How To Tighten Chainsaw Chain?

When you use a chainsaw the chain is bound to stretch and get loose on the guide bar.

This can mean that it will become unsafe for you to operate the device. But, does a loose chain mean that you have to throw the whole chainsaw away?

How To Tighten Chainsaw Chain

Of course not! There are ways to tighten the chain and bring your chainsaw renewed life.

But, how do you tighten a chainsaw chain? Find out how to do this and more in this article. Let’s get started!

Good And Bad Tension

So, how do you know when to tighten your chainsaw chain? The answer lies in the tension.

If the tension is too loose it is unsafe to use a chainsaw and it needs to be tightened in ogre to be operated safely.

But, what does good or bad tension look like? Let’s delve a little deeper into what good and band tension looks like for a chainsaw:

Good Tension

If a chainsaw has the right tension it will still be only a little bit loose along the guide bar.

However, the chain links absolutely have to be tight enough so that you are unable to pull the drive links out of the bar nose.

So, when you are testing whether you need to adjust the tension you should pull the chain away from the guide bar and if the drive links remain engaged you will know that you have the right tension.

It is important to note that your chainsaw chain can be too tight and this can be unsafe as well.

So, make sure that it is a little loose but still engaged for the best results.

Bad Tension

If the tension is bad you will notice that it becomes slack and it will pull away from the guide bar.

The drive links will become disengaged from the guide bar when they are pulled and when this happens you will know that you need to tighten the chainsaw chain.

Take note, that you can over tighten a chain. So, as we have said before, make sure that there is a little ply in the chain.

The drive links should not leave the bar.

If you tighten a chain too much you can cause serious accidents to happen to yourself and of course you may damage your machine.

How Do You Tighten A Chainsaw Chain – Step-By Step Guide

Tightening a chainsaw chain is super easy and usually takes just a few minutes.

But, because you are working with potentially very dangerous equipment it is important that you do each step carefully.

If you forget a step it can damage the tool when you try to use it or even cause an accident.

This is why we have written up this simple step by step article, so that you can safely adjust your chainsaw chain tension.

So, let’s dive right in!

Step 1 – On The Guide Bar Side Panel Loosen Nuts

By loosening the guide bar panel nuts you are allowing the chain the space it needs to be adjusted properly.

When you are doing this step make sure that you check whether you have a brake on the panel.

Some chainsaws will have a brake on the side panel and if this is the case for your chainsaw all you have to do it remove that brake before you take the side panel off.

Step 2 – Find The Tensioning Screw And Make Adjustments

Step 2 - Find The Tensioning Screw And Make Adjustments

The next step is to find the tensioning screw and make the required adjustment. This screw is usually found just next to the chainsaw guide bars.

Make sure to adjust the chain so that it is tight enough to not become disengaged but loose enough to have a bit of ply.

When you are turning the screw you will notice that when the screw is tightened you will also be tightening the chain and when you are loosening it the chain will also loosen.

Step 3 – Guide Bar Side Panel Nuts To Be Tightened

When you have adjusted the tensioning screw to a satisfactory point and your chain is at a good tension you should put the panel back on and tighten the nuts again.

While you are doing this step it is essential that you lift the nose of the chainsaw while you are tightening the nuts.

Once you have done this you will have adjusted the tension of your chainsaw and the chain should be nice and tight. It really is just that simple!

Frequently Asked Questions

In this section we are going to answer some of your most frequently asked questions concerning chainsaws and how to tighten the chains.

So, without further ado, let us get started!

How Often Should You Tighten Your Chainsaw Chain?

If you are using your chainsaw for two to four hours in a single session you should aim to tighten your chain at least once per hour.

It is a super quick and simple take and should not be time-consuming at all.

Do Chainsaw Chains Stretch?

Yes, a chainsaw chain can stretch and loosen when it is exposed to extreme friction and tension.

When you are cutting through wood, the friction and make the chain hot and this can cause it to loosen.

On top of that, the heat expands the guide bar and by the time that it cools your chain will have stretched.

Additionally, your chain will likely loosen as the chain gets used.

Why Is Your Chainsaw Not Cutting?

One of the main reasons that your chainsaw might not be cutting is because the chain has become dull.

The best thing you can do is sharpening or replacing the chain. Another common reason might be that your chainsaw chain has lost tension.

Final Thoughts

We hope that you found this article interesting and learned exactly how to tighten a chainsaw chain.

Make sure to maintain your chainsaw and keep that chain nice and tight, your tools will last longer and you will reduce the risk of accidents occurring due to slack chains.

About the Author David Vieria

David has been a woodworker for most of his life — in his dad’s cabinet shop. After using the tools himself, he decided to share it his woodworking and power tools knowledge with DIYers. Read more about him

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