RDT Aware...


By Tim Ard, Forest Applications Training, Inc.



I learned years ago- it's not the cost of a part or repair of a piece of equipment that's expensive.  It's the Downtime! If the equipment's not ready when you need to be- it's unprofitable and often times unsafe.


Adopt Forest Applications Training's RDT program and in less than 10 minutes Reduce Down Time for your chain saw.


RDT- is a simple plan for staying ahead of downtime and costly repairs that any operator can master.


RDT starts with understanding these five areas of the chainsaw:


         Safety Features

         Air Filter

         Visual overview


         Saw chain, guide bar and Sprocket


We cover more detail on some of these areas with weekly and shop routines but the initial or main purpose of this exercise is for the operator to perform a quick check of discovery before beginning or ending the work day. If mastered, this RDT system will alert you to problems and or wear trends on your equipment that will improve your sawing experience and Reduce Your Down Time dollars.


  1. Safety Features

Three features should always be present and working.


Throttle interlock- this feature is incorporated so your hand must be in proper position, the driver’s seat so to speak, before the throttle can be depressed and the engine speed increased.


Chain catch - this is a soft metal or polymer tab or roller designed to shorten the chain and slow its rotation should it derail from the guide bar. This will most likely occur if you operate a chain saw long enough; brush or loose chain causes the saw chain to jump the guide bar rail.


Chain Brake – this is a well known safety feature of today's chain saw. The brake can be activated by the front hand guard assembly or some by inertia created by a reactive force of the saw guide bar and chain rotation. This brake can be used when starting and maneuvering with the saw, limiting chances of operator contact with a spinning saw chain. Anytime a hand is taken off the saw the brake can and should be applied. .


  1. Air Filter

I call it the chain saw nose. If it gets plugged, just as our nose when congested, it starves the engine for air and in return power. A huge volume of air is ingested by a chain saw when turning high revolutions. The filter handles every bit of this volume through its pores. The filter maintenance is the largest difference between the saw filter and us.  Even with all the increase in volume and congestion it can't blow its own nose. You've got to clean it.


  1. Visual overview

Seeing is believing- when it comes to chain saw operations. Look over nuts, screws, bolts, fasteners, cracks, leaks, etc that can be a problem in your future work. Wear is progressive on most properly maintained equipment. Let's make note of these areas to identify it and do something about it.



  1. Starter

Ever tried to push start a chain saw? Simply will not work will it. So, we must keep a check on the starter system to make sure it’s operative. Look at the rope for length, frays or tears that can reduce its chance of working when you get to the work site. Also make sure the spring recoils the rope completely and seats the grip against the starter housing so it doesn't flop around.  Nothing is worse than driving or walking way out to the site and then have the rope break on the first pull.



  1. Saw chain, guide bar and Sprocket

The working side of the chain saw. This is the business end and the side that requires most of our attention. Make sure you understand when a chain is not performing as it should. Learn the five areas of the saw tooth and what each part does for your safety and production. Look for any cracks, bends and wear on the saw chain loop.


The guide bar rails should be cleaned out and make sure all debris is removed from the rail groove. Left too long, the chips and oil become hard and clog the oil from making its way around the guide bar for sufficient chain lubrication. The bar rails and chain operate at sometimes 450 degrees or more so it’s like baking cookies too long. Burnt!


Bar rails become flattened from the chain riding and hammering on the surface. You can remove this with a flat file or even better a guide bar dresser. You can often extend guide bar life by flipping the guide bar over to even top and bottom rail wear each time you clean and dress the bar.  


There are two sprockets on most saws today. One on the crankshaft/drive drum and one on the guide bar tip. Both of these are high wear areas. Check them often for wear and cracks etc. Check your manufacture's manuals for replacement suggestions. Wear on the drive sprocket is excessive at .020" on many units. Bar tips should not be sharp pointed as this indicates wear that requires replacement.


Another good practice to maximize bar, chain and sprocket life is to rotate a group of saw chains on the saws guide bar and sprocket. If you run one chain until worn out, then add a new chain to the worn guide bar and sprocket, you often miss-match the gears of the chain loop drives, the bar and crank drive sprockets. If you rotate three chain loops through the combination the wear is equaled out somewhat. This can be a long term cost savings that few take advantage of.  


The Forest Applications RDT system is outlined in detail on our eBook. Download your copy now at the www.forestapps.com  eStore for only $9.99 while on special. This is a special download version. Does not include video clips or print ability. This version is strictly for computer/eBook reading in Adobe PDF version.


If you have questions on the RDT system or other Forest Applications Training programs. Send them to info@forestapps.com or call our office PH 770.222.2511


Good Sawing!