I’ve been watching this guy on YouTube called Mustie1. I assume that’s not his real name, unless his parents decided to name him after his old man’s underwear, which I doubt.
The foundation of Mustie’s channel is he grabs a piece of junk equipment, like a lawnmower or weed whacker or chain saw and gets it to run.
Usually this takes just a little cleaning up, or sometimes a lot of cleaning up, but he usually gets it running, unless it has a broken piston or is completely seized up, which doesn’t happen very often. There’s a lot of people who throw out some perfectly good running equipment as Mustie has proven time and time again.
So the other day I went out to cut some firewood and filled the saw up with oil and gas and the boy and I hiked out to the woods to a nice big larch and the saw wouldn’t start.
What would Mustie do? I thought.
If you watch enough of his videos you figure out the method to his madness which typically runs through some simple steps to get an internal combustion engine running that don’t involve a hammer or a screwdriver, which is the sort of mechanic I’ve been for, oh, 45 years now.
So I patiently checked
the spark plug. I had spark. Then I patiently checked the air filter. It was dirty, so I cleaned it out. Then I remembered there’s a fuel filter in the line that goes into the tank. So I decided to check that.
There, I discovered my big mistake.
For the uninitiated, a chainsaw has a hole to pour chain oil in and a hole to pour gas into.
I had put oil in the gas hole and gas in the oil hole.
It’s really hard to get a chainsaw to run on chain oil.
So I carefully drained the oil out of the gas hole and the gas out of the oil hole and then put the gas in the gas hole and the oil in the oil hole and cranked the engine until I thought my arm would fall off.
Just when I thought I managed to gum up the works with chain oil the engine blurted just a little as the internal combustion engine combusted.
It finally caught for good after 50 or so more pulls, ran with a little blue smoke for a bit and was no worse for the wear.
Thanks to Mustie, I learned the biggest lesson a small engine sleuth can have: An arm that won’t fall off a shoulder.
—— It’s with sadness I learned of Lakeside photographer Ed Gilliland’s death. Ed knew large format photography inside and out and tutored me when I was working on a project to photograph Glacier National Park for 100 straight days back in 2010. He loaned me cameras and even gave me a rudimentary large format camera.
Despite being wheelchair bound from a railroad accident, Ed was always willing to help anyone who asked. He even rolled up to Lake McDonald to give me tips while I took photos with an 8-by-10 camera he loaned me.
Ed was a fine photographer in his own right, despite his disabilities. Prior to his accident he was an accomplished climber in Glacier National Park. He’ll be missed.
Chris Peterson is the editor of the Hungry Horse News.