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Author Topic: Cleaning pitch from a chainsaw  (Read 4813 times)

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Offline Kivaman

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Cleaning pitch from a chainsaw
« on: January 31, 2009, 01:07:52 pm »


In rural Colorado I have several acres of mature Ponderosa soon to be threatened by the Mountain Pine Beetle.  I need advice on cleaning (and prolonging the life of) a Stihl 026 chainsaw equipped with a Log Wizard that will be used to debark infested Ponderosa logs before the young beetles can emerge and attack healthy trees.  I'm told that the combination of Ponderosa pitch and bark fragments is much harder to clean off (and out of) a chainsaw than ordinary sawdust and bar oil. 

One source advises me to apply spray silicon before each use on the external and internal parts (pull-start assembly, vanes of the fly wheel and cylinder wall), and then after each use to scrape off the pitch buildup, then to steam-clean or hot-pressure-wash those parts along with internal parts of the clutch assembly.

Another source says both steam cleaning and hot pressure washing invites corrosion and shouldn't be done, and that using solvents and compressed air are the way to go.  No particular solvents were suggested.  I don't expect to have ready access to steam-cleaning or a hot-pressure washer, either of which would cost me in the thousands to own.  If solvents and compressed air are a workable alternative, I need to learn which solvents are likely to work without damage to other parts, like the plastic housing.  I'm not experienced in disassembling a chain saw, but am willing to learn.

Do any of you Log Wizard users have some experience to share?


Offline Raphael

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Re: Cleaning pitch from a chainsaw
« Reply #1 on: January 31, 2009, 01:46:10 pm »
It depends on how concerned you are with toxicity, kerosene works wonders but the citrus oil based cleaners are a safer alternative.
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Offline DanG

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Re: Cleaning pitch from a chainsaw
« Reply #2 on: January 31, 2009, 02:55:15 pm »
I've not used a Log Wizard, but I've got plenty of pine sap experience.  I agree with one of your sources that steam and hot water are probably worse than the sap.  My own favorite sap fighter is WD-40.  Let it soak in for a couple of minutes, then take an old toothbrush to it.  I wouldn't expect you to have a severe problem that would require this to be a daily procedure, though.
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Offline cheyenne

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Re: Cleaning pitch from a chainsaw
« Reply #3 on: January 31, 2009, 04:21:22 pm »
The best thing I've found for pitch is dry gas. Put some on a rag and rub. I use it on the cars all the time....Cheyenne
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Offline LeeB

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Re: Cleaning pitch from a chainsaw
« Reply #4 on: January 31, 2009, 05:38:07 pm »
What are you calling dry gas Cheyene?
'98 LT40HDD/Lombardini, Case 580L, Cat D4C, Ford 851 tractor, JD 3032 tractor, Husky 346, 372 and 562XP's. Stihl MS180 and MS361 1998 and 2006 3/4 Dodge 5.9 Cummins 4x4's and a 1966 Chevy C60 w/ dump bed.

Offline cheyenne

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Re: Cleaning pitch from a chainsaw
« Reply #5 on: January 31, 2009, 06:29:53 pm »
Isoropyl Alcohol....NAPA-Thermo-Aid comes under many names but must have Isopropyl Alcohol as it's main element....Cheyenne
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Offline Rancher

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Re: Cleaning pitch from a chainsaw
« Reply #6 on: January 31, 2009, 06:51:34 pm »
I have used WD-40 or similar stuff on my log wizzard with pretty good luck. The pitch is really only a problem on the green, sappy wood.
The battle with the pine beetle in our Ponderosa was pretty much lost here. Not enough attention was given to the beetles untill they hit the Lodgepole in the ski areas and everyone could see the devastion.   
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Offline LeeB

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Re: Cleaning pitch from a chainsaw
« Reply #7 on: January 31, 2009, 07:13:00 pm »
OK, had to ask. Dry gas to me, being and oilfield type is just that, dry gas as opposed to gas with any liquid factored in such as water, oil, drilling fluids ect. I couldn't quite see how you were gonna put it on a rag.  :D
'98 LT40HDD/Lombardini, Case 580L, Cat D4C, Ford 851 tractor, JD 3032 tractor, Husky 346, 372 and 562XP's. Stihl MS180 and MS361 1998 and 2006 3/4 Dodge 5.9 Cummins 4x4's and a 1966 Chevy C60 w/ dump bed.

Offline Woodhog

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Re: Cleaning pitch from a chainsaw
« Reply #8 on: January 31, 2009, 07:40:46 pm »
Dont forget to clean the spark arrester screen on the exhaust it will gum up after a while and the saw will start to act up...

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Re: Cleaning pitch from a chainsaw
« Reply #9 on: January 31, 2009, 08:31:12 pm »
I've recently been using kerosene in my parts washer for cleaning chainsaw projects. You know all the gunk that gets in the brake housing and around the bar? You just soak and swish, and it's all gone. 8) Don't know if it has any adverse effects on plastic, but I washed my entire 394 with it, and it doesn't appear to have hurt it.
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Offline ErikC

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Re: Cleaning pitch from a chainsaw
« Reply #10 on: January 31, 2009, 09:03:12 pm »
  I've had pitch all over my saws and it came pretty clean with kerosene on a rag. If you let it sit on there to long it gets harder so I'd do it that night or the next day.
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Offline Rocky_J

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Re: Cleaning pitch from a chainsaw
« Reply #11 on: January 31, 2009, 09:05:09 pm »
Dave, a trick I learned from my old man many years ago when he owned a couple service stations- You can use kerosene in the parts cleaner, but add some transmission fluid as a conditioner so it won't eat up your hands. His big parts cleaner used 5 gallons of kerosene and a quart of transmission fluid.
 ;)

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Re: Cleaning pitch from a chainsaw
« Reply #12 on: January 31, 2009, 09:20:24 pm »
Cool, I'll do that tomorrow! The parts store wanted $125/pail for parts washer, ten gallons of kero was $35 ;D ATF has a lot of uses, I've been finding out lately.
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Offline sawguy21

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Re: Cleaning pitch from a chainsaw
« Reply #13 on: January 31, 2009, 09:56:00 pm »
ATF is a great small parts cleaner, soak them overnight and rinse.
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Offline Rocky_J

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Re: Cleaning pitch from a chainsaw
« Reply #14 on: January 31, 2009, 10:24:10 pm »
On my dad's 20 gallon parts washers, he used 15 gallons of water and 5 gallons of kerosene. The kerosene floated on the water and the crud sank down to the bottom, keeping the kerosene clean. The pickup for the nozzle pump only went deep enough to pick up the kerosene. He used some heavy duty can liners (plastic garbage bags) in the can to keep the water from rusting it out.

In my 20s I ended up with one of his parts washers, I set it up the same way and used it for about 6 years before I had to dump it out and move it.

Offline rebocardo

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Re: Cleaning pitch from a chainsaw
« Reply #15 on: February 02, 2009, 09:52:43 am »
I have used brake cleaner before, probably not ideal  :D