How to put the chain on the saw. When you need to shorten or lengthen the chain

How to install a chain on a chainsaw

The size of a new chain depends on the length of the bar. Usually a guide bar lasts twice as long as a chain, but only if it is made of quality materials. In order to determine the correct length of the chain you need to buy for your tool, you need to measure the size of the bar. Usually the length is marked on the side of the bar, but the markings will fade with use. You can find out the tire length by referring to the machine’s data sheet or by measuring it with a ruler.

Measuring the bar length. how to measure correctly

If it is decided to replace the bar and the chain by a larger size, it can only be done in exceptional cases, when the chain-saw power is adequate. If you install a bigger guide bar on your power saw, it will not do the job. Your model-specific data sheet tells you which tires are recommended for your power tool.

Diagnosing and caring for your chainsaw chain

The productivity of a chainsaw depends on a number of factors:

If the degree of tension affects the performance of the chainsaw, then the sharpening of its teeth affects the speed of cutting

Therefore, it is extremely important to pay special attention to this point. If the teeth are well sharpened, the cut is much more efficient, precise and safe

The regularity of sharpening is not particularly regulated, but professional sawyers recommend doing it several times a day. This is due to the fairly rapid blunting of the teeth in the process of intensive sawing.

Most chain sharpening is measured with reference to chainsaw performance. In addition, the tool needs sharpening when the bar starts to run to the side. Another measure of blunting is the condition of the shavings. As a rule, properly sharpened teeth produce uniform chips. The sawdust is rectangular or square in shape. In case of a blunted chain dust will prevail in the shavings and sawdust will resemble the shape of a needle from a simple hacksaw.

As long as you regularly check the tension on the chain and sharpen it regularly, your chain saw will last a long time. Even hard wood is not too hard to cut.

If you are not experienced enough, it is advisable to call in a professional. Professional woodturners know the condition of a chainsaw and its components when they first inspect it. They will determine how worn the chain is, how tight the chain is and how sharp the teeth are.

The tensioner structure and principle of work

A device is available to tension the chain on your chain saw. The complexity of the design is due to the cost of the tool and its low budget category. In inexpensive models, the chain tensioner on a chainsaw is a bolt with a regulator, which is located on the side.

Adjustment can be performed with a screwdriver or special tool. Tightening key included in the work kit. It consists of 2 parts: one side is a device for loosening nuts, and the other side is a slotted screwdriver. The more expensive models are represented by an adjusting tool like a lever or an adjusting disc.

Why the chain is blunt

There are several reasons why the chain dulls quickly in inexperienced users. Predominantly this happens for the following reasons:

  • Use of low-quality oil not recommended by the manufacturer;
  • Incorrect settings, the clearance between the lip and the stop should be 0.7 mm;
  • Lack of lubrication before work. Lubricate drive sprocket with M8 oil immediately before each use.
  • The chain is not tensioned properly and must be installed so that it is positioned exactly in the grooves on the bar.

Sharpening the chain of an electric saw with your own hands

If there are signs of wear on the cutting teeth, it is recommended to sharpen the chain for electric saws. To do it yourself, you will need a set of special devices:

To avoid unnecessary sharpening, the first tooth before sharpening should be marked with a marker.

The sawing element is not removed during sharpening, it is left on the rail, which is firmly fixed in a vise. The movement should be rhythmic, fast, precise and in the same direction, respecting the sharpening angle. When working with a circular file, make sure it does not extend more than 20 % of its length beyond the level of the chain teeth.

Also, do not forget about the limiter, it must also be treated with a file, because over time this part wears out, losing its shape. The gauge (end face and 90 degree angle to the guide bar) must be placed against the edge of the guide bar. When the limiter protrudes beyond the gauge, you need to use a flat file to trim it.

To check whether the sharpening has been properly performed, you will only be able to saw into the wood. You can not determine this visually.

A tip to help keep the saw chain sharplonger

Despite the apparent complexity of the actions, replacement of the saw elements on the electric saw, tensioning adjustment and sharpening will not require the master to go to the service center. The main thing is to do everything in time, not to allow too much wear on parts and not to violate operating conditions.

We start by loosening the tension in the saw chain. This will require a slotted screwdriver, which should be turned a few full turns counterclockwise to adjust the screw. The latter is accessible through a special hole in the clutch cover (some models have a clutch interlock (emergency brake) on this cover).

Then loosen the two nuts from the bolts that fix the cover and the tire with a spanner or ring spanner. Carefully remove the cover.

To shorten the chain, remove one cutting link from it. Once this is done, it can be readjusted using the existing tensioning mechanism.

Visually check. Determine the tooth that has been ground down and deformed as much as possible during operation (e.g. “caught” a nail or stud). Then determine the pitch of the chain to be shortened. There are several ways to do this correctly:

  • Check the name plate on the saw chain;
  • according to the information on the box (if you still have it);
  • Measure with a tape measure or caliper.

To enter the table, you will need to take one of three measurements. They are absolutely equivalent. So you choose any one, at your discretion:

Divide the resultant value (in millimeters) by 2. The quotient will indicate the pitch of your chain in millimeters. Use the table to convert it to inches.

  • The second option involves measuring the distance between the five rivets. You have to divide this value by 4;
  • The third option, between seven (divided by six).
chain, need, shorten

The resulting value, more often than not, will not coincide with those put in the table. Therefore choose the value from the table, as close as possible to the results of your measurement.

If you work with any manufacturer’s domestic chainsaws, there is a 95% chance that you will get one of the two values: 8.25 mm, which corresponds to 0.325″, or 9.30 mm (3/8″). This is the most common pitch for non-professional chainsaws.

It must be prepared in advance. To perform the repair work (if such a possibility exists), it is recommended to buy a repair kit. This solution will ensure the maximum quality of work. For this money you get 30 new connecting links consisting of two parts: the main part (with pins for future rivets) and the counterpart (with holes for them).

If there is no possibility to buy a repair kit, used chain links and self-made rivets can be used. With some skill, their quality and durability is comparable to their factory-made counterparts.

Some craftsmen manage to reuse rivets removed from the chain being shortened. However, in such cases, it is often necessary to make the walls of the connecting links thinner. This variant can therefore be used as a last resort for short term use of the saw.

  • 6 rivets;
  • 2 shanks;
  • 1 cutting tooth (your choice);
  • 1 kerf limiter.
  • You will need to cut 1 and 6 rivets (preferably on both sides) on the area to be removed.
  • A procedure that guarantees a minimum probability of damage to the disconnected links is to grind the head of the rivet with a file;
  • You can cut it down using a hammer, chisel (fix the chain in a vise beforehand);
  • Use a special attachment for an electric drill, angle grinder (angle grinder), emery wheel.

This can be done much more quickly with a machine. However, such a solution has two significant disadvantages.

First, the metal, during such processing, is significantly heated, which reduces its strength characteristics (the probability of chain breakage on one of the two remaining links, contacting with 1 or 6 rivets increases).

After removing the outer studs, hammer the rivet out of the slots with a drift. It is recommended to bend the sides of the link slightly.

If you need to shorten the original chain of the required brand, no questions arise. And if you are going to shorten and install a chain for another model of saw, you need to take into account the following.

First calculate the number of remaining links so that the number and spacing of guide rails on the inside of the chain match the dimensions of the saw drive sprocket.

To remove the rivets used to connect the chain elements, a punch is used, which is a mechanical press of small dimensions. The main structural elements of this riveting machine are:

Inside, there is an eccentric mechanism driven by a handle which can be installed on the right or left side of the body. In the home position it is in the extreme upper position (perpendicular to the bearing surface). It has a special limiter, which allows a maximum deviation of 95% from the horizontal.

The piston rod is connected to the eccentric with a punch holder. It moves downward and easily pushes out the rivet without damaging the walls of the link.

Be sure to make sure that the machine has a set of punches of different sizes (to connect the elements of the structure of the saw chain rivets of different diameters are used, and each rod is designed only for one type).

When working, make sure that the diameter of the holes in the sides of the links coincides with the same size of the punch.

When laying the chain to be uncoupled on the anvil, it is necessary to exclude the contact of its cutting part with the latter. Only the shank should be in contact with the anvil.

This question, while seemingly simple to answer, can cause serious implementation problems. It is clear that riveting is required. But they are rarely available on the market, even in specialized stores. If you are lucky, you may find a repair kit with links that match the chain dimensions of your chainsaw (electric saw is a good alternative). But the chance of making such a purchase is slim. So we have to consider alternative options for manufacturing rivets. There are not many of them:

Algorithm of chain saw cutting string assembly

The chain takes no more than 30 minutes to install, provided that the correct and fixed parts are installed. The chain saw chain installation algorithm consists of 8 steps:


  • You need to prepare a flat surface. This avoids awkward positioning of parts and the chain itself, and minimizes loss of fasteners. First you need to lay the tire and chain parallel to each other.
  • Remove sprocket guard. For older models, the sprocket guard is designed with a wing nut that is easy to unscrew. Newer chain saws need a wrench (usually 10×10).
  • The chainsaw drive sprocket at the base of the guide bar must be unscrewed all the way to the right.
  • The chain links are put in consecutive order (link by link) on each fixing groove of the guide bar. The chainsaw chain is mounted on top of the guide bar so that the bar is always on top, while the chain is on the bottom.
  • Put the guide bar and the chain on the chainring.
  • Reinstall the protective cover of the drive sprocket. During installation, it is important to make sure that the sprocket itself stands straight and without play.
  • Check the position of the guide bar, which should be in the guide bar groove.
  • Check that the chain is fixed in the bar and in the chainsaw.

After completing this algorithm, all that remains is to tension the chain itself. But before you begin, make sure the chain is in the correct position. Otherwise either the algorithm must be repeated (up to and including the disconnection of the bar and chain).

chain, need, shorten

Quick tensioning device for the chain

To install the chain, it is necessary to use the click wheel. You don’t need any other tools for this.

    Preparing the surface for work. It should be comfortable and smooth. To avoid damaging the surface and the tool itself, cover it with something soft, like a rug. Now lay out the tire, the chain and the motor unit separately.

Thus the installation of saw chains and guide bars with the quick chain tensioning device has its distinct advantages, namely that it is easy to tension the chain and does not require any additional tools.

WARNING. If you want to know more about woodworking tools and the crafts that are made with them, be sure to check out the material at this link.

Necessary accessories and tools for tightening the chain on the chainsaw

In order to tension the chain correctly, you will need some basic knowledge and tools. On STIHL chain saws, tensioning is simple with the integrated chain tensioner. This method is very simple and tightening is very fast. To tighten or adjust the amount of slack in the chain, the manufacturer recommends this:

  • unscrew the sprocket cover with the wing nut;
  • Turning the adjusting wheel determines the required chain length, tensioning it to the desired degree;
  • The sprocket cover is closed again and the chain is firmly fixed on the bar.

If it is impossible to tension the chain of a chainsaw with a built-in mechanism, use such tools (using the example of a Sparky electric saw):

  • Angle grinder with a metal disc;
  • hex wrench, 5 mm in diameter;
  • A piece of wire;
  • A wooden stick or a strong wood splinter;
  • flat screwdriver.

After the electric saw is de-energized unscrew the screws with an Allen key, remove the housing cover, unscrew the tensioning screw with a screwdriver and take out the rod-nut. The side of the screw that is adjacent to the body of the saw is ground with a disk. Then assemble the saw in the reverse order. A sawdust wrench is required to clean the sawdust from the housing.