How to Shorten a Chainsaw Chain: Quick and Easy Tips.

To shorten a chainsaw chain, you need to first release chain brake and loosen the bar nuts. Then, turn the tensioning screw to achieve the desired length and tighten the bar nuts.

Proper maintenance of a chainsaw chain is essential for smooth operations and preventing accidents. Shortening a chainsaw chain may become necessary if the chain becomes too loose, or the bar gets damaged. By following the right steps, you can adjust the chain size to fit your requirements and achieve optimal cutting performance.

we will discuss how to shorten a chainsaw chain using simple tools and techniques. So, whether you are an experienced logger or a diy enthusiast, read on to learn the steps involved in shortening a chainsaw chain.

Factors To Consider Before Shortening A Chainsaw Chain

Types Of Chainsaw Chains And Their Suitability For Shortening

Before you begin shortening your chainsaw chain, it’s important to understand the types of chainsaw chains and their suitability for shortening. Here are the two main types of chainsaw chains and what you need to know about them:

  • Full-chisel: This type of chain is designed to cut through dense wood quickly and easily, making it ideal for use in professional settings. However, it’s also more prone to kickback, so it’s not the best choice for beginners. Full-chisel chains are typically not recommended for shortening, so it’s best to consult with manufacturer before attempting to do so.
  • Semi-chisel: This type of chain is more versatile and is suitable for use in a wide range of cutting tasks. It has a rounded cutter edge, which makes it less prone to kickback and easier to maintain. Semi-chisel chains can be shortened, but again, it’s recommended to consult with manufacturer first to make sure that it’s safe to do so.

Significance Of Chainsaw Manufacturer’S Recommendations

Manufacturer’s recommendations are critical when it comes to shortening your chainsaw chain. By taking their recommendations into account, you can ensure that you don’t compromise the safety or efficiency of your chainsaw. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Manufacturer’s recommendations should always be followed when shortening a chainsaw chain.
  • Manufacturer may have specific guidelines for shortening chainsaw chains, including the types of chains that can be safely shortened.
  • Some manufacturers may void warranty if chainsaw chain is shortened without their approval.

Additionally, check out: How to Untangle a Chainsaw Chain

How To Determine If Chainsaw Chain Needs Shortening

It’s important to ensure that your chainsaw chain is right length for your cutting needs. Here are some simple steps to help you determine if your chainsaw chain needs shortening:

  • First, measure length of the chain in inches or centimeters.
  • Next, check to see if chainsaw is cutting efficiently. If machine is struggling to cut through wood or is producing sawdust instead of chips, then chain may be too long.
  • Finally, if length of chain is too long, consult with manufacturer’s guidelines to see if it’s appropriate to shorten chain.

Remember to always follow manufacturer’s recommendations when shortening chainsaw chains, and stay safe when working with heavy machinery.

Tools Needed To Shorten A Chainsaw Chain

List Of Tools Required To Shorten A Chainsaw Chain, Including Their Function

If you’re planning to shorten a chainsaw chain, you need to have some specific tools on hand. Here is a list of the essential tools you’ll need and their functions:

  • Chainsaw chain breaker: A specialized tool that is used to separate link plates of a chainsaw chain. With this tool, you can disassemble chain without damaging the links.
  • Chainsaw chain rivet spinner: This tool is used to reassemble a chainsaw chain after it has been shortened. It is used to spin the rivet until it is tight against side plate to secure chain.
  • Chainsaw file: You’ll need a chainsaw file to sharpen teeth on chain after it’s been shortened.
  • Work gloves: A good pair of work gloves will protect your hands while you’re working with chain.

Importance Of Having Right Tools For Job

Right tools for job is critical to completing task effectively and efficiently. Here are some reasons why:

  • Accuracy: Without right tools, it is very difficult to achieve accurate results. A chainsaw chain breaker, for example, is designed to break chains apart without damaging links, resulting in accurate chain shortening.
  • Safety: Right tools will keep you safe while working with sharp blades and heavy machinery. By improperly shortening chainsaw chain, you put yourself at risk of injury, which is why it’s important to use right tools for job.
  • Efficiency: Proper tools help you complete job quickly and efficiently. If you don’t have tools that you need, completing the task will take longer and be more difficult than it needs to be.

So, make sure you have all essential tools before beginning task of shortening a chainsaw chain.

Step-By-Step Guide To Shortening A Chainsaw Chain

Chainsaws are a vital tool for anyone who wants to work with wood, from cutting down trees for firewood to crafting delicate wooden sculptures. However, chainsaw chains have a tendency to become dull or damaged over time, making it necessary to shorten them.

Thankfully, shortening a chainsaw chain is a simple and quick task that anyone can handle with right tools and a bit of care. In this section, we’ll take you through each step of process, from preparation to reattachment.

Step 1: Preparation

First thing to do before shortening your chainsaw chain is to gather necessary tools. You’ll need:

  • A chainsaw file guide
  • A chainsaw file
  • Eye protection
  • Gloves

It’s critical to use eye protection and gloves when working with a chainsaw to prevent injuries.

Step 2: Removal Of The Chainsaw Chain

Next step is to remove chainsaw chain from saw. To do that, you’ll need to:

  • Unplug chainsaw or remove spark plug
  • Use a wrench to loosen nuts holding chainsaw bar in place
  • Slip chain off sprocket and remove it from saw

Step 3: Measurement And Shortening Of Chainsaw Chain

After removing chainsaw chain, next step is to determine how much you need to shorten it. To do that, measure length of chain that you need to remove. You can use chainsaw file guide to mark spot on chain where you need to make cut.

When you’ve marked spot, use chainsaw file to file off rivets that hold chain links together. Once you’ve removed necessary number of links, file ends of newly shortened chain to ensure a smooth, even edge.

Step 4: Checking Chainsaw Chain Tension

Before reattaching chainsaw chain, it’s crucial to make sure that chain tension is correct. You can do that by:

  • Placing chain onto chainsaw bar
  • Tightening nuts until bar is snug, but not too tight
  • Pulling chain to check its tension – you should be able to pull it around bar without too much resistance

If chain is too loose or too tight, loosen nuts and adjust tension until it’s correct.

Step 5: Reattaching Chainsaw Chain

When you’re satisfied that tension is correct, it’s time to reattach chainsaw chain. Slip chain back ontosprocket, taking care to ensure that cutting teeth face towards front of the saw. Once you’ve positioned chain correctly, tighten nuts, making sure that chain remains correctly tensioned.

Shortening a chainsaw chain is a simple and quick task that anyone can do, so long as they have right tools and right approach. By following these simple steps, you can keep your chainsaw working at peak performance for longer.

Furthermore, consider reading: Can You Chainsaw Wet Wood

Safety Tips While Shortening A Chainsaw Chain

Shortening a chainsaw chain can be a risky and hazardous task if proper safety protocols are not followed. It only takes a split second for accidents to happen. Therefore, it is essential to prioritize safety measures when handling this job.

Below are some safety tips to keep in mind while shortening a chainsaw chain.

Necessary Protective Gears For Job

Having right protective gear can significantly reduce risk of potential injuries when shortening a chainsaw chain. Make sure to wear:

  • Safety goggles to protect your eyes from flying debris.
  • Ear protection such as earmuffs or earplugs to avoid noise-induced hearing loss.
  • A dust mask to prevent dust and debris from entering your respiratory system.
  • Protective gloves to ensure a secure grip on chainsaw.

Common Mistakes To Avoid While Shortening A Chainsaw Chain

Many people make common mistakes while shortening a chainsaw chain, which can result in dangerous situations. To prevent these mistakes, keep the following in mind:

  • Never attempt to shorten chain while it is still attached to chainsaw.
  • Be sure to keep chain brake on to avoid an unexpected start-up of chainsaw.
  • Always ensure that chainsaw chain is clean and free from any damage or abnormalities before attempting to shorten it.
  • Do not make any adjustments to chainsaw chain without proper knowledge and understanding of how it works.

By adhering to these safety tips and being mindful of necessary protective gear and common mistakes to avoid, you can ensure that you safely and quickly shorten your chainsaw chain.

Read also: How to Port a Chainsaw

Frequently Asked Questions Of How To Shorten A Chainsaw Chain

How Do I Measure My Chainsaw Chain To Know If It Needs Shortening?

To measure your chainsaw chain, count drive links and determine pitch and gauge. If chain is too long for your bar, it needs shortening.

Can I Use Any Chainsaw Chain To Shorten My Chainsaw Chain?

pitch, gauge, and number of drive links match your chainsaw’s specifications, you can use any chainsaw chain to shorten your chainsaw chain.

What Tools Do I Need To Shorten My Chainsaw Chain?

You will need a chainsaw file, round file guide, depth gauge, and chainsaw chain breaker and spinner. You may also need a pair of pliers, a marker, and a vise.

How Do I Sharpen Shortened Chainsaw Chain?

Sharpen shortened chainsaw chain with a chainsaw file and file guide, making sure to maintain proper file angle and depth gauge height.

What Precautions Should I Take When Shortening A Chainsaw Chain?

Wear protective gear such as gloves and eye and ear protection. Disconnect spark plug and secure chainsaw before shortening chain. Follow manufacturer’s instructions and use appropriate tools carefully.


we can conclude that it is an essential skill that every chainsaw operator should have. By shortening your chainsaw chain, you can increase its cutting efficiency, enhance your machine’s safety, and prolong the lifespan of your chainsaw.

Remember to follow proper protective gear guidelines, unplug the chainsaw, and use the appropriate tools to avoid accidents when shortening the chainsaw chain. It is also essential to understand the correct measurement of your chainsaw chain and the right chain filing angles.

Mainly, regular maintenance of your chainsaw and its chain will ensure that it always performs optimally. With this knowledge and a bit of practice, you can sharpen your chainsaw chain like a pro. Happy cutting!


  • 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.

2 thoughts on “How to Shorten a Chainsaw Chain: Quick and Easy Tips.”

Leave a Comment