Chainsaw chain manufacturers recommend that chains should not be shortened for several reasons, including possible damage to the chain and lessened power output. Despite these dangers though, some chainsaws come with a shortening kit installed so that users can shorten their own saws if they wish.

Chainsaw chains can be shortened, but it is not recommended. The chains will stretch and weaken over time as the saw cuts through them.

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It is possible to shorten any chainsaw chain. Some chains are more difficult to shorter than others, and some should not be reduced if you want to keep your chain safe or use it for a long time.

This post will go through how to shorten your chainsaw chain in detail. Before you find out how to shorten your chain, you need decide out if you should even try to shorten it or whether you should just throw it and purchase a new one.

If the links on certain chains are extremely worn, they might be dangerous. The same is true for a stretched chain.

If you wish to change your chain in any manner, the first part will explain what state it should not be in. Before proceeding to the procedures for shortening a chainsaw chain, read on to get this expertise.

Non-Adjustable Chain Characteristics

There are a few reasons why you should not attempt to shorten the chain on your chainsaw.

Chain Stability

First, avoid attempting to alter your chain if it is already exhibiting symptoms of wear and tear with evident flaws.

Replacing the little components that keep the chain links together, known as rivets, is the only way to shorten a chainsaw chain without a master link. These rivets will need to be pushed by a human hand using a basic tool unless you have a special instrument that accomplishes it for you.

As a result, your chain should still be strong and in excellent shape, or you risk having a broken chain when cutting anything, which may be disastrous for you or anyone else around.


It may be rather pricey to replace your rivets and perform everything else needed to shorten your own chainsaw chain, particularly if you do not have any of the necessary equipment on hand.

This is why you should sum up the expenses of all the essential equipment and compare them to the cost of just purchasing a new chain or having your present chain adjusted by a professional.

If you intend on adjusting chains for a long time, this is, without a doubt, a fantastic purchase. You may also get a machine to press rivets so you don’t have to rely on your own strength.

Simply consider how much you will use the equipment you want to acquire and if it is worthwhile to spend the money and time to shorten your chain. You might also hire an expert to alter the length of your chain for you.

If you choose to have a professional adjust your chain, you will not only ensure your future safety, but you will also eliminate the uncertainty of whether or not your chain is in good enough condition to be adjusted.

Incorrect Length

If your chain isn’t the precise length you want it to be, removing the links to shorten it can make it too short. It would be a bother to go to the work of removing the links and compressing the rivets on your chain just to discover that it was all for nothing.

As a result, before you start deleting links, double-check that your chain is the right length. It is better to just get a new chain for your chainsaw if it is not the length you want.

Getting the Chain Shorter

Now we will delve into the steps for Getting the Chain Shorter on your chainsaw.

Keep in mind, however, that if your chainsaw does not include a master link, which makes Getting the Chain Shorter much simpler, you will need to remove some of the rivets from your chain to disconnect the links. You will also need to put rivets back into the links.

This needs a particular instrument, which may be rather expensive, costing roughly $100 on average. This might be a deal-breaker for you in terms of reducing your personal chain length. In this case, consulting a specialist or getting a new chain may be necessary.

Safety comes first.

There are a few safety measures you should take before removing the chain from your chainsaw.

First and foremost, if you recently used your chainsaw, let it cool down until its components are safe to handle. After using the chainsaw, the chain and engine might get quite hot. Nobody wants a burned finger, particularly when they need to shorten a chain.

The spark plug must be removed as the second precaution. Although it is unlikely that you may accidently start your chainsaw, it is nevertheless possible. As a result, it’s critical that you remove the spark plug and, with it, the saw’s power source.

Now that you’ve kept an eye out for your future self, it’s time to start reducing your chain.

Take away the Master Link

If your chainsaw is one with a master link, Getting the Chain Shorter will be much simpler. Of course, the first action you should take is to find the master link.

This link should stand out from the rest of the chain. It is almost always a different hue from the others. If you’re having problems finding it, examine each individual connection to see which one is the master link.

The manner a master link opens varies depending on the chainsaw brand and type, but the master link should break apart effortlessly regardless. After all, it’s there to make adjusting the chain a little easier.

You should be able to pry the master link open with your hands, but pliers or another basic instrument should considerably assist you.

After you’ve disassembled the master link, you’ll need to detach it from one of the chain links it’s linked to, so you may remove further links to achieve the desired length.

This stage will take a bit more strength, but pliers should make the task go by fast and effortlessly. Grab the master link with your pliers and carefully pull it away from the other link.

You may also get a chain break, which is a cheap gadget that will help you remove the master link even faster. Before attempting to shorten your chain, you may want to consider purchasing one from your local hardware shop or online.

Take Down the Links

The next step is to actually remove the links. You must first determine the length of your chain, after which you must do link measurements.

This manner, you can figure out how many links need to be removed from the chain to get it to the desired length. You could notice at this point that your chain can’t be cut to the length you need since the links aren’t the right length.

If you encounter this problem, you will be unable to shorten the chain and will instead be required to purchase a new chain of the appropriate length.

If this is not the case, and your chain is flexible to your requirements, you may remove the required number of links.

You’ll need a tool to assist you tug on the links, so needle-nose pliers or anything similar would do. Snapping the links away from the rivets that hold them together will be required to remove them.

You may reassemble the chain after you’ve removed the required amount of links. With a master link, this is simple to do.

Return the master link to one of the other links in the same manner that you removed it from the previous link. Before reconnecting the chain, double-check that the link spacing is right.

If your chainsaw doesn’t have a master link, you’ll need to rivet the chain link to the connecting link as well. This requires a hammer or a specific instrument, such as the one indicated at the start of the essay and which costs roughly $100.

If you must use rivets, ensure sure the top section of the rivet is fully inserted into the hole on the link. The chain should be able to move freely but not in any direction. The rivets will need to be hammered into the link holes more securely if it shifts to the side.

If you want to lengthen your chain rather than shorten it, you would follow the same methods as if you wanted to shorten it, but instead of deleting links, you would add more. This necessitates using the same method as for a chain without a master link.

In other words, to get your rivets back into the holes on the drive section of the chain, you’ll need to use a hammer or a specialized tool (the main metal piece the rivets fit into).

You may use the same method to make your own chainsaw chain. If you’re interested in doing so for whatever reason, perhaps because you have a number of spare rivets and drive pieces laying around, all you have to do is connect one link to the next until you reach the desired length for your chain.

This is a time-consuming method of obtaining a chainsaw chain, but it is a fairly self-sufficient method, and if you already have all of the essential chainsaw chain components, you may as well utilize them.

Steps to Finish

After you’ve reconnected your chainsaw chain, check the tension of the chain to ensure it’s the right length. Put the chain back on your chainsaw and drag it out and away from the saw to do this.

If the chain returns to its original position slowly and loosely, you’ll need to lengthen it by removing more links. If you believe you’re getting close to the right length, remove one link at a time and do the tension test again.

Hopefully, this isn’t the point at which you discover your chain isn’t the right length to shorten as needed. If this is the case, it’s time to replace your chain.

After you’ve gotten your chain to pass the tension test, replace the spark plug in the chainsaw and give your freshly adjusted chain a go.

Last Thoughts

It cannot be stressed enough that you should not attempt to shorten or alter your chain in any other manner if the teeth are worn and extremely dull, if the chain is stretched out, if the metal is beginning to rust, or if there are any other visible damage pieces on the chain.

For one thing, adjusting a chain that is in one of the circumstances listed above will almost certainly be a waste of time since it will not last long and may break while in use, which leads to the second point.

If your chain breaks while operating your chainsaw, you or someone in your close vicinity might be gravely injured.

As a result, if you find yourself in a situation where you can’t reduce your chain, you’ll need to get a new one for your own safety as well as the protection of the persons and items you’ll be operating the chainsaw near.

Chainsaw chains are made of metal, and they can’t be shortened. They need to be replaced when the saw chain is worn down too much or if it gets stuck on something. Reference: oregon chainsaw chain joining links.

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