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How to tell when your chainsaw chain needs replacing

Chainsaws are incredibly powerful machines, which makes them very effective at the job they are designed to do. As the saying goes however, “with great power comes great responsibility” and if your chainsaw isn’t properly maintained it can be very dangerous to the operator.

For bespoke information on your machine and the signs to look out for you should always check your manufacturers manual, as this will provide the appropriate safety advice. Here are our quick tips that you should also be aware of.

Sharpen before replacing

In general maintenance of a chainsaw is important because it can help prolong the lifespan of the different parts of your machine, as well as the machine itself.

If your chainsaw chain becomes dull after a long lifespan, it will struggle to cut through the wood at the efficiency it once had. This is why, where possible, you should be looking to keep the will be chain sharp, as sharpening a better course of action than sourcing a replacement. You will probably be able to get up to 10 rounds of sharpening before the chain becomes too short – depending on your chainsaw. After that it will need replacing.

Signs a new chain is required

Over time the chain will lose its sharpness, which makes the work more difficult and can be more dangerous to the user. Here are the key telltale signs that the chain is too dull to work efficiently with.

  1. You have to put more pressure on the wood than usual; the saw chain should pull into the wood doing the work.
  2. The chain creates finer sawdust rather than rough threads; it appears you are more sanding than cutting.
  3. You have difficulty achieving precise cutting positions as the chainsaw rattles during the cut.
  4. The chainsaw starts to smoke despite being well lubricated
  5. The chainsaw pulls in one direction, which results in a crooked finish. Blunt cutting teeth on one side or uneven teeth lengths usually cause this.
  6. The teeth has hit rocks or dirt and broken. If you notice the tops of the teeth are missing you will need to replace the chain.

If you are experiencing any of these signs it is time to sharpen or replace your saw chain.