the chainsaw’s shell is undoubtedly not waterproof, rainwater won’t be able to flow through it at a rate that would have any appreciable effect.

A full submersion, which exerts significantly more pressure than rainfall, is an exception to this rule. There won’t be anything preventing water from leaking into the engine if your chainsaw is completely submerged.

Will Wet Wood Damage or Dull My Chainsaw?

There are many distinct sorts of wood, from young wood to old wood, and wet wood to dry wood. Each has a different degree of resistance. The same holds true when examining various tree species. Cutting through the balsa wood tree, Ochroma Pyramidale, will require far less work than cutting through Ironwood, for example.

Learn all about different types of wood in our Firewood Identification – How to Identify Different Types of Firewood guide!

What about slicing through damp wood, though? Does this put your chainsaw at any risk? No, in all sincerity! The excess moisture found on damp wood won’t affect the cutting procedure in any way. It doesn’t present the chainsaw with any more resistance, and cutting through it doesn’t demand any extra work.

However, due to the moisture in the wood, sawdust has a tendency to adhere to the chainsaw chain rather than being expelled by the air filter and exhaust. To ensure that the chainsaw’s cutting force remains as strong as possible, this may need to be removed sometimes.

What Chain to Use for Cutting Wet Wood?

The majority of modern, high-quality chainsaws can cut through wet wood with a regular saw chain. You don’t need to run out and get a specialized wet wood chain for your chainsaw right away. A tiny chisel chain might work better if the damp wood is a particularly dense species.

Learn all about chain types in our Types of Chainsaw Chains – Complete GUIDE!

Approach the damp wood as though it were dry to make things easier. The age and density of the wood are the two major factors to consider. A mature, dense timber tree will be just as difficult to chop in the wet as in the dry.

When working with damp wood, one thing you’ll want to do is make sure your chain is well-lubricated and oiled using a mineral chain oil. While the extra moisture on the wood will serve as a natural lubricant, a chain that has been properly oiled will last longer by resisting rust and corrosion.

Precautions to Take When Using a Chainsaw After it Rains

Your choice of chainsaw will be the main determinant of this. You should stay away from any standing water or excessive moisture if you’re using an electric chainsaw with a wire for electricity. Electricity and water do not mix well, as you will know they will lead to an electric shock.

Therefore, avoid utilizing extension cords and power cables in areas with long, damp grass. In these circumstances, a battery-powered chainsaw is suitable.

Wet wood and soggy surfaces can be extremely slick. This increases the possibility of falling or losing your balance while the chainsaw is running. When handling a chainsaw, you should always strive to wear the appropriate PPE. However, this is especially true when bad weather makes it unsafe to work.

Your PPE should at the absolute least comprise protective glasses, protective boots, a decent pair of work gloves, and clothing that is water- and cut-resistant. It’s not a problem if you trip and take the wrong piece of wood out. You cannot say the same if you trip and cut your leg.

Precautions to Take When Using a Chainsaw in the Rain

It’s vital to note that if you’re considering using a chainsaw in rainy weather, you need to be concerned about more than just the tool’s mechanics. You must also think about whether it is safe for you to continue working, as well as for others. Just a few things that could potentially pose safety issues in the rain are listed below:

  • Slippery ground
  • Extremely unpredictable winds
  • Limited visibility (especially with eye protection on)
  • Noise (harder to hear others)
  • Flooding (depending on the terrain)
  • Possible lightning

The most crucial factor to take into account in a real-world scenario while considering whether to continue operating a chainsaw in the rain is safety. Don’t take any actions that could put you at risk. However, if the risks are minimal, and, in particular, if there is only a light drizzle, it may be safe to continue moving.

Dressing Appropriately

I’m going to start by sharing some wise counsel from long ago that people often provide before camping excursions: cold equals wet. I recognize that this seems obvious, but you’d be surprised at how few people actually consider it. They don’t understand it; rather, they just don’t give it any thought.

Practically speaking, this means you should wear layers of high-quality, moisture-wicking clothing. Let’s imagine it’s the beginning of spring, it’s still chilly (around 45 degrees Fahrenheit), and you’re working outside in the pouring rain.

You’ll start out well if you walk out wearing cotton jeans and a cotton jacket, but you’ll soon get cold, damp, and unhappy. The following would be a suitable outfit for using a chainsaw in rain:

  • Base layers (wool or polyester)
  • Mid-size fleece (or wool sweater)
  • Polyester pants
  • Waterproof jacket & rain pants
  • Waterproof boots (Gore-Tex or leather)
  • Wool socks
  • Gloves & hat (under helmet)

This is not a complete wardrobe, but it gives you a fair idea of the kind of items to wear to be warm and healthy on a rainy day. Keep in mind that sawdust will adhere to your wet clothing as another effect of the dampness. It won’t easily flake off like dry flakes. It’s also muddier, so you should wear clothing that you don’t mind getting very dirty.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Can chainsaws work in the rain?

Yes, to answer briefly. A chainsaw can be used in the rain. Cutting with your saw in rainy weather shouldn’t be a problem if your bar and chain are in good shape. Chainsaw blades are damaged far more quickly by rain, and falling wet trees can be hazardous because they may do so without warning.

Can you use a cordless chainsaw in the rain?

Electric chainsaws should not be used in the rain as they are more harmful. While the majority of gas-powered chainsaws can operate normally in damp weather, electric (battery chainsaw or corded electric chainsaw) ones could find it more difficult to cut through dense wood without getting stuck. If you’re not careful, this could result in backlash and electric shocks.

By Dave Cross

Hi, I'm Dave. I’ve been sawing for more than 40 years. I feel most at home when I’m surrounded by nature and my saws, but occasionally, I’ll share some of my know-how and experience on Cross Saw Mill.

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