How to Right a Chainsaw Chain Inside Out. What the pros say


If you’re a garden enthusiast or a professional arborist, a chainsaw might be one of your most productive tools. A proper functioning chainsaw needs maintenance of its parts. The chain, for example, requires sharpening, cleaning, and greasing after regular intervals. Most beginners experience a problem when disassembling a chain for maintenance and finding that it flips inside out. It becomes frustrating when you try to fix it on your own and do not manage. If you’re a beginner and looking for a solution, this blog will help you find a solution.     

How to right a chainsaw chain inside out:

  • Step 1: Ensure you are wearing safety gloves while handling the chain with its sharp cutters.
  • Step 2: Place the chain on a flat surface in the form of a single loop.
  • Step 3: Hold the opposite ends of the loop and twist the chain outward.
  • Step 4: Press the chain firmly and twist it until the inside part of the chain has flipped outward.

A chainsaw chain is similar to a bicycle chain, having links except that it comprises particular cutting teeth for sawing operations. In normal orientation, the cutter teeth lie on the outer part of the chain’s loop. The chain also consists of a particular type of shaped tabs that fit into the bar’s grooves. These shaped tabs lie inside the loop. When the chain is taken off for maintenance or stored separately, it flips, making the inner portion pointing outward. Unfortunately, you cannot fix this chain back on the bar since the cutter teeth don’t fit into the bar grooves.

I will explain in more detail how to righting a flipped chainsaw chain. And give some more chain-related tips and tricks that will help you solve these problems independently.

Fixing an Inside Out Chain:

A chainsaw’s chain might get disoriented while you’re oiling its links or sharpening the chain. As a result, the cutting teeth are flipped on the inside portion of the chain. And the shaped tabs that fit into the bar go outwards, contrary to the normal orientation. Fixing such a chain isn’t tricky and can be achieved by following the steps mentioned below.

● Step 1: Take safety precautions

Before starting any repair work, make sure you equip yourself with safety equipment to shield against any potential accident/injury. A chainsaw chain has sharp cutting teeth that might injure your fingers if not carefully deal with. Hence, you should be wearing work gloves while fixing the chain.

● Step 2: Orient the chain correctly

Place the inverted chain on a flat surface such as a working table. Lay it in the form of a single loop so that its cutting teeth are pointing inwards. Also, elongate the chain so that its straight sides are separated by about 6 inches.

● Step 3: Twist the chain

Hold the chain from two opposite ends while wearing work gloves. While holding, twist the chain sections so that the cutting teeth that point inward are rotated outward as their normal orientation.

● Step 4: Hold the chain tightly

Ensure the chain is held tightly so that cutting teeth do not turn inwards as you hold them. Instead, the teeth shall snap over the back to an outward position. The chain has been turned inside out in its actual configuration and can be installed back to the chainsaw bar.

Fixing an Entangled Chain:

Another problem which most users face is chain getting tangled into two separate loops. It might seem frustrating to untangle such a chain as the loops don’t seem to go away. But there’s an easy way to it which shall be explained in the steps mentioned below. So, if you face such a problem, be sure to check that procedure out.

● Step 1: Orient the chain correctly

Remove the chainsaw’s twisted chain. Hold the tangled chain with two opposing loops in the tangle, one in each hand. Allow the chain to hang straight down from those loops.

● Step 2: Widen the loops

Extend the diameter of the loops as much as possible while still holding them in both hands by picking up the slack from the hanging chain until each loop is about 3 inches wide.

● Step 3: Free the tangles by raising the chain

Raise the bottom of the dangling chain while holding the loops in your hands. Because chainsaw chains are rigid, the dangling lower half sticks out like a board until it reaches a vertical position. Thus, you may easily guide its movement by just grasping the loops with your hands.

When the chain’s lowest point points straight up, the loops in your hand shall be below it. Gravity will cause the chain’s lowest point to fall and slip past the loops, clearing the chain of tangles.

Related Questions

1. How to tell if a chainsaw chain is installed correctly?

The cutting teeth attached to every chainsaw chain constitute chainsaw blades. For any cutting operation, these teeth must be installed correctly. The cutting is done by the blades that sit on top of the chain. These razor-sharp blades cut into the wood with each revolution of the chain on the bar. To be correctly installed, these chains and blades must be mounted on the bar precisely.

– Step 1: Examine the cutting edges

Examine the tops of the blades to determine which direction the cutting edge is facing. Chainsaw chains revolve clockwise. Therefore the cutting edges on the top of the chain should be facing away from the engine and to the right.

– Step 2: Examine the guide link teeth

Examine your guide link teeth to ensure they are pointing in the right direction. When correctly mounted, the teeth on the top of the bar must be pointing to the right. They must be pointing to the left at the bottom of the bar, back towards the chainsaw drive sprocket.

– Step 3: Chain Rattle

When a chainsaw is fed to a piece of wood under power, an excessive chain rattle without any effective cutting is a strong sign that the blades are positioned backward. It is a situation in which the chainsaw must be turned off immediately, and the chain must be linked appropriately before any more cutting is done.

2. What happens if you put a chainsaw blade backward?

Chainsaw blades cut in a clockwise direction. Hence, the cutting blades should be aligned in that particular direction if the saw is to cut anything. If the chainsaw’s cutting blades (also known as cutter teeth) are installed backward, the chainsaw won’t cut anything.

To know if your blades are installed in a forward direction or backward, always check the direction of the cutting edge on top of your chainsaw. If the cutting edges face away from the engine when viewed from the top, they are installed correctly. If they face the engine, they are installed backward, and the saw won’t cut anything.

3. Why won’t my chainsaw cut right?

If your chainsaw isn’t cutting suitably, try troubleshooting with the steps mentioned below. In most cases, the solution to the problem lies in the following cases.

– Dull Cutting Chains:

One of the most frequent causes behind the below-par cutting performance is the chain’s condition. If it hasn’t been sharpened for over a year, the cutting teeth might have become too blunt to apply substantial pressure on the surfaces, resulting in the lackluster cutting performance. To fix this, try sharpening the chains or consider replacing them if they appear worn out.

– Incorrectly Mounted Chain:

If the cutting teeth of the chain don’t point in the correct direction, then the chain won’t cut anything. The correct direction means that when viewed from the top, the cutting edges of the teeth should be pointing away from the engine.

– Improper Chain Tension:

If the chain isn’t tight enough, it won’t apply enough pressure on the wood while rotating. Conversely, if the chain is too tight on the blade, it faces difficulty while rotating and does not cut anything. To check if the chain tension is sufficient, pull the chain slightly from the bar and release it. If it returns to its original position on the bar, then it has the correct tension. The chain tension can be tweaked by turning the adjustment screw on the bar.

– Worn Out Bar:

Another less common reason that causes the chain to cut improperly is a worn-out bar. Note that the chain should be able to slide freely across the bar. In addition, the bar should provide sufficient lubrication to the chain through bar oil to ensure smooth operation. If the bar seems bent, it might also produce cutting problems or no cutting at all.

3. How do I know if my chainsaw is sharp enough?

The easiest and most effective way of checking the sharpness of your chain is to examine the wood shavings produced during sawing. If the shavings comprise of wooden chips, then your chain doesn’t need any sharpening. However, if the shavings consist of sawdust only, you should know that the chain’s teeth chain has become dull, and the chain needs sharpening.

4. When can you no longer sharpen a chainsaw chain?

As you sharpen a chainsaw’s chain, both the cutting teeth and the depth gauge get lowered by a fraction of a millimeter. Therefore, if the chain has been sharpened several times, there might come a stage when the depth gauges can no longer be filed. This condition usually marks the end of your chain’s lifetime.

5. How often should I sharpen my chainsaw chain?

Chainsaw cutters are made to be sharpened almost 10 times during their lifetime. After that, they can’t be sharpened anymore and need replacement before the chainsaw can cut anything.

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