How to Know You’ve Got the Right Chainsaw Chain Direction

Chainsaws, while they look and sound cool they’re not to be toyed with. They are tools that are meant to be used judiciously and can be very dangerous if not used or maintained correctly.

According to the CDC, 36,000 people are treated for chainsaw-related injuries every year. This statistic isn’t meant to scare you. It’s meant to make sure you have a healthy amount of respect for chainsaws and to make sure you’re using them correctly and giving them proper maintenance.

If you’ve recently repaired or replaced the chain of a chainsaw, it’s important to make sure you know you’ve got the right chainsaw chain direction once you’ve put it back on. Otherwise you’re not going to get that cord of wood prepared easily.

How To Make Sure You’ve Got the Right Chainsaw Chain Direction

Making sure your chainsaw chain direction is correct is important to both the function of the chainsaw and your safety. An incorrectly chained chainsaw is a lot like cutting with a dull chef’s knife: it’s less efficient and the lack of a sharp edge actually makes it more dangerous to use. Here are the steps to make sure it’s on the right way.

1. Check the Top of the Chainsaw

The blades of a chainsaw sit atop the chain. They have a dull edge and a sharp edge, like a knife. The chain of a chainsaw always rotates in a clockwise direction, regardless of type, so you need to make sure your the sharp edges of your blades are also facing that direction. They should be pointing away from the motor or body of the chainsaw when on the topside of the chainsaw.

2. Check the Bottom of the Chainsaw

A chainsaw’s motor moves the chain in a circular motion, feeding back into the body of the saw. So while the teeth should be facing away from the body at the top of the chain’s rotation, they should be facing towards the body at the bottom of the rotation. If this isn’t the case, the chain has not been installed properly.

3. Troubleshoot

After inspecting the chain and you’re still not sure if it has been installed properly, just try cutting a few small logs of wood with the chainsaw. Should the chain rattle excessively, or the wood starts smoking and burning, the chain is probably installed incorrectly.

If the chainsaw is also cutting things very slowly, there’s also a chance that the blades of the chainsaw are just very dull. This could be why you may not be able to tell if the chain is on correctly. There are no sharp edges at all!

Either way, it is best to use a chainsaw sharpener or take your chainsaw to a hardware professional at this juncture.

Need More Chainsaw Tips?

If you’ve got your chainsaw chain direction under control but would like some more advice on chainsaw maintenance, check out our article on how to clean your chainsaw in the safest way possible.

With a clean, sharp, chainsaw, you’ll be felling trees in no time.

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