When to Replace Chainsaw Chain

If you are a woodworker then, your chainsaw is nothing but an extension of you. It is a powerful machine that can effectively saw through any type of wood. However, over time, you may feel that you are putting in more work than usual or that the chain is less agile than it normally is.

If that’s the case then, it’s time to change the chain. So, the question boils down to this, when to replace the chainsaw chain?

  • When there are dents on the cutters
  • The blades feel blunt or worn out
  • Cuts are uneven
  • Smoke coming out of the chainsaw

These are the warning signs that indicate that you are in need of replacement. To know more about them in detail, you can further continue reading this article about the nooks and crannies of the chain, what can cut short its lifespan, and when to change it.

Parts of a chainsaw chain

  • Guide bar- It is an elongated bar that is made out of alloy steel with a rounded end. It usually varies between 40 cm to 90 cm. The chain sits on the edge slot and runs along the bar.
  • Drive links– These are the metallic teeth that are present on the opposing side of the actual cutting teeth. It sits on the groove of the guide bar and helps the chain in spinning along the length of the bar.
  • Cutters– The right and the left cutters are the true cutting teeth. They are placed alternately along the links of the chain to provide a balanced cut.

Factors That Can Accelerate Your Need to Replace Chainsaw Chain

Below are some of the factors that can cut short the lifespan of the chain. Once you know what they are, you can be more cautious when you are operating the chainsaw.

  • Wood Type, Chain Type, And Duration:

The type of wood that you are chopping can affect the sharpness of the chain. For instance, if you are using the chainsaw to cut through softwood then, your blade will stay sharp for a longer amount of time. But, if you are using it on hardwood, then it will wear out much sooner.

The chain type of the chainsaw plays an important factor. A semi-chisel is more durable than a full-chisel chain. Also, if you are using the chainsaw for light trimmings and pruning then, they are less susceptible to wear and tear.

  • Hitting Rocks

It happens quite so often that when you are cutting very close to the ground, the blades will hit rocks or get dirt lodged in between the cutters. This will reduce the sharpness of the cutters and also slow down the chain.

  • Hitting a Nail

Many a time, there are nails embedded in the bark of trees. So, it wouldn’t be a surprise to encounter one or two once in a while. However, sawing through them can cause the links of the chain to break off.

  • Inappropriate Lubrication

Choosing the right lubricant is quite essential for your chainsaw. Getting the wrong kind will cause it to overheat and will not allow the chain to run smoothly along the bar.

  • Rust

Oxidation can really mess up the chain links of your gadget. It can occur due to improper maintenance and storage. To prevent rust from ruining your chainsaw, you need to clean and oil it properly. Also, make sure that it isn’t susceptible to extreme weather when you are storing it in the shed.

How to Tell When a Chainsaw Chain Is Worn Out

Working with a dull blade can hamper your work speed. There are a few signs that will tell you that it is time for you to replace it.

  • Look for Dents on the Chain

Your blade can lose its sharpness when it hits pesky objects like nails or rocks. Not only will the impact on these objects dull the blade, but they can also dent the chain. In the case of minor dents, you can easily sharpen the blade using a chainsaw sharpener.

  • Check if the Chain Is Rusty

You can easily spot rust on your chain. Oiling and cleaning it can prevent the oxidation process. However, once it begins to rust, you are left with very few options.

  • Poor Cutting Performance

Suppose your blade isn’t hitting the mark when you are chopping down wood, and then it’s a clear indication that your blade has worn out. That is why, apart from oiling and cleaning, you should sharpen your blade on a regular basis.

However, there is a limit to the number of times you can sharpen the saw. Eventually, it will lose its effectiveness even after you sharpen the blade after which, you will have to change the chain.

Check if You Have Exceeded the Safety Lines on Your Chain

As we mentioned earlier, there is an extent to which your blade can be sharpened; beyond this, it will fail. Recognizing these indicators beforehand will save you from serious injuries.

1. Uneven Cuts

You will notice that your chainsaw will start producing uneven cuts after it has aged. Sharpening the chain can help, but with a new chain, you will get the clean, precise cuts that you desire.

2. Smoking

A chainsaw is typically designed to handle heavy-duty work. That is why under normal circumstances, it shouldn’t produce any kind of smoke. However, if smoke begins to pour out of the chainsaw then, it could indicate that the dullness of the blade is causing too much friction between the parts, causing the gadget to heat up.

Therefore, it is a safer option to replace the chain as soon as you see smoke coming out of the chainsaw.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you are not familiar with handling a chainsaw, then you will have a lot of baffling questions in mind about the replacement of your chainsaw. Let us walk you through them.

  • How often to sharpen a chainsaw?

It is better to sharpen the chain after using it for five hours to get precise cuts. You can assess the sharpness of the blade with your fingers; if they feel dull, then you can sharpen your chain right away.

  • How many times can you sharpen a chainsaw chain?

No matter how robust your chainsaw is, the chain will eventually wear out after usage. Although there isn’t any specific magic number on how many times you can sharpen the chain, it largely depends on how often you use it and where you use it.

  • Why does my chainsaw chain dull so quickly?

There can be a number of reasons behind your chainsaw chain getting blunt fast. For example, if you are chopping through dirty wood, hitting rocks, or if the tip of the blade touches the ground.

Also, when you are sharpening your chain, make sure that you are using the right file size. Ensure that the cutters are not put at a steep angle.

  • When to replace the chainsaw bar?

In order to reduce the chances of getting injured, it is always a good idea to replace the chainsaw bar along with the chain. It also prevents premature wearing.

Final Thoughts

When it comes to dealing with heavy machinery like the chainsaw, it is important to understand what can potentially damage the chain, the type of attention it needs, and when to replace the chainsaw chain.

With the passage of time, it loses its efficiency and sharpness. Therefore, it is advisable to have a spare chain along with you in case of emergencies. We hope this article was useful to you. Thank you!

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