Veggie oil instead of bar oil

Does anyone have any information or experience using veggie oil instead of bar oil for a chainsaw?

I have read a couple of things. Mainly low temperature sub -10F issues, and it is thinner and may run out too fast. And it should be emptied out for long term storage. my electric doesn’t have an oil adjustment. not sure how to fix that issue. but it can also leak out on it’s own which creates it’s own fire/safety issue.

do you add a dye to it? If so, what do you use?

Otherwise it is cheaper and easier to buy a gallon of it for 10 bucks and I have other uses for it. I think I paid 7 dollars for a quart of bar oil and a gallon was 22 dollars.


Hi Sean, i’ve used canola oil for chain oil, works great, not trouble if it oils faster, just good, it needs some more lubrication when using canola oil, but it gets cheaper anyway, and better for health.
I don’t use special bio-degradable chain oil though, i’ve seen enough of saws damaged, plugged, and totally clogged, like a hard grease chunk, almost impossible to get them clean.


Is that problems with the veggie oil specifically or just general problems with saws?


That is a problem with Bio-chain-oil, the store bought special oils, it’s like it contains linseed oil, or like, it oxidizes, and becomes hard.
The canola oil haven’t showed any of these troubles, i know others that use canola oil also, and they also prefers that before brand-bio-chain oil.


Canola oil may be fine for bar oil but there is nothing healthy about it. I think the highest I’ve see bar oil where I buy it is $12 bucks. Menard’s, so they are all over Michigan. It was on sale a while back for $7.99 a gallon. Poulan Pro brand. I have bought enough to get me through 10 years. If i’m still cutting firewood at 86 I won’t care what the stuff costs. I do know a guy whose uncle is 92 and still cutting his own wood supply so it’s not unheard of. He wasn’t raised on Big Mac’s though. They were live off the land people. Makes all the difference.


I was waiting for that. :slight_smile:

Apparently the Poulan Pro oil is a ‘seasonal’ item, and the nearest store with availability is in illinois :slight_smile: They do have FPV for 11 dollars. Tractor Supply has Countyline brand for 7.50/gallon which is their all-season, but they have a winter formula for 19 dollars a gallon.

so yeah it might not be cheaper then the cheapest. :slight_smile:


Nothing healthy, no, but breathing a fog of canola oil, throwed from a high speed chain, may be slightly healthier than the same fog from dino-chain-oil.
Just my believes :slightly_smiling_face:


Well the winter oil price is just insane. My brother drove an 18 wheeler for an oil distributor for a few years. The bar and chain oil is literally the left over oil they flush out of the trailers at the end of a run once they have enough volume of mixed oil they viscosity match it. IIRC winter grade is 20 weight. But you could definitely just thin your summer bar oil with K1 or diesel to keep it flowing in the cold. That winter price is pure profiteering.

Well I definitely try to keep my noise away from the tip of a running chainsaw where the oil flys off. That seems a very unhealthy place but more due to the purpose of the tool… lol
But as to the ff vs vegetable oil yes there will be far more cancer causing agents in ff based oil. Vegetable oil is atleast marketed for human consumption.
I just always figured the real health risks with cutting wood was first not cutting flesh and second the 2 stroke exaust smoke cloud. Electric saws greatly reduce the first risk by not idling and completely remove the second by not burning gas.
I suspect your exposure to the bar oil is from handling the chain and bar coated in it not breathing it unless you have a habit of sniffing the spinning chain which seems dangerous and highly unlikely. In my experience chainsaw bars don’t get hot enough to vaporizer the oil it is still liquid at the tip falling to then ground.


Accordingly to what I read WD-40 loosens it up or dissolves it.


While I haven’t gone to the extreme of sniffing the tip. I can smell the bar oil when I am using the electric. I barely noticed it using the 2-cycle saw probably because the 2-cycle smell overwhelms everything.


Interesting i hadn’t noticed it with my electric saw but then i worked in a toxic environment for 5 years and doesn’t have the best sense of smell as a result.


Use what you will.
The plain reality is your chain riding onto the bar and drive sprocket/nose sprocket; and the individual chain pin-links do need metal to metal lubrication separation. Need a loss, flinging off, washing away of fine wood dusts/chips and wear metals particles.
So what have you got real; now; on-hand that can do this.
Many still insist on only using drained out used IC engine oils. Not me. That stuff is stinking hazardous to me and everything around me. It does before thier time increase wears more than they need to be.

And I’d get my hands slapped but good by the cooking-wife if I touched hers; or even if I went out and bought my own vegetable oils to use as bar oil:

She, like me; are horrified that anything that is a food would be wasted away for non-foods uses.

As for me I will continue to use a bought out specific commercial bar oil the has proven to actually make good near $1.00 a link chains and $3.00-8.00 an inch good quality saw bars last the longest. And those are not name branded Stihl, Poulan, Hysqvarna or any of the well distributed bar oils
Durex. Durex. Durex. Thick. And clinging tacky sticky. Thins with saw-use heat. Work faster, harder to get your heat.
Steve Unruh


Nice Choices, almost. The thing about Canola oil. Genetically modified rapeseed, hot pressed and oil extracted with hexane and totally undigestible until it’s hydrogenated. It is low in saturated fats. That makes it healthy.


Mine might fling more because of a higher rpm and/or lack of oil control or maybe I just notice it more now that I don’t have to compete with the 2-cycle smell. I also went through like 3/4 of a quart cutting up a bunch of stuff in the same spot.


I don’t think canola is genetically modified, it was supposedly bred naturally, and technically while it is 99.7% rapeseed, it is recognized as it’s own species. (great marketing) Genetically modified would mean they inserted various genes into the dna like roundup ready.

I still call it rapeseed, but they worked really hard to call me incorrect. :slight_smile:

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I have the Milwaukee M18. I like the common battery with the impact wrench and grinder. Plus some other tools also it seems to have decent power. I did have to change the bar they sold it with a very narrow bar i switched it to the standard narrow bar i forgot the sizes but the factory bar won’t cut straight it would flex.
Otherwise it has been great for me 2 batteries will fill a pickup bed. I am ok with that level of work before recharging.


Well i guess you could get used cooking oil and filter it. :grin: i couldn’t resist. It does feel like a solution looking for a problem to me.

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I think peanut oil might be used in the Stihl biodegradable version. Now that I have thought about it for like 3 days. I vaguely recall hearing about Stihl looking to buy peanut oil. They may not have, but peanut oil is a ‘dry’ oil and commercially available. I think they were mixing it with castor oil which historically was used as a gear oil because of it’s higher temperature rating.
whether they ended up doing that or not, I don’t know.

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Yes, wd-40 helps to dissolve that stuff, BUT, a saw not taken care of, never cleaned, and it ends up on a repair shops workbench (or mine) It’s often too late, very troublesome to get them clean, scraping, wd-40, degreasing agents, steam pressure washer. Almost the same with bio-degradable hydraulic oil that has been leaking for a while.

And for the health issues: there was some “investigations” in late -80s about chain oils affecting the health, it was proven a connection between some types of cancer, and air-borne chain oil, dispersed from fast mowing chains.
As the forest business fastly became modern, the chainsaws was not that important, when machinery, like harvesters become more used, these investigations soon was forgotten.

I don’t want to tell anybody what to do, just point out what could be a hazard?

I don’t use ONLY canola oil myself, i use some standard chain oil also, but NEVER used motor oil, not only it makes my precious chainsaws a mess ( :roll_eyes:) it contains lot of volatiles that shouldnt be inhaled.


I don’t think ANYONE is going to be able to TELL anyone what to do on this site. We go back and forth all day long, and no one is going to convince anyone. :slight_smile:

I wouldn’t want to use used motor oil. The school used to have a machine that filtered it for you, so you could put it back in the vehicle. I used to love cranking it as a kid. The oil didn’t look much better after it was filtered though. :slight_smile:

I’m inclined to give canola a shot, but I want to see if any other oils are better. I haven’t found a good definitive list of the differences between the oils. (I haven’t spent much time looking yet either). Most of the stuff I am pulling up are discussions that really starts the OIl vs Eco-friendly war, and it isn’t that informative.

I kind of consider you a repair workshop. IF I had a saw that needed work, and you weren’t an ocean away, it would end up on your bench! For two reasons, one is because you can fix the thing. The second, is because while you are busy doing that, your tracked machine would obviously be lonely. :slight_smile: