Q: Running a chainsaw sometimes hurts my ears. I’ve tried earplugs, but they get all gunky and fall out. What should I do?
A: Move closer to the stage next time you go to a concert.
Q: My fifteen-year-old chainsaw has recently started billowing clouds of blue smoke. Is that normal?
A: Yes. Through personal experience, I know that fifteen is the age of experimentation. You should expect any fifteen-year-old to be difficult to start, smoke a lot, and kick back.
Q: Should I sharpen my chain at 30 degrees, or 32?
Q: Uncle Hippie, what sort of lubrication should I use on my two-stroke?
A: If it only takes two strokes, do you really need any lubrication? I feel there may be other problems here.
Q: My chainsaw is running quite rough and stalls a lot. I feel the problem may be with the fuel mixture. Is there a way to adjust that? How should I go about doing it?
A: Yup, here’s what you do. First, make sure the engine is off. You can tell an engine is off by listening very, very carefully. If you can hear your wife yelling at you to take the garbage out, the engine is indeed most likely off. (See question #1.) This is very simple, but you MUST complete the following steps in order. It will be tempting to skip to the last step, but don’t. Remove the two nuts holding the safety cover on, take the safety cover off, move the blade bar back, and remove both the chain and the bar. Get a regular screwdriver and slip it under any likely looking piece of plastic and gently try to pry it off to get to the engine. Once you’ve broken that, try the other side. Okay, now that you’ve spilled gas and oil all over your workbench and have broken all the plastic bits off the unit, you should be able to see the engine. I’ve found that most of it isn’t really used, so go ahead and just sort of start turning whatever you can see that turns. I mean crank on it. Most things on an engine will make a “cracking” noise right after it’s broken – that’s what you’re listening for (see question 1). Now, the final step – again, do NOT proceed to this step without completing all the steps above. Show the pile of broken parts to your wife, explain that you’ve tried everything you can think of to fix the saw but it’s useless, then go buy a bigger saw from the store and grunt in a manly way.