How to Safely Test Shortened Chainsaw Chains: Essential Steps & Tips

Ever found yourself struggling with a chainsaw chain that’s just a tad too long for the job? You’re not alone. Imagine the ease of slicing through wood like butter with a perfectly sized chain. In this article, you’ll discover the simple steps to shorten your chainsaw chain without breaking a sweat.

Picture this: you’re gearing up for a day of yard work, excited to tackle those overgrown branches. But wait – your chainsaw chain is too long, snagging on every other cut. Frustrating, right? Well, fret no more! By the end of this read, you’ll be equipped with the knowledge and skills to trim that chain to the ideal length effortlessly.

Assessing the Chain Length

When tackling the task of shortening your chainsaw chain, the first step is to assess its current length accurately. This crucial step ensures that the chain will fit properly and operate safely after the adjustment.

  • Start by examining the chain tension. A loose chain can be a hazard, while an overly tight chain can increase wear and tear on your equipment.
  • Measure the chord length of the chain. This measurement from the point where the chain enters the housing to the end of the chain determines the excess length that needs to be removed.
  • Ensure the pitch of the chain matches your chainsaw’s specifications. Using a chain with an incorrect pitch can lead to ineffective cutting and potential safety issues.
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By understanding these key aspects and assessing the chain length correctly, you set yourself up for success in the chain shortening process. Remember, an accurately sized chain is essential for both efficient cutting and the longevity of your chainsaw.

Gathering the Necessary Tools

To successfully shorten a chainsaw chain, you need to gather the essential tools beforehand. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Chain Breaker Tool: Used to break the chain at the right place for shortening.
  • File and Depth Gauge: For sharpening the chain after shortening.
  • Pliers: Helpful for holding small parts and making adjustments.
  • Safety Gear: Don’t forget your gloves, goggles, and ear protection for a safe process.

Remember, having the right tools at hand makes the chain shortening process smoother and more efficient.

Removing Excess Links

When shortening a chainsaw chain, the first step is Removing Excess Links to ensure a proper fit. Here’s how you can do it effectively:

  • Count Links: Start by counting the number of links you need to remove. Most chainsaw chains come with 72 drive links, but this might vary based on the chain’s size.
  • Locate the Master Link: Identify the master link, which typically looks different from the other links and is used to connect the chain.
  • Use Chain Breaker Tool: Utilize a Chain Breaker Tool to push out the pins on the excess links. This tool helps separate the chain precisely without causing damage.
  • Break the Chain: Position the chain breaker tool over the pin you want to remove and turn the screw until the pin is pushed out. Repeat this process for each excess link.
  • Reconnect the Chain: Once you have removed the required links, reconnect the chain by inserting the master link back into place. Ensure it snaps securely.
  • Check Tension: Verify the tension of the chain after shortening it. It should be snug against the guide bar without being too tight.
  • File the Rivet: If your chain has a rivet, use a file to smooth out any sharp edges created during the shortening process.
  • Test the Chain: Before using the chainsaw, always test the chain to guarantee it moves smoothly along the guide bar.
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Equipped with these steps, you’re now ready to tackle the task of shortening your chainsaw chain.

Reattaching the Chain

To reattach the chain to your chainsaw after shortening it, follow these steps for a smooth and successful process:

  • Aligning the Chain: Make sure the chain is properly aligned along the guide bar before reattaching it to ensure smooth operation.
  • Inserting the Guide Bar: Slide the guide bar back in place, ensuring proper alignment with the drive sprocket.
  • Attaching the Chain: Carefully place the chain over the guide bar and around the drive sprocket, ensuring the teeth align correctly.
  • Engaging the Chain: Pull the guide bar away from the chainsaw body to engage the chain with the sprocket.
  • Securing the Nuts: Tighten the nuts to secure the guide bar and chain in place, ensuring they are snug but not over-tightened.
  • Checking Tension: Verify the chain tension is correct by gently pulling on the chain; there should be a little slack but not too loose.
  • Testing the Chainsaw: Before use, test the chainsaw to ensure the chain moves freely and smoothly along the guide bar.

By following these steps when reattaching the chain, you’ll ensure that your chainsaw is operating efficiently and safely after shortening the chain.

Testing the Adjusted Chain

Testing the Adjusted Chain

After shortening and readjusting the chain on your chainsaw, testing its performance is vital to ensure smooth and safe operation. Here are some essential steps to take when testing the adjusted chain:

  • Safety First: Put on your safety gear, including gloves and goggles, before testing the chainsaw.
  • Lubrication: Make sure the chain is adequately lubricated before starting the chainsaw.
  • Initial Start: Start the chainsaw to see if the chain moves smoothly along the guide bar.
  • Idle Check: Let the chainsaw idle for a moment and observe if the chain remains stationary.
  • Full Throttle: Gradually increase the throttle to full speed and check if the chain moves consistently without slipping off the guide bar.
  • Cutting Test: Perform a test cut on a suitable piece of wood to assess the cutting performance of the chainsaw.
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Remember, proper testing ensures that your chainsaw operates efficiently and safely after adjusting the chain length.

Aspect Importance
Safety High
Lubrication Essential
Movement Check Crucial
Cutting Test Confirmatory

So, be thorough in testing the adjusted chain to guarantee optimal performance of your chainsaw.


Now that you’ve adjusted the length of your chainsaw chain, it’s time to put it to the test. Remember to prioritize safety by wearing the necessary gear and double-checking lubrication before starting the chainsaw. Observing the chain’s movement at various speeds and conducting a cutting test will help ensure that your chainsaw is operating smoothly and safely. Testing is a critical step in the process that confirms the effectiveness of your adjustments. Happy chainsawing!

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is testing the adjusted chain on a chainsaw important?

Testing the adjusted chain is crucial to ensure smooth and safe operation of the chainsaw after shortening it. Testing helps confirm the efficiency and safety of the chainsaw post chain adjustment.

What are the key steps for testing the adjusted chain on a chainsaw?

  1. Wear safety gear: Always wear appropriate safety gear before testing the chainsaw.
  2. Check lubrication: Ensure proper lubrication of the chain before testing.
  3. Observe chain movement: Check chain movement at different speeds for smooth operation.
  4. Conduct cutting test: Perform a cutting test to assess the efficiency of the adjusted chain.

Jackson Hill is a passionate arborist with years of experience in the field of trees. He developed his fascination with trees at a young age, spending countless hours exploring the forests and climbing trees. Jackson went on to study arboriculture and horticulture at Michigan State University and later earned a degree in forestry from the University of Michigan.

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With his extensive knowledge and expertise, Jackson has become a trusted authority on trees and their impact on the environment. His work has helped shape the field of arboriculture and he continues to be a leading voice in the industry.

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