The chainsaw is the tool you need to make quick work of tall trees and limbs. But, it can’t do its job if there are too many problems with it. If your saw doesn’t cut well or vibrates while cutting, see our guide on fixing a dull chainsaw blade here

The “chainsaw burning wood not cutting” is a problem that most people don’t think about. The chainsaw will not cut the wood if it has been sharpened, but the issue can be fixed with a little bit of maintenance.

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Your chainsaw is an essential part of your lawn and garden toolkit. When the sun goes down, so may your perfectly manicured lawn!

Have you ever considered utilizing your chainsaw as a door stop or coat hanger? Are you perplexed as to why your chainsaw isn’t cutting correctly (after having sharpened the chain)?

Don’t throw your wood-chopping companion in the trash just yet. Let’s look at a few possibilities for why your chainsaw isn’t cutting it any more.

Simply said, you didn’t sharpen the chain properly.

It’s not easy to sharpen your chainsaw chain appropriately. Simply because you ran a file over the chain’s teeth does not imply that the teeth are sharp. It’s a difficult technique that requires patience and time to perfect.

Sharpening your chainsaw chain teeth using manual tools like round and flat files requires practice. It’s not as straightforward as filing your nails. The many instruments required to do the task properly complicate what seems to be a straightforward procedure.

There are, however, brand-specific sharpeners that may help you improve your chain-sharpening skills. Many of these sharpeners enable you to sharpen the teeth as well as the depth gauges at the same time. (We’ll talk why why sharpening depth gauges is important later.)

Sharpening your chain wrong is as simple as pie. Consider the following scenario: When sharpening your chainsaw’s teeth, C. Saw suggests using the same number of file strokes on each cutting tooth. C. Saw is a skilled chainsaw operator, so his tips can carry a lot of water.

What C. Saw doesn’t know is that you nicked your chainsaw blade on an imbedded nail when chopping down a fallen tree in your neighbor’s yard. C. Saw’s advice will not be applicable to your case. Some of your chain teeth would be sharp while the broken teeth would stay bland if you followed his directions to file each tooth the same number of times with your circular file.

The idea behind employing the same number of file strokes on each cutting teeth is that each tooth will be sharpened evenly. This is, in principle, 100 percent right. This does not account for any damage or excessive wear that may impact just one or two teeth on your chain.

You should examine each tooth after filing to prevent having a combination of dull and sharpened chain teeth. Did you use the proper file angle? Is the appearance of each tooth consistent? Is the cutting edge sufficiently sharp to make a clean cut?

You should also obtain a “feel” for your chain in addition to a visual assessment. With your thumb, gently touch the chain’s edge. Is it possible to glide along the edge of your chain without it “grabbing” at you? If you can easily skim the edge with your file, your chain requires a few of more runs.

If you’re certain that human error isn’t to blame for your broken chainsaw, keep reading.

The Amount of Tension in Your Chainsaw Chain Is Incorrect

The next item on your “why is my chainsaw not cutting” checklist, after wrongly honing your chain, is chain tension.

Even with a sharp chain, chain strain might stifle your chainsaw’s ability to cut effectively. The owner’s handbook will tell you how tight your chain should be to get the most out of your chainsaw.

Before each usage, check and adjust the chain tension on your chainsaw (one of those annoying preventive maintenance advice). Check the chainsaw chain after a few minutes of usage, as well as before you start it up. This is particularly important if you live in a colder region.

The drive links cannot be dragged out of the bar nose if the chain is properly tensioned. To see whether an adjustment is required, gently pull the chain away from the guide bar and verify whether the drive links remain engaged.

It’s science that metal expands as it heats, thus if you tightened your chain tension on a cold metal chain, it’ll probably relax when it warms up.

A chain that is excessively tight can cause a lot of friction along the bar and put too much strain on your chainsaw’s front bearing. A too-tight chain will not only reduce cutting efficiency and performance, but it can also harm your machine.

A sloppy chain isn’t going to cut it either. It’s not merely a health risk. Your saw tip will slide slightly into a less-than-ideal cutting angle when the slack in your chain gathers immediately in front of the wood you’re attempting to cut.

Your chain will not work properly once it makes touch with its intended recipient. A loose chain will eventually cause the point of your cutting edge to dip below the tooth’s body.

The tooth will make contact with the wood when you try to cut it, but the cutting edge will run freely, preventing the thin layer of wood from being removed. Visible polishing on the tooth just beneath the cutting edge is one tell-tale indication that you’ve been cutting with a loose chain.

You’ve double-checked the chainsaw’s chain tension and are confident in your sharpening abilities. Continue reading if none of these concerns you.

Is Your Chain in the Wrong Position?

If your chainsaw’s chain isn’t installed properly, it won’t cut anything, no matter how accurate your chain tension is or how sharp the cutting teeth are. A reversed blade can certainly put a damper on your plans for the day.

It is critical that your chainsaw chain runs in the proper direction. A reverse blade is not just inefficient for cutting; it’s also hazardous since all of the cutting teeth are aimed towards you rather than the wood.

Looking down on your chainsaw chain, you’ll see that the top of the chain has various blades, one with sharp edges on one side and the other with dull edges. The cutting teeth (sharp edges) on the top of the bar should face out, to the right, and away from the engine, since chainsaw blades move clockwise.

Smoking wood and excessive rattling from your chain without any cutting are also dead giveaways that you’ve installed the chain incorrectly. Stop what you’re doing and replace the chainsaw chain correctly if this is the cause of your sharpened chain not cutting.

Continue if your chain is traveling in the appropriate direction, all cutting teeth are properly filed, and the tension is adjusted, but you still can’t cut butter with your chainsaw.

Is it time to replace your chainsaw guide bar?

Your chainsaw guide bar is subjected to a great deal of heat and friction, and eventually it will become too worn to function correctly. Because of how robust chainsaw bars are, it might be difficult to tell when they need to be replaced.

Here are a few signs that your bar needs to be replaced:

  • The bar is clearly broken or twisted.
  • Even when tension is properly set, the chain on the bar slides from side to side.
  • The blade edges aren’t facing straight up anymore, but rather at an inclination.
  • The sprocket on the bar nose is broken or stuck.

Continue reading if you don’t need to change the bar on your chainsaw and are confident in your cutting teeth sharpening ability, chain positioning, and chain tension.

Arriving in a Clutch

If you’ve gotten this far and are still having difficulties troubleshooting your chainsaw’s failure to cut, it might be an internal problem with the clutch.

The clutch pads contact the clutch drum to spin the chain. If the clutch pads are worn out, they will not provide adequate pressure to the clutch drum. As a consequence, the chainsaw will not be able to cut effectively. If the clutch pads on your chainsaw are worn out, repair or replace it.

Another problem might be the clutch band on your chainsaw. When the emergency stop trigger is pushed, the clutch band is a steel band that wraps around the clutch drum.

Your chainsaw chain will not spin if the emergency stop trigger is engaged. Make sure the stop lever is fully depressed if your chainsaw isn’t cutting effectively. Adjust the clutch band if the clutch band continues to drag while the stop lever is pushed.

Continue if your chainsaw’s clutch, tension, or guide bar are all working properly; you know you filed the cutting teeth appropriately; and your chain is not mounted backward.

Perhaps you skipped a step in the sharpening procedure.

Sharpening your chainsaw chain is a sophisticated procedure that requires more than a few flicks of the file, as previously stated.

Two unique things protrude from every cutting chain. The relevance of sharpening one of those things, the cutting teeth, has already been described. However, we haven’t discussed the other aspect.

A little, curved piece of metal known as the depth gauge or racker is the second section of your cutting chain. In order to have an effective, productive, and enjoyable chainsaw, it is just as necessary as the cutting teeth.

The depth gauge and the cutting teeth function together while your chainsaw chain is in action. The cutting edge cuts into the wood and sinks as soon as it makes contact. The racker prevents the tooth from digging too deep and forces it to extract just a little piece of wood at a time.

Sawing and sharpening your chain might wear down the cutting teeth, causing the rackers to become excessively high. If the depth gauges on your chain are set too high, the piece of wood removed is too little, and your saw seems to be cutting nothing.

Rackers need filing as well, albeit not as regularly as your chain’s cutting teeth. You may freehand file your depth gauges straight across with a flat file until they are just a smidgeon (0.025 inches, to be precise) below the cutting teeth’s edge.

If you’ve made it this far and are confident that your cutting teeth and depth gauges are properly filed, that your chain tension exceeds manufacturer’s standards, that your bar is solid and sturdy, that your chainsaw’s clutch is working properly, and that your blade is not on backward, you may have to face the inevitable.

The Time for a New Chain Has Come

If you’ve checked every box on the “why won’t my chainsaw cut, even with a sharpened chain” checklist and you’re still at a loss, it could be time to replace the whole chain.

Chainsaw chains may degrade to the point that maintaining their sharpness and cutting ability takes all of the pleasure out of a day’s labor. The following are some telltale signals that it’s time to replace your chain:

  • When positioned against wood for cutting, it bounces or rattles.
  • Constant pressure is required to “pull” itself into the wood.
  • Even if all other factors are in order, smoking is still harmful.
  • Cuts that are jagged or crooked
  • Damaged or missing teeth (chains cannot function correctly without all of their teeth, unlike your neighbor)
  • Rather of rough wood chips, fine sawdust is used.
  • Chain tension that must be changed on a regular basis

Though saying goodbye to a valued friend may be difficult, it may be necessary.

Last Thoughts

There might be a number of reasons why your recently sharpened chainsaw chain isn’t cutting it. It might be due to human mistake, such as neglecting to file depth gauges, insufficient chain tension, the need for a new chainsaw guide bar, a clutch that has to be repaired, or a backward chain. Perhaps it’s time for a whole new chain.

Hopefully, this helpful tutorial has gotten you back to cutting logs!

The “chainsaw troubleshooting chart” is a great tool to have on hand if your chainsaw won’t cut. The chart will help you determine what the problem could be and how to fix it.

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