Chainsaw Chain Direction – Detailed Manual

Chainsaw Chain Direction - 15+ Useful Tips

A chainsaw, like any other tool, requires special care and chainsaw chain direction. In particular, the chainsaw needs care for the chain or cutter element. The chain not only needs to be sharpened, it also needs to be tensioned properly. How to tighten the chain on a chainsaw, every tool owner should know?

The Chainsaw Chain Direction And Which Side Do I Put It On

The chainsaw chain, if you look closely, has the saw teeth pointing in the same direction. Therefore, the correct chainsaw chain direction of the saw teeth on the bar is very easy to determine: if you place the chainsaw itself in the plane it is in during operation, the row of teeth located at the top of the bar, the sharp edges must be directed towards the end of the bar. Whereas the row of teeth at the bottom of the chain saw should point in the opposite chainsaw chain direction, toward the drive sprocket.

To put the chain direction with the teeth inside to the grooves in the bar will not work, it just will not stick on the bar. That is why the chainsaw chain direction must be slid onto the bar so that the guide lugs of the chainsaw blade links are facing inwards into the bar. This video will help you to understand right chainsaw chain direction.

Useful Information: How To Put On a Chain Saw Chain The Right Way

This video is about how to put on a chain saw chain the right way. In this video you will learn how to put on a chain saw chain so it’s facing the right direction, and how to tighten it up so it cuts the way it should.

Reasons For Chain Failure

A high rate of chain stretching occurs during the running-in phase. This is when the cutting element rubs against the bar and chainwheel sprocket. During the running-in period, it is very important to regularly check the tension of the product, otherwise it can come off right during the operation of the tool.

Some of the main reasons why the chain direction fails include:

  • Poor quality of the product. Some manufacturers in China, in order to increase the demand for the product, resort to the cheapening of products by making products from low-quality materials.
  • Violation of the lubrication function. If there is little or no lubricant in the chain and bar, overheating will cause the metal to expand and lose its properties.
  • Inadequate lubricant quality. The use of waste causes the chain to wear and stretch quickly, which is due to the metal substances in the waste.
  • Poor quality of tooth sharpening. Using a cutting tool with blunted teeth not only reduces the performance of the tool, but also causes the chain to stretch faster.

Professionals also suggest that the longevity of replacement elements is affected by the way the chainsaw is used. The negative effects of improper chain adjustment also affect the accelerated stretching of the cutting element and its failure. If the product is severely overstretched, performance will be reduced because the motor will experience excessive stress during operation. In addition, the chain will be tight against the bar, accelerating its wear as well. If the product is loose, it can come off the bar or tear at any time. In order for your chainsaw to run smoothly and easily, you need to check the tension of the cutter, and the sharpening of the teeth every time you refuel.

Why the Chain Is Flying

If you’ve been wondering why the chain is flying off your chainsaw, then there are some problems in the mechanism. There are three main reasons for this malfunction: a malfunctioning bar, an elongated chain, and a loose sprocket. We will discuss each of the possible causes of failure in detail.

Tensioning Mechanisms

The chain must be properly tensioned so that it moves freely on the bar by hand. To adjust the tension, a classic type of tensioner is used, which is used in budget grade tools. Such a tensioner is a threaded bolt, and the adjustment component is either classic or side-mounted.disassembled saw

Quality chainsaw models are equipped with adjustment mechanisms with which tensioning can be done with a single movement of the lever or by turning the adjustment disc. If a tensioner is used to tension the chain, the tightening torque is fixed with a locknut. Otherwise, the tensioning of the chainsaw chain is secured by locking the bar in a given position by setting the cover. Both methods make it possible to fix the product securely in a given position.

Another Option For The Adjustment Screw Location

Important to know! It is strictly forbidden to adjust the chainsaw chain tension on the chainsaw when it is hot. The product must be cooled, otherwise the procedure will be performed incorrectly.

About how to properly tighten the chain of a chainsaw, it is necessary to learn in more detail, because this moment is very important, the performance of the tool and human safety depends on it.

Chain Tensioning

To check the tension, you must first disengage the brake. Then pull back the chain in the middle of the headset, normally the shanks should not come out more than 2/3 of the height. It is recommended that you rotate it by hand – no jamming or too rapid sliding is allowed. If necessary, reinforce the tightening with a nut on the protective cap.

Installing and checking the chainsaw chain tension on the bar is an important process for operating any chainsaw. It’s an easy job to do on your own. Regular maintenance of the tool avoids injury and loss of productivity even when working with dense wood.

Chain Is Stretched

If the chain is not used properly or for a long period of time, it can become very stretched. This is because the metal can become deformed over time. Too much wear becomes the reason for having to buy a new version, but it is possible to use the old one for a short period of time. Avoiding rapid stretching is only possible by following the operating recommendation. To carry out the work requires:

  • A hammer.
  • Vise.
  • Welding machine.
  • Hammer.
  • Pliers.

chainsaw Stihl

It is not difficult to put on the stretched version, but there are quite a few problems with the restoration, since the metal is characterized by high strength. In this case, the main elements are fastened with rivets. The work is carried out as follows:

  • The product is fastened in the cramps.
  • If the work is carried out with a grinder, there is a chance that the surface will be damaged, since this tool is difficult to control.
  • After shredding, the rivets are knocked out. There is no need to throw it away because it can be reused.
  • Chain manufacturers do not make replacement items that are required during maintenance.
  • It is possible to make a rivet with your own hands, but the work is quite complicated.
  • The product is divided into two parts. It is worth considering that the number of guides and the distance between them should remain the same.

Causes of Chain Failure

A saw chain requires attention and good maintenance just like any other part. This applies first and foremost to the break-in period for the chain saw and its cutting attachments. You should, however, keep an eye on them throughout the entire operating period.

chainsaw is cutting the log

The main causes of chain failure:

  • Poor metal quality on budget models;
  • Operator’s style;
  • Improper tensioning;
  • Drive sprocket failure or excessive wear;
  • Faulty automatic lubrication system;
  • Bent, clogged, or otherwise broken saw bar;
  • Use of poor quality materials;
  • Failure to timely sharpen working edges;
  • The level of operating stress on the chainsaw;
  • All of this can lead to rather unfortunate circumstances, and significant expenditures on the purchase of new parts and the repair of the chainsaw:
  • Deterioration of operating capability and productivity;
  • Safety of the operator during sawing operations;
  • Premature wear and tear of individual assemblies and parts and the entire chainsaw

Step-by-step Installation Algorithm

Not all modern chainsaws are equipped with a locating wheel, which makes the installation procedure of the saw blade much easier. Systems with the installation wheel among household chainsaws is generally rare. Therefore, it is very important to know the technology and the sequence of chain installation on the chainsaw.

The main points to pay attention to are:

  • Prepare a level surface on which you will assemble the chain and bar. This will minimize the chance of damage to the chainsaw or loss of small parts. Lay the bar and the chain side by side in parallel on the prepared surface.
  • Remove the sprocket guard, on modern chainsaws it is enough to unscrew the wing nut, on older models, you may need a socket wrench of the appropriate size.
  • At the base of the bar, turn the idler sprocket all the way to the right. Only in this position do you install the chain.
  • Then the chain is slid one chain link at a time onto the locking notch on the guide bar. Install the chain from the top of the bar, gradually turning it so that the bar is always at the top and the chain at the bottom, this will allow it always be in a taut state and fit into the guide bar groove without problems. Be sure to wear thick protective gloves when you do this point, because your fingers will be touching the cutting edge. If you look from above, the cutter is always facing forward toward the end of the guide bar.
  • Put both the guide bar and the chain on the drive sprocket.
  • Secure the chain sprocket cover in place. Make sure that all mounting pins are aligned with the holes. Improper mounting, misalignment or incomplete mounting may be the cause of noise or rattling.
  • Make sure that the rails “fit” into the special mounting groove.
  • After installation, check that the chain is secured to the chainsaw and to the guide bar. Everything must be securely fastened without backlash.
  • An important point is the degree of tensioning of the chain after installation. Setting the correct tension is very easy and takes no more than three minutes. First you must loosen the nuts on the protective cover. Use the freely rotating adjusting screw to catch the correct tension, so that the chain does not pull away from the edge of the guide bar more than 3-5 mm.
  • Only screw the nuts and check the tension. If adjustments are needed, adjust the tension again.

What’s important to know: when the chain is in operation, the friction forces cause the chain metal to heat up and expand, and the length of the chain increases. That’s why it’s important to check the tensioning regularly and adjust it in time. This video shows you all steps:

Useful Information: How To Put A Chain On A Chainsaw Properly

This video is about how to put a chain on a chainsaw properly. You will learn more helpful information on this topic.

Ways to Check Tension Level

Checking the tensioning degree is important because the consequences of improper adjustment can be fatal for the saw operator. You can tell the quality of a chain’s tensioning adjustment by:

  • When moving the product by hand, it should not jam or show signs of heaviness in its movement.
  • The cutting element should be checked for weakness by taking hold of the link and trying to pull it upwards. The normal tension value should correspond to the exit of the shanks from the bar (in its middle) not more than 2/3.
  • There should not be any creaking or other noise in the process of moving the unit.

In conclusion, it should be noted that you should never adjust the chain while it is hot, because this will necessarily lead to a number of negative consequences. As a result of such actions, it may be necessary to replace not only the tire and chain, but also the drive sprocket.

When the Chain Needs to Be Shortened or Stretched

What to do when the chain needs to be shortened or stretched, when it is necessary to add or remove links?

To begin with, let’s understand in which cases it is necessary and how to shorten a chainsaw chain, that is, to remove links from it.

chainsaw chainThe chain is shortened:

  • if it is no longer sufficient to tension it by turning the adjusting screw;
  • if a shorter bar has been fitted than the standard length.

Accordingly, you can make the chain longer if:

  • a longer bar will be installed on the saw;
  • some of the links are so worn that they must be completely removed, which means that the chain will become shorter and must be lengthened to its former size.

Typically, one or two links are removed. To reduce or increase the size of the chain, you will need these tools:

  • machine for removing rivets – puncher (a mechanical device, works on the principle of a press, equipped with tips for squeezing out the rivet and interchangeable grooves for different chain pitch);
  • riveting and rolling machine (designed for chains from 1/4″ to 0.404″ pitch).

How to Correctly Put the Chain On the Chainsaw: Chainsaw Chain Direction

When considering how to correctly put the chain on the chainsaw, let’s note the point that the modern version of the tool has a special setting wheel. Due to it, the procedure is significantly simplified. Among its features, we note the following points:

  • Considering how to correctly put the chain on the chainsaw, we note that first it is necessary to prepare an even surface. Due to this, it is possible to exclude the possibility of damage to the tool. After that, the main part of the tool, the bar and the chain are laid out separately.
  • The next step is to remove the protection, which is designed to protect the sprocket. In most cases, it is secured with a common wing nut.
  • On the tire, the idler sprocket is turned to the right until it stops. It is in this position that the tool is installed.
  • Then the chain is gradually put on the fixing element. Quite a common question can be called which side of this element is put. Installation begins with the top, the chain is rotated so that the bar is on top. Such operations should be performed only with thick gloves that can withstand the impact of the cutting edge. The cutter on the end face must be positioned forward.
  • Both elements are put on the sprocket.
  • The next step is to reattach the chain sprocket cover. In doing so, it is important to make sure that the pins align with the holes. Improper fastening can cause rattling or other problems.
  • Make sure that the guides fall into the special groove.
  • Visually check the condition of the chain after it has been secured.
  • The next step is to directly check that the chain has not been overtightened. To do this, release the chain brake and pull it along the line of movement. Checking is carried out only with special gloves.

How to Untangle a Chainsaw Chain

When you remove the old chain or put a new chain on the chain saw guide bar, it can get tangled. It can also get tangled if you transport it carelessly. When the chain gets tangled, it curls up into rings.

Because it is not flexible enough transversely, it is very difficult to untangle it with your bare hands, because if you try to untangle one ring, a new ring will form in the other place.

You have to put the chainsaw chain on a horizontal surface and untwist the rings in different directions while pulling the chainsaw blade in such a direction that the diameter of the rings increases. Sooner or later the chain will unravel to its natural position.

There is another way – you can rivet one chain link and straighten it out, then connect it into a ring and rivet the riveted links back together.

Shortening the Chain With Your Own Hands

As any other part, the chain of a chainsaw gradually wears out, and constant stress and work in different temperature modes leads to its elongation. In this case it is impossible to tension it correctly, it periodically flies off the bar. Is it possible to repair such a part at home? As practice shows, this does not require special devices, skills or high qualifications. However, you should take care to have a vice, a file, a hammer, pliers and a puncher.chainsaw bar

If you have all these tools, you can safely proceed with the disassembly:

  • Determine how much chain length has increased;
  • Fix the chain in a vise;
  • Grind away the protruding heads of the rivets with a nail file or file, trying not to touch the sides of the links;
  • Dismantle the rivets with a punch or a crimping clamp;
  • Important: When disconnecting the links, be sure to count the guide tabs on the inside. There must be a match between them and the drive sprocket.
  • Remove the correct number of links and connect the chain ends. Use old rivets for this;
  • Flatten the rivet heads with light hammer blows;
  • Remove burrs and irregularities with a file or file;

Important: Riveting and riveting the links can be done fairly quickly, but remember that they will be weakened after the repair and will not last long.

Why Does the Chain Come Off

Many chain saw users, even the most experienced ones, have had to deal with the problem of the chain jumping off the guide bar during cutting. The most common cause is insufficient tensioning or wear of the chain.

In 80% of the cases, the tensioned chain links will slip off the teeth of the drive sprocket and the chain will fly off the guide bar due to centrifugal force. The problem is sometimes caused by the wrong position of the sprocket in relation to the pivot or a loose guide bar on the chain saw.

Correct Chain Adjustment

Quality chainsaw performance depends a lot on proper adjustment and tensioning of the chain. If the length of the chain is correct, this process is not very time-consuming or difficult.

Important: Metal heats up and expands during operation and this causes the chain to lengthen. Periodically check the tension and adjust it.

The tightening process looks simple enough and takes only a few minutes:

  • Loosen the nuts on the protective roof;
  • Adjust the correct tension with the adjusting screw;

Important: A correctly tensioned chain slides easily over the bar with light hand pressure and does not make a noise or stall. At the same time, when properly tensioned, the links should not sag.

  • Tighten the nuts and check the tension and correct if necessary


There are now many models of chainsaw chains on sale. First, you need to know what size fits your chainsaw and do not make a mistake in buying. The second step is to install it correctly on the chainsaw. This is a somewhat time-consuming process, but if you know how to put on and adjust the chain on the saw bar yourself, the radical owner should not have any problems. We have tried to describe the process of putting the chainsaw blade on the chainsaw in detail.


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Serge Labz/ author of the article

My work for a long time was associated with the technical adjustment of equipment, repair of premises, with small locksmithing work. I worked in a chain of cafes.

Almost every day, the staff of the cafe needed my help, and I in return, having done their work, received a lot of smiles and thanks.

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