Tighten Chain On Chainsaw

Tighten chain on chainsaw the easy Way

Now that you have your new chainsaw, do you know how to tighten chain on a chainsaw. How about the proper chainsaw direction of the chain? 

The chainsaw chain is the most important piece of a chainsaw. It’s a series of cutting teeth that rotates around an axle to make it cut logs and trees. And a key part of maintaining your saw and exploiting its function is by learning how to tighten its chain which should happen at least once a week or when you notice that the chainsaw is not cutting and getting a bit loose.

Tighten Chain On Chainsaw

Chainsaws also come in different sizes for various applications as well as models intended for heavy-duty tasks. There are many different kinds of chainsaw blades and they are capable of producing different cuts. But whatever the chain types could be, it’s always best that you check them regularly for their tensions. 

Tighten Chain On Chainsaw

Benefits of knowing how to tighten chainsaw chain?

It can make the saw run smoother and more efficiently. 

It will help your saw last longer in terms of wear and tear with the chain. 

If you’re cutting a lot of wood or doing other tasks that require a lot of power then a properly tensioned chainsaw blade would be more efficient. Tighten Chain On Chainsaw

All chainsaws have tensioners to tighten or loosen their chains using only a screwdriver on most of them. If you don’t know where the adjuster is, you should see it on your chainsaw’s user manual. Moreover, there are only two locations where chainsaw tensioners are generally located. 

For the other versions of chainsaws, their tension adjusters are just below the side cover or below the 2 steel nuts that hold the cover. But mostly, the tension adjustments of most models are located on the left side near where the chainsaw bar is inserted. You can also ask your seller where to find the tension adjustment screw. On some modern and expensive chainsaw models, they even have automatic tension adjusters.  


Tightening Procedures

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For a quick tour in tightening the tension of the chain, only simple procedures are involved: 

First, check the tightness of the chain by placing the chainsaw on a flat surface or a table. If the underside of the chain is a bit saggy and there’s a small space between the chain and the chainsaw bar, this indicates a loose chain.   

Second, to double-check the tension, pull the chain on both sides (up first then the underside) until you feel some resistance. If there’s a wide gap between the chain and the rail of the chainsaw bar, this also tells you that the chain is a bit loose. Tighten Chain On Chainsaw

Get your screwdriver and tighten up the chain then do the second step to test. Turning the screw clockwise will tighten up the chain. 

To know if the chainsaw chain has reached the proper tension when you pull the chain on either side, there should only be enough gap that the chain can barely touch the top of the chainsaw bar.  Tighten Chain On ChainsawFinally, rotate the chainsaw chain with your hand and move it back and forth and the chain should move freely but should also maintain its place within the groove of the chainsaw bar. 

Take note that when adjusting the tension of the chain, observe if the chain has some oil on it. If the chain is too dry and there’s also no oil slick on the groove of the chainsaw bar, check the oiler system of the machine. 


chainsaw chain keeps coming off

What Should Be the Right Chainsaw Direction of Chain

To better understand the right chainsaw direction of the chain when installing it, we must know the main parts of the chain first. These are the cutters, guide, drive links, tie straps, and rivets. Knowing these parts on how they work and function, then you will know where the chain should be directed when installing it.  

The cutters.

These parts are the blades that do the cutting. They are designed to chip away on wood and as the chain rotates around the chainsaw bar and the links are flexing, the cutters are cutting small chunks on the wood. So regardless of how thick the log, the cutters can chip their way through.  Chainsaw chains always rotate in a clockwise direction. So you must remember that when installing your chain, the chainsaw direction of the chain once it rotates will be clockwise so the cutter must be going in that direction.  

Tighten Chain On Chainsaw

 The guides.

The guides are the small metal pieces with sloped shapes that are placed in front of the cutters and they are joined in one piece. The purpose of the guides is by determining the depth of the cutters’ bite which means the depth bite of the cutters depends on the depth of the guides. The guides also play their roles in the cutting speed of the chain. The higher the slopes of the guides, the slower the cutting speed of the chain. 

 Drive links.

These are the links that connect the tie straps. Shaped like shark teeth, they are at the underside of the chain and keep the chain aligned with the chainsaw bar. If you want to know how to untangle a chainsaw chain, you must understand how these drive links work.  Tighten Chain On Chainsaw

Tie Straps.  

The tie straps connect the drive links. They are the parts that create the whole chain link and act as bridges between the drive links.  

The Rivets.

These serve like nails or metal pegs that are pressed on every endpoint of the tie strap. It secures the chain link while holding the tie straps together.

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All chainsaw chains have these essential five parts though chains come in different types with different shapes of their parts particularly their cutters and guides. So the next time your chain won’t be cutting wood, check if the chainsaw chain on backwards could be the problem.

How To Measure Chainsaw Chain Length

One of the most important factors in chainsaw performance is the length of the chain. The chain is the only moving part that touches the wood so it’s important to measure the length of your saw chain before buying a new one. A chain that is too short for a given job will cause it to work more slowly and may even break. On the other hand, if you have a longer chain than needed, this can be dangerous because it could loosen up and can cause an injury.  

There are many ways on how to measure chainsaw chain lengths. But the most common practice is by counting the 3 major parts of the chainsaw chain – the pitch, link and the gauge. So here is how to measure chainsaw length using these parts as the basis.

Tighten Chain On Chainsaw

Count the Drive Links –

Chainsaw chain links are not measured by lengths like centimeters or inches. Instead, we count them up by the number of their drive links, generally speaking. For example, we could not say we need a chain that is 16-inches long because your old one is 16-inch long. Instead, you count the number of links of the old chain and your new chain should also have the same number of drive links. 

 You can also check the numbers that are stamped on your chainsaw bar so if you see 72DL, that means 72 drive links and that would be the right length of your chainsaw’s chain. 


Calculating the Pitch –

The distance between three rivets is what we call the pitch divided by two. For instance, there is a 3/4-inch distance between 3 rivets divided 2, the pitch of the chain is 3/8 inch. But if you look at it, this is the same as in measuring the distance between two links. In case you don’t want to count, you can also find the ID pitch marking that is stamped on the side of the chainsaw bar or refer to your chainsaw’s manual.  

Tighten Chain On Chainsaw

Knowing the gauge.

Another way on how to measure chainsaw chain length is by knowing the gauge of the chain by measuring the width of the drive links. The higher the number on the gauge, the longer the chain. But if you want a quicker identification of the gauge, check also the side of the chainsaw bar and if you can find the lowest number there that is stamped, that would likely be the gauge of the chain and it’s in millimeter. For example, the gauge of your chain is 1.3mm/.050-inches.

Tighten Chain On Chainsaw

How to Replace Chainsaw Chain

Chainsaw chains are available in 3 variations, namely: cutter type, chain sequence, and special additions. The cutter type is also available in 3 types which are the chipper, semi-chisel, and chisel. So if you want to know how to replace a chainsaw chain, you must also know the type of chain you’ll need. Chainsaw File Sizes

Easy steps on replacing the chainsaw chain: 

Remove the side cover of the chainsaw using a socket wrench or any wrench that could fit into the steel nuts. 

Pull back the chainsaw bar backward to loosen the hold of the chain.

Remove the chain and check the chainsaw bar for any damages or if oil is properly lubricating the chain. 

Clean the sprocket for any debris.

Install and align the new chain into the groove of the chainsaw bar while making sure that the cutters of the chain are facing forward. You should also remember that the chainsaw direction of the chain is always going on a clockwise turn.

Replace the side cover and tighten the nuts by hand. Do not over-tighten the nuts at this point using the wrench. 

When the side cover is in place, adjust the tension screw using a flat screwdriver. Since you have learned already how to tighten a chainsaw chain, this is now the time you should apply the proper tensioning process.   

When the proper tension of the chain is achieved, make pull and push movements with the chain to check if the  chain is moving or rotating freely onto the groove of the chainsaw bar. 

You can now tighten the screws of the side cover with your wrench.

chainsaw chain keeps coming off

How to Untangle Chainsaw Chain

Have you ever had a problem with your chainsaw chain getting tangled and you’ve spent almost an hour trying to figure out what to do? I know how frustrating that is, because when a chainsaw chain gets tangled up, it may seem to be nearly impossible to unravel it. The best way to save yourself from headaches is by following our quick unraveling guide on how to untangle a chainsaw chain without messing it up further. Tighten Chain On Chainsaw

But first, let us talk about some safety tips before we try to untangle a messed up chainsaw chain: 

If the chain that you need to untangle is new, then expect that its cutters would be sharp so you will need to wear gloves that are preferably durable but not made of rubber. 

If the chain is an old one and we can see that some gunk was trapped between the links or the metal has rusted, better soak the chain in motor oil for an hour or spray WD40 all over it then wipe it with a clean cloth carefully to clean it up.

 If the chain is old but has jammed due to rust, soak it in motor oil also for about 30 minutes then dry it and slowly do the untangling process

chainsaw chain keeps coming off

step-by-step how to untangle chainsaw chain:

Lay the tangled chain on top of the table or any flat surface. 

Spread the chain as you pull it out and create a circle. You will now come up with only 2 loop knots wherein the first loop knot’s chain  is going outside the chain circle while the other loop knot’s chain is going inside the chain circle.  

Bring these knots on the same side by pulling the top of the first chain over the second loop knot. This will remove the first loop knot and that will  leave you only 2 loops that are side to side but both should be facing the outside of the chain.   

The important thing to remember here is that chain loops should both be going under the chain. You can now hold the top part of the chain and pull the other side until they pass each other and your chain is now untangled.

Avoid Putting Chain on Backwards

Since you now learned how to tighten your  chainsaw chain by following our tips, do you still think about how to avoid putting chainsaw chain on backwards? Like we have discussed, you must only check the direction of the cutter going clockwise and you’ll be on your way to properly install a chain. 

But why is it important not to install a chainsaw chain on backwards where it can still cut? The thing is, the blade can still cut but it’s like cutting wood with very blunt blades. So even if you have sharpened your chainsaw blades but your chain placement is backward, your chainsaw will be cutting very poorly.

But considering that you have installed the chain properly and the blade still cuts more like in a backward position, well, these are the major signs that your chain’s teeth are dull. 

Signs of blunt chainsaw blades: 

You need to push the machine just to make the blade bite on the wood. 

The chainsaw cuts but it produces fine sawdust which means the cutters instead of chipping out the wood are just scraping it and producing fine wood dust. 

Your chain may produce smoke due to aggressive friction even though it’s properly lubricated. 

chainsaw chain keeps coming off


Knowing how to tighten a chainsaw chain is very important because this will not only secure your chain and keep you safe but can also prevent kickbacks that could put the safety of other people near you at risk. In this blog, we hope that you have learned many things and have absorbed most of our tips like how to measure chain length, how to replace chainsaw chains, how to untangle a chainsaw chain and how to avoid installing a chainsaw chain backwards. 

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