Can You Chainsaw Wet Wood: Tips and Tricks for Safe Cutting.

Can You Chainsaw Wet Wood Tips and Tricks for Safe Cutting
Can You Chainsaw Wet Wood Tips and Tricks for Safe Cutting

Yes, you can chainsaw wet wood, but it’s not recommended. Chainsawing wet wood is a common problem for those who work with wood.

It can be challenging to determine whether or not a piece of wood is wet or dry, and even more difficult to decide whether or not to cut it. Even though it’s possible to cut wet wood, it’s not advisable to do so.

Wet wood can be more difficult to cut, and it can dull the blade of your chainsaw more quickly than dry wood. Also, wet wood can cause the chainsaw to kick back, which can be dangerous for the user. In this article, we’ll explore some of the problems associated with chainsawing wet wood and offer advice on how to do it safely.

Understanding Wet Wood

Chainsawing is a delicate task that requires a good understanding of the wood you want to cut. Wet wood, in particular, needs special attention to prevent injuries or damage. Wet wood refers to wood that contains moisture content that exceeds the advised level for woodworking.

This article will explore everything you need to know about wet wood, from its definition to the types of wet wood and the dangers of cutting it. We’ll also provide tips on how to consider the moisture content of the wood before cutting it.

Definition Of Wet Wood

Wet wood simply directs to wood that has a moisture content above the standard level for woodworking. The standard level of moisture content required before cutting wood may vary depending on the type of wood. Wood with moisture content above 20% is considered wet and difficult to cut.

Types Of Wet Wood

There are mainly two types of wet wood: green wood and seasoned wood.

  • Greenwood: This type of wet wood comes from recently felled trees that have not experienced any drying process or time to mature. It has the highest moisture content among all types of wet wood, often ranging from 30% to 200%.
  • Seasoned wood: This type of wood, on the other hand, has undergone some degree of drying. Depending on the drying process, seasoned wood may have a moisture content ranging from 12% to 20%.

Dangers Of Cutting Wet Wood

Cutting wet wood can be dangerous if not done correctly. Here are some of the risks associated with cutting wet wood:

  • Reduced cutting efficiency: Wet wood tends to be harder to cut than dry wood. It can easily damage the chainsaw by wearing down the chain at a faster rate, leading to a shorter lifespan of the tool.
  • Increased safety hazards: Wet wood increases the risk of kickbacks due to the chainsaw’s reduced cutting efficiency. In addition, the chainsaw operator might be at risk of getting sprayed with water or suffering an electrical shock if the wood has water around it.
  • Harmful residues: Cutting wet wood may leave a cloud of sawdust that contains harmful particles and molds that can cause respiratory problems. Long-term exposure to these particles can even lead to chronic lung conditions.

In addition, don’t forget to read: How Loud is a Chainsaw?

How To Assess The Moisture Content Of Wood

Assessing the moisture content in wood is essential before chainsawing. Here are some tips for assessing the moisture level:

  • Use a moisture meter: A moisture meter is a tool that can measure the moisture content in wood. It is convenient and accessible in many hardware stores.
  • Check the wood grain: Check the end grain and the sides of the wood for any breaks, splits, or discoloration. Surface checking is a good indicator of excessive drying or oversaturation.
  • Squeeze test: Squeeze a small piece of wood hard; if water droplets appear, the wood is still wet.

Keeping the moisture content in mind while chainsawing is critical for your safety and to maintain the tool’s longevity. Understanding the definition of wet wood, the different types of wet wood, the dangers of cutting it, and how to assess the moisture content of the wood will equip you with the necessary knowledge for safe cutting.

Tips For Safe Cutting Of Wet Wood

Can you chainsaw wet wood: tips and tricks for safe cutting

Cutting wet wood can be challenging and dangerous without proper knowledge, tools, and safety precautions. Chainsawing wet wood can subject your chainsaw to intense damage, thereby affecting its longevity and efficiency. With the right equipment and techniques, you can safely cut wet wood, reducing the likelihood of accidents and injuries.

Here are some safe-cutting tips when dealing with wet wood.

Selecting The Right Chainsaw For Cutting Wet Wood

Selecting the right chainsaw is crucial for cutting wet wood efficiently and safely. Here are some essential components to consider when choosing the right chainsaw for wet wood cutting.

  • Bar length – use a chainsaw bar that is slightly longer than the log diameter to avoid contacting the ground. A recommended bar length for wet wood cutting is 16-20 inches.
  • Engine power – use a chainsaw with high engine power to overcome the extra resistance caused by wet wood.
  • Chain type – choose a chain specifically designed for the wet wood that features bigger teeth as it is more effective in cutting through wet wood.
  • Chain oil – use chainsaw oil that is more important in viscosity for wet wood to ensure maximum chain lubrication.

Chainsaw Maintenance Before And After Use

Before use, ensure that your chainsaw is clean, well-lubricated, and sharpened. Chainsaw maintenance ensures efficiency, prevents accidents, and increases the chainsaw’s longevity.

  • Clean the chainsaw – regularly clean the chainsaw, including the chain, to ensure that no debris gets in the saw’s air filter.
  • Sharpen the saw – blunt chainsaw blades may cause kickbacks, leading to accidents. Sharpen your saw before use for optimal performance.
  • Lubricate the saw – lubricate the chainsaw before and during use to increase the chainsaw’s lifespan.

After use, ensure that you clean and store your chainsaw correctly, reducing the likelihood of corrosion or rust.

Moreover, take a look at: How to Clean a Chainsaw Carb

Safety Gear Required For Wet Wood Cutting

Safety gear is essential when working with chainsaws to avoid accidents or injuries. The following safety gear is necessary when cutting wet wood.

  • Helmet – a helmet is necessary to protect your head from falling debris or branches.
  • Gloves – gloves ensure that you have a firm grip on the chainsaw and reduce the risk of injuries from any flying debris.
  • Chainsaw chaps – chainsaw chaps protect your legs and reduce the risk of injuries from a kickback.
  • Boots – use boots with a non-slip sole to maintain your balance on slippery surfaces.

Positioning The Logs For Safe Cutting

Positioning the logs before cutting is essential for safe and efficient work. Improper positioning may cause kickbacks leading to injuries or accidents. Here are some tips on how to position your logs for safe cutting.

  • Position the log firmly – ensure that the log is on level ground and stable.
  • Avoid cutting overhanging logs – overhanging logs can fall, causing a chainsaw kickback or accident.
  • Position yourself correctly – position yourself at the side of the log, not directly over it, for increased safety.

The Right Time For Cutting Wet Wood

Timing is important for wet wood cutting to ensure that the wood is at the optimal moisture level for cutting. Cutting green wood may cause chainsaw damage and dull the chain blade quickly.

  • Wait for the right temperate – avoid cutting wet wood during rains or when the humidity levels are high.
  • Wait for the right season – spring and early summer are ideal seasons for cutting wet wood.
  • Use a moisture meter – use a moisture meter to check if the wood is optimal for cutting. A moisture level below 40% is ideal for cutting.

By following these tips, you can safely and efficiently cut wet wood, reducing the chance of accidents or chainsaw damage. Remember to prioritize safety and maintain your equipment regularly.

Tricky Situations And Solutions

Cutting wood with a chainsaw can be a tricky task, specifically when it comes to cutting wet wood. If you’re not careful, cutting wet wood can lead to difficult situations and even damage to your chainsaw. In this blog post, we’ll explore some tips and tricks for cutting wet wood safely, managing tough situations such as cutting frozen wood or wood with knots, cutting crooked or leaning wood, and preventing chainsaw kickback.

Cutting Frozen Wood

Cutting frozen wood can be a difficult task, but it’s not impossible. Here are some tips for cutting frozen wood with a chainsaw:

  • Allow the chainsaw to warm up before use to prevent the bar and chain from breaking.
  • Use a chainsaw with a longer bar to increase the cutting capacity.
  • Cut the wood at a shorter length, so it’s easier to manage.
  • Use a dull chainsaw chain to get the job done more easily.

Cutting Wood With Knots

Wood with knots can be tough to cut, which can cause the chainsaw to kick back. Here are some tips for cutting wood with knots:

  • Cut the knots from the side opposite to where the branch meets the tree.
  • Avoid cutting the wood through the knots, which can cause the chainsaw chain to become dull.
  • Use a chainsaw chain with a lower kickback rate to prevent accidents.
  • Set the depth of cut slightly higher to prevent chain contact with the knots.

Cutting Crooked Or Leaning Wood

Cutting twisted or leaning wood can be dangerous if not done correctly. Here are some tips for cutting crooked or leaning wood:

  • Clear any debris around the cutting area to avoid tripping or falling over.
  • Use wooden wedges or a wedge to hold the tree trunk and provide more control while sawing.
  • Make sure the trunk’s weight will not trap the guide bar, preventing the saw from turning into the cut.
  • Start by cutting the side where the tree trunk leans without cutting through it and then cut it from the other side.

Chainsaw Kickback Prevention

Chainsaw kickback can be difficult and needs to be avoided. Here are some tips for preventing chainsaw kickback:

  • Keep both hands on the chainsaw and your eyes on the wood while cutting.
  • Avoid cutting above your shoulders or below your waist.
  • Always use a chainsaw chain with a low kickback rate.
  • Keep the chainsaw chain sharp and well-maintained to avoid any accidents.

Cutting wet wood with a chainsaw can be tough. With these tips and tricks, you can have a safer and more efficient cutting experience. Remember to always stay aware of your surroundings, use the appropriate gear, and follow the correct chainsaw operation steps to prevent any accidents.

Also, make sure to read: How to Shorten a Chainsaw Chain

After Care For Chainsaws

After a long day of cutting wet wood, it’s important to give your chainsaw the attention it deserves. Proper aftercare is essential if you want your chainsaw to stay in good working condition, and keep it working efficiently for years to come.

Here’s how to do it:

Chainsaw Cleaning

Cleaning your chainsaw is an important task as it removes dirt, sawdust, and other debris that can block your chainsaw’s components.

  • Use a soft-bristled brush to remove any dirt from your chainsaw’s body and guide bar.
  • Use a damp cloth to wipe down the body and guide the bar of your chainsaw.
  • Remove the chain and clean it with a wire brush and some cleaning solvents.
  • Lubricate the chain.

Chainsaw Sharpening Techniques

Chainsaw blades eventually become dull after extensive use. You need to sharpen chainsaw blades to get the desired results and keep them functioning optimally. Here are some chainsaw sharpening techniques.

  • Take out the chainsaw’s chain from the bar and place it in a vise or clamp.
  • Use a chainsaw file guide to sharpen each cutter.
  • Always use a consistent angle when sharpening your chainsaw’s teeth.
  • Use a chainsaw filing guide to maintain the consistency of the angle during sharpening.

If you stick to these essential aftercare tips regularly, your chainsaws will always be in top working condition, with their performance optimized.

Frequently Asked Questions Of Can You Chainsaw Wet Wood

Can You Chainsaw Wet Wood?

Yes, you can cut wet wood with a chainsaw. It is not recommended, as it can cause damage to your chainsaw’s chain and bar. Wet wood can also cause your chainsaw to slip and may be hazardous to your safety.

What Are The Risks Of Chainsawing Wet Wood?

Chainsawing wet wood can put a lot of pressure on your chainsaw’s engine, damage its chain, and accelerate rusting. Wet wood can also cause a chainsaw to slip, which can lead to accidents, such as kickback injuries or blade twitches that can cause cuts or broken limbs.

How Can You Prevent Your Chainsaw From Rusting While Using It In Wet Conditions?

To prevent your chainsaw from rusting while using it in wet conditions, you need to first ensure that your chainsaw is free of tree sap, dirt, and sawdust, which can keep moisture closed in place. Wipe clean the chainsaw and apply a protective layer of oil or lubricant on its bar, chain, and sprocket.

What Measures Can You Take To Ensure Your Safety When Chainsawing Wet Wood?

When chainsawing wet wood, always maintain a firm grip on the chainsaw’s handle and position yourself in a safe posture. Ensure that the chainsaw’s chain brake is engaged when not in use and also ensure that you wear protective gear, such as eye and ear protection, and gloves for your own safety.

Can You Chainsaw Wood That Has Been Submerged In Water?

No, you should not chainsaw wood that has been submerged in water. Submerged wood is often rotten, and moldy, and can contain hidden stones or other debris that can damage your chainsaw’s chain and bar. It is also difficult to cut through, which can cause kickbacks or other accidents while chainsawing.


Now that you have read through this article, it’s clear that using a chainsaw on wet wood is possible, but it comes with its own set of challenges that you must be prepared for. While chainsaws are robust machines that are designed to handle all sorts of cutting tasks, they can malfunction or even break down if they are not used correctly.

That is why it’s important to take all the necessary protection before attempting to use a chainsaw on wet wood. Make sure to wear protective gear, prepare your chainsaw accordingly, and use the right techniques to avoid accidents. Moreover, you must regularly maintain your chainsaw to ensure its longevity and efficiency.

Always remember that safety should come first when operating a chainsaw. By doing so, you can perform the task at hand efficiently, and safely, and get a lot done in very little time.


  • David Mark

    David Mark is an experienced gardening guide with over 20 years of experience. He is passionate about helping people learn about gardening and creating beautiful, healthy gardens. David's love of gardening began at a young age, when he would help his parents in their backyard garden. He quickly learned the basics of gardening, and as he grew older, he began to experiment with different plants and techniques. After graduating from college, David worked as a landscaper for several years. This gave him the opportunity to work on a variety of different gardens, from small backyards to large commercial properties. He also learned how to install irrigation systems, build raised beds, and create patios and walkways. In 2005, David decided to start his own gardening website. He quickly became known for his expertise and friendly personality. He has helped hundreds of people create beautiful gardens, and he is always happy to share his knowledge with others. David is a certified Master Gardener, and he is a member of the American Society of Landscape Architects. He is also a regular contributor to gardening magazines and websites.

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