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Our experience with Bar/Chain oil alternatives

 
rancher
Posts: 338
Location: NW Montana, USA
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I hate how much oil spreads in the environment when doing forestry, and bar/chain oil is EXPENSIVE!  So this year we switched cold turkey to vegetable oil.  At something like $3/gallon from Costco, we've saved LOADS switching over.  (You'd save even more if you were recycling a spent cooking oil!)   I'm happy knowing that I'm not spreading petroleum oil all over when I do chainsaw work- especially that I'm not getting any on myself when I work or fill the oil!  And best of all, between 4 chainsaws that got extremely heavy use this year (12", 14", 16", 28"), we saw zero problems with using vegetable oil.  It goes a smidge faster than regular b/c oil, but we are still just filling the oil tank every time we fill the gas tank.  We just end up filling the oil with a little more than usual.  

We love it and will never go back!  Hopefully this post helps a few others to convert as well :D

Edit: Sometimes it starts smelling like a fast food joint when you're working the chainsaw hot!  lol!
 
rancher
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Location: San Diego, California
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That's great news Jen!

I love this idea, but have a few questions before I could be comfortable switching myself:

How long ago did you switch, and what's your regular weekly/monthly average usage time?

How's the "gunk accumulation" - increased or decreased over trad. oil?
 
rancher
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I long ago gave up using bar and chain oil. In fact I am not even sure when I last bought a gallon of it...maybe 10 years ago.

I buy anything that is cheap. Most times that is hydraulic oil because I can buy 5 gallons of it for $18. Bar and chain oil is almost $10 per gallon.

But any oil works because while bar and chain oil is tacky, it really does not make a bar or chain last any longer. A chain is $24, and a bar is $50....big deal. I can get 40 or 50 cords on a chain, and 150-200 cords on a bar. At $70 per cord for wood (averaged), that $125 in consumable parts for $10,500 in wood. Bar and chain oil is just not worth the expense because a person ends up using super expensive oil to protect something that is dirt cheap.
 
ranch foreman
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The USDA Forest Service has an article about using vegetable oil.  According to that site, some countries don't allow petroleum based oils to be used as bar oil for chainsaws.  It sounds like vegetable oil is a great alternative.

Vegetable Oil for Chain Saws
 
greenhorn
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Only problem I've had with vegetable oil is that in summer it gets to be too thin, so I'll switch back to B&C oil or do a 50/50 mix.
In the winter, I actually prefer using vegetable oil because it flows better.

 
rancher
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I should mention that not all cooking oil is the same. What I buy at the co-op is not going to be the same as what I buy at the chain grocery store.

Now I assume most on this site know this but it worth mention, be careful and buy good oil you wouldn't mind on your land.
 
greenhorn
Posts: 136
Location: Romania
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I have a chinese ( probably or maybe polish or assembled in poland) Stihl replica chainsaw that i paid 45 dollars on it brand new 2 years ago and i never used bar and chain oil ,only old and used motor oil that came from car oil change.
Works great and ive really put it to hard work ,to cut tree stumps at ground level with soil dulling the chain offten,big trees ,etc.
The chain its also chinese .
As one of my friends said ,,it was cheaper than an axe,, ,literally.
But in an expensive chainsaw i would use only bar and chain oil from the shop.
 
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