I am a relatively new chain saw owner who has Googled extensively and
read the owner's manual several times. I have a good degree of common
sense, and try to take care, but I am destined to make stupid mistakes
After about 2 hours of use on the new saw going through cherry and ash,
I started into some oak about 12" in diameter with a 20" bar on a Husky
346XP (fast saw). I worked through this for about an hour and noticed
that the the oak seemed to be getting progressively harder to cut,
requiring more pressure on the saw as I moved toward the base of the
tree (tree had been felled already). Eventually, the bar and chain
began to smoke, and I probably made 7 or 8 cuts until the bar and chain
were smoking so badly it became obvious that something was seriously
wrong... the bar oil on the bar was bubbling from the heat. I removed
the bar from the log and ran the saw for about 30 seconds to oil the bar
and allow the smoke to dissipate from the bar and chain.
I inspected the bar and noticed that the paint had disappeared along the
edges of the bar, the Husky lettering in the center of the bar was
completely gone, and there were a couple of spots in the center of the
bar where the paint had disappeared. I suspect that the paint had
simply burned off at these locations.
Obviously, the chain was dull. Why that wasn't obvious when I had to
force the saw to cut is beyond me. That's the bad news.
The good news is that I inspected the bar and didn't see any obvious
signs of damage. I didn't notice any "bluing" of the bar metal where
the paint is gone, and I didn't notice any burring or flaring of the bar
rails. I did flip the bar over and put a new Oregon chain on it, and
the saw now cuts like a champ. I am not sure why the original Husky
chain became so dull after only 3 hours on the saw, as I took care to
keep it out of the dirt and certainly didn't hit anything other than
wood during operation.
My question: What signs of damage to the saw, bar, or chain should I be
looking for at this point? I suspect that the paint burning off of the
bar is premature wear at this point, but I'm not sure if that is a
indicator of damage. Does it sound like I got lucky this time, or could
something have been damaged that is not yet obvious?