A Guide to Running a Concrete Chain Saw and the Crucial Role of Chain Tensioning

Published on
February 2, 2024 at 8:26:42 AM PST February 2, 2024 at 8:26:42 AM PSTnd, February 2, 2024 at 8:26:42 AM PST

Regardless of the Diamond Chainsaw Brand (ICS, Husqvarna, Stihl), concrete chainsaws can be an effective tool for deep cutting through masonry and concrete walls for the installation of various openings such as egress windows and doorways.

A few points to consider when running concrete chain saws:

1) Chain tension is critically important to the longevity of your saw’s powerhead, as well as the life of your chain.


2) Proper chain tension is checked by pulling the chain around the bar by hand. There should not be any tight spots as it moves past the nose of the bar and the drive sprocket. If you cannot easily pull by hand the chain is too tight and needs to be loosened slightly.

Running a Concrete Chain Saw

1) Safety First: Before embarking on any cutting project, prioritize safety. Wear appropriate personal protective equipment, including goggles, ear protection, gloves, and a hard hat. Ensure that the work area is well-ventilated and free from potential hazards.


2) Proper Lubrication: Concrete cutting generates heat, and adequate lubrication is essential to prevent the chain and blade from overheating. Use the recommended lubricant to ensure smooth operation and extend the life of your equipment.


3) Controlled Cutting: Maintain a steady and controlled cutting speed to prevent unnecessary wear on the chain and ensure a clean, precise cut. Allow the tool to do the work, applying consistent pressure and avoiding excessive force.


The Role of Chain Tensioning

One of the most critical aspects of running a concrete chain saw is proper chain tensioning. Here's why it's so important:


1) Optimal Performance: A well-tensioned chain ensures optimal performance and cutting efficiency. Loose chains can lead to uneven cuts, increased wear on the blade, and a higher risk of accidents.


2) Safety Concerns: Loose chains pose a safety hazard, as they are more likely to come off during operation. A flying chain can cause serious injuries and damage to property.


3) Extended Tool Life: Properly tensioned chains contribute to the longevity of your concrete chain saw. Regularly checking and adjusting the tension will help prevent premature wear and maintain the tool's effectiveness.

Periodically, an operator should stop the saw and check and adjust chain tension accordingly. If the chain is too loose it could come off the bar or allow the drive sprocket to spin without turning the chain and potentially chew up drive links. When the chain stretches to a point where the drive links are hanging approximately ½” to ¾” below the bar, it is time to tension the chain.


Concrete chain saws must be run with water. Dry cutting is not allowed. Water is the lubricant that cools the chain and prevents premature chain stretch. Typically, a pressurized pump will not provide enough sustainable water for cutting. A dedicated water source should be used from a water truck or a house spigot. The minimum water pressure required is 20 psi. Insufficient water supply may result in excessive wear to the diamond chain.


Filter life is almost a non-issue with concrete chain saws due to the nature of cutting. 12 times per year, or during your regular maintenance schedule, you should clean or replace the filter element. Concrete chain saws use mixed gas and oil. A high-quality, fully synthetic oil and higher octane gas should be used for the best performance and longevity of the powerhead.

After cutting or at day's end, the powerhead, bar, chain, and starter rewind should be sprayed off with pressurized water to rinse out and wash away concrete slurry from the saw. Once rinsed off, spray the saw down with a lightweight lubricant, such as WD40, to prevent rust and prepare the saw to be in good working order for the next use.


Following these few simple points will prolong the life of the powerhead and give you trouble-free operating hours when running your concrete chain saw.


For service on your concrete chain saws, please give us a call and one of our qualified, ICS-trained mechanics will assist you in repairs or answer questions you might have.

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