Why Chainsaw Cuts Crooked?

Have you ever wondered why chainsaws cut crooked? Chainsaws are powerful tools that make trees falling and cutting firewood remarkably simple.

However, even the most expensive and potent chainsaws might not always function as planned. A potential issue is the chainsaw’s tendency to cut unevenly or in a curved pattern. In fact, there’s nothing more frustrating than trying to cut a tree straight with a chainsaw only to discover that the cut is crooked.

Many people are surprised to learn that chainsaw cuts are very rarely straight. Are you wondering why your chainsaw has suddenly started cutting crooked and unevenly? Continue reading the article, as we will provide the reasons for this cutting pattern and how it can be fixed.

Reasons Why Chainsaw Cuts Crooked? And How To Fix It

There are several causes for your chainsaw to cut unevenly. Some of the typical causes include.

1. Uneven Sharpness

One of the main causes of a chainsaw’s tendency to curve to the right or left during a cut is uneven sharpening. When this happens, the chain’s uneven teeth will enable it to rip different-sized holes in the wood.

The chain’s uneven sharpness is primarily the result of hand sharpening, particularly when using a file. Additionally, right-handed people tend to sharpen the left side of the chain more than the right side, which results in an uneven sharpness on the chain.

To fix this, you must ensure that the chain is sharpened equally. This can be achieved by giving the left and right sides of the chain equal attention as you work. Avoiding solely focusing on your stronger hand is a better strategy for achieving this. As soon as both sides are balanced, focus more on the side you believe needs additional attention.

What makes your chainsaw cut crooked

Using a suitable chainsaw sharpening is another option to prevent an inconsistent sharpness of the chain which means you might want to stop manually sharpening your chainsaw. You may select the angle, depth, and length when using a grinder, which makes it simpler to have a balanced sharpness level on each side.

2. Uneven Top Plate

People frequently assume that the bar is to blame when a chainsaw cuts in a crooked pattern. While it is quite reasonable to believe that the issue stems from the bar, this is not always the case.

The evidence to counter this is the continuation of the issue despite the bar being straightened or even replaced entirely. However, another possibility is that the uneven top plate causes the chainsaw to cut crook. An uneven top plate makes the tooth bite unevenly, which causes the chainsaw to bend to the side at most bite locations.

You must first check out the top plate size to solve this issue. The top plates must be the same size for the system to function correctly. You will have to sharpen the longer side until it matches the shorter side if you discover one side is longer. Additionally, make sure that the angles complement each other to avoid a new issue due to distortion.

3. Bent Chainsaw Bar

The chainsaw bar may prevent the chainsaw from cutting through wood straight. It serves as the chainsaw’s main component and a guide for the chain. Most of the time, a bent bar will cause curves while the wood is being cut.

A chainsaw will undoubtedly not cut straight if the bar is worn out. However, you don’t need any kind of technical knowledge to solve this as you can easily fix it. If the nose on your chainsaw bar is changeable, you can straighten it by pounding it against a flat anvil. Make sure the bent peak is facing upwards as well. Depending on your financial capacity, you might also want to consider replacing the entire bar.

4. Unequal Cutting Teeth

How do I stop my chainsaw from cutting crooked

The main cause of cutting problems with chainsaws, mainly crooked cutting, is uneven cutting teeth.  Wear and tear are the constant cause of issues with the teeth, which is a result of constant use. The teeth will ultimately get blunt and become dull, causing them to drag through the woods. The dragging process will affect the teeth more, and the chainsaw will bend and pull in one direction.

Worn-out teeth become uneven, which results in improper wood cutting. Assuring that the teeth are of identical size is the easiest way to fix this. Any deviation from this will cause the cut to slant toward the side of the teeth with the largest bites.

Furthermore, check the teeth frequently to ensure they are appropriately filed. Use a sharpening guide to sharpen the teeth, or hire an expert to get it done perfectly. Teeth might get dull as a result of particles like gravel and stones, so make sure you remove all rocks and other hard objects that might be present in your workspace to preserve the edge of your chainsaw’s teeth.

5. Poor Chain Tension

An overly loose chain can result in uneven wood cutting. It will not only make the chainsaw cut crookedly, but it may also pull off and injure the user. Additionally, if the chains are overly tightened, they won’t move quickly and smoothly around the guide bar, resulting in improper wood cutting.

Getting the perfect chain tension is not a difficult task. Retighten the nuts after loosening the adjustment screw if the chain is too tight or loose.

RELATED: How Tight Should My Chainsaw Chain Be?

How To Stop Your Chainsaw From Cutting Crooked?

Re-sharpening your chainsaw is the simplest way to get rid of crooked cuts. Attempt to temporarily refrain from sharpening with your dominant hand. Work on the side you think requires more effort, then test the chainsaw to see whether concentrating on the side that has received fewer attention addresses the problem.

Make sure to give both sides of the chain equal time and attention during the sharpening process. If you want the chain to cut straight every time, both sides must be equally sharp.

Even if you are confident that you sharpened the chain correctly, it is possible the issue is not with the chain’s sharpness. You might have harmed the chain by running it through dirt or a rock or hitting something within a piece of wood. A tooth chip or severe blunting could result from this. Even if sharpening can fix this, there’s a chance the damage is too severe, and you’ll need a new chain.

chainsaw won't cut straight

If the chain works appropriately, the worn-out bar might cause crooked cuts. Chainsaws tend to circle a bar with a lot of movement. The bar might need to be tightened or turned upside down to determine if you can refresh it and extend its service life before replacing it.

When you sharpen the chain, it’s a good idea to switch up the bar. By doing this, you may extend the life of the bar and keep your saw in good working order. By performing this straightforward task as part of your regular chainsaw maintenance, you may reduce the money you spend on repairs and parts replacements.

How Do You Sharpen A Chainsaw That Cuts Crooked

Chipped, damaged, and dull chainsaw teeth obstruct your chainsaw from cutting straight. Sharpening the teeth evening is the ideal way to solve this. This can be done by yourself by using a file and a file guide, and you can opt for an expert to do the sharpening.

If you want to avoid hiring a specialist, it is advisable to use a grinder rather than a file. While hand filing is a manual process that may result in teeth being sharper on one side than the other, depending on whether you are left- or right-handed, a grinder allows you to specify a certain angle, depth, and length.

What’s The Right Angle To Sharpen a Chainsaw Chain?

When sharpening a chain saw, it is essential to accurately evaluate the file’s depth and angle. Uneven cutting teeth from improper sharpening can result in various cutting issues, including pulling to the left or right. Uneven teeth will put you in risky positions and make your task more challenging. But the angles for sharpening will differ for every chain.

When gazing down at the teeth, the top plate’s angle to the bar is known as the filing angle. A thin line that crosses the top of the tooth on modern chains is frequently used to indicate this angle. This indentation provides an angle cue for hand filing. Without this mark on the teeth, you can begin filing at a 30-degree angle and gradually raise it to 40 degrees if the chain is insufficient for your cutting requirements.

What Angle Do You Sharpen A Chainsaw With An Electric Sharpener?

 You must consult the blade’s specs to determine the ideal angle to sharpen your chainsaw using an electric sharpener. The advantage of electric sharpeners is that you can change the angle of the blade tooth by loosening a knob on the blade holder. You should turn this knob in several directions to obtain the most precise adjustment.

The locking wheel should be appropriately turned and then tightened from the bottom. The top housing should then be lowered to make sure the sharpening stone securely holds the blade. Additionally, ensure the lock stop is tightened to stop the stone from slicing into the chain.


So, you’ve discovered that chainsaws sometimes don’t cut straight and are wondering why. The answer is simple: keeping a chainsaw perfectly straight is harder than making it cut crooked. To keep a chainsaw perfectly straight, you’d have to make your cuts when standing perfectly still in one spot, and that’s not how anyone uses a chainsaw.

This article has extensively discussed why your chainsaw has been cutting crookedly. Most cutting issues can be resolved by guaranteeing prompt maintenance of a chainsaw’s parts, such as the chain and the bar. Regular lubrication of the bar and periodic sharpening of the chain are required.

Keep in mind that all cutting teeth on the chain should be sharpened equally to prevent the chain from vibrating while in use. Additionally, desist from operating the chainsaw in moist or dusty conditions. 

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