What Should Chainsaw Shavings Look Like?

Chainsaws are excellent tools for cutting down trees and other undesirable flora. A chainsaw is a power tool used for cutting trees and other materials. The engine powers the blade, and the operator uses a handle to direct the cut.

If you use a chainsaw, you need to know what is considered normal when looking at chainsaw sawdust.

Every chainsaw produces shavings whenever it’s been used to cut wood or fell trees. However, how the shavings look depends on the sharpness of the saw and how effective the chainsaw is.

Chainsaw shavings are tiny fragments of wood blown off a chainsaw during operation. In this article, we’ll be explaining what your chainsaw shavings should look like.

What Should Chainsaw Shavings Look Like?

Ultimately, how your chainsaw shavings will look depends on how sharp and fast the machine runs.  A sharp saw will produce shavings that look like thick and coarse strands, while a dull saw will produce less thick shavings.

When your shavings have a fine, refined, and smooth texture, it means the blade has worn out, and you should either sharpen the blade or consider replacing it entirely.

How To Know If Your Chainsaw Chain Is Sharp?

A blunt chainsaw isn’t worthy of being called a chainsaw. It makes cutting wood stressful and complex, and there’s the risk of getting injured using a blunt chainsaw.

Here’s how to know if your chainsaw is still sharp

1. The Sawdust Or Shavings Production

This is one of the surest ways to know if your chainsaw chain is sharp. The shavings it produces when using it on a block of wood will show whether it is sharp or blunt.

A sharp chain will produce a thick and coarse strand of shavings. The shavings will look thicker and can also be used as animal bedding. However, the shavings will look dull and refined if your chain is dull.

You should consider sharpening or replacing the chain if the shavings it produces have a fine texture and looks smooth.

2. Cutting And Positioning

This is another way to know if your chainsaw is still sharp. When using a sharp chainsaw to cut or fall trees, the positioning will be stable and not hard to cut.

If your chain is blunt, cutting won’t be easy and will get stuck while the engine is still running.

3. Effectiveness, Efficiency, And Smoothness

You shouldn’t have any force applied when using a chainsaw to cut wood. The saw should cut through whatever you’re cutting with ease and effectiveness.

If you notice that you must start applying force or pressure before the chainsaw cuts through, the saw is blunt and needs sharpening.

4. Smoke

This is another way of checking if your chainsaw chain is still sharp. Suppose you notice that the saw produces smoke even after it’s oiled correctly and the chain is installed properly. Then the chain is blunt and needs sharpening.

A sharp chainsaw will not produce smoke as long as it is oiled and the engine is in perfect condition. See this article to know why chainsaws smoke.

5. Uneven cut

A sharp saw will bring out even cuts when cutting trees. If your saw brings uneven cuts, the chainsaw is blunt and needs sharpening.

What Can I Do With Chainsaw Shavings?

How do you know when your chainsaw is blunt

We can all agree that shavings can be categorized as the waste product of using a chainsaw on wood. However, chainsaw shaving has a lot of usefulness. After all, it absorbs liquid content, has a soft texture, can be used as bedding, and absorbs moisture.

Here are what you can use your chainsaw shavings for;

1. Animal Bedding

Suppose you like to rear household animals like chickens, turkeys, goats, sheep, and many more. Chainsaw shavings can be used for their bedding to sleep, lay eggs and pass feces on.

It not only provides a soft later for your animals to sleep on, but it also provides them with warmth and comfort. Also, it can be used as an odor absorber as it absorbs the smell of your animal feces.

2. Let Kids Play With It

Making kids play with chainsaw shavings is another fun way to use them.

Shavings have a thick and durable texture, similar to sand but without sand’s dirtiness, bacteria, and germs. Children will use it to play and roll in it without getting injured or getting sick through it.

3. Mop Up Oil

Another practical way of using your chainsaw shavings is to mop up oily substances. Shavings absorb oil very well; all you have to do is cover the place filled with oil with the shavings, let it absorb it for a few minutes, and sweep it off.

However, you might need to clean it afterward with a wet rag or mop.

4. Using To Make Fire

Shavings are dry wood; if you gather lots of it, you can use it to make fire for cooking, grills, and even campfires.

5. Using Them To Store Fruits And Vegetables

You can use shavings to store fruits and vegetables. Some people do not like keeping their products inside a fridge as it makes them soggy.

Using chainsaw shaving is another way of storing your vegetables. All you have to do is fill a box with shavings, put your vegetables in it, and cover it. Make sure you store it in a cool and dry place.

6. Using As A Weed Killer

If you notice weed growing in a place, you want to eliminate it completely, and you can use shavings as a weed killer. After weeding off the unwanted plants, pour shavings over where they are growing. This will stop the weed from growing any more.

Things To Consider Before Replacing Your Chainsaw Chain

The more you use your chainsaw, the faster it loses its sharpness which can make it work harder and cause an injury. You should take note of these signs below:

1. Rusty Chain

When To Replace Your Chainsaw Chain

If your chain has rust, it’s never a good idea to use them. It will not only make work harder, but it can also damage the chainsaw or inflict an injury on you.

If you notice that the chain is getting rusty, you should immediately replace it, don’t even bother to sharpen it.

2. When It Starts Smoking Even After Being Well-Oiled

If you notice that while using your chain saw, it produces smoke even after you’ve oiled it. That is a sign that the chainsaw chain needs replacement, and you should consider replacing it.

3. When The Chain Gets Chipped Or Broken

If you notice some of the chain’s teeth start removing, or parts of it are getting chipped. You should consider getting a replacement.

4. When You Start Exerting More Force Than Usual

If you notice that you need to start applying force before it cuts through wood, then it’s time to replace the chainsaw chain.

How To Replace A Chainsaw Chain?

Here is a step-by-step method on how to replace a chainsaw chain;

Step One: Remove The Old Chainsaw Chain

Start by removing the worn-out chainsaw chain. All you have to do is remove the side plate on the chainsaw held by two nuts. Unscrew the nuts and take off the side plate.

Step Two: Release The Chain Tension

Before removing the old chain from the saw, make sure you release the tension, as this will make removing the chain easier.

The tension is the one that makes the chain firm and strong.

Step Three: Remove The Old Tension

After releasing the tension, the chain will slacken, and you can now remove the chain from the chainsaw.

Step Four: Loosen The Tensioning Screw

Before putting in a new chain, loosen the tensioning screw. This will make installing a new chain very easy.

Step Five: Thread The New Chain Unto The Saw

Carefully thread the new chain or the newly sharpened chain unto the saw. Make sure you do it carefully to avoid inflicting an injury on yourself, or better still, wear safety gloves.

Step Six: Align The Guide Bar

After carefully threading the chain on the saw, align the guide bar by pulling some tension.

Step Seven: Put The Side Plate Back

After aligning the guide bar, the next step is to put the side plate back in its original position.

Step Eight: Tighten The Chain To The Correct Tension

Tighten the chain to the correct tension to make the chain firm.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How Long Should A Chainsaw Chain Stay Before Sharpening?

If you store and use your chainsaw properly, it can last 5 to 6 years before you need to sharpen it.

Is It Better To Replace Or Sharpen Your Chainsaw Chain?

It depends on the damage to the chain. If the chain is rusty, you should consider replacing the chain. If, however, the chain is just blunt, you can sharpen it.

How Many Times Can You Sharpen Your Chainsaw Chain?

You can sharpen your chainsaw chain up to ten times; after that, you should consider replacing it.

How Often Should I Sharpen My Chainsaw Chain?

You should sharpen it after ten times using it.


Chainsaw shavings are one of the most important things regarding chainsaw maintenance, and you want them to be neat. They must be tight and arranged nicely, not all over the place. Don’t forget to oil your bar and chain; that helps with durability.

Your chainsaw shavings should come out as thick and coarse, and if your shavings appear fine and smooth, you should consider replacing or sharpening the chain.

Following the instructions in this guide, you should be able to know when your chainsaw chain is dull and needs sharpening or replacement.

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