Main Steps How To Shorten A Chainsaw Chain

How To Shorten A Chainsaw Chain: 5 Useful Tips For An Owner

When you are planning to perform some cutting operations, for instance, to fell, lamb, prune, buck trees or to cut firewood, you will need a chainsaw. To add, you need to know how to shorten a chainsaw chain. Why is this knowledge necessary?

First of all, we should be aware of the fact that a chainsaw is a special machine which cuts while the chain rotates around the guide bar and performs cutting with its teeth. This movement creates a certain pressure which is responsible for cutting. Since there is some pressure, chains and teeth can get spoiled and seek regular maintenance.

The construction of a chainsaw acquires the teeth attached to the chain, therefore, if something goes wrong with the chain, the problem can spread to the teeth. If the chainsaw is applied for a long period or is implemented to do heavy cutting tasks, the chainsaw chain can lose its tension and become loose.

It can happen not so fast – chainsaw chains can stretch over time, for instance, for several years, and only after all these years you can see that it starts influencing the process of cutting. It can also get stretched and cause some problems in adjusting. To cope with the problem you will need to make the chain shorter to create the needed tension and adjust the chain, otherwise you can spoil your cutting tasks and create a hazard for yourself.

In order to avoid such situations you can choose one of the possible options. Firstly, you can bring your chainsaw to any saw store and pay for shortening. If you don’t want to pay for it or don’t have enough time to go to a saw store, you can learn how to do it yourself. We would like to cover all the needed steps and we hope that this article covering how to shorten a chainsaw chain will be helpful for you.

Before Starting The Process Of Shortening

First of all, to get ready to shorten a chainsaw chain, you will need to remember about the following things. You will need several tools such as the rivet tool, the chain-breaking tool and some others.

Another important feature is connected with the fact that working with the chainsaw and especially with its heavy chain and sharp teeth can be rather dangerous. Therefore you shouldn’t forget about specific safety precautions which you need to follow applying the chainsaw.

chainsaw chain

First of all, you need to implement safety goggles and gloves to protect your eyes and hands from any possible incidents. After that you should be sure that the blade and the engine of the tool aren’t hot, which means that the machine has recently been used, so the instrument needs to cool down in order to be further applied.

You should always take into account that you can’t know in advance what is going to happen, so you should be careful and remember all the safety rules concerning working with the chainsaw.

Starting The Process: To Remove The Chain

Of course, to shorten the chain you need to take it off from the instrument. You should remove the side cover with the help of your wrench by taking off the bolts or nuts. Generally most chainsaws have the chains inside the cover which is attached by two nuts.

start of a chainsaw

Try to unfold the chain carefully so as not to damage it, otherwise you won’t be able to use it again. After this you have to put the blade or the bar of the saw away, which will make the tension of the chain less and make the chain itself looser. After this you are free to lift the chain from the saw.

Useful Tips: How To Shorten A Chainsaw Chain?

This video is about how to shorten a chainsaw chain. You will learn how to shorten a chainsaw chain properly without breaking anything.

Shortening Itself

  • After you lift the chain, you have to find the master links on your chain. You open up each master link, which can require some physical force, and then you have to pop the link attached to the master link. If you can’t find any master link on the chain, don’t worry: not all chains obtain master links. If you don’t have them, you can skip the step described above. Then according to your needs you have to decide which link you are going to remove as well as what quantity you are planning to take off.

shorten a chainsaw chain

  • Put the chain breaking tool in one line with this link, and, in addition to this, you have to line the push arm with the pine on one of the link sides. Then you do the same on the second side and pull and remove this element.
  • After you have taken away all the needed links, you should put the master link into the rivet tool. Then you twist the left handle by pushing the right one to get the rivet smashed flat.
  • After all these manipulations your chain gets shortened enough and you can continue using it.

Putting The Chain Back On The Chainsaw

In order to continue using the chainsaw you have to put the chain back onto it with the ideal tension and high quality adjustment. Most chainsaws are constructed with the special tension screw which will make the process easier. All you have to do is to put the chain around the blade so that the drive links get into the sprocket. Then you can slightly pull the blade from the tool in order to create some tension.

shorten a chainsaw chain

Then you have to put the blade onto the alteration pin of your instrument. You should return to the side cover and stiffen the bolts or the nuts by your hands. Don’t forget to tighten the stiffness screw. To end the process of shortening the chainsaw chain you just have to tighten the bolts or nuts on the side cover using a wrench.

Don’t forget that it’s highly essential to put the chain in the right direction. If everything is correct, your chainsaw will work effectively, but if you make a mistake, you won’t be able to use your chainsaw for cutting wood and in addition to this it can create a hazard for yourself.

First of all, you should check the position of the chain from all the parts.

When you watch from the top view, you should see that the sharp edge of the chainsaw blade has to face the clockwise direction, or the chainsaw main body.

If you watch from the side when the blade is on the right side and the engine is on the left one, you should make sure that the direction of the blade needs to be from left to right. And when you see your tool from its front, you can be assured that the chain goes in the right direction, if it goes from the upper part down.

To add, from the bottom you can see that the sharp edge of the chainsaw blade looks towards the motor or the body.

When you put the chain onto the chainsaw, you have to make sure that you follow the tips mentioned above. After putting the chain and fixing the bar try to check the position of the chainsaw again. If you do everything right, you will be able to use the chainsaw efficiently.

Why The Chain Keeps Stretching

If you have done shortening several times but your chain keeps stretching, there must be some reason for this situation.

First of all, it can happen because of a lot of heat. If it gets hot too often or too much, make sure that your chainsaw is often and regularly oiled. If it’s not, it can lead to the chains stretching. So you need to check whether your automatic oiler works correctly or use the manual oiler more efficiently.

chainsaw Stihl

The chain also stretches again and again if the links are rather worn out and the chain needs a replacement for a new chain already.

In other words, just take care of all parts of a chainsaw regularly and precisely, so it will be maintained well and can serve you for years.

In Closing

To sum up, there are two main ways how you can shorten your chainsaw. If you have the opportunity and time and don’t want to do it yourself, you can bring your chainsaw to any chainsaw store and pay for chain shortening.

chainsaw chain

But if you choose to do it yourself, make sure that you acquire all the needed instruments, like the chain breaking tool and others, and know how to perform all the steps mentioned above and shorten the chain. Just try to do everything carefully and accurately, so you will be able to use your chainsaw in the most efficient way.

We again would like to point out that if your chain keeps stretching again and again, you should think of the reason why it happens in order to solve this issue and to prevent the chain from regular stretching.

We sincerely hope that this article will be your useful guide how to shorten a chainsaw chain and you will manage to perform this task without any obstacles.

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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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