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 blade, if you look closely, has the saw teeth pointing in the same right direction. Therefore, the correct chainsaw chain direction of the cutting 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 (this is the right direction).

Whereas the row of teeth at the bottom of the power cutter should point in the opposite chainsaw blade 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 with the direction opposite to it. That is why the chainsaw blade direction must be slid onto the bar so that the guide lugs of the chainsaw blade links are facing inwards into the bar. This article will help you to understand right chainsaw chain direction, as well as wrong direction.

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

This video is about how to put on a power cutter blade the right way. You will learn the correct chainsaw chain direction picture and chain fitting requirements 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 blade 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 which may lead to a wrong direction of the blade.
  • Violation of the lubrication function. If there is little or no lubricant in the chain and chainsaw bar, overheating will cause the metal to expand and lose its properties.
  • Inadequate lubricant quality. The use of waste makes the chain go dull and stretch quickly, which is due to the metal substances in the waste.
  • Poor quality of tooth sharpening. Using a cutting tool with drive link with a blunt edge not only reduces the performance of the tool, but also causes the chain to stretch faster. Examine the user manual and the information on the chainsaw casing to know how to sharpen the seemingly dull blade to achieve a sharp edge.

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 a broken chain as a result. If the product is severely overstretched, performance will be reduced because the chainsaw engine will experience excessive stress during operation and it makes the chain go dull quickly.

In addition, the chain will be tight against the chainsaw 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 make an accurate measurement and accurate replacement in the correct chainsaw direction, and the sharpening of the drive link 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 properly go on a chainsaw 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 designed to go on a chainsaw from a side.
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 blade 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 blade 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 the chain in the backward direction in the middle of the headset, normally the shanks of the backwards chain should not come out more than 2/3 of the height. It is recommended that you rotate counter clockwise by hand – no jamming or too rapid sliding of the successive chain links of the replacement chain is allowed. If necessary, reinforce the tightening with a nut on the protective cap.

Installing and checking the chainsaw blade 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 lets you use your chainsaw effectively even when working with dense wood.

Chain Is Stretched

If the blade 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. If you tighten the blade too much, you may have to buy a new version to continue cutting wood, 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 the following power tools:

  • 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, pointed forward.
  • If the work is carried out with a grinder, there is a chance that the surface will be damaged, since this power 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.
  • Blade 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 average distance between them should remain the same.

Causes of Chain Failure

This component requires attention and good maintenance just like any other part. This applies first and foremost to the break-in period for the power cutter and its cutting attachments. You should, however, keep an eye on them throughout the entire operating period if you are a regular chainsaw user.

chainsaw is cutting the log

The main causes of way does the chain break of fail on the all the cutters models (even with Stihl chainsaw models):

  • Poor metal quality of drive links on budget models;
  • Operator’s style;
  • Improper tensioning which may lead to chainsaw shakes, as well as the installation of the backward chain;
  • Drive sprocket failure or excessive wear;
  • Faulty automatic lubrication system;
  • Bent, clogged, or otherwise broken saw bar;
  • Use of poor quality materials of drive links;
  • Failure to timely sharpen cutting edges;
  • The level of operating stress on the chainsaw, which will gradually decrease the actual cutting effectivess of the cutting blade;
  • All of this can lead to rather unfortunate circumstances from the safety perspective, 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 for correct chainsaw teeth direction are generally rare. Therefore, it is very important to know the technology and the sequence of blade installation on the chainsaw.

The main points to pay attention to while trying to install chainsaw chain correctly are:

  • Prepare a level surface on which you will assemble the chain properly. 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 blade.
  • Then the blade is slid one chain link at a time onto the locking notch on the chain bar. Install the accurate replacement chain from the top of the bar, gradually turning it so that the bar is always at the top and the blade at the bottom, this will allow it always be in a taut state and fit into the 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 pointing forward along the chainsaw body and toward the end of the bar.
  • Put both the bar and the blade on the drive sprocket.
  • Secure the blade 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 blade is secured to the chainsaw and to the bar. Everything must be securely fastened without backlash.
  • An important point is the degree of tensioning of the blade 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 blade does not pull away from the edge of the bar more than 3-5 mm.
  • Only screw the nuts and check the tension. If adjustments are needed, adjust the tension again. Also, apply some good bar oil.

What’s important to know: when the blade is in operation, the friction forces cause the blade metal to heat up and expand, and the length of the blade 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 blade 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 blade 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 blade, but also the drive sprocket.

When the Chain Needs to Be Shortened or Stretched

What to do when the blade 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 blade 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 blade 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 blade 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 blade, 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 blade 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 blade 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 blade 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 blade 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 blade 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 blade 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 only one direction – forward.
  • Both elements are put on the sprocket in clockwise direction.
  • The next step is to reattach the blade 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 in the same direction.
  • Visually check the condition of the chainsaw direction after it has been secured.
  • The next step is to directly check that the blade has not been overtightened. To do this, release the blade brake and pull it along the line of movement. Checking of the right chain direction is carried out only with special gloves.

How to Untangle a Chainsaw Chain

When you remove the old blade or put a new chain on the power cutter bar, it can get tangled. It can also get tangled if you transport it carelessly. When the blade 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 component 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 blade will unravel to its natural position.

There is another way – you can rivet one blade 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 blade 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 fly off the bar with the the blades rotating. 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 blade 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 blade 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 power cutter 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 while the blade rotates.

In 80% of the cases, the tensioned blade links will slip off the drive link 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 tool.

Correct Chain Adjustment

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

Important: Metal heats up and expands during operation and this causes the blade 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 blade 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 with the proper chainsaw chain direction. This is a somewhat time-consuming process, but if you know how to put on and adjust the correct direction for chainsaw chain on the saw bar yourself, the radical owner should not have any problems. We have tried to describe the process of putting the blade on with the chain saw chain direction the chainsaw in detail.

We advise you to read the information carefully and find out how to store chainsaw.


Serg Cooper
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