Chainsaw Won’t Cut (There are actually multiple causes)

Chainsaw Won't Cut (There are actually multiple causes)

Operating and maintaining a chainsaw in the right working conditions can be a challenge for many chainsaw owners. And even if we keep the chainsaw clean and sharp at all times, this useful machine will sometimes stop cutting. But, in reality, things wear out over time, especially machines that are used a lot.

So, I want to say that having a chainsaw in good working condition is a must to avoid serious problems. I suggest that you always follow the manufacturer’s guidelines when operating a chainsaw. Let’s go over some questions and suggestions about what causes the chainsaw to stop cutting. For example, What are the main reasons a chainsaw will stop cutting? How do you repair a chainsaw that will curve?

4 Common Reasons Why Your Chainsaw Will Stop Cutting

First, let’s look at the four most common reasons your chainsaw won’t cut including worn cutting chain, improperly adjusted chain, damaged chain bar, and worn clutch, and what you should do.

1. Worn Cutting Chain

The first thing that will start to give out is the chain, and it will become dull or worn from use and lose its ability to cut wood. You can sharpen the chain to improve its performance, but you may need to replace the chain with a new one. When dealing with a worn chain, it is best to replace it to avoid further problems.

2. Improperly Adjusted Chain

In some cases, even a new chain may not cut tightly enough if it is not adjusted correctly. If the chain is coming loose, it will not make good contact with the wood, and if the chain is too strained, it will not turn freely. You can tighten or loosen the adjustment to improve chain tension; when doing this, it is essential to apply the chain’s recommended manufacturing tension.

3. Damaged Chain Bar

If you notice that the chain bar is bent or worn, the chain will not rotate properly. You can replace a damaged chain bar with a new one. Keep in mind that you must keep the bar grease fitting hole free of debris for proper lubrication; otherwise, you may damage the bar chain and motor.

4. Worn Clutch

The clutch pads engage the clutch drum to turn the chain. If the pads or drum are worn, the chain will have trouble cutting. You can replace the clutch assembly with a new one to fix the problem. Now, let’s continue and go into more detail with questions related to the observations reflected above, for example:

Why Does Chainsaw Cut in a Curve?

When cutting with a chainsaw, we always aim to make straight cuts as far as possible, i.e., a perfect cut. For example, let’s imagine that the tree is on the ground, and you take the chainsaw to cut it. The cut must be perfectly straight, and if you notice that the chainsaw moves to the right or the left but not in a straight line, there is a problem with the chainsaw. It will help if you start with a process of elimination to fix the problem before you start buying parts.

If you run into this problem cutting right or left, it will be one of the three following things.

First, as I mentioned above, you need to have the right amount of tension on the chain. Here’s a simple trick to visually check to see if the chainsaw chain has the right tension. Just look at the middle of the bar from right to left and grab the chain and pull up slightly, and you should get an eighth of an inch gap between the chain and the bar. Remember that if the chain is too loose, you will not get a straight cut.

Another thing to keep in mind is that it is normal for the chain at the bar’s top to wiggle and the same at the bottom. If, after applying the proper tension to the chain, the chainsaw still won’t cut straight, the following is what you should do: You may wonder, how often should I flip the bar on my chainsaw? Well, if you keep cutting with the chain too slack, you will have too much wiggle in it, and you will not get a straight cut.

The next option is to remove the bar and flip it over to the other side and put it on and try cutting with it to test. That will most likely solve your problem, but if it doesn’t, then it’s time to get a new bar.

Chainsaw Pulling to The Right

Now, the last thing to look for is if, for example, if you’re going to take a cut and it curves to the right, then what that means is that your left-hand blades are dull. Therefore, each of the cutters on the left will need to be sharpened.

Chainsaw Pulling to The Left

Likewise, if you cut and curve to the left, it just means that your right-hand blades are dull, and you need to sharpen only the right-hand cutter blades. One of the three things mentioned above will solve your cutting problems, so give it a try and, above all, be careful when using the saw.

How Do I Know if My Chainsaw Bar is Bad?

If you’re still not sure how to know if your chainsaw bar is worn and needs to be replaced, then I suggest you watch this helpful short video (below).

How to Test Your Chainsaw Bar

How Do I Know if My Chainsaw is Sharp?

These are the things you will notice when your chainsaw is not sharp, including chips that are small and dusty, the motor speeds up, and the pressure needed to make a cut increases. So, if, after cutting, you notice that the chips or sawdust are tiny, i.e., almost dust, then your chainsaw needs to be sharpened. Likewise, if you notice that the chips are much larger after cutting and your chainsaw cuts fast and straight, then your chain is sharp.

Having a sharp chain will make a difference in cutting speed and productivity comfort. Not sharpening your chainsaw chain increases the risk of some severe problems. Also, a well-sharpened chain reduces your chainsaw maintenance costs and makes your work easier. It is also highly suggested to have a sharpening kit on hand at all times to maintain and improve cutting speed and performance.

Keep Your Chainsaw Sharp (With four examples)

Let’s go over the methods that work best to keep your chainsaw sharp, i.e., which methods are the cheapest, which methods are the most expensive, and which methods are the fastest such as: buying a new chain, taking your dull chain to be sharpened, hand filing, and buying a bench grinder. Now, you will apply these methods depending on how your chainsaw is used, i.e., from a homeowner to a tree contractor point of view.

1. Buy a New Chain

Most homeowners buy and replace the chainsaw chain to keep the machine sharp, probably one or two times a year. The average price of a chainsaw chain is about $25, and because the price is not that high, it makes sense for homeowners to buy a new chain when the old one becomes dull. Homeowners will typically only use the chainsaw to remove a few trees on their property and to cut firewood for camp. So, if you don’t want to sharpen the chainsaw chain or go to a local place to get your chainsaw chain sharpened, this is the best option for you to buy a chainsaw chain.

2. Take Your Dull Chain to Be Sharpened

This method doesn’t require much effort; it just requires you to bring your chain to sharpen it. You can go to a hardware store, a chainsaw store; if there is a dealer in your area with chain saws, things like that can sharpen your chain. It could be a steel dealer, or it could just be a guy with a store where he sharpens things. There are guys in every city that have sharpening services offered. They have skills; they can sharpen knives, they can sharpen scissors, they can sharpen lawn mower blades they can sharpen chainsaw chains. They can do it, and it doesn’t cost that much; maybe you’ll pay $3 to $6 to sharpen your chain.

So when your chains get dull, you don’t have to go through the effort of buying equipment or learning how to hand file or all the necessary things to keep your chain top-notch. So again, you can take it in to get it sharpened relatively easily. If you have multiple chains, take them all in so you have a spare ready to go and one on your chainsaw at all times; it’s pretty easy and quick.

3. Hand Filing

Filing by hand is probably the cheapest way to do it because you can get a new file for a couple of dollars. If you go to an equipment store, you can pay four or five dollars apiece. The downside is that hand filing is probably the hardest to learn. It’s the most time-consuming, it’s the most technique-intensive, something you have to work at. It’s not something that’s going to happen overnight. So for those who file by hand, you know what I’m talking about, and for those who don’t, it’s going to take a lot of practice. Again, it’s not something you’re going to learn overnight, you’re going to have to try a lot, and by trial and error, you’re going to learn.

The nice thing about hand filing is that you can do it anywhere; you can take the file into the woods and have it right there. You can also sharpen it right on the stump or on the log if you hit something that dulls your chain if you hit a rock or the ground or a nail or a piece of barbed wire, all that fun stuff, you can sharpen it right in the woods, which works well. One of the things about hand files is that they are the most portable, that is, you can bring them anywhere, you don’t need batteries for them, they are always ready to go.

4. Buy a Bench Grinder

Oregon brand makes probably the best bench grinders out there, and they range in price from $100 to $500. You may get some that are more expensive and some that are less expensive, but in general, they range from $100 to $500 that have several different models to choose from. Another company called Laser makes bench grinders, a small one in about $100 price range. The tecomec brand makes a $200 bench grinder, and apparently, they have some pretty good customer reviews. The nice thing about bench grinding is that you’re going to get a perfect, consistent, sharp tooth. And it’s not super hard to do because it’s a vice-type system that the chain locks in; there’s a bracket that comes down, it stays in place, and then it’s just a matter of getting your depth rate.

But that’s the most expensive thing because you have to buy the grinder and then have to buy the actual discs. Most full-time professional loggers have a bench grinder because they sharpen many chainsaw chains, maybe 10 to 20. They need to keep them sharp. So it makes sense for lumberjacks to have a bench grinder, and there are bench grinders that they use that do a great job. So yeah, bench grinding is another excellent way, but it’s pretty expensive to sharpen your chainsaw chain.