Chainsaw Direction 101: Which Way Should It Go?

Approx Reading Time: 13 minutes

Without any doubt, power tools are very handy regardless of the type or model of the tool. However, these tools also require a great deal of care and maintenance. Any little error can ultimately cause a serious accident both to the user or the surrounding, notably the chainsaw blade direction. If the chainsaw blade is moved in the wrong direction, not only will it not cut the required material, but it may accidentally cut something else in the process.

Chainsaw chain direction, which way should it go?

When your Chainsaw bar is on the left of the engine, the chain should rotate counter-clockwise, and the cutting edges should be facing away from the engine.

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This wouldn’t happen typically, but it can only occur when your chainsaw blade becomes blunt and you decide to replace the blade, the bar, or chain of your chainsaw. During this process, you may end up setting the chainsaw in the wrong way by mistake. And, this little mistake can, in turn, develop into significant damage. The most terrible thing which can happen to you is when you put in your chainsaw chain in the wrong direction and begin your task, only for the chainsaw to get blocked in the middle of the project.

So, why take the risk? Do you want to know how to set your chainsaw chain so that it can move in the right direction? Are you curious about the direction in which the chainsaw chain goes? Do you also want to know if your chainsaw can run in a backward direction? You have come to the right place. In the rest of this article, we have taken out time to answer your questions and provide all the necessary information you need to know about the direction of your chainsaw.

Understanding the direction of your chainsaw chain

It is important for your chainsaw chain to run in the right direction. Otherwise, it would be ineffective and dangerous to you. When you can totally avoid this, what then is the point of using a chainsaw that runs in the wrong direction? It is actually very important for you to check the required chainsaw blade direction before using it.

Typically, a chainsaw will not cut right with a backward chain. In fact, from a safety perspective, if the chainsaw chain is set backward, then it technically means that all the cutters are facing you, which can be quite dangerous. It does not require rocket science to understand this situation, as it is very important in order for you to run your chainsaw effectively. 

Problems of putting the chainsaw in the wrong direction

Trying to get the correct direction for your chainsaw chain is actually a common source of frustration especially for someone who has never had the luck of being shown the easy way. Trust me, it may be very time consuming and annoying, and the worst part, problems may occur during the process. If you are a regular chainsaw user, then you should be able to know the problems that come with installing the chain in the wrong direction. For the sake of those new to the chainsaw experience, we have taken time out to talk about it again. Just as the cutting teeth of the chainsaw blade are meant to cut the woods in only one direction, installing or placing the chain in reverse, will only cause damage to the tool. There are several problems associated with placing your chainsaw chain in the wrong direction. They include:

1. Waste of Good Bar Oil

When the hawser of the chainsaw is fixed on the wrong side, it will cause a lot of waste to the bar oil, and this would, in turn, cause more harm to the chainsaw. Usually, the bar oil is often kept in order to be used until a certain project or task has been completed. However, when the chainsaw blade is placed in the wrong direction, it would cause a lot of wastage of the bar oil.

2. Cause Damage To Chain Link

The chain link is a very important part of the chainsaw, and the moment it gets damaged, then the saw may not be able to operate effectively as it should. It is important to always set the link in the bottom position so as to ensure that it is providing enough support to the blade and hence allowing easy and effective propelling. Always make sure that the drive link has been fixed in order to avoid unnecessary damages to you or your project.

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3. Causes Unnecessary Stress On The Guide Bar

The guide bar is the most important part of the chain saw when it comes to cutting wood, so when there is a wrong alignment in terms of the direction of the chainsaw blade, then there will be a lot of problems. In this case, what usually occurs is that you will end up getting a considerable amount of stress on the guide bar as the chain is being forced into the wood. And the cut will not be possible, hence, you will end up damaging the guide bar.

4. It May Cause You to Doubt Your Skills

Placing your chainsaw blade wrongly is one of the most annoying things that could happen to the user when it comes to using the saw. To be able to place the chainsaw chain correctly is one of the necessary skills which saw users are meant to demonstrate in order to prove their abilities. For instance, as a chainsaw professional, imagine attending to your clients’ projects and you keep struggling with mounting the chainsaw in the right direction. This would show a great level of incompetence especially to your client, and it may even cost you your job.

5. Motor deterioration

Since you need to put in so much pressure in order to cut the woods with the dull edges, the chainsaw would be affected and the lifetime of the motor will gradually decrease.

6. Burnout Clutch

When you start your chainsaw, it is normal that you keep pressing down the clutch. However, if your chainsaw does not cut, it would cause the clutch to burn, which would only mean that your chainsaw will not work. So before you begin any project or task, always make sure that your blade is fixed in the right direction so as to avoid damage to your tool. In most cases, the clutch is the only part of the saw which is burnt out. This is because it is responsible for facilitating the proper functioning of the chainsaw.

How to Make Sure that your Chainsaw Chain Direction is right

When you are using a chainsaw, it is important that you use it in the right direction. Otherwise, you won’t get the best out of using the machine. Aside from this, using a chainsaw chain in the wrong direction is very risky. But how do you make sure you’ve got the chain installed in the right direction? For someone that is new to the chainsaw operation, it may seem a little bit overwhelming and confusing, but not to worry, we have carefully explained this topic, and after reading this article, we hope that your confusion will be cleared. Here are tips on how to know if your chainsaw direction is right:

1. Check From the Top View

If you check your chainsaw chain from the top view, you will see that the top of the chain has different blades. These blades have two edges, one of which is sharp, and the other one is dull. A chainsaw blade always rotates from a clockwise direction. The direction of the chainsaw blade is always the same regardless of the type or model of chainsaw. So the sharp edges of the blade should always face the clockwise direction. If you check from the top, you will notice that the sharp edges are facing the direction opposite the chainsaw body or motor. From this, you can view the right position and direction of the blade from the top.

2. Check From the Side and Front View

If you are checking the blade from the side, you should be seeing the chainsaw blade at your right-hand side and the chainsaw engine on your left-hand side. This means that the blade’s direction should be from left to right, that is a clockwise direction. That should be the right direction, otherwise, your blade is going to run in the wrong direction.

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Also, check your saw from the front view. If the blade is in the right direction, you will see it coming from the upside to the downside. However, if it is moving backward, then you’ve placed it wrongly and you wouldn’t achieve an effective cut.

3. Check from the Bottom View

It goes with a saying that the view of the chainsaw blade from the bottom will be just the opposite of the view from the top. Now if the blade is placed in the right direction, then you should be able to check from the bottom that the blade is facing towards the engine or the body. In other words, if your chainsaw chain replacement direction is done correctly, the blade will be facing the engine or the body. The sharp edges will always rotate from the clockwise direction.

How to Make a Chainsaw Blade Run in the Right Direction?

After installing your chainsaw chain, if you still face problems while cutting with your chainsaw, or you install the chainsaw chain in the wrong direction, then don’t worry. You can easily reinstall it till it fits, and this will only take a few minutes. All you just need to do is to carefully follow the simple chain replacement procedure, and you are good to go. Before you know it, your chainsaw will be working properly again. Here are some procedures that can help you make your chainsaw blade run in the right direction.

Attach the Chainsaw Bar

The first step to follow in order to replace a chainsaw chain is to attach the chainsaw bar to the chain. In order to do this, you need to remove the bolt. After removing the bolt, attach the bar carefully to the exact position. After attaching the bar, be sure to adjust it properly by slightly tightening the bolt. The bar should have the perfect length according to chain fitting requirements.

When you want to adjust the bar, do it in such a way that you can easily place the chain and make it fit perfectly. The fitting of your chainsaw chain should not be too tight. Try to loosen the chain fitting a bit, and you will get the perfect result. Also, you need to check if the chain is placed in the right direction or not. To know this, check the procedure on how to know the chain’s direction.

Check the Direction of the Chainsaw Chain

Now, this is the crucial part. It is safe to assume that the reason why you are replacing your chainsaw chain is probably that the blade direction is faulty. So when fixing it, pay close attention to the details, and make sure you are mounting the chain properly.

If you have successfully done this, your chainsaw will be able to run in the right direction again without any disruption. Since you already know how to check the right chain direction, just follow the procedures and make sure you are doing it right.

Tighten the Blade

Now that you have not only attached the bar, but you have also mounted the chain and have checked the direction of the blade, it is time for the final procedure. Since you have reinstalled the blade, the next step is to tighten the chain so that your tool can run freely without any hindrance. However, be very careful while tightening up the chain. It is important that you don’t make it too loose or too tight. Too loose will cause the chain to come off, and this can make it very dangerous to the user. Tightening the chain too tight can also hamper the working condition of the chainsaw, leading to ineffectiveness.

How to Find the Accurate Replacement Chain for your Chainsaw?

At one point in their lifespan, every power tool requires regular replacement or maintenance of their body, otherwise, you may not get the maximum use from it. However, even with this, many people still find it hard and challenging to find the right replacement chain for their chainsaws. The good news is that finding the accurate replacement chain for your saw is actually quite simple, and by considering the following factors, you would be able to find the exact replacement easily when shopping for a new chain.

1. The Pitch:

The size of the pitch depends greatly on the type of chainsaw you are using. If your chainsaw is one for heavy duties, then you will have a large pitch. The pitch of a chainsaw is basically the distance between any two repeated chain links divided by 2, that is, the average distance between two successive chain links. So, before purchasing a new chain, make sure it fits the exact pitch so as to avoid ineffectiveness. There are some chainsaw pitches that are most commonly used. They include ¼”, 0.325”, 3/8”, 3/8” low profile and 0.404”. Once you can determine the right size for your chainsaw, then everything becomes easy.

2. Gauge:

The gauge of a chainsaw is the measurement of how deep the groove is on a guide bar, that is, the depth. If the gauge is higher, it technically means the chains will be heavy. There are some standard gauge sizes that are often used. They are- 0.043”, 0.050”, 0.058”, and 0.063”. With this, you can easily determine the right size that fits your chainsaw.

3. Drive Link Count:

The drive link count is the number of drive links on your chain. This feature provides you information on how long the chain is, and whether it is going to fit into your bar or not.

Normally, there is certain standard information about your chainsaw that will help you to find an accurate replacement for the chain. Most of this information is provided in the user manual or sometimes on the chainsaw bar. So, before you buy a chainsaw, always make sure that you note the pitch size, the gauge, and drive link count.

Final remarks

Finally, you might be in a position where even after setting everything in place and making sure your chainsaw is in excellent condition (in terms of the chain direction), the saw is still failing to cut the wood. In this case, the reason behind the failure may not always be the chain direction but maybe that your chainsaw blades have become dull. In this situation, all you just need to do is properly sharpen it until it is good enough to cut.

As always, we hope that this article has been able to answer your questions. Good luck with your chainsaw experience!