Why Your Chainsaw Cuts Crooked And How to Fix It

If your chainsaw is cutting crooked, it may be due to a dull or damaged chain. To fix it, sharpen or replace the chain and ensure it is properly tensioned and aligned with the guide bar.

A chainsaw is an essential tool for any property owner or professional but it can be frustrating when the saw blade starts cutting crooked. This not only makes it difficult to cut straight lines but can also be a safety hazard.

Common causes of crooked cuts include dull or damaged chains, improper alignment of the chain or guide bar and incorrect tension of the chain. Fixing these issues is essential to ensure smooth cutting performance and extend the life of your chainsaw. In this article, we will explore some of the main causes of crooked cuts and how to fix them.

Why Your Chainsaw Cuts Crooked And How to Fix It

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Understanding The Problem

As a chainsaw user, you might face the issue of crooked cuts, which can be frustrating and hazardous. But why do chainsaws cut crooked? Understanding the problem can help you identify the underlying causes and fix them promptly to achieve a straight and even cut.

In this section, we will define what we mean by a crooked cut and discuss some reasons why chainsaws can cut crookedly.

Definition Of A Crooked Cut

A crooked cut is a cut made by a chainsaw that is not straight or even. The cut might have curves, angles, or other irregularities that can affect the intended outcome. Crooked cuts can be the result of many factors, such as the chainsaw’s blade, the user’s technique, or external conditions affecting the cutting process.

Here are some reasons why chainsaws cut crookedly:

Dull Or Damaged Blade

A dull or damaged blade can cause your chainsaw to cut unevenly. The blade’s teeth may fail to cut through the wood smoothly, causing the saw to veer off course and make an uneven cut. A damaged blade can also warp or bend, making it difficult to control the chainsaw’s movement and resulting in a crooked cut.

  • Blade teeth are dull or broken
  • Blade is warped or bent

Incorrect Tension

If the chain’s tension is incorrect, the chainsaw can cut crookedly. If the chain is too loose, it can slip or jump off the bar, causing it to cut at an angle. If the chain is too tight, it can cause the chainsaw to overheat, which can also cause the saw to veer off course and make an uneven cut.

  • Chain is too loose
  • Chain is too tight

Misalignment Of The Guide Bar

If the guide bar is not aligned correctly, it can cause your chainsaw to cut crookedly. Misalignment can happen if the bar is bent, damaged, or installed incorrectly, making it difficult to control the saw’s movement and resulting in crooked cuts.

  • Bar is bent or damaged
  • Bar is not installed correctly

Inadequate Lubrication

Inadequate lubrication can cause your chainsaw to cut unevenly. The saw’s chain requires oil to lubricate its movement across the guide bar, and without adequate lubrication, the blade can heat up and cause the saw to veer off course, resulting in a crooked cut.

  • Oil is low or absent
  • Oil flow is blocked

By understanding the problem of crooked cuts and the possible causes, you can take the necessary measures to fix them. Maintain your chainsaw’s blade and chain, check the chain’s tension, align the guide bar correctly, and ensure adequate lubrication to achieve straight and even cuts and keep yourself safe while using your chainsaw.

Diagnosing The Problem

Knowing When A Chainsaw Is Cutting Crooked

A chainsaw is one of the most essential tools for wood-cutting tasks. It is designed to cut through logs and branches with ease, but sometimes, it may start cutting crookedly. In most cases, crooked cutting is an indication of a problem with the chainsaw that needs to be fixed.

Here are some important things to look out for:

  • The chainsaw is pulling to the left or right of the cut.
  • The sawdust is not coming out evenly.
  • The chainsaw is producing smoke or sparks.

Identifying The Root Cause Of The Problem

Identifying the root cause of a chainsaw cutting crookedly is critical to fixing the issue and ensuring that the saw is safe to use. Often, there are several reasons why a chainsaw may start cutting crookedly. Here are some of the most common causes:

  • Dull or damaged chain
  • Incorrect chain tension
  • Bent guide bar
  • Worn sprocket tip
  • Warped or uneven guide bar
  • Unequal chain teeth length
  • Dirty carburetor or air filter
  • Misaligned chain cutter teeth

Tools Needed For Diagnosis

To diagnose problems with a chainsaw, you will need a few tools to conduct various tests. Here are some of the tools required for diagnosis:

  • A chainsaw wrench for adjusting the chain tension
  • A depth gauge tool for measuring the length of the chainsaw teeth
  • A file for sharpening the chainsaw teeth
  • A straightedge for checking the guide bar straightness
  • A tape measure for measuring the chain pitch
  • A compression tester for checking engine compression
  • A spark plug wrench for checking for spark.
  • A carburetor cleaner for cleaning the carburetor and air filter.

Precautions When Handling A Chainsaw

When handling a chainsaw, it is important to take certain precautions to ensure your safety. Here are some of the precautions you should take:

  • Wear protective clothing, including gloves, goggles, and earplugs.
  • Make sure the chainsaw is turned off before carrying out any maintenance or repairs.
  • Use a chainsaw vise or clamp to hold the chainsaw in place when sharpening the chain.
  • Only use safety-rated fuel and oil for the chainsaw
  • Only use the chainsaw in a well-ventilated area to prevent the buildup of toxic fumes.
  • Regularly inspect the chainsaw for any damage or wear and tear.

Fixing A Chainsaw That Cuts Crooked

Do you experience your chainsaw cutting crookedly, causing frustration and a waste of time and effort? Worry not as fixing a chainsaw that cuts crooked is not rocket science. In this segment, we’ll provide a step-by-step guide on how to fix that annoying issue.

Sharpening The Chainsaw Chain

One of the reasons your chainsaw is cutting crookedly is that the chain is dull and no longer cuts efficiently. To sharpen the chainsaw chain:

  • Use a round file that matches the chain pitch
  • Secure the chainsaw in a vice to keep it steady
  • Locate the recommended filing angle from the chainsaw manual
  • Place the file on the cutting tooth and file towards the cutting edge
  • Repeat the process on every other tooth until they’re all sharp
  • Use a flat file to flatten the rakers of the chainsaw

Adjusting Chain Tension

A loose or tight chain tension can cause the chainsaw to cut crooked. To adjust the chain tension:

  • Release tension on the chain by loosening the nuts securing the guide bar
  • Use a screwdriver to adjust the tensioning screw on the chainsaw bar
  • Tension just enough that the chain doesn’t droop from the bar
  • Secure the guide bar back and test again

Aligning The Chainsaw Bar

If the chainsaw still cuts crookedly, the chainsaw bar may have become warped, or the bar’s alignment is off. To align the chainsaw bar:

  • Remove the chainsaw side cover and the chain
  • Place the chainsaw in a secure vice, bar side up
  • Use a socket wrench to loosen the bolts and nuts on the bar mount
  • Adjust the bar’s alignment by tapping the opposite side gently using a hammer
  • Check the alignment by looking down the bar to determine if it’s straight
  • Tighten the nuts and bolts appropriately

Replacing Worn-Out Bar Or Chain

If all the above adjustments remain futile, it’s time to replace the chainsaw bar or chain. Over time, chainsaw bars and chains wear out, causing cuts to be crooked. To replace worn-out bar or chain:

  • Buy a replacement bar and chain of the same size and pitch as the old one
  • Remove the chainsaw cover and chain
  • Fit the replacement chainsaw bar into position
  • Attach the chain around the bar and replace the cover
  • Test the chainsaw for a straight cut line

Straightening A Bent Chainsaw Bar

A bent chainsaw bar can cause uneven cuts, but you can straighten it by following this procedure:

  • Unplug your chainsaw and remove the chainsaw bar from the chainsaw
  • Place the chainsaw bar on a flat surface, such as a workbench
  • Lightly hammer the bent portion back into position, ensuring it’s not overdone
  • Use a straightedge to check the bar’s straightness
  • Reassemble the chainsaw and test for a straight cut line

By following these procedures, your chainsaw will be straight cutting, effective and efficient.

Prevention Measures To Keep Chainsaw Cutting Straight

Why Your Chainsaw Cuts Crooked And How To Fix It

Chainsaws are arguably one of the most useful tools for homeowners and professionals in the woodcutting industry. However, sometimes the chainsaw can cut crooked, causing the cut to be uneven or the guide bar to bind in the tree. We will be discussing some preventive measures that can help you keep your chainsaw cutting straight and ensure your safety as well.

Regular Maintenance And Inspections

Perform regular maintenance and inspections on the chainsaw to ensure that it’s functioning correctly. A poorly maintained saw will lead to crooked cuts, which can damage the chainsaw or cause accidents. Here are some key points to consider for regular maintenance and inspections:

  • Inspect the saw chain regularly for any damage or wear and replace it when necessary.
  • Check the guide bar for damage or wear, and replace it if you notice any signs of damage.
  • Clean the air filter regularly and replace it if it’s dirty.
  • Maintain the chain’s tension to avoid it from getting loose or too tight, which can lead to crooked cuts.
  • Replace any worn or damaged parts, like the spark plug, fuel filter, or valve.
  • Sharpen the chain or have it sharpened regularly to ensure that it cuts straight.

Proper Handling And Usage

Improper handling and usage of a chainsaw can cause crooked cuts that can lead to accidents. By following these tips below, you can ensure that you’re handling and using the chainsaw correctly:

  • Ensure that you’re using the right chainsaw for the job to avoid putting too much pressure on it.
  • Get the correct posture while using the chainsaw to avoid back strain and ensure the saw cuts straight.
  • Hold the saw with both hands to give you better control over the saw, which will help you make straight cuts.
  • Always wear protective gear like heavy-duty gloves, eyewear, ear protection, and a hard hat to avoid accidents and minimize injury severity, which can lead to crooked cuts.
  • Avoid cutting above your shoulders or below your chest, and avoid cutting with the tip of the guide bar to avoid crooked cuts.

Storage Of The Chainsaw

Proper storage of the chainsaw is essential to prevent its malfunctioning and ensure that it cuts straight when in use. Follow these tips for proper storage:

  • Store the chainsaw in a dry and clean place when not in use to prevent rust, which can cause crooked cuts.
  • Drain the fuel from the chainsaw before storage to avoid clogging the carburetor and causing it to malfunction when in use.
  • Keep the chainsaw out of reach of children and pets, and remove the chain to prevent possible accidents.
  • Store the chainsaw with its guide bar, chain, and sharpener to ensure everything stays together, which makes it easier to find when needed.

It’s vital to ensure that your chainsaw cuts straight to avoid malfunctions and accidents that can result in damage or injury. By following the tips on proper handling and usage, regular maintenance and inspections, and proper storage, you can be confident that your chainsaw will cut straight, and you’ll get the job done safely.

Frequently Asked Questions Of Why Your Chainsaw Cuts Crooked And How To Fix It

How Do I Prevent My Chainsaw From Cutting Crooked?

To prevent your chainsaw from cutting crooked, make sure that the chain is properly sharpened and tightened. It is also important to use the correct technique when cutting. Always start from the top to reduce the risk of the chainsaw getting pinched.

Can A Dull Chainsaw Chain Cause It To Cut Crooked?

Yes, a dull chainsaw chain is a common cause of crooked cuts. A dull chain can cause the saw to drift to one side, resulting in uneven and crooked cuts. Always make sure to sharpen the chain regularly to prevent this from happening.

How Tight Should My Chainsaw Chain Be?

Your chainsaw chain should be tight enough that it doesn’t sag or droop but loose enough that you can still move it easily by hand. A rule of thumb is to lift the chain slightly off the guide bar and adjust it until there is about 1/8 inch of clearance between the chain and the bar.

How Often Should I Sharpen My Chainsaw Chain?

You should sharpen your chainsaw chain after every 2-3 uses, or more frequently if you are cutting through exceptionally tough or dirty wood. A dull chain can cause your chainsaw to cut crooked and increase the risk of kickback, so it’s important to keep it sharp.

What Is Kickback And How Can I Prevent It?

Kickback is when the chainsaw bar suddenly bounces back towards the operator, usually due to the saw getting pinched or hitting something hard. To prevent kickback, always approach your cut at full throttle and use a chainsaw with modern safety features like a chain brake.

Keep your chainsaw properly maintained to reduce the risk of pinching.


Now that you know why your chainsaw cuts crooked, it’s time to get to work fixing it. Remember, proper maintenance and regular sharpening are key to keeping your chainsaw cutting straight. Make sure to check for any wear on the bar and chain, flip the bar every now and then, and replace parts when necessary.

Utilize the correct techniques for felling and cutting to avoid putting too much pressure on the chainsaw, and always wear protective gear. With these tips, you’ll be able to get your chainsaw working properly in no time. Don’t let a crooked cut slow you down – take action and keep your chainsaw in top shape.

By doing so, you’ll not only get a straighter cut, but also a safer and more efficient machine.

Susan Lynn Stanley

My name is Susan Lynn Stanley, and I am the founder of Chainsaw Zone, Empowering You to Tackle Any Chainsaw Project!

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